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Science

UCLA Study: Cigarettes Make Teens Want to Smoke More Cigarettes

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Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 4:15 PM

click to enlarge Stop that, teens. Smoking is bad. - CIGARETTESFLAVOURS.COM
  • cigarettesflavours.com
  • Stop that, teens. Smoking is bad.
UCLA researchers were on a real roll there for a minute, what with all the cures for baldness and sexual revelations about homeless kids. But if we may be so bold, we're inclined to wax a bit duh on this one: According to the university's latest study, teens who smoke cigarettes often erode their good-decision-making skills to the point where they can't make the good decision to stop smoking.

You don't say.

"As the prefrontal cortex continues to develop during the critical period of adolescence, smoking may influence the trajectory of brain development and affect the function of the prefrontal cortex," professor Edythe London says in the UCLA press release.

Hold tight. All that crazy cortex shit is about to make a lot more sense:

"Such an effect can influence the ability of youth to make rational decisions regarding their well-being," she continues, "and that includes the decision to stop smoking."

Now if only we could apply the same logic to the drug that is Charlie Sheen, UCLA may have found a cure for one man's -- and one nation's -- unflappable addiction to #winning.

But back to the troubled teens at hand. Here's some more gibberish from the study, published by the asshole-ishly long-titled journal Neuropsychopharmacology:

The subjects performed the Stop-signal Task, while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. There were no significant group differences in prefrontal cortical activity during response inhibition, but the Heaviness of Smoking Index, a measure of smoking behavior and dependence, was negatively related to neural function in cortical regions of the smokers. These findings suggest that smoking can modulate prefrontal cortical function. Given the late development of the prefrontal cortex, which continues through adolescence, it is possible that smoking may influence the trajectory of brain development during this critical developmental period.

Guess all this goes to show that the L.A. City Council's unrelenting attempts to ban all smoking in all places -- including within 40 feet of food trucks, going into effect March 8 -- is probably for our own good.

Then again, it's also kind of cruel, considering we'll be forced to shell out up to $500 when our poor prefrontal cortexes really didn't know any better. Just ask science!

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]

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