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Dr. Warren Bickel Receives Grant to Study New Smoking Intervention

Dr. Warren Bickel, Professor of Psychology and Director of the VTCRI Addiction Recovery Research Center,  has been awarded a $3.2M grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) for research on “Self-Control Improvement Intervention (SCII): Improving Abstinence in Smokers.”  The grant will provide funding for five years to develop innovative new ways to enhance the brain’s ability to abstain from acting on nicotine craving leading to the urges to smoke. 

Smoking is one of the most devastating behaviors that negatively impacts human health in the U.S. and throughout the world.  It significantly increases the risks of lung and pharyngeal cancers, chronic heart and lung diseases and a variety of other disorders in children and adults.  The medical and indirect costs due to smoking in southwest Virginia and the entire nation are a substantial part of overall health care costs.  The fix seems simple – get people to stop smoking (or never begin) vs. spending billions of dollars to treat the cancers, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases associated with smoking.  However, the addictive power of nicotine is extremely potent.  Dr. Bickel and his research team at the VTCRI are developing powerful new methods to help the brain overcome this addiction, leading the way to better health for millions of Americans.