Psychiatrist Vivek Anand, right, and research coordinator Janet Benjamin, left, are conducting a study analyzing the brain’s response to smoking imagery. Madison Neves is pictured wearing an EEG cap. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Two years ago, East Carolina University psychiatrist Vivek Anand documented adolescent use of and opinions on electronic cigarettes. Now, he’s pinpointing the mechanisms behind smoking behavior.

Anand’s 2015 findings showed 15.2 percent of survey respondents had tried e-cigarettes, and 7.4 percent had smoked one during the 30 days before the survey. Sixty percent of students surveyed thought e-cigarettes were completely safe or posed minimal health hazards.

“We presented that study nationally and internationally,” Anand said. “We are also drafting a brochure for high school students and plan on distributing that through ECU Physicians clinics and Pitt County Schools.”

The brochure includes some of the study’s findings as well as facts and information about nicotine and e-cigarettes.

Since then, Anand’s interest in nicotine and tobacco use has continued. “We wanted to look at why people smoke, and why some people smoke more than other people, and what are the underlying mechanisms that drive smoking behaviors, or smoking cessation for that matter,” he said.

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Originally published Sept. 28, 2017. Written by Jules Norwood. Photos by Cliff Hollis.




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