In an experiment, scientists from Taiwan asked 76 men to rate pictures of various women. The men did not know it but they had been chosen because they were all smokers who wanted to cut down. Each was given
an ashtray and told he could smoke.
The researchers counted the cigarette butts in the ashtrays afterwards and found that men given the more attractive women to rate had smoked more than those left with the less attractive pile, a newspaper reported.
Researchers said this ties in with a theory that there is a 'mating mindset' in which people are less focused on long-term objectives, such as quitting smoking, when they are trying to woo a partner - which is primarily about short-term gratification.
"Based on evolutionary theories [there is] a mating opportunity mindset induced by the availability of courtship-worthy targets," the study authors wrote in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour. This induces an increase both in efforts to mate and in the preference for immediate rewards, they wrote.