The researchers analysed MRI scans of 85 people who stopped smoking. The team tracked their progress for 10 weeks. Forty-one participants relapsed.

Looking back at the brain scans of the 44 smokers who quit successfully, the researchers found they had something in common before they stopped smoking.

They had better coordinated activity between the insula (home to urges and cravings) and the somatosensory cortex part of the brain that is central to our sense of touch and motor control.

Other studies have found that smokers who suffer damage to the insula appear to spontaneously lose interest in smoking.

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