Posted by www.iwanttoquitsmoking.com
Nicotine gum, patch and lozenge marketing continues to assert that clean nicotine weaning products double a smoker's chances of quitting. Recent findings raise serious concern over whether they benefit or are a barrier to those seeking freedom from nicotine.
(Charleston SC) October 15 2003--Do over-the-counter (OTC) nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products like nicotine gum, patch and lozenge really help smokers quit? "Double your chances" has been cornerstone of NRT marketing for almost two decades but just how useless must a product become before warranting a close examination of what's being doubled?
A March 2003 study review published in Tobacco Control combined and averaged all OTC NRT studies and found that 93% of nicotine patch and gum study participants relapsed to smoking within six months.
The study's financial disclosure indicates that primary authors were NRT industry consultants. Despite seven months since study's release and despite reflecting combined results of all seven OTC studies, CDC, NIH, FDA, state health departments, and all major health organizations have chosen not to share this horrific 7% midyear abstinence finding with smokers. But why?
Could pharmaceutical industry government influence possibly have become so strong? Could major health non-profits have themselves become addicted to large annual NRT industry contributions for allowing their trusted influence and websites to be used as storefronts to sell nicotine products to nicotine addicts?
NRT use recommendations also fail to warn youth about their chances and risks. After generating a dismal 5% six-month quitting rate among 101 adolescent smokers, a study published in January 2000 edition of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (APAM) concluded that patch was ineffective in helping youth smokers quit.
A June 2003 youth NRT use survey, also published in APAM, raises additional concern that teenage never-smokers are possibly becoming chemical slaves to daily use of NRT products. Among 216 surveyed youth who asserted they had used NRT, 40 represented that they had "never smoked a cigarette, not even a few puffs" and 7 of 40 reported using NRT every day.
Aside from almost secret treatment accorded NRT's adult and youth six-month relapse rates, smokers have long been kept in dark regarding one other critical NRT shortcoming. How are 7% adult and 5% youth midyear quitting rates impacted by a second or subsequent NRT attempt?
The study experts call it "recycling" and only known study was published in a journal entitled Addiction in April 1993. Sadly, practice does make perfect with NRT in perfecting odds of defeat. Not a single nicotine patch user who relapsed in a patch study a year earlier was still quit six months into their second patch attempt - zero, none.
Deprived of their natural odds of recovery, how many smokers may have believed in and toyed with NRT for so long that they actually ran out of time and chances?
Recent studies are not only bearers of bad NRT news. Smoker survey findings published in September 11, 2002 edition of Journal of American Medical Association concluded that "NRT appears no longer effective in increasing long-term successful cessation in California smokers." London and Minnesota smoker surveys also found no benefit.
If so, why continue depriving smokers of basic performance info that would empower them to make meaningful decisions in how to spend their priceless periods of confidence, in trying to break nicotine's grip upon their brain's dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin pathways? And how can industry continue asserting that NRT is twice as effective as quitting on your own?
According to evidence table data presented in June 2000 U.S. Clinical Practice Guideline, historical on-your-own success rate for those not using any products or programs is roughly 10% at six months.
Those marketing NRT ignore a quitter's 10% natural recovery ability and instead look inward to declare victory over a group of placebo device users within study, where, amazingly, only 3 to 4% succeed in quitting for six-months. But why three times lower?
What if you so deeply believed in NRT marketing hype that you agreed to participate in a study in hopes of receiving 12 weeks of free patches? What if you were quickly able to sense or detect that you were not getting your regular dose of nicotine but had instead been randomly assigned to receive placebo patch? Would frustrated expectations cause you to find an excuse to relapse?