Nicotine Not Medicine, Its Use Not Therapy
WhyQuit - Tuesday, April 18, 2006
We already knew that drop for drop nicotine is deadlier than arsenic, cyanide, strychnine or diamond back rattlesnake venom, that it can quickly desensitize critical brain pathways, is highly addictive and harder to beat than heroin or cocaine. Now a new April 2006 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reports that nicotine, in any form, may prevent chemotherapy from killing lung cancer cells.
Nicotine Prevents Lung Cancer Cells from Dying
Chemotherapy drugs Gemcitabine, Cisplatin and Taxol trigger death of cancerous cells via a process known as "apoptosis." The study shows how nicotine, via certain types of acetylcholine receptors, prevents apoptosis. One of the study's authors, Srikumar Chellappan, has been widely quoted by the AP as saying that smokers with lung cancer "should avoid nicotine in all forms, not just smoking."
Imagine being a smoker and bombarded by two decades of pharmaceutical industry nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) marketing proclaiming that replacement nicotine is the key to quitting, that it doubles your chances. Now try to imagine the catch-22 of being told your treatment battle against lung cancer probably won't be effective unless you first battle and arrest your chemical dependency upon nicotine.
Smokers whose dependency denial arsenal once included such thoughts as "anyone can quit smoking but it takes a real man to fight lung cancer" are now scrambling for new denial rationalizations.
Few dependent upon nicotine understand the scientific harm jargon. But it cannot sound good to those able to drop their denial barrier long enough to listen. According to the PANS study, "previous studies have implied that nicotine may be genotoxic, forming adducts with DNA ... thereby causing mutations in vital genes leading to neoplastic transformation." "However recent evidence has shown that nicotine can also lead to sustained activation of mitogenic pathways, promote angiogenesis, and accelerate tumor growth rates and atherosclerosis."
Words like antiapoptotic, genotoxic, angiogenesis and atherosclerosis have little meaning when the chemical you are addicted to is so captivating that despite more than 40% of smokers attempting to quit each year, roughly half of all adult smokers end up smoking themselves to death, each an average of 13 to 14 years early.
"Our findings are in agreement with clinical studies showing that patients who continue to smoke have worse survival profiles than those who quit before treatment; they also raise the possibility that nicotine supplementation for smoking cessation might reduce the response to chemotherapeutic agents," says the PANS study.
NRT Pharmaceutical Industry Has Not Been Honest
But there is growing awareness that replacement nicotine products such as the nicotine patch, gum and lozenge (nicotine supplementation) have zero value as aids to smoking cessation or nicotine cessation. Never once, in all real-world quit smoking surveys conducted to date, have those using replacement nicotine products performed better than those quitting cold turkey. Below is a sampling of facts the nicotine industry would rather those wanting to quit smoking not know:
- Almost all successful long-term quitters during 2006 will once again be cold turkey quitters (80-90%)
- Quitting resources offering a solid dependency recovery education, that enhance motivation and that offer some form of ongoing support will dramatically enhance a smoker's odds of joining more than 40 million U.S. ex-smokers who successfully quit nicotine cold turkey.
- 93% of study participants in the seven over-the-counter nicotine patch and gum studies relapsed to smoking within six months.
- Almost 100% second time nicotine patch users relapse to smoking within six months.
- 36.6% of current nicotine gum users have been dependent upon it for more than six months.
- Nicotine is a psychoactive drug producing dopamine/adrenaline intoxication. Early clinical NRT studies were not blind as claimed. The industry knew its clinical studies were not blind as early as 1982, when in the first nicotine gum studies it found itself compelled to use 1mg of nicotine as a placebo device masking agent. Amazingly, for more than two decades, it has promoted clinical results that it knew or should have known were defective and fatally flawed.
- A September 2002 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that ... "NRT appears no longer effective in increasing long-term successful cessation in California smokers."
- Real-world quitter surveys from Minnesota, London, Quebec and Maryland found zero advantage at six months for those using expensive NRT products
Related Links and Articles
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- Polito JR A letter to Obama: one nicotine addict to another, 09/26/13
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- Polito JR Replacement Nicotine's Killing Fields, 02/11/12
- Polito JR Dying truths about quitting smoking methods, 11/14/11
- Siegel, M, Bias against cold turkey quitting apparent in literature, 11/03/11
- Moore TJ et al, Suicidal behavior and depression in smoking cessation treatments, 11/03/11
- Siegel, M, Study finds cold turkey quitting more effective but concludes opposite, 11/01/11
- Chapman, S, Tar wars over smoking cessation, BMJ Link, 08/08/11
- Polito JR Is a 14% Chantix success rate worth risking death?, 06/14/11
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- Polito JR How to quit smoking, 12/18/10
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- Polito JR Little communication in failed war against smoking, August 8, 2010
- Polito JR Addiction to Smoking Nicotine a Mental Illness and Disease, April 12, 2010
- Polito JR Smokefree.gov really Buymeds.now, March 24, 2010
- Nitzkin, JL American Association of Public Health Physicians Calls for End to Cold Turkey Discrimination, March 21, 2010
- Polito JR CDC Ignores Cold Turkey Quitters, March 11, 2010
- Siegel M New Study Shows That Even Extended Nicotine Replacement Therapy is Extremely Ineffective; Unaided Quitting Rates are Far Better , March 4, 2010
- Siegel M Four Members of FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee Have Received Pharmaceutical Money; Influence of Industry on FDA Grows, March 2, 2010
- Siegel M GlaxoSmithKline Given a Seat on FDA Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, March 1, 2010
- Chapman S and MacKenzie R The Global Research Neglect of Unassisted Smoking Cessation: Causes and Consequences, PLOS Medicine, February 2010
- Chapman S Smoking Racket, ABC.net, February 10, 2010
- Polito JR Five facts Chantix ads keep hidden, WhyQuit, December 29, 2009
- Polito JR UW-CTRI's Holiday
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- Polito JR Free quit smoking ebook's 2 millionth download, WhyQuit, October 12, 2009
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- Polito JR Tobacco control integrity champ demands review of U.S. cessation policy, WhyQuit, July 18, 2009
- Siegel M IN MY VIEW: Effectiveness of Nicotine Replacement Therapy Needs to Be Re-Examined, July 17, 2009
- Polito JR Nicotine patch inventor fudges patch study findings, WhyQuit, July 12, 2009
- Polito JR Cold turkey trounces pharmacology in GlaxoSmithKline quitting study, WhyQuit, July 9, 2009
- Siegel M Pharmaceutical Money-Related Bias in Smoking Cessation Research is Now Readily Apparent; New Article Demonstrates How This Bias Pushes Medication, July 8, 2009
- Siegel M Initial National Expert Panel on Smoking Cessation Also Had Severe Conflicts of Interest with Big Pharma; Repeating the Mistake: Inexcusable , The Rest of the Story, April 7, 2009
- Siegel M New Study Shows that Nicotine Replacement Therapy is Ineffective for Gradual Smoking Cessation, But Concludes the Opposite, The Rest of the Story, January 13, 2009
- Polito JR Have smokers been hoodwinked and bamboozled by placebos?, WhyQuit, Nov. 14, 2008
- Polito JR Smoking cessation trials, Canadian Medical Association Journal, February 29, 2008
- Polito JR Pfizer's Chantix Continues Killing Quitters, WhyQuit, October 22, 2008
- Polito JR Chantix and Champix mental health safety assurances contrary to evidence, WhyQuit, May 21, 2008 2008
- Polito JR U.S. quit smoking policy integrity drowns in pharmaceutical influence, WhyQuit, May 13, 2008 2008
- Siegel M Press Release on Smoking Cessation Guidelines Fails to Disclose Financial Conflict of Interest of Expert Panelists , The Rest of the Story, May 12, 2008
- Siegel M NIH Expert Panel Recommends Smoking Cessation Pharmaceuticals for Every Smoking Patient; Panel Chair and 8 Members Have Financial Ties to Big Pharma , The Rest of the Story, May 8, 2008
- Polito JR Does updated tobacco treatment "Guideline" reflect sham science?, WhyQuit, May 5, 2008
- Polito JR FDA Chantix Handling Betrayed Public Health, WhyQuit, February 29, 2008
- Siegel M Is Receiving a Placebo the Same Thing as Trying to Quit Cold Turkey? The Limitations of NRT Clinical Trials, The Rest of the Story, March 16, 2007
- Flawed research equates placebo to cold turkey - John R. Polito, 03/07
- Nicotine Fix - Behind Antismoking Policy, Influence of Drug Industry - Kevin Helliker, 02/07
- WSJ Highlights Financial Conflicts of Chair of Federal Guidelines Panel - Michael Siegel, MD 02/07
- Nixing the Patch: Smokers quit cold turkey - Ken Millstone, 02/07
- New Study Challenges Thinking on Use of NRT During Pregnancy - Michael Siegel, MD, 02/07
- Nicotine for the Fetus, the Infant and Adolescent - H.K. Ginzel, MD, 02/07
- The secret to quitting smoking - John R. Polito, 01/07
- Financial Ties Between Guideline Panels and Big Pharma Run Deep - Michael Siegel, MD, 01/07
- Chantix - an 8 in 10 failure rate or worse? - John R. Polito, 12/06
- Do physician's have a legal duty to ignore Guideline Recommendation 7? - John R. Polito, 12/06
- Is the U.S. government's quitting policy killing smokers? - John R. Polito, 10/06
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- It's unlikely this NRT study was blind - John R. Polito, 08/06
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- Nicotine Not Medicine, Its Use Not Therapy - John R. Polito, 04/06
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- GlaxoSmithKline Attacks Cold Turkey Quitting - John R. Polito, 12/05
- UK Guidance for NRT use in pregnancy and by children - ASH London, 12/05
- June 2000 Guideline Chairman Michael Fiore's Testimony - see PDF pages 14 & 15, 05/05
- The Nicotine Patch, Gum and Lozenge - Mounting Evidence of a Sham - John R. Polito, 04/05
- 40 Years of Progress? - Joel Spitzer, 10/04
- Widespread Blinding Failures Put NRT Studies in Serious Question - John R. Polito, 06/04
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- A Quitter's Dilemma: Hooked on the Cure - New York Times, 05/04
- Quebec CT Quitters Disprove "Double Your Chances" NRT Assertion - John R. Polito, 04/04
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- March 2003 OTC NRT Meta-Analysis Finds 93% Midyear Relapse Rate - John R. Polito, 03/03
- Quitting Methods - Who to Believe? - Joel Spitzer, 2003
- JAMA Study Concludes NRT is Ineffective - John R. Polito, 09/02
- Real-World Nicotine Patch and Gum Rates - John R. Polito, 06/02
- Does the OTC Nicotine Patch Really Double Your Chances of Quitting? - John R. Polito, 04/02
- Is Nicotine Replacement Therapy The Smoker's Last Best Hope? - John R. Polito, 11/00
- Financial Disclosures for June 2000 Guideline Panel - U.S. Public Health Service, 06/00
- June 2000 Guideline Recommendation 7 - pharmacotherapy use by all quitters - 06/00
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- "Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home" - Written by John R. Polito, a former 30-year heavy smoker and WhyQuit's 1999 founder, Freedom from Nicotine (FFN) is a free nicotine dependency recovery book that documents the science underlying nicotine dependency and successful cessation. Whether hooked on cigarettes, e-cigarettes (e-cigs), bidis, kreteks, a pipe, hookah or cigars, on dip, chew, snuff or snus, or on the nicotine gum, lozenge, spray, inhaler or patch, FFN provides a comprehensive yet easy to follow road-map to freedom from nicotine.
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- Joel's Library - Joel's Library is home to Joel Spitzer's "Daily Quitting Lesson Guide." The Guide walks new quitters through the first two weeks of smoking cessation, recommending daily videos to watch and articles to read. Joel's Library is also home to more than 100 original short stop smoking articles, to his free ebook Never Take Another Puff, and to his collection of more than 200 video stop smoking lessons.
- Nicotine Addiction 101 - WhyQuit's guide to understanding nicotine dependency.
- Freedom - Looking for a deadly serious and highly focused education oriented support group? Home to Joel Spitzer, Freedom is the Internet's only 100% nicotine-free peer messageboard support forum. Explore Freedom's hundreds of thousands of archived member posts on how to quit smoking.
- Nicotine Cessation Topic Index - An alphabetical subject matter index to hundreds of nicotine cessation support group discussions, article and videos.
- 40 Quitting Tips - Key cold turkey nicotine cessation tips on how to stop smoking, vaping, chewing or sucking nicotine into your body and bloodstream.
Knowledge is a Quitting Method
Written April 18, 2006 and last updated June 4, 2015 by John R. Polito