Category Archives: Nicotine Addiciton Dependence

Information on nicotine addiction and dependency

Camel Brand Dissolvable Tobacco Products

Dissolvable Tobacco Products Especially Appealing to Kids

The consumer demand for cigarettes has been decreasing, and Big Tobacco companies are looking to fill these sales gaps with cigarette alternative products. This includes cigars, chew, snuff, and nicotine replacements.

As the dangers of second-hand smoke becomes more prevalent, most areas have in place smoking bans in public places.

Big Tobacco companies are seeking out new products to keep addicted smokers dependent on their habit. Wikipedia defines the newest nicotine delivery devices as dissolvable tobacco products.

Nicotine Alternatives

Dissolvable tobacco products carry a significant risk of nicotine addiction and even poisoning if consumed by kids or teens. Additionally, these products have similar cancer and heart disease risks as traditional tobacco products.

Flavored—to make them taste “less harsh”—as well as dissolvable, these products are made from “finely milled tobacco” and are ingested similar to breath mints.

FDA Concerns

Camel Brand Dissolvable Tobacco ProductsThe FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) has expressed its concern with these products to Big Tobacco companies R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Star Scientific Inc. Because the packaging is brightly colored, appearing like a candy product, and small enough to be easily concealed, the CTP questions the appeal of these products to kids and teens.

The CTP has asked both companies to provide research and marketing documentation on the perception people aged 26 years and younger have towards these products, the age of new users, and information on product misuse.

Tasty Nicotine?

Star Scientific Inc. manufactures the dissolvable tobacco products Ariva and Stonewall. These products, similar in appearance to breath mints, come in wintergreen, coffee, and tobacco flavors. A Star Scientific spokesperson points out that these products provide adult users a tobacco alternative, but are not made to be attractive for non-users.

R.J. Reynolds Inc. produces Camel Orbs (tablets), Camel Strips, and Camel Sticks (toothpick style), all available in mint flavor. A spokesperson for the company stated that not only are their products strictly market to and designed for adults, but they carry the same warnings and age restrictions as other tobacco products.

Camel Orbs are currently being test marketed in Columbus, Ohio, Portland, Oregon, and Indianapolis, Ind.

To learn more: Dissolvable Tobacco Products

Reference: http://www.cigarettesflavours.com/smoking-campaign/fda-dissolvable-tobacco-appeals-to-kids/

The Health Consequences of Smokeless Tobacco

Spit is a common tobacco product used amongst young people and athletes. Often flavored, these smokeless tobacco products are viewed as both tasty and appealing.

But the health consequences associated with this product are serious—just as serious as dangers associated with cigarettes.

It is imperative that people recognize these consequences.

What is Smokeless Tobacco?

Smokeless tobacco is often called spit tobacco because it is used in the mouth. Spit consists of tobacco, nicotine, sweeteners for flavor, abrasives, salts, and many other chemicals.

One form of spit tobacco is chew, a leafy form of the substance. Another is snuff, a powdery ground tobacco that can be sniffed or chewed.

One of the appealing elements of smokeless tobacco is the added flavors, including mint, licorice, or cherry flavors. Because of this, young children are attracted to this product, and some start using it as early as nine or ten years old.

Smokeless tobacco should never be perceived as a substitute for cigarettes. There are over 3,000 chemicals and 28 carcinogens found in spit tobacco. It is just as lethal to one’s health as inhaling a cigarette.

Consequences of Using Smokeless Tobacco

It is essential that people do not interpret the lack of smoke or the flavorful taste of spit as fun and harmless. There are several consequences to one’s health from using this product. Because there are over 3,000 chemicals found in smokeless tobacco, there are elevated risks of users developing throat or mouth cancer. Whitish sores may develop inside the mouth called leukoplakia.

Users’ heart rates are often elevated, as is their blood pressure, increasing their chances of suffering from a heart attack or stroke. The chemicals in the spit decrease the body’s circulation and oxygen levels, leading to increased lethargy and dizzy spells.

Smokeless tobacco contains nicotine, and nicotine is extremely addictive. An addicted body is one that only seeks to satisfy its addiction.

Furthermore, users have a higher risk of developing tooth and gum disease due to the nature of this product’s use.

Reference: Health Concerns: Smokeless Tobacco [http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/tobac-tabac/body-corps/smokeless-sansfumee-eng.php]

Scripps Florida Scientists Find Blocking a Neuropeptide Receptor Decreases Nicotine Addiction

Findings could point towards more successful smoking cessation efforts.  The study was published in an online Early Edition issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the week of November 24. Scripps Florida is a division of The Scripps Research Institute.

The neuropeptide, hypocretin-1 (Orexin A), may initiate a key signaling cascade, a series of closely linked biochemical reactions, which maintains tobacco addiction in human smokers and could be a potential target for developing new smoking cessation treatments.

“Blocking hypocretin-1 receptors not only decreased the motivation to continue nicotine use in rats, it also abolished the stimulatory effects of nicotine on their brain reward circuitries,” said Paul Kenny, Ph.D., the Scripps Research scientist at Scripps Florida who led the study. “This suggests that hypocretin-1 may play a major role in driving tobacco use in smokers to want more nicotine. If we can find a way to effectively block this receptor, it could mean a novel way to help break people’s addiction to tobacco.”

Cigarette smoking is one of the largest preventable causes of death and disease in developed countries, and accounts for approximately 440,000 deaths and $160 billion in health-related costs annually in the United States alone. Despite years of health warnings concerning the well-known adverse consequences of tobacco smoking, only about ten percent of smokers who attempt to quit annually manage to remain smoke free after one year, highlighting the difficulty in quitting the smoking habit.

In the study, Kenny and a postdoctoral fellow in his laboratory, Jonathan Hollander, Ph.D., blocked the hypocretin-1 receptor using low doses of the selective antagonist SB-334867, a commercially available compound often used in research.

“While hypocretin 2 systems, otherwise known as orexin B, have been mainly implicated in regulating sleep,” Kenny said, “hypocretin 1, also known as orexin A, appears to be more involved in regulating motivated behavior. Our previous studies in close collaboration with other Scripps Research scientists have shown that hypocretin-1 receptors play a central role in regulating relapse to cocaine seeking. With that in mind, it seemed reasonable to test whether it was involved in nicotine reward as well.”

The new study indeed showed that blocking the receptor in rats significantly decreased nicotine self-administration and also the motivation to seek and obtain the drug. These findings suggest that hypocretin-1 receptors play a critical role maintaining nicotine-taking behavior in rats, and perhaps also in sustaining the tobacco habit in human smokers.In addition, the study highlighted the importance of hypocretin-1 receptors in a brain region called the insula, a walnut size part of the frontal lobe of the brain. A highly conserved brain region, all mammals have insula regions that sense the body’s internal physiological state and direct responses to maintain homeostasis. The insula has also been implicated in regulating feelings of craving. In a recent groundbreaking study, it was reported that smokers who sustained damage to the insula lost the desire to smoke, an insight that revealed the insula as a key brain region that sustains the tobacco habit in smokers. Until the new study, however, the neurobiological mechanisms through which the insula regulated the persistence of tobacco addiction remained unclear.

The new study sheds light on this question, showing that hypocretin-containing fibers project significantly to the insula, that hypocretin-1 receptors are expressed on the surface of neurons in the insula, and that blockade of hypocretin-1 receptors in the insula, but not in the adjacent somatosensory cortex region (which also records and relays sensory information), decreases nicotine self-administration. The effects of blocking hypecretin-1 receptors only in the insula, however, were less than blocking these receptors in the brain as a whole, suggesting that hypocretin transmission in other brain regions may also be playing a role in nicotine reward.

Working with scientists from Scripps Florida’s Translational Research Institute, Kenny and his colleagues are now searching for new antagonists at hypocretin-1 receptors that are less toxic than the compound used in the published experiments in the hopes of furthering the development of a human therapy.

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In addition to Kenny and Hollander, authors of the paper, titled Insular Hypocretin Transmission Regulates Nicotine Reward, were Qun Lu, Michael D. Cameron and Theodore M. Kamenecka, also of Scripps Research.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.

About The Scripps Research Institute

Picture of San DiegoThe Scripps Research Institute is one of the world’s largest independent, non-profit biomedical research organizations, at the forefront of basic biomedical science that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Scripps Research is internationally recognized for its discoveries in immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases, and synthetic vaccine development.

Established in its current configuration in 1961, it employs approximately 3,000 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, scientific and other technicians, doctoral degree graduate students, and administrative and technical support personnel. Scripps Research is headquartered in La Jolla, California. It also includes Scripps Florida, whose researchers focus on basic biomedical science, drug discovery, and technology development.

Scripps Florida is currently in the process of moving from temporary facilities to its permanent campus in Jupiter, Florida. Dedication ceremonies for the new campus will be held in February 2009.

Contact: Keith McKeown
Scripps Research Institute

Smokers Use Cigarettes to Cope with Stress

Smokers are poorly equipped to deal with distress without resorting to cigarettes because of their implicit belief that smoking helps them to deal with difficult feelings, a conference for psychologists was told yesterday.

Nigel Vahey of NUI Maynooth said research had found that a key psychological component of tobacco-dependence involved the implicit belief that smoking was an effective way of regulating unpalatable feelings.

“In other words, to the degree that smokers implicitly believe that smoking can enhance their enjoyment and reduce their stress levels, then they are more likely to engage in smoking as a means of controlling and coping with fluctuating feelings throughout the day,” he said.

Smoking was used as a way to avoid dealing with painful thoughts and emotions but this was unproductive as it did not make those feelings go away permanently.

Young Smoker“Such people who smoke to regulate their feelings, whether consciously or unconsciously, become very poorly equipped to cope with distress of any sort without recourse to smoking,” Mr Vahey said. This made quitting even more difficult. “Smokers must not only cope with biological cravings for nicotine, but must also learn to cope with distressing feelings in more productive ways.” He said treatment that dealt with this issue was more successful long term than nicotine replacement therapy or other medications.

Mr Vahey was speaking at the Psychological Society of Ireland’s annual conference which ended yesterday in Tullow, Co Carlow. Earlier, the conference heard a call for proper training for juries in cyber-crime cases.

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times, LISON HEALY

Obama Forever Hooked on Nicotine?

Could our new president of the United States become a poster child for smoking cessation and the millions of Americans trying to quit?

Now that President Obama is in the White House the eye is one him to see if he will follow through with his promise to the first lady and deal with his nicotine addiction and quit smoking.

In a recent interview, he confessed he hasn’t smoked since he has been in office on the White House grounds. This leaves us to red between the lines and assume that he has had a cigarette elsewhere.

Picture of President Obama

With all the stress that a president is under and with his grounded demeanor, is Obama like many others addicted to cigarettes who suffer from the illusion that smoking soothes the effects of stress? This is indeed one of the most known excuses for nicotine dependency.

Read all about Obama’s smoking habit in The Oregonian

Nicotine Dependency Linked to Bitter Tastes

University research suggests individuals with greater sensitivity to bitter tastes are less likely to develop a dependence on nicotine than those with a lower sensitivity to such tastes.

“If a person is a [sensitive] taster, then that person is less likely to become a smoker,” said lead investigator Ming Li, professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences. “In other words, [being a] taster is kind of protective and [being a] non-taster is kind of like a risk factor.”

Li explained that the research project consisted of two components, the first of which was published in the Journal of Medical Genetics and the second of which was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics. The first component of the research focused on genetic analysis of DNA samples taken from more than 2,200 human subjects over a period of nearly 10 years, Li said. The individuals taking part in the study were classified as tasters, non-tasters or intermediate, Li said. If a person was classified as a non-taster, he or she was more likely to become a smoker.

The second component of the research introduced a mathematically based methodology that provided a novel method of detecting gene-gene interaction for other human genetic researchers, Li said, and was used to analyze genetic data on two taste receptor genes, known as TAS2R16 and TAS2R38. The researchers found that these two genes interact with each other in the development of smoking dependence. This component of the research extended the finding of the first report, and together the research offers a “complete story,” Li said.

Jamie Mangold, a former research assistant in Li’s lab who was primarily involved in the first component of the study, commented that the development of the research between the two publications focused on the role of the taste receptor genes.

There was evidence in earlier research, Mangold said, indicating that people who are more sensitive to bitter substances are less likely to be smokers and drinkers. Mangold said she looked through the literature and thought that taste could be a major factor.

“With publication of the first paper, we kind of decided that the TAS2R16 gene was not a primary player … but after the second paper we realized that the TAS2R16 gene may also be important through its interaction with TAS2R38,” Mangold said.

Li explained that older methodologies could only handle either binary traits, such as whether a person did or did not have a disease, or continuous traits, such as height. Moreover, Li said, these methods could not account for all the variables that may affect an individual’s characteristics, such as age, gender and ethnicity.

“With our method, you can correct [the algorithm] for all [factors] that you think may affect this disease,” Li said.

Xiang-Yang Lou, assistant professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences and first author of the second paper, said his portion of the study showed a relatively small, but still noticeable, relation between the two interacting genes and nicotine dependency. Lou explained that this is likely because smoking is a complex, multivariable behavior; however, he emphasized that the findings in his report were noteworthy because they had a low level of statistical error for the relatively small quantities with which they dealt.

“This new method is better than [the previously] existing method and able to detect even a relatively small difference,” Lou said. “Genetic researchers are very interested in finding these kinds of interactions these days.”

While the two components of the project were largely independent efforts within the research group, Lou noted, the second paper referred to data that had been examined in the first.

In contrast to the size and longevity of the sample for the first project, Lou said he used data from more than 600 families in a simulation of the algorithm to validate the new method and data from about 400 families in the final nicotine dependence study.

Ultimately, Mangold explained, the new findings may prove valuable for future medical use.

Bitter Taste from Cigarettes “This in particular would be a useful way to screen out for those who would be more susceptible,” Mangold said. “So early on before smoking behavior begins, if one is screened for this genotype, we may actually be able to predict who may become dependent and then actually target more preventive programs toward them.”

Source:  Prateek Vasireddy,  Cavalier Daily

Critical Genetic Link Found Between Human Taste Differences and Nicotine Dependence

University of Virginia Health System researchers found that two interacting genes related to bitter taste sensitivity play an important role in a person’s development of nicotine dependence and smoking behavior.

People with higher taste sensitivity aren’t as likely to become dependent on nicotine as people with decreased taste sensitivity, the researchers discovered.

Newswise — Could an aversion to bitter substances or an overall heightened sense of taste help protect some people from becoming addicted to nicotine? That’s what researchers at UVA have found using an innovative new method they’ve developed to analyze the interactions of multiple genetic and environmental factors. Their findings one day may be key in identifying people at risk for nicotine dependence.

In a study published in the October 10, 2008 issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics, University of Virginia Health System researchers report that two interacting genes related to bitter taste sensitivity, TAS2R16 and TAS2R38, play an important role in a person’s development of nicotine dependence and smoking behavior.

Researchers found that people with higher taste sensitivity aren’t as likely to become dependent on nicotine as people with decreased taste sensitivity.

“This new knowledge is an important tool in predicting whether a person is likely to become a smoker or not,” says lead investigator Ming Li, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences who specializes in addiction and genetics research.

It’s long been known that a person’s ability to taste bitter substances plays a crucial role in the rejection of potentially toxic foods, but taste sensitivity varies widely among individuals and between ethnic groups.

Previous studies have suggested a link between so-called taster status and nicotine dependence, but genetic evidence underlying such a link has been lacking.

“Until now, the method for analyzing gene to gene or gene to environment interactions could only handle one type of trait without correcting for other important covariants, such as age or gender, but we’ve developed a novel algorithm and corresponding computer program that can handle all types of genetic data and correct for any number of variants – gender, age, race, and so on,” explains Dr. Li, who with his team studied genetic data of more than 2,000 participants from more than 600 families of African American or European American origin.

“This new approach significantly expands our ability to study gene-gene or gene-environmental interactions. It provides a far better analytical tool for every scientist out there doing genetics work,” says Dr. Li.

Taste Buds on the Tongue“We’re laying an important foundation for addressing nicotine dependence. First we need to establish a comprehensive understanding of how all associated genes work together to affect smoking behaviors and addiction; that’s what we’re doing now. Once we have that base of knowledge, we can move on to develop effective prevention and treatment for nicotine dependence.”

Source:  University of Virginia Health System

Parental Warning: Second-Hand Smoke May Trigger Nicotine Dependence in Kids

New study from Canadian researchers published in Addictive Behaviors

Parents who smoke cigarettes around their kids in cars and homes beware – second-hand smoke may trigger symptoms of nicotine dependence in children.

The findings are published in the September edition of the journal Addictive Behaviors in a joint study from nine Canadian institutions.

“Increased exposure to second-hand smoke, both in cars and homes, was associated with an increased likelihood of children reporting nicotine dependence symptoms, even though these children had never smoked,” says Dr. Jennifer O’Loughlin, senior author of the study, a professor at the Université de Montréal’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and a researcher at the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal.

“These findings support the need for public health interventions that promote non-smoking in the presence of children, and uphold policies to restrict smoking in vehicles when children are present,” adds Dr. O’Loughlin, who collaborated with researchers from the Université de Sherbrooke, the Université de Moncton, the University of British Columbia, McGill University, Concordia University and the Institut national de santé publique du Québec.

Study participants were recruited from 29 Quebec schools as part of AdoQuest, a cohort investigation that measures tobacco use and other health-compromising behaviours. Some 1,800 children aged 10 to 12 years old, from all socioeconomic levels, were asked to complete questionnaires on their health and behaviours. Researchers also asked questions about symptoms of nicotine dependence and exposure to second-hand smoke.

Second Hand Smoke and Children“According to conventional understanding, a person who does not smoke cannot experience nicotine dependence,” says Mathieu Bélanger, the study’s lead author and the new research director of the Centre de Formation Médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick of the Université de Moncton and Université de Sherbrooke. “Our study found that 5 percent of children who had never smoked a cigarette, but who were exposed to secondhand smoke in cars or their homes, reported symptoms of nicotine dependence.”

Dr. O’Loughlin added that this inter-university investigation builds on previous findings: “Exposure to second-hand smoke among non-smokers may cause symptoms that seem to reflect several nicotine withdrawal symptoms: depressed mood, trouble sleeping, irritability, anxiety, restlessness, trouble concentrating and increased appetite.”

About University of Montreal Study on Second Hand Smoke

Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
University of Montreal

About the study:

“Nicotine dependence symptoms among young never smokers exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke,” from Addictive Behaviors, was authored by Mathieu Bélanger (Université de Sherbrooke and Université de Moncton), Jennifer O’Loughlin (Université de Montréal and Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal), Louise Guyon (Institut national de santé publique du Québec), André Gervais (Direction de santé publique de Montréal), Jennifer J. McGrath (Concordia University), Chizimuzo T.C. Okoli (University of British Columbia) and Maninder Setia (McGill University).

On the Web:

Researchers Discover Why Some Smokers Addicted with First Cigarette

Addicted to smoking from your first puff?

Blame it on a chemical pathway in your brain.

Researchers at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry have discovered differences in brains that explain why some individuals become addicted to tobacco with their first cigarette while others are initially sickened by the experience.

It comes down to one brain pathway that uses dopamine, a neurotransmitter, to transmit signals related to the rewarding properties of nicotine.

Working with animals, the University of Western Ontario scientists found they were able to manipulate specific dopamine receptors in the brain to control whether nicotine was rewarding or aversive.

The work was published today in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Lead researcher Steven Laviolette of the department of anatomy and cell biology at Schulich said the finding may open the door to drugs to prevent smoking and reverse addiction.

“If we can develop pharmacological agents that target those receptors in these specific areas, we might have a very effective way of controlling or even preventing someone from becoming dependent and addicted to nicotine simply by blocking the rewarding effects or controlling how their brain perceives nicotine as a rewarding stimulant,” Laviolette said.

It might also be possible to block the pain of withdrawal smokers feel when they stop smoking, making it easier for some to quit, he said.

Laviolette said the UWO research may apply to other addictive drugs that use the same neurotransmitter such as alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines and barbiturates.

Causes for Cigarette AddictionThe next step for the scientists will be to look at chronic nicotine exposure and see if it might be possible to reverse the effects of the addiction.

“After someone becomes addicted there is a whole cascade of events that happen that we haven’t necessarily addressed at this point but we are certainly looking at in future studies, Laviolette said.

Source: John Miner, Sun Media

For the latest local coverage, read The London Free Press on the web or in print.

How Marlboro Became Number One

How did Marlboro cigarettes, the best-selling brand in the world, ever get so popular in the first place?

Was it really the Marlboro Man?

Did people just like the taste? What? According to a new study in this month’s American Journal of Public Health the secret may well have been “freebase nicotine.” Really.

For a long time, many cigarette companies used ammonia during the manufacturing process to inflate the volume of tobacco, accentuate certain flavors, or even get rid of a few carcinogens. But in the early 1960s, according to Terrell Stevenson and Robert Proctor, Philip Morris started using ammonia to freebase the nicotine in cigarette smoke, creating a form of “crack nicotine” that delivered a speedier, sharper kick, and essentially allowed Philip Morris to keep rolling out addictive cigarettes while lowering tar and nicotine levels to allay public fears.

Marlboro Cig PackAs it happens, Philip Morris first perfected its ammonia trick with Marlboros, which quickly rose from being a bit player to becoming the most dominant cigarette brand on the market, which forced all the other manufacturers to scramble to figure out Philip Morris’s secret. (They did, eventually.)

Over the last decade, as the industry has come under fire for manipulating nicotine levels to keep customers hooked, Philip Morris has managed to defend itself by noting that ammonia has all sorts of more innocuous uses and couldn’t possibly be playing a role here. I guess we’ll see if this new paper kicks the last legs out from under that defense.

Source: Bradford Plumer, The New Republic