Tag Archives: nicotine gum

Obama Expected To Render Stricter FDA Imports Monitoring

With Barack Obama having been elected the next president of the United States on November 4, Americans are now expecting to see him keep his promise of bringing the change that the nation needs.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is said to begin to both monitor more closely and to instate stricter regulations, as well, where imports are concerned, in order to prevent incidents similar to the recent salmonella outbreak from occurring in the future.

Moreover, since president-elect Obama, who is a former smoker trying to break the habit with the help of nicotine gum, is a sponsor of a legislation that aims to enable the FDA to only control (but not to ban) tobacco products, rumor has it that new institutions would be given the power to ban cigarettes and other products of the like.

Under former U.S. president George W. Bush’s administration, the FDA has come into much criticism, many claiming that it had become too lenient with regards to food and drugs safety measures, giving rise to consumer protection issues.

The first step that Obama is expected to take is appointing a new commissioner for the Administration. For the time being, there are about six people whose names have come up during talks about a new FDA leader, including Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Dr. Steven Nissen, former director of the FDA’s women’s health office Susan Wood and Baltimore’s health chief Dr. Joshua Sharfstein.

FDA Badge Furthermore, more inspections of imported food are to be performed by the FDA under Obama’s administration, along with ones concerning foreign drug manufacturing plants, which have been long neglected the time Bush was at the helm of the nation.

In addition, a tracing system for fresh produce is part of Obama’s plan for the FDA, in order to tighten the regulations regarding consumer protection.

As for the tobacco legislation the president-elect has sponsored, the proposal entails that the FDA would be able to request that nicotine products be rendered less addictive and toxic, but not to put a ban on tobacco or nicotine.

Source: By Jenny Huntington,- eFluxMedia

It’s a Drag: Is it Time to Quit? – Take the Great American Smokeout Challenge

When you’re a smoker, especially in California, which boasts the second-lowest number of adult smokers in the country next to Utah, very few sweet voices greet you throughout your day.

Most people just want to get away from you.

There’s no smoking indoors in public places or outside in parks or playgrounds.

In some cities, like in Oakland, you can’t smoke in ATM lines or at bus stops. And in Belmont, smokers soon will not be allowed to smoke inside their own apartment or condominium.

So maybe there’s no time like the present to quit.

Stubbing That CiggyAnd if you do try, as thousands of Americans will Nov. 15 during the Great American Smokeout, you will hear one friendly voice on the other end of the line at 1-800-NO-BUTTS (1-800-662-8887), the California Smokers’ Helpline.

If you’re lucky, you might reach Loraine, a former smoker whose mission is to help others quit. She sweetly asks her clients the tough questions, like how many cigarettes they smoke per day and how smoking makes them feel.

She then walks them through the ways in which they can break the habit, either cold turkey or by using nonsmoking aids.

“We want you to be as comfortable as possible when you do this,” she says, as she coaches a client into a nonsmoking plan. At the end of a 30-minute conversation, Loraine sends her client a certificate and promises to call on the quit date. A week or two after the quit date, Loraine will call again.

There is no magic bullet to quit smoking, no miracle cure that will take away cravings or erase smoking behavior, no matter what new drug comes out. “As Yoda would say, the magic bullet resides within you,” says Dr. Steven Schroeder, director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California, San Francisco.

Despite an occasional “Star Wars” quote, Schroeder minces no words when he talks about the grasp the habit has on smokers.

“Nicotine is more addictive than heroin or crack cocaine,” he says. The good news is, the number of smokers in the United States is decreasing. For the first time, there are more former smokers than current smokers out there. Just 12 percent of California adults smoke, compared to about 20 percent of the American population as a whole.

Schroeder has been working with smokers for about 15 years and writes papers on the subject of quitting. He says first, smokers need to want to quit. They then need to find the right time to do it and set a quit date. Next, smokers need to bolster the reasons why they want to quit and figure out the temptation triggers and try to erase them.

Then, he says, smokers should decide which cessation aids are right for them.

There are a variety of such products on the market, from over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) aids such as nicotine gum and the nicotine skin patch to prescription NRTs and non-nicotine prescription medications such as bupropion and the newer medication, Chantix. (which comes with some pretty severe side effects.)

The bad news is, none of these aids is 100 percent effective. In fact, none is 50 percent effective. Drug company Pfizer’s own studies on Chantix say it’s 44 percent successful, the highest of all. “We think it is the best drug so far,” says Dr. Kolawole Okuyemi of the University of Minnesota Medical School, who wrote a paper on the subject titled “Interventions to Facilitate Smoking Cessation” and studies multi-ethnic populations and their smoking habits.

Other drugs, including nicotine gum and the patch, have success rates of about 20 percent. About 2.5 to 5 percent of smokers are successful at quitting without any aids.

Drugs act differently on people of different races, depending on the type of cigarette used, such as mentholated versus non-mentholated, Okuyemi says, so it is not easy to predict what will work on whom.

It takes a combination of products and counseling to really help people quit, says Dr. Jodi Prochaska, clinical psychologist and assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco.

While alternative therapies are sometimes touted as a cure to help people quit, Prochaska says there is no good evidence that acupuncture helps smokers quit. There is some evidence that stop smoking hypnosis can be helpful.

Kaiser Permanente of Northern California’s patients smoke at a rate of about 9 percent, compared to 12 percent of the general California population. This is due, in part, to the nonprofit health care provider’s proactive stance, says Jeanne Reisman, chief of health education for Kaiser Permanente’s Oakland Medical Center and anti-tobacco champion.

Kaiser physicians identify smokers during visits and encourage them to quit. The company offers smoking cessation classes to its patients and offers discounts on stop-smoking aids. “There are a lot of messages that smokers receive about being asked whether they smoke and about being advised to quit,” Reisman says.

Say you’ve tried to quit smoking before, and it just hasn’t stuck. Reisman and other experts we interviewed say most people fail the first time, but the likelihood of being successful gets higher after several tries.

Quitting smoking, they say, is the best single thing anyone can do for his or her health. Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory problems, and can harm others who are exposed to the smoke.

The first step is up to you.

Reach Laura Casey at 925-952-2697 or lcasey@bayareanewsgroup.com.

Source: Laura Casey, Contra Costa Times

Smoking Bans Help People Quit, Research Shows

Nationwide, smoking bans are on the rise in workplaces, restaurants and bars.

Research shows that bans decrease the overall number of cigarettes people smoke and in some cases, actually result in people quitting.

One reason bans help people quit is simple biology. Inhaling tobacco actually increases the number of receptors in the brain that crave nicotine.

“If you had a smoker compared to a nonsmoker and were able to do imaging study of the brain, the smoker would have billions more of the receptors in areas of the brain that have to do with pleasure and reward,” says Richard Hurt, an internist who heads the Mayo Clinic’s Nicotine Dependence Center.

So, removing the triggers that turn on those receptors is a good thing.

“If you’re in a place where smoking is allowed, your outside world is hooked to the receptors in your brain through your senses: your sight, smell, the smoke from someone else’s tobacco smoke or cigarette. That reminds the receptors about the pleasure of smoking to that individual, and that’s what produces the cravings and urges to smoke,” Hurt explains.

Hurt adds that bans help decrease the urge to smoke in another way: They de-normalize it. For example, where smoking is considered the “norm” – as it was in so many countries in Europe for so long – more people smoke. In places where smoking is no longer the “norm” – in California, for example – there are fewer smokers.

Smoking Ban SignResearch shows that nicotine replacement medications – like nicotine gum, patches or inhalers – double a smoker’s chances of quitting. So do counseling and therapy. Add a smoking ban, and Hurt says the chance of successful quitting is even better.

Click to learn more about > smoking bans.

Source: NPR

Tobacco Harm Reduction Catches On

Yesterday I mentioned the controversy over legislation that would give the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products, authority the FDA itself (or at least its current head) does not want.

One reason for the agency’s leeriness is the possibility that FDA regulation could actually increase the harm associated with tobacco use.

One way that could happen, as I’ve noted before, is through censorship of truthful comparative risk claims – in particular, efforts to promote smokeless tobacco as a harm-reducing alternative to cigarettes.

Last week there were a couple of positive developments in this area. Britain’s Royal College of Physicians endorsed the concept of tobacco harm reduction, saying snus (Swedish-style oral snuff) and other nicotine-delivering products should be available to smokers who want to cut their risks but are not prepared to give up their drug habit.

In a commentary published by The Lancet (which has long supported “less harmful nicotine delivery systems”), two doctors who worked on the RCP report, John Britton and Richard Edwards, note that the health risks associated with snus are roughly 90 percent lower than the health risks associated with cigarettes.

They question the E.U.’s ban on smokeless tobacco (which does not apply in Sweden) and the policy of treating nicotine replacement products as quitting aids instead of long-term replacements for cigarettes:

snus.jpgWe believe that the absence of effective harm reduction options for smokers is perverse, unjust, and acts against the rights and best interests of smokers and the public health.

Addicted smokers have a right to choose from a range of safer nicotine products, as well as accurate and unbiased information to guide that choice.

Britton told The Independent:

Smokers smoke because they are addicted to nicotine, but it isn’t nicotine in cigarette smoke that kills….We need to liberalise the medicinal market and introduce a decent cigarette substitute. We may end up with millions of people addicted to nicotine inhalers, but so what? Millions are addicted to caffeine.

Although there is more to the cigarette habit than nicotine (one reason the success rates for “nicotine replacement therapies” are so low), smokers certainly should be free to switch to other, less dangerous sources of nicotine if that’s what they want.

The distinction that Britton draws between addiction and the harm associated with it is a vitally important one that discussions of drug policy tend to overlook. There is no rational reason we need to pretend that nicotine gum, patches, and inhalers are medicines that treat the disease of nicotine addiction, as opposed to safer ways of getting the same drug.

Another encouraging sign regarding snus: Last week The New York Times ran a story about snus products in the U.S. that clearly reported the truth: Although not 100 percent risk-free, snus is indisputably less dangerous than cigarettes.

The Times quoted Thomas Glynn, director of cancer science and trends at the American Cancer Society, who questioned the evidence that “smokers are able to switch to smokeless tobacco and remain switched.” But even Glynn conceded that “if every smoker in the United States were to switch to smokeless tobacco, ‘in the next decade we would see fewer cancers and less heart disease.'”

That acknowledgment is significant, since American anti-smoking groups (like American public health agencies) generally have been hostile toward harm reduction via smokeless tobacco, muddying or denying the product’s clear health advantages. By contrast, Britain’s Action on Smoking and Health has supported tobacco harm reduction for years.

Why was last week’s story more scientifically accurate that the usual Times take on smokeless tobacco? Probably because it ran in the business section instead of the health section.

Source: Jacob Sullum, Reason Magazine

[Thanks to Brad Rodu and Bill Piper for the tip about the RCP report.]

Quit Smoking is the Way to Good Health

Cigarette smoking kills approximately 300,000 in the United States each year, and most of these people are seniors.

Lung cancer and emphysema are the best-known miserable outcomes.

However, accelerated development of atherosclerosis is the most important problem resulting from smoking.

This results in heart attacks and strokes, heart pains, leg pains, and many other problems. Pipe and cigar smoking do not have the pulmonary consequences that cigarette smoking does, but they do predispose to cancer of the lips, and tongue. Nicotine in any form has the same bad effects on the small blood vessels and thus accelerates development of atherosclerosis.

n.jpgIt is never too late to quit.

Only two years after stopping cigarette smoking, your risk of heart attack returns to average.

It has actually decreased substantially the very next day! After ten years your risk for lung cancer is back to nearly normal.

After only two years there is a decrease in lung cancer risk by perhaps one-third.

The development of emphysema is arrested for many people when they stop smoking, although this condition does not reverse. Seniors often feel that it is too late for changes in lifestyle to have beneficial effects on their health.

Not so. Most seniors have plenty of time to get major health benefits from quitting smoking. Remember that after age 65 men live an average of 15.4 more years and women 19.2 years. Chances of stroke and heart attack begin to go down immediately after you quit. Moreover, you will notice at once that your environment has become more friendly when you are not a smoker. Many of the daily hassles that impair the quality of your life go away when you stop offending others by this habit.

Many health educators are skeptical about cutting down slowly and stress that you need to stop completely. This may not always be true for seniors. For some people, rationing is a good way to get their smoking down to a much lower level, at which point it may be easier to stop entirely.

For example, the simple decision not to smoke in public can both help your health and decrease your daily hassles. To cut down, keep in the cigarette pack only those cigarettes you are going to allow yourself that day. Smoke the cigarettes only halfway down before extinguishing them.

There are many good stop-smoking courses offered through the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and local hospitals. Most people won’t need these, but they can be of help. Try by yourself first. Then, if you still need help, get it.

Nicotine chewing gum or patches can help some people quit, and your doctor can give you a prescription and advice. Don’t plan on this as a long-term solution, since the nicotine in the gum or patch is just as bad for your arteries as the nicotine in cigarettes.

The challenge to stop smoking is an example of your ability to make your own choices if you are trapped by your addictions, even the lesser ones, you can’t make your own choices. Victory over smoking behaviors improves your mental health, in part because this is a difficult victory. It can open the door to success in other areas.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/quit-smoking-is-the-way-to-good-health-220346.html

Passive Smoking Happens to Pets Too

Fluffy, Fido, and Tweety all suffer from the secondhand smoke of their owners, according to a growing body of literature that has looked at the issue, said Carolynn MacAllister, a veterinarian with the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service.

Cats are twice as likely to develop malignant melanoma if they live with smokers as with nonsmokers.

This form of cancer kills three out of four felines within a year of its onset. Cats also are more likely to develop mouth cancers.

MacAllister said that cats’ grooming habits contribute to their risk. “Cats constantly lick themselves while grooming, they lick up the cancer-causing carcinogens that accumulate on their fur” and deposit relatively high concentrations of those chemicals into their mouths.

Dog with Face MaskLong nosed dogs suffer higher rates of nasal cancers as the carcinogens accumulate along those mucus membrane passageways. They seldom survive more than a year. In contrast, short nosed dogs do not filter the carcinogens as effectively, as a result, more of those deadly chemicals reach their lungs and they are more likely to develop lung cancer.

And feathered pets are not immune either. “A bird’s respiratory system is hypersensitive to any type of pollutant in the air,” MacAllister said. Living with a smoker makes birds particularly vulnerable to pneumonia and lung cancer. That is particularly true because caged birds cannot engage in vigorous flying that helps to clear the lungs of toxins.

“Curious pets can eat cigarettes and other tobacco products if they aren’t stored properly.” MacAllister warned. “This can cause nicotine poisoning, which can be fatal.”

Smokers themselves are 50 percent more likely to develop dementia than nonsmokers, according to a recent study of 7,000 people 55 or older that was conducted over seven years in the Netherlands.

“Smoking increases the risk of cerebrovascular disease and oxidative stress, which can damage cells in the blood vessels and lead to hardening of the arteries,” said lead researcher Dr. Monique Breteler of the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam.

Erectile dysfunction is a more immediate risk from smoking. A four-year study of 7,684 men in China, ages 35-74, found a statistical link between the number of cigarettes smoked and ED. It estimated that almost a quarter of all ED could be attributed to cigarettes.

And the habit is expensive, even before figuring in the added cost of Viagra. A study from New York City estimates that the average pack-a-day smoker burns up $2,500 a year with their habit.

It showed that low-income persons are more likely to try to quit smoking than those with a high income (68 versus 60 percent), but they are less likely to succeed in doing so.

Many private health plans and local health departments have developed programs to help people quite smoking. They often include free or reduced rates for counseling sessions and interventions such as nicotine gum or the patch.

For information about programs in San Francisco, visit the Tobacco Free Project’s Web site at http://sftfc.globalink.org/. For information statewide, call 1-800-NO-BUTTS. ~

Click to learn more about > Melanoma

~Bob Roehr, The Bay Area Reporter

Chantix Helps Smokers Quit

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – The first time Brian Kelly quit smoking, in the 1990s, he had nicotine cravings like crazy even though he was using a nicotine patch and nicotine gum.

This year when Kelly decided again to try to kick the habit he returned to the patch and gum, until he read on the Internet about Chantix, a prescription anti-smoking pill approved a year ago by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“It’s like a wonder drug as far as I’m concerned,” said Kelly, 63, of Martinsburg.

Kelly said he quit smoking in three weeks – a date he set through a quit-smoking class at Waynesboro Hospital in Pennsylvania – and didn’t face the withdrawal symptoms that occurred the first time he quit.

Chantix, made by Pfizer, blocks the nicotine receptors in the brain so people don’t get a buzz from smoking, nor do they suffer withdrawal symptoms when they stop smoking, said Dr. Paul Quesenberry, a family doctor with Cumberland Valley Family Physicians in Chambersburg, Pa.

“It’s been a really amazing addition to our regimen for getting people to stop smoking,” Quesenberry said.

Still, it’s not an immediate fix.

How long it takes to stop smoking with Chantix varies from patient to patient, but usually it takes weeks to months because people have to learn to break the habit as well, Quesenberry said.

According to Pfizer’s Web site, smokers should start taking Chantix one week before their quit-smoking date so the drug can build up in the body. They can keep smoking during that first week.

Dr. Dwight Wooster, a pulmonologist with Newman, Wooster, Kass, Bradford, McCormack & Hurwitz at Robinwood Medical Center, said he recommends his patients try to reduce how much they smoke before they start Chantix. Of the 22 patients for whom he has prescribed Chantix, about 17 already have quit smoking.

Most people take Chantix for up to 12 weeks, according to Pfizer.

The most common side effects include gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and constipation, and difficulty sleeping, doctors said.

Quesenberry said most people he’s prescribed Chantix to haven’t had problems with side effects.

Most people who experience side effects will tolerate them because the benefit of quitting smoking is so huge, he said.

Dr. Sanjay Saxena, a family doctor with Hagerstown Family Medicine, said he’s had patients ask about Chantix, whether they’ve tried other smoking cessation tools or not, because they’ve heard how successful the drug has been for others.

Health benefits

Kelly began smoking at age 7 when he was living in Brooklyn, N.Y., because it was a tough neighborhood and smoking was cool.

When he quit the first time, Kelly had been smoking as many as 4 1/2 packs a day.

He began smoking again around 2001 after several deaths in his family and got up to a pack and a half a day.

Since he quit with Chantix, Kelly feels terrific, he said.

His breathing has improved, and he no longer has a smoker’s cough.

The carbon monoxide that gets into the bloodstream from smoking can lead to heart disease and strokes, Quesenberry said.

Smoking also can lead to chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and cancers, including lung, mouth, esophagus, and cervical and bladder cancers, he said.

Lesa Spedden, 32, of Chambersburg, Pa., took Chantix to quit smoking so she would have more energy and to be an example for her children.

“I don’t want to be a hypocrite and say, ‘Now, you can’t do this.’ Meanwhile, I’m there huffing and puffing in front of them,” Spedden said.

Spedden said she truly enjoyed smoking and wanted something to help her not enjoy the habit. Chantix helped curb that desire. After taking the drug a few days, smoking cigarettes developed an unpleasant, bitter taste, she said.

Smoking didn’t appeal to her anymore.

The most immediate benefit is getting rid of the expense of smoking, Quesenberry said.

Chantix can be pricey and sometimes health insurance doesn’t cover it, but the flip side is the expense of cigarettes, Quesenberry said.

A one-month supply – a 1-milligram Chantix pill per day – would cost $60 to $65 without insurance coverage, said David Russo, pharmacist and owner of Russo’s Rx in Hagerstown.

Other options

Other options for smokers wanting to quit include the nicotine patch, nicotine gum, nicotine inhaler and the anti-smoking drug Zyban.

Saxena said Chantix has been more successful than other treatments, but there’s still a place for those other treatments. He’s had at least one patient who experienced bad nausea with Chantix.

For that person, he might recommend the nicotine inhaler, which gives smokers nicotine as well as something to do with their hands rather than handle a cigarette or turn to more food as a substitution.

Quesenberry said he typically hasn’t recommended the nicotine patch because it causes skin irritation, and smokers usually don’t like it because it doesn’t deliver that quick nicotine buzz as a cigarette does. Instead, the patch provides a slow release of nicotine.

While the taste of nicotine gum isn’t pleasant, it does a better job of providing a nicotine buzz, like a cigarette, he said.

Quesenberry said he would prescribe Zyban for smokers with significant co-existing anxiety or depression because the pill is actually an anti-anxiety medicine, marketed for the latter purpose as Wellbutrin. The drug, generically known as bupropion, was approved by the FDA in May 1997 as an anti-smoking medication and marketed under the name Zyban.

If someone specifically asked for Zyban because they knew someone who quit with it, Quesenberry would prescribe the person that drug, he said.

Wanting to quit is a big factor in succeeding quitting, local doctors said.

Quesenberry said he won’t prescribe Zyban or Chantix for smokers who don’t want to quit but say they want an anti-smoking drug because a family member wants them to quit, because they have to want to quit themselves.

A bit of psychology is involved, he said.

“Once it’s in the heart and they want to do it, it doesn’t take much. It’s getting people to where they’re ready to stop that’s the big deal sometimes,” Quesenberry said.

“If you’re not motivated, no medication is going to work,” Wooster said.

For more information about Chantix, check out this Web site:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s patient information sheet for Chantix: www.fda.gov/cder/drug/InfoSheets/patient/vareniclinePIS.htm.

Source: JULIE E. GREENE, The Herald-Mail Company

Rubbing His Hands All the Way to the Bank

I was half-an-hour late getting to Nicogel.

It was so difficult to find I almost gave up, eventually crossing a muddy yard and discovering a well-hidden door, the name of the company so small, you’d think they had something to hide.

Far from it. Nicogel turns out to be spectacular.

Take the following ingredients: the world’s first new tobacco product in 300 years, yet not a health-threat, a company which started only three years ago and is already worth more than £100m, sales in 42 countries, and an even more stupendous product on the starting block.

To start at the beginning.

The Nicogel offices are as unpromising inside as out; boss, founder and sole-owner John Walters is sitting in a very cramped office, but we go through to a tiny meeting room where an electric fire circa 1950s threatens to singe my skirt, which reminds me, one of the workers was outside having a fag when I arrived, obviously a case of cobblers shoes.

Picture of Nico GelDr Walters, 39, has never smoked, but he has absorbed plenty of nicotine and all the rest in the discovery and development of his product, an odourless gel that you rub into your hands instead of smoking a cigarette.

“Of course, I had to try it. I got pepped up by it, felt as if my vision sharpened, my heart rate increased, basically I felt high as a kite.” Wow, give me some.

As a non-smoker the gel seeping through the palms of his hands and into his blood stream had a much greater effect than it does on smokers, but the effect is enough to make them feel they have just smoked two or three.

Also, unlike nicotine gum and patches, Nicogel contains traces of 1,800 bio-actives in tobacco, only one of which is nicotine, and, according to Dr Walters, not enough in itself to stem a craving. Thus, he claims Nicogel as the first new tobacco product in 300 years.

The previous one, you may be interested to know, was the cigarette, developed by soldiers copying Turks they had seen rolling tobacco in paper and setting light to it. But the fag is still a relative newcomer itself, with the first tobacco products giving pleasure 6,000 years ago, and sometimes not – there used to be a tobacco enema.

Dr Walters, a Welshman who studied biochemistry at Oxford, started his first business a decade ago: “I’ve had five businesses,” he says, “all in new product development – an anti-inflammatory, appetite suppressant, stabilizing system for beverages, some of them are still confidential, all of them have now been sold.”

He was doing some work for a Japanese beer company that wanted a particular ingredient placed in an ale when he had the Eureka moment for Nicogel.

“It started with computer modeling. One night I was sitting up late with a glass of wine and I was suddenly struck by the similarity of this ingredient to nicotine, but nicotine is a bit unstable in liquid.

“I thought about shampoo and various other possibilities before reaching hand gel.” Imagine, you can now enjoy the pleasure of a cigarette without even striking a match, not upsetting your non-smoking companions or damaging anyone’s health.

Dr Walters admits the only drawback is the “hand to mouth” action of smoking, which can be as addictive as the weed itself, but I suppose you could always suck a pencil.

Nicogel is made from pure tobacco processed into a liquid and put into a cosmetic.

“More than eight out of 10 smokers who have tried it say they get cigarette satisfaction,” Dr John says.

It is worth noting that Nicogel is not quite the same as gum and patches because it is billed as “an alternative” to smoking, rather than an aid to giving up; even so, many people do quit: “In November I began rubbing Nicogel into may hands whenever anyone around me lit up. Within three weeks I was down to a couple of cigarettes a day and soon I quit completely,” says Andrew Wadsworth, a graphic designer.

Nicogel is also poised for its big moment, with 30,000 pubs and bars across the UK planning to install dispensing machines before next summer when smoking is banned in public places and private clubs.

It is already on sale worldwide, and was snapped up by Tesco at an early stage. A pot of gel costs £10, a pack of 10 sachets, £3, with each working for between two and four hours: “It works out at 20% of the cost of smoking,” the doctor says. “It can go everywhere a cigarette can’t go, and you can advertise it.”

Mighty WalMart in the US wants Nicogel in 36,000 of its stores by the end of March, and discussions are in progress with two of the world’s five top tobacco companies, which could mean an early sale for Dr John’s company.

But maybe not. Nicogel, hidden away in the Fens somewhere north of Ely, is already running three shifts to meet demand and will soon be moving into much larger premises, although equally unprepossessing. Here, the company will be working on Dietgel, a handrub that takes away your appetite.

Dr John says it is a “stop nibbling” product and he has already taken orders for 150 million units.

It is based on green tea, or the polycatechins (“pretty word, isn’t it?” Dr John says). “They switch off hunger signals and switch on the body’s ability to use its own reserves. It’s an incredibly beautiful way of stopping hunger without being excessive.”

Although lean and lithe himself – he likes jogging – he has tried Dietgel, too.

“I like running, but when I get home from a jog I will eat the door off the fridge, but I didn’t with the gel.”

Rubbing his hands all the way to the bank, the doctor is not unambitious when it comes to predicting the sales performance of Dietgel: “We will have to open a bank on the moon,” he says, “change the tide when we cash the cheque.”

He happened across the idea for Dietgel while leafing through old books, some published up to 200 years ago as he was researching an appetite suppressant for a soft drinks company.

But it has not all been straightforward, even though he funded everything from his own pocket and has no investors or co-directors to answer to: “We have had to fight off one of the biggest companies, making nicotine, who have tried everything to put us out of business.”

This is hardly surprising when you hear that the quit smoking market is worth $20 billion a year, and the tobacco market, $380 billion.Value of the diet industry worldwide is too great to work out, but Dr John’s staff at Nicogel US, his American subsidiary, reckon they will do $1 billion in the first year with Dietgel. The company, which initially test-marketed its first product on e-Bay, where it “sold and sold and sold”, then caught the eye of Tesco, is currently growing at 120% a month. It employs about 40 people, rarely all at one time, but will be needing more staff in the new year.

If you would like to try Nicogel, there are 100 free packs available for News readers. Simply email customercare@nicogel-uk.com

Source: This article is from Cambridge Evening News

Dealing With Nicotine Withdrawl

Everybody knows that nicotine withdrawal comes with the territory of quitting smoking but that doesn’t make it any easier.

It can be hard and even frustrating for the person quitting to deal with withdrawal and for those around the person.

But understanding what’s going on, physically and psychologically, can help and can assist you in helping a friend quit.

When smokers quit, they begin to go through some changes, some physical, some emotional. The physical symptoms, while annoying and difficult, are not life threatening.

Nicotine replacement products such as the patch or gum can help reduce many of these physical symptoms. For most smokers, the bigger challenge is the psychological part of quitting.

This psychological part of smoking is really hard to beat because smoking becomes linked to so many things – things like waking up in the morning, eating, reading, watching TV, drinking coffee, etc. It’s like a ritual.

Your body becomes used to having a cigarette with certain activities and will miss this link when you first become smoke-free.
Woman Yanking HairIt will take time to “un-link” smoking from these activities.

Unfortunately, the patch or gum can’t relieve the psychological need to smoke. That’s why it’s so important for the smoker to create a plan to deal with situations that trigger their urge to smoke. Smokers can also ask friends and family for support with simple things like walking around the building before class instead of having a cigarette.

Stop Smoking Withdrawal Symptoms

If and when a smoker goes through withdrawal, they need to keep this in mind. Even though they may not act like themselves, and they may feel rotten, these feelings will pass. After 30 days or so, and after they’ve quit smoking, all this will be behind them. In the meantime, here are some of the withdrawal symptoms smokers may experience and what they can do about them.

Craving – This is the body’s physical addiction saying, “I need nicotine now!” Each craving will last for only a couple of minutes and will eventually stop happening altogether in about seven days. Smokers should use nicotine replacement products to help reduce cravings.If the smoker still feels the urge, they can admit out loud to themselves or someone else that they are having a craving. Then they should count to one hundred and let the feeling pass – and it will, usually within a couple minutes.

Difficulty Concentrating –  “Help, I quit smoking and I can’t concentrate!” Some people say nicotine helps focus their attention. When they quit smoking, the increased blood flow and oxygen can lead to a feeling of mental fogginess.If this happens, they should try making lists and daily schedules to keep organized, then set aside some total relaxation time when they don’t have to concentrate on anything!

Fatigue/Sleeping Problems –  Trouble sleeping and fatigue are common symptoms of withdrawal. Because nicotine increases one’s metabolism to an abnormally high rate, when people stop smoking their metabolism drops back to normal, making them feel like their energy level has dropped.So what can they do? They need to get their body used to the new metabolic rate by getting plenty of sleep, whenever possible. Although sleep patterns may be interrupted at first, this is normal and temporary.

Irritability –  If you have snapped at someone or had a new non-smoker snap at you, you know what we are talking about. Irritability is caused by the body trying to adjust to the sudden disappearance of all those chemicals it’s been used to. The best way to handle this is for smokers to simply be honest with those around them that they are trying to quit and they do not feel like themselves.

Source: American Cancer Society