Tuesday 10 January 2012

Bad news for Big Pharma

From The Guardian:

Nicotine replacement has no long-term benefit when quitting smoking

Chewing nicotine gum or using nicotine-replacement patches offers no advantage in keeping smokers off cigarettes in the long term, according to scientists. They say that while nicotine-replacement therapies (NRTs) could be useful in the early stages of combatting withdrawal, public health bodies should reconsider their reliance on these techniques as a way to reduce the number of people who smoke.

Ouch. Looks like taking nicotine isn't a good way of giving up nicotine after all. Who'd have thought?

John Britton and Deborah Arnott pop up in the article to defend their friends in the pharmaceutical industry.


Jean said...

Chris, I recall a study, about two years ago, that concluded that nicotine was not the only addictive agent in tobacco, and maybe not even the main one.
French prof. Robert Molimard thinks that nicotine is not addictive at all (after having tested it on rats for decades). He thinks that it explains the effectiveness of snus compared to patches (while B. Rodu thinks that the main reason is the fact that people keep using snus afterward, which makes sense).
I personnaly have no clue, but maybe it's a mistake to assimilate tobacco addiction and nicotine addiction.

Ben said...

To a large part of the addiction is behavioral

Fredrik Eich said...

Apparently NRT is good for you.

Indecent timing.

Jonathan Bagley said...

Now for the good news. As reported by the BBC, nicotine patches ward off dementia (although we all know smoking causes dementia). Don't tell them that, they are confused enough already. (If any one is offended, etc., etc.)

Simon Cooke said...

According to some BBC health "expert" on the Radio a few minutes ago we should ignore this research - she'd spoken to some other experts on quitting smoking (un-named) who said it wasnlt any good!

Anonymous said...

Well, we and Arnott et al have known this for years. Government's own figures record the 12 month failure rate at c.98%. It's a pity the MSM haven't (though maybe they will now..). I nearly fell off the sofa laughing when the BBC announced that 400,000 had quit during the year post ban (on the History of Smoking show). Again, this is a distortion of the figures - it was actually 400,000 quit attempts including multiple attempts. We could use that against them by pointing out that'd be 392,000 people who'd failed over 12 months. I believe cost of each attempt is about £250. What an utter and complete waste of money. I make it £98 million.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful isn't?

I am sure that the old time prohibitionists only picked nicotine because it was the only plant chemical they had heard of and was used as a pesticide.

Good excuse for a spot of slander.

Production and Use of Nicotine from Crops in Peace and War- The Yearbook of Agriculture 1950-1951

"Tobacco and it's extracts were used for the control of insects long before it was known that nicotine was the toxic agent. The first reference to the use of a tobacco extract for spraying plants was in 1690.

English and continental gardeners early recognized the value of tobacco from the American colonies. According to present standards it must have been strong tobacco. (N. Rustica)

In a letter dated January 20, 1734, Peter Gollison of London suggested to his American correspondent, John Bartram, the Philadelphia botanist, the use of tobacco leaves to protect letters and packages containing seeds and plants being shipped to him.

In 1746 he advised Bartram to use a water extract of tobacco for the control of the plum curculio on nectarine trees. Tobacco dusts and extracts were recommended for the control of plant lice in France in 1763"
http://tobaccodocuments.org/ness/10063.html page 4

But I suppose hope becomes belief, belief becomes certainty and certainty over time becomes the irrefutable official truth.

Proper scientists did try to tell them in 1994, but were overruled.


Mark Wadsworth said...

What Jonathan Bagley says.

Re what Anon says at 13.17, yes, I did the numbers on this, and per actual quitter, it works out at £10,000.

nisakiman said...

This was in the DT as well, and I left a comment to the effect that we can expect to see this research discredited in pretty short order. Big Pharma has too much to lose.

Anonymous said...


18:54 Mon, 09 Jan 2012

A Statement from GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare on Study Published in the Journal Tobacco Control

Includes -

"Hundreds of clinical trials involving more than 35,000 participants and extensive consumer use for more than 20 years have proven both the efficacy and safety of NRT when used as directed.(1) NRT products have helped millions of smokers quit by gradually weaning them off of their tobacco addiction and is recommended as a first-line therapy for quitting.(2)

Despite the authors' conclusions, there remains strong support for NRT's efficacy and its positive impact on public health. Leading experts in the field of smoking control, non-governmental bodies, such as the World Health organization (WHO) and many governments around the world, agree that NRT products have a crucial role to play in helping to reduce the devastating toll of disease caused by tobacco dependence.(3) Additionally, the 2008 U.S. Public Health Service Guideline, "Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence," recommends NRT products as a first-line therapy for quitting,(4) as they "increase significantly rates of long-term smoking abstinence."(4)


nisakiman said...

Thanks Rose. You really are the searchmeister. Nothing seems to escape your eagle eye.

It was inevitable that we'd see the Pharmaceuticals moving quickly to suppress this one. Just too much at stake.

I find myself growing increasingly weary and cynical. And worse, powerless to halt this tide of illiberalism.

We really are in the age of thought police and newspeak.

Anonymous said...

This is actually old news. Here's from an April 2009 Siegel blog:

"Last month a study on the effectiveness of nicotine replacement therapies was published in the British Medical Journal. While slanted toward concluding effectiveness, a closer inspection of the content reveals that only 1.6% of smokers achieved sustained abstinence. In other words, the failure rate is 98.4%."

"New Study Demonstrates How Conflicts of Interest with Big Pharma Influence Reporting of the Effectiveness of Smoking Cessation Drug Treatment."  Siegel, Tobacco News Analysis and Commentary.  April 3, 2009


Anonymous said...

Yes Walt, that's what i was referring to above. TC and the government knew yet continued to deceive the public (and health workers) with the 4 week crap.

I don't really have much sympathy for NRT users, these people are fundamentally weak willed and most are doomed to failure. But, money aside, there's a far more serious issue here - people are continually being told that nicotine is so addictive that they need NHS help. I believe that this makes the situation far worse for would be quitters. They think patches are the magic cure and then find that they're virtually useless. Cue the really dangerous stuff. Fortunately, most don't bother.


Anonymous said...

If nicotine really was addictive the patches should have worked to transfer vast numbers of people to a more convenient method.

US ruling turns smokers into junkies - 1994

"Nicotine is addictive, a panel of experts on drug abuse decided last week. The decision leaves the door open for the US Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco as it does other addictive substances.

Over the past few months, the FDA's commissioner, David Kessler, has been campaigning for tobacco to be regulated in the same way as many other drugs.

To do so legally, he must demonstrate that nicotine is a powerful drug, and that the tobacco companies depend on nicotine's addictiveness to keep smokers smoking."

"In 1988, the US Surgeon General concluded in a report on tobacco that nicotine is addictive in the fullest sense of the word. It is psychoactive, having a direct effect on the brain; it is reinforcing, meaning that users will keep using the drug; it is used compulsively despite harmful effects.

The desire to smoke takes precedence over other important priorities, such as health, and smokers become physically dependent on nicotine."

In other words,it seems that ignoring Anti-tobacco's strident health warnings could be taken as a clear sign of mental imbalance and therefore proved nicotine was a powerful addictive drug.

Or not.


Iain said...

I can only report my own experience but I found nicotine gum very useful when I gave up. It helped reduce the "head full of cotton wool/inability to concentrate" feeling I had that made everything very difficult.

Anonymous said...

Smoking is much more of a pleasurable habit than an addiction. That's why the nicotine patches are useless.


Anonymous said...

I started to think about the addiction aspect some time ago. I wondered why I never wake up during the night desperate for a fag. When smoking was banned in airports and on flights, I wondered why, after a year or so, it did not bother me any more. It took a while for the reason to pop into my mind.

Smoking is a habit like any other habit. But it is one that you can indulge at any time and in most circumstances. The more circumstances in which you smoke, the more ingrained the habit is and the more difficult it is to break. So, as regards sleeping, you do not have a habit during that period of time. The same applies to airports - no habit there, even though I was only in the airport four times in the year after the ban. I should imagine that the habit is easier to break for a person who smokes only, say, five a day. I suspect that the patches are a form of placebo - they work for a while because you believe that they work, but they do not break the habit, and so fail after a while.

Anonymous said...

Habit could also explain why a lot of people turned to personal vaporizers emitting flavoured steam - either VG (soybean residue) or PG (non-toxic asthma inhalant), water based flavouring, with nicotine optional - and managed to enjoy using those things. The fact some use it with no nicotine explains even more and also why pharmaceutical nicotine is a piss-poor subsitute for the good old fashioned aromatic and robust taste craved by those who smoke tobacco.

Anonymous said...

It appears the study alreay is having an effect!

Groups are concerned state will divert tobacco prevention funds

By Ellen W. Todd
Sanford News Writer

Thursday, January 12, 2012
SANFORD — For more than 10 years the Fund for a Healthy Maine has promoted public health programs to help lower residents' risk of chronic diseases and generally encourage more healthy choices.

Through the Fund for a Healthy Maine, a trust fund established by the Legislature, Maine has dedicated the funds it receives each year from the tobacco settlement agreement — about $50 million — to health promotion programs. Each year, Maine dedicates approximately $15.4 million — 25 percent — to tobacco use prevention, control and treatment programs.

Healthy Maine Partnerships, a network of 26 partnerships made up of communities, schools, hospitals and health care providers, businesses and volunteers, has worked throughout the state to reduce tobacco use, increase physical activity and improve nutrition.

One of those partnerships, Partners for Healthier Communities (PHC), serves Sanford/Springvale and 10 surrounding towns. Like its counterparts, PHC has helped Maine people quit smoking, provided support to new parents, helped area small businesses and worksites create worksite wellness programs, and provided resources for schools to educate children and parents about the harm of substance abuse.

Now members of those partnerships — health care providers, business people, educators and public health officials — are concerned that funds from the tobacco settlement will be diverted to cover a shortfall in the Maine Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) budget.

Governor Paul LePage presented a proposal last month to close a $221 million state budget gap over the next 18 months, a shortfall that has been caused by a dramatic increase in Medicaid spending over the last 10 years.

The plan also proposes to take more than $29.5 million from the state's tobacco settlement account (in fiscal year 2012/2013) to help reduce the shortfall in DHHS's budget. The plan would reduce funding for Healthy Maine Partnerships by about 88 percent, according to Sarah Roberts, the director of Partners for Healthier Communities.

The proposal would drastically cut programs that have made a difference in the health of people throughout the state, Roberts said. Several organizations in York County will feel the impact. "It will cause a ripple effect through the community," she said.

"This short-sighted proposal takes Maine in the wrong direction," said Gordon Smith, vice president of the Maine Medical Association. Smith was quoted in a news release from the Maine Public Health Association.

PHC attracts $348,851 in money and resources annually to the local community, Roberts said. The amount includes funds from grants "that would be impossible to leverage without the Healthy Maine Partnership structure," she stated in a letter last month.

The Fund for a Healthy Maine, as well as grants awarded to PHC, support 15 positions at Goodall Hospital, three through PHC and 12 positions through Maine Families of York County. The fund also supports a fulltime school health coordinator at RSU 57, which includes the towns of Alfred, Limerick, Lyman, Newfield, Shapleigh and Waterboro.


Anonymous said...

I tried the patches but they would'nt stay lit.

Anonymous said...

Inmates lighting up with the patch

Apr 5 2005

CALGARY - Prisoners at the Calgary Correctional Centre, no longer allowed to smoke in custody, are finding nicotine patches helpful - when they smoke them.

But because lighters and matches are not allowed, inmates are resorting to jamming a wire into an electrical outlet and using the resulting hot tip to light their smokes.

"One way or another, people are going to smoke," Rob Handleman, who served three months in Spy Hill for a traffic offence, said.

Handleman said with the six-month-old smoking ban in effect, prisoners have discovered they can scrape the nicotine from a patch and roll it with dried tea.

Dan MacLennan, president of the Alberta U nion of Provincial Employees, says his members have safety concerns about the make-shift cigarettes being lit from wires and electrical outlets.

"That spark can go right through to your lips, so there are some very dangerous ways, which have led to some shorting out of electrical panels and such," MacLennan said.



harleyrider keep on fightin! yeehaww