New Nicotine Inhaler May Help Smokers Quit
Vapor Puffs From New Device Carry Nicotine Deep into Lung
WebMD News Archive
Moreover, the smokers said that puffing on the new device was less harsh and
irritating than puffing on the Nicotrol/Nicorette inhaler.
"We are trying to give smokers the whole package they really are addicted to
by trying to recreate that in a way we hope is far less harmful," Rose says.
"We think most problems in cigarettes -- carcinogens and so forth -- come from
things in smoke other than nicotine. We avoid them by giving nicotine without
all those problems."
Rose says that although the device would be used to help people quit smoking
entirely, it might also help people who are not ready to quit -- such as people
self-medicating with nicotine for
If more stringent tests of the device's safety go well, Rose says the device
would be commercially available in three to five years. Duke University has
filed patents on the product.
Quitting Smoking and Nicotine Replacement
Nicotine is not a benign drug. It's addictive, of course, but has a wide
range of effects on the body. McIntosh says nicotine may itself be a
carcinogen, and appears to promote the spread of existing tumors.
But McIntosh notes that smokers aren't just addicted to nicotine. They're
also addicted to the behaviors that go along with smoking. By allowing people
to get over these addictions before they tackle their nicotine addiction, McIntosh says nicotine replacement devices
double smokers' odds of quitting for good.
Even so, nicotine replacement by itself isn't enough.
"One of the best ways to quit is to get four to six sessions of face-to-face
counseling -- and telephone and web-based quit lines are almost as effective,"
Counselors in many states offer smokers several weeks worth of free nicotine
patches; free nicotine replacement is also available via quit-smoking web
sites. To find out about services available in the U.S., call the national
smoking hot line: 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
"Smoking is more addictive than
heroin or alcohol or
cocaine," McIntosh says. "About 5% of people are able to quit on their own.
But if people trying to quit check in with their doctors or counselors, the
success rates are as high as 45%."