Gum, patch, lozenge, microtab, spray… strip?

by Chris Holmes

If nicotine gum works, why did they need to invent the patch? Well okay, maybe some people don’t like chewing gum, fair enough. But if the patch works, why did they invent the lozenge? And what is the difference, really, between the lozenge and the microtab?

If all these products do what they are supposed to do – which is to deliver nicotine a different way, so there is no urge to smoke tobacco – why does anyone need a spray? And the latest new-fangled nicotine product from GlaxoSmithKline is the nicotine strip! Surely that’s SLOWER than the spray? Are we going backwards in development now?

Try the NEW version of Nicotine!

Let me explain what is really going on. If a product does what it is supposed to do, it doesn’t need reinventing. That’s why wheels have remained the same shape over centuries. That’s the shape that works. If something doesn’t work, or doesn’t work for very long, you have to keep reinventing it in order to sell the idea again to the same people who tried it before, which is why there is always a new diet book out: Have you tried the new Fat Only Diet? (The madder it sounds, the more likely people are to hear of it, and therefore more people try it!) You ONLY eat fat. That’s ALL you eat. You can have as much as you like, every day, but you mustn’t eat anything else for three weeks. And you ONLY drink milk. Then, you see, your body gets used to ONLY burning fat for energy, and it just carries on doing that after you go back to normal food so it burns up all the fat off your body! It really works!

No it doesn’t!

No it doesn’t, don’t try it. Sounds plausible though, doesn’t it? And once the idea of nicotine replacement was established as a plausible idea, the mere fact that it doesn’t work at all has never got in the way of the marketing or the sales, for the simple reason that smokers don’t want to die so they’re willing to try anything that might help them quit. Now, not so very long ago the drug companies were telling smokers that using nicotine products meant you were “four times more likely” to quit than by merely using willpower. Then an NHS trust was rapped over the knuckles by the Advertising Standards Agency for repeating this claim in their literature, because it isn’t true. Then, in January 2012 Harvard University published research which proved that nicotine replacement products do not produce any better results, if you look at the results at one year, than willpower alone. They don’t work AT ALL.

Nicotine Replacement products are BOGUS!

Did this news prompt the NHS to stop wasting money on these useless products? No! Did they get banned or withdrawn? No! Are doctors still prescribing this rubbish? YES!! Believe it or not, this still qualifies as “evidence-based medicine”, even though it is NOT medicine and the evidence is very clear now that it doesn’t work at all. It is business as usual for the drug companies, the BMA, N.I.C.E. and the chemist – not to mention all the other outlets who sell this trash over the counter.

What it does mean, though, is that the drug companies have to be careful what they say in their advertising now, which is why the campaign last year pushing NiQuitin patches resorted to: “No other patch is more effective!” True enough: none of them work. Pretty dishonest lot, aren’t they?

New NiQuitin Oral Strips

So now we have the latest pointless reinvention of nicotine gum: the oral strip from GSK, “the first and only stop smoking aid in a strip” (try to contain your excitement, now!) What they are hoping is that all the smokers that have tried the gum, the patches, the lozenge, the microtab and the spray – all to no avail – will be able to suspend their disbelief somehow that THIS will be the delivery system that will save them. And although the science says quite clearly that it won’t, the drug company gets around that awkward fact by the ingenious wording of the latest claim: “All designed to double your chance of quitting compared to willpower alone.”

“All designed to.” It doesn’t say it will, it says it is designed to. What a crock of shit.

Real help to quit smoking

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