New Studies Back the Truth Will Out Campaign on Nicotine

By hypnotherapist Chris Holmes

Tel Aviv University and Harvard University Studies Back Up Truth Will Out

Ready for the proof?  Back in May 2008, I launched this public awareness campaign and made three controversial announcements: first, I said that smokers’ cravings are NOT connected to nicotine – that smoking was a compulsive habit, not a drug addiction.  Secondly, that Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) was bogus and doesn’t work any better than willpower if we look at the results at six or twelve months, so it should be completely discredited and scrapped.  Thirdly – and perhaps most controversially of all – that nicotine is NOT A DRUG AT ALL, just one of the many toxins in the smoke and the wrong explanation of compulsive smoking behaviour.  Craving signals drive smoking behaviour; no-one is really smoking for the effects of nicotine, even if they currently believe that they are.

Some interested parties tried to insist that numerous studies had shown NRT to be effective, so we obtained those studies from the UK
Department of Health.  They showed no such thing.  What they actually revealed was that the quit-rate for NRT at one-year follow-up was a mere 6%, and that it stayed about the same across every independent study (and is accepted as such by the Royal College of Physicians), but the figure for willpower alone varies from 2% to as high as 8% or more, depending on which study you look at.

This means it is easy enough for those promoting nicotine products or defending current government policy to compare the 6% NRT figure to
the 2% figure for willpower, and claim that smokers are “3 times as likely to succeed with NRT than without it”, or “twice as likely” if the study you select says 3% success for willpower.  In truth, any one-year-success-rate for smoking that comes in at under ten per cent is showing no statistically significant advantage, and therefore isn’t worth a dime of anyone’s money – especially not NHS cash or any other public money,
when it is so badly needed elsewhere.

Claim No. 1:  Two years after I said that craving signals are an aspect of compulsive habits, and nothing to do with nicotine, researchers at the University of Tel Aviv conducted a study which came to exactly the same conclusion:

http://www.aftau.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=12531

Claim No. 2:  Three years after I first claimed that NRT doesn’t work any better than willpower in the long run, and is therefore medically useless, researchers at Harvard University, Massachusetts conducted a study that came to exactly the same conclusion, published this week:

http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/01/nicotine-letdown/

 

What have the manufacturers of NRT tried to claim in response?  That “numerous scientific studies show that smokers are twice as likely to succeed with…”   Sorry guys! We’re on to you now.  And we also now know that NRT was originally approved on the basis of its performance at only six weeks, not six months or one year – so it was always bogus.  And here’s why it doesn’t work:

Claim No.3:  Remember where you heard it first.  Nicotine isn’t a drug, it’s a poison.  There’s no high, it doesn’t intoxicate or do
anything much at all, which is why smokers are still allowed to smoke tobacco and drive cars, or smoke tobacco and then fly an aircraft.  It’s not drug taking, it’s just a habit – as indeed Dr Reuven Dar concludes in the Tel Aviv study:

“Dr. Dar’s studies conclude that nicotine is not addictive as physiological addictions are usually defined…  it’s not an addictive substance like heroin, which creates true systemic and biologically-based withdrawal symptoms in the body of the user, he says…

“Once the habit is established, people continue to smoke in response to cues and in situations that become associated with smoking. Dr. Dar believes that understanding smoking as a habit, not an addiction, will facilitate treatment. Smoking cessation techniques should emphasize the psychological and behavioral aspects of the habit and not the biological aspects, he suggests.”

Yes – just as I said in 2008.  But it’ll be a while yet before the world comes to realise that nicotine was never a drug in the first
place.  Science has a bit of catching up to do yet.

How did I know all this, even years before this research was carried out?  Because as a smoking cessation specialist I’ve been shutting
compulsive habits down with hypnotherapy for over a decade, usually in just one session, and without any reference to ‘nicotine receptors’ dopamine levels or any of that half-baked NRT marketing woffle.  I know exactly what I’m doing, and I can explain it all easily.

*Update 18/01/12:  NiQuitin’s latest poster campaign in the UK is quite amusing, they’re not promising much!  “No other patch is more effective”!  No, that’s true.  But “No other patch is effective either” would have been less slippery, whilst being equally true.  Time for the N.H.S. to drop the poison patches, isn’t it folks?  It would immediately save hundreds of millions they could be spending on useful things like kidney dialysis machines and scanners.

If you would like to know more about hypnosis, hypnotherapy and where I’m coming from, it’s all available here.