Nicotine is not a drug

Tobacco was supposed to be medicinal originally, but now we know it’s not, and so tobacco is not prescribed for any medical condition anywhere in the world, not ever. Nor do tobacco companies claim that it has any beneficial or medicinal effects. If it did, and that could be proven scientifically, you could bet your life they would use that in their marketing… When you see office workers standing around outside the office building on a smoking break, they’re not “getting high”, are they? Everybody knows that. When they go back in, no-one says: “Forget asking George to do anything complicated for the next half hour, he’s just been smoking tobacco!” Smokers would be unemployable if tobacco got you stoned or wired, and they certainly wouldn’t be entrusted with heavy goods vehicles, coaches or buses.

No medicinal use, no recreational use. Tobacco smoking is NOT drug taking.

by Chris Holmes

Let me explain why the nicotine story is the biggest case of mistaken identity in medical history:

The early promotion of tobacco in Western Europe was based on two simple things: belief in medicinal properties it doesn’t really have, and the age-old phenomenon of people copying one another and trying to make an impression, otherwise known as ‘fashion’.

The tobacco plant’s Latin name is Nicotiana Tabacum, named after the French Ambassador to Portugal, Jean Nicot de Villemain.  In 1560 he was sending tobacco and tobacco seeds to Paris from Brazil, and promoting their medicinal use – mistakenly, as we now know.  At the time, lots of plants were reckoned to be beneficial to health and according to a book published by Spanish physician Nicolas Monardes in 1571, tobacco was widely credited with curing 36 ailments including toothache, worms, lockjaw and cancer.

So originally, tobacco was supposed to be good for you.  Gradually, over the years everyone realised that it did not cure worms, lockjaw or anything else – in fact it was just a filthy habit.  No-one imagined or suggested at the time that this was recreational drug use or intoxicating in any way, because it obviously isn’t.  That is why, even today, people are allowed to smoke tobacco and then drive cars or operate heavy machinery – even pilot an aircraft.  If smoking tobacco was recreational drug use, would that be permitted?  Of course not!

When any individual first tries smoking, it is because they want to sample something they have not been permitted to try before.  As a smoking cessation specialist, I have asked thousands of smokers why they picked up a cigarette in the first place, and the answers are predictable:

because my mates were doing it

because I wasn’t allowed to

because I thought it was cool

because I wanted to be all grown up…

In twelve years, no smoker has ever said to me: “I started smoking for the effects of nicotine.”  Not one.  But most of them can easily recall what that first experience of tobacco was like:

it was revolting

it made me feel dizzy and sick

I felt faint, had heart palpitations and then threw up…

All very common experiences.  So, whatever it was that made us pick up the second cigarette, it wasn’t because we enjoyed the experience of smoking the first one.  It was the same thing that made us pick up the first one: mischief, rebellion, peer pressure, a rite of passage, trying to grow up quick – any of those.  The fact is, we weren’t doing it for the effects of nicotine, AND WE KNEW THAT, THEN.  Curiosity, a bit of devilment… but we were also doing it for appearances, how we imagined it made us look: older, tougher, cooler, less like a kid.

It was only later that we came to believe it was all about nicotine, because we were TOLD to believe that.  But believing that is no different from believing that it cures worms or lockjaw, isn’t it?  That misinformation also came from Doctors.

Nicotine Receptors

Smokers are told that their cravings are a result of the nicotine receptors in their brains “going crazy for nicotine” as the nicotine replacement advert puts it.  [Hint: those guys are trying to sell you nicotine!]  But nearly all smokers will have noticed that their cravings switch on and off automatically, depending upon what they are doing.  They switch on in the morning having been off all night long, they switch off when the smoker boards a bus or a train, back on when a smoking opportunity arises then off again when they walk into a hospital or a cinema.

A small number of smokers struggle with these everyday restrictions, but that is only because they have personally chosen to resent the restriction.  The vast majority of smokers accept the new restriction pretty quickly, and then after that it doesn’t bother them.  Most smokers tell me that they can manage journeys by aircraft surprisingly easily, but then immediately add: “But as soon as it gets near the time to land, I’m thinking of having a cigarette…”  Nevertheless they are puzzled as to why their “nicotine receptors” seemed to be remarkably well-behaved for most of the seven hours on the flight!

Question: how could the nicotine receptors in your brain possibly know that you just stepped on to an aircraft?

Answer: they don’t, and they would have no way of understanding that social restriction anyway. So why aren’t they “going crazy” right throughout the flight, Doc?

From this, it is obvious to any clear-thinking individual that there is AN OBSERVANT INTELLIGENCE governing the switching on and off of craving signals, which is also why they don’t pester you whilst you’re busy at work, playing sports or gardening.  That observant intelligence is called the Subconscious Mind, and it controls all habitual behaviour and the craving system, which is basically a reminder system.  It has nothing to do with tobacco or nicotine specifically: we get lots of cravings, they’re not all about tobacco.

Why Nicotine is Not a Drug 

So we can see that cravings are not related to falling nicotine levels, or else air travel would drive all smokers to distraction and none of them could sit through a movie.

Now, there are only two types of drug: medicinal drugs and recreational drugs.  Tobacco was supposed to be medicinal originally, but now we know it’s not, and so tobacco is not prescribed for any medical condition anywhere in the world, not ever.  Nor do tobacco companies claim that it has any beneficial or medicinal effects.  If it did, and that could be proven scientifically, you could bet your life they would use that in their marketing.  The fact that tobacco contains nicotine does not make it any more beneficial to health: tobacco is not a medicinal product, in fact the modern medical consensus is that tobacco is bad for you, and smokers are routinely advised by medical personnel to stop smoking it.

We all found out that tobacco has no recreational use the first time we ever tried it, and the fact that a smoker can lean on his car smoking tobacco, keys in hand, chatting to an officer of the law, then freely get in and drive away legally proves that no-one is suggesting that he or she is getting high on that.  In fact throughout the entire history of tobacco consumption in Europe over the last 400 years, no-one has ever suggested that it is a form of recreational drug use.  When you see office workers standing around outside the office building on a smoking break, they’re not “getting high”, are they?  Everybody knows that.  When they go back in, no-one says: “Forget asking George to do anything complicated for the next half hour, he’s just been smoking tobacco!”  Smokers would be unemployable if tobacco got you stoned or wired, and they certainly wouldn’t be entrusted with heavy goods vehicles, coaches or buses.

No medicinal use, no recreational use.

But what does nicotine actually DO?

First of all, nicotine is only one of thousands of chemicals in tobacco smoke.  When it was first isolated from the tobacco plant in 1828, it was regarded by the team that did that as a poison, not a drug.  This was perfectly reasonable because this alkaloid acts as a natural insecticide – it kills the bugs that try to eat tobacco leaves.  Once isolated it was widely used as an insecticide, and even now nicotine analogs such as imidacloprid continue to be widely used.  Why “nicotine” should have been named after the plant itself is unclear: no-one was suggesting at that point that this particular poison was the key to tobacco’s popularity or the thing that smokers were after.  And indeed it wasn’t, but about 115 years later, someone would start vehemently insisting that it was.  That someone was Doctor Lennox Johnston, and he was a real lone voice: his suggestion that tobacco smoking was actually a drug addiction was regarded as nonsense by medical authority and the wider profession alike.

Over the last twelve years, I have asked thousands of smokers: “What does nicotine do?  If it IS a drug, and you are smoking tobacco for the effects of this drug, what ARE those effects?”  Not one smoker has ever answered that question correctly.  “I think it relaxes me” is the most common guess.  In fact, nicotine makes the heart race, blood pressure rise, blood fat levels rise and there is an increased risk of thrombosis (blood clots). All those effects are toxic, hazardous and largely unnoticeable, but if the first two reached noticeable levels they would be uncomfortable.  If the last one reached a noticeable level, you would be dead or on your way to a hospital.  In short, no-one is smoking for the effects of nicotine, which is why smokers cannot tell me what the effects of nicotine are.

But then we never were smoking for the effects of nicotine right from the beginning.  In fact back then, the effects of nicotine knocked us sick, as did many other chemicals in the smoke.

Lennox Johnston was WRONG!

Smokers smoke because of cravings – that’s true – but cravings are nothing to do with nicotine, or anything else in the smoke.  Before Lennox Johnston came along, no-one ever thought they were.  I first realised that this was a fact when I started doing hypnotherapy and found that cravings can be shut down by the Subconscious mind upon request, provided the smoker is happy for that to be the outcome.  Then I wrote the book Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was in order to explain all the details and how we use hypnotherapy to eliminate the smoking habit, cravings and all.  Since then, a study from Tel Aviv University has confirmed what I stated about cravings being unrelated to nicotine levels and another from Harvard University has confirmed that Nicotine Replacement products don’t work at all, just as I have argued for years.

I wonder how long it will be before Science confirms my third and final point: that nicotine isn’t a drug at all.

Cue the links to exciting new studies suggesting that nicotine may help with…

Yeah, we know.  For years now, the drug giants that make nicotine replacement products have been desperately searching for some new application for the poison gum and the poison patches.  They know the game is almost up, and that soon everyone will realise that those products are based on a myth.  But the poison factory is already there, and it would seem a shame to lose all that revenue…

Spurious new ‘uses’ for nicotine!

A Song for Nicotine Manufacturers!

More about Lennox Johnston 

Central Hypnotherapy


Are Medical Authorities Secretly Reading This?

by Chris Holmes

Since the launch of this site in March 2008 I have been urging medical authorities to press governments to do something about the madness of ‘internet pharmacies’ from which people can buy prescription medications without any doctors or prescriptions being involved.  Occasionally I had heard people like Dr Chris Steele ( a TV Doctor here in the U.K.) gently warning the public that some of the medicines might be fake, and that is why it’s not a good idea.

That is just one of the reasons it is not a good idea. Someone just deciding that they could do with some Valium, some hydrocodone and maybe some anti-depressants but they can’t be bothered to consult a medical professional about whether or not that’s safe or appropriate… but they have a credit card, and the people who push drugs on the internet have certainly got the greed if not the scruples to be concerned that their customer might be about to end up like Heath Ledger… these are some of the other reasons that internet drug shops are not a good idea.

Anyway I have suggested a number of times that the medical profession should be very seriously concerned about this and move to oppose it, mainly because it is dangerous and unethical but also because if people don’t need a prescription they might soon conclude that they don’t need doctors either, or that they can be their own doctor now by reading up about their condition on the internet and simply buying a treatment – without any objective, experienced, wise or properly-qualified opinion being involved.

I know a lot of people read this website, in fact it is increasing all the time.  Some of those people are smokers.  Some are therapists.  I know this because they send me comments and messages, some for publication on the site.  As yet, no doctor has ever sent me a message of any description via the Truth Will Out site, although I do have some contact with doctors and other medical people through my hypnotherapy practice.  (I even did some work for the NHS last year – unheard of!)  But that doesn’t mean medical folk never read this stuff.

So I was interested to see a new billboard, whilst travelling in to the office this morning, featuring a corpse on a gurney in what I suppose was an autopsy room, covered over with a sheet.   It said “You might pay with more than a credit card, if you buy medications on the internet.”  Then the slogan: Get Real – Get a Prescription.

Elsewhere on this site I have mentioned alarming figures about the harm done by medications that have been prescribed by doctors anyway, but I think it is important to get these things in perspective. I don’t expect everyone to turn away from drug therapies and embrace alternative therapies en masse – nor should they.  It would be a much better idea to establish which methods are genuinely most useful and safest for the wide variety of symptoms requiring treatment, so people can benefit from all forms of therapy, not just drug treatments.

But I certainly don’t want to see doctors being edged out of the picture by the drug industry via internet drug shops, so it is nice to see somebody is finally doing something about it.  It’s not enough, but it’s a start and I really welcome that.  Well done, whoever is behind that one.  Good on you.  Doctors are not expendable, and when I got that email last year from an internet pharmacy that was titled: “Prescriptions are a thing of the past!” I just had to write about that (See Posting Comments 2 if you want to read it).

It may be, of course, that the people behind this new billboard campaign just came to the same conclusions as I did, without reading any of my ranting about it here on the Truth Will Out site.  But if so, they took a hell of a long time to come to that conclusion considering that these drug shops have been flogging dangerous drugs for years now, and although none of that affects me directly it certainly affects them.  And also, although I wrote the original rant about that back in June 2008, according to my stats package it remains, surprisingly, the most frequently read page on the site after the homepage.

Now, that’s not because of any links that I’m aware of, so it does suggest that people are sending that link quietly to each other.  And people do have to have a shared interest in that subject to do that, don’t they?  So that rules out smokers and hypnotherapists for a start.

So – hope you’re keeping well, Doc.  All the best.

Chantix Champix Kills: But Don’t Tell The Smokers!

The Canadian Lung Association fails to mention any serious side effects associated with Chantix Champix. This is a very serious omission, but it is no different from what most doctors are doing. The blog also informs us that The Canadian Lung Association received funding in the form of a grant from… Pfizer Canada, the Canadian arm of the global drug giant Pfizer, who make Chantix Champix.

by Chris Holmes

*Update: If you or a loved one has suffered a bad reaction to Champix and you are based in the U.K., you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here. The more people do that the clearer the true picture will become. Protect others! Report it.*


The Real Threat to Doctors, Pharmacists and the Medical Profession

To learn the truth about Chantix Champix, all you have to do is Google “Champix suicides” (or Chantix suicides) and read all about it for yourself.

But why should smokers have to do that? Most smokers assume that their doctor or their pharmacist would warn them of any serious risks that their patient might be running if they take Chantix Champix. Some do: in fact, we have heard anecdotally of one or two doctors who have refused to prescribe it. However, these are the exceptions.

Reading around the blogs which are dealing with the Chantix Champix controversy it becomes frighteningly clear that most smokers are left completely in the dark by doctors and pharmacists about the serious side effects of Chantix Champix, and only warned about the minor ones. The fact that this negligence is leading to injuries and deaths must surely be actionable. We are talking about a medication that is currently under investigation by the FDA for serious and dangerous side-effects. It has been very clearly implicated in many suicide attempts and a considerable number of deaths. Many other people have had other horrible reactions that have left them hospitalised, terrified and emotionally damaged, and also Chantix Champix has wrecked relationships and families.

Your doctor and your pharmacist may decide, though, that they’d better not tell you that in case you decide not to take the damn stuff.

One recent contributor to this blog, Kath (see Champix 4: Enough Already. Comment No.98) – was particularly angry about that point, once I had explained that she was not alone. She said:

“Chris thank you for taking the time to respond to me. As I read your reply what really stuck out is that when I had a weird episode of behaviour at 4 weeks, I would have known where it was coming from if I knew that Champix has side effects. If my doctor had warned me to watch for behavioural changes I would have been off this drug much sooner, before it made me into a blubbering mess. That is what bothers me the most.

I was having a conversation with a friend today about how even the doctor makes money when he writes a script. That is really effed up. How can my doctor have a financial benefit to prescribing a drug? What the hell kind of world are we living in? How can we expect to get proper health care when the gp’s make money for giving us life-threatening drugs?”

How indeed. And this is the real threat to the future of the medical profession. It is obvious why Chantix Champix is getting the whitewash treatment, and it all comes down to money. Doctors are treated to free trips, lavish treatment at ‘conferences’ and all kinds of incentives to promote medications which can all be summed up in one simple word: Corrupt.

How complacent are you, all you medical professionals who are just sitting on your hands and pretending it is okay to keep taking the incentives and keep your mouths shut about killer drugs like Chantix Champix? You keep pretending nicotine replacement is a real medication even though you know it doesn’t work at all, you keep prescribing Prozac and Seroxat even though we all know now that they didn’t perform any better than placebos in the trials… Your professional credibility is rotting away even as I type this, and the stench of your corruption is making even the most conservative of patients wince. If you continue down this road there will BE no medical profession, it will all become Medico-Pharmaceutical Inc.

Think I’m exaggerating? Then have a look at this report by one of the few exceptions, a blog edited by practising Canadian pharmacists called Canada Pharmacy News. The story points out that The Canadian Lung Association fails to mention any serious side effects associated with Chantix Champix. This is a very serious omission, but it is no different from what most doctors are doing. The blog also informs us that The Canadian Lung Association received funding in the form of a grant from… Pfizer Canada, the Canadian arm of the global drug giant Pfizer, who make Chantix Champix. Only a few days ago, the Justice Department in the USA announced that Pfizer had been ordered to pay a record settlement of 2.3 billion dollars for “fraudulent marketing”. Nothing to do with Chantix Champix, that one, by the way. But this is (link).

The credibility of pharmacists and doctors was originally based on hard science, but it has all been hijacked by the medico-mafia of the drug companies and their well-placed friends in the medical authorities, the medication approval bodies, academia and the press. Once you’ve lost that credibility in the minds of the public, Doc, you will never get it back.

practice website

The book that blew the whistle on the nicotine scam

Internet Kills Doctor

by Chris Holmes

Personally I think the Internet is a wonderful thing in many respects, but I got emails today from internet pharmacies that are practically boasting that you can cut out the medical advice and just buy anything you want! Someone calling themselves Heinig put this in the Subject line:

“Prescriptions are a thing of the past”

and the message within was:

“Discover more pages of kamasutra with the help of magic blue pills”

Magic pills, eh? Isn’t this ironic? Anyone who has already read the “Trust me, I’m a Doctor” section of this site will see the irony of that. First you get people to accept the idea that there is a pill for every ill through the invocation of the “trustworthiness” of “medical science”, then you do away with the actual medics, who might be unnecessarily cautious about who to prescribe it to, and sell it direct by email worldwide.

Healthcare? This mass-medication has nothing to do with health, but western medical science has helped to create a monster – the pharmaceutical industry – which is now on the rampage around the globe. This was another message in the same batch this morning:

Subject: “Hundreds of doctors advise this”

Yeah? Well, what further recommendation or reassurance do you need, eh? Here was the message inside, word for word:

“You can purchase anything and everything that you always wanted to ask your doctor for.”

Everything? Even the stuff you know damn well he wouldn’t give you, which is why you didn’t ask him but “always wanted to”?

Well it could hardly be any clearer, could it? Forget Colombia, forget the poppy fields of Afghanistan. The producers of pharmaceuticals are supplying the customer direct, so now you don’t need the drug-dealer and you don’t need the doctor either, and these pseudo-medical profiteers are even bold enough to say so. We’ve reached the stage at which they are so cocky, they can take the piss out of the medical profession by claiming:

“Hundreds of doctors advise this”!

Now, here’s the really mad bit. Doctors most certainly do not “advise” that you buy drugs through the internet, because if everyone did that, they would be sitting in their consulting rooms all by themselves. But doctors certainly have been prescribing these very medications, which could be construed as a recommendation of sorts, which allows that cheeky phrase above to be at least partially true.

So doctors are being used, but left out! They are still being invoked as a reassuring selling-point, albeit in a very off-hand way, but without being involved any more, which means they are helping to facilitate the sale (in their absence), but earning nothing from that transaction at any stage. Pretty galling, eh?

It’s all there, in that wild expression: “Prescriptions are a thing of the past”. If that is the case, then so are doctors – they just haven’t quite realised it yet. They really haven’t, because the main point doctors have wanted the public to grasp so far, when it comes to internet drugs, is that some of the may be ‘fake’. Really? Like NRT is, you mean? Like Prozac? Sorry – are we talking real fake medications here, or bogus fake medications?

I’m confused. If you buy NRT from an internet source, and it doesn’t work, is that because it is real NRT or because it isn’t? The only way we could find out would be to do a big scientific study using internet NRT exclusively, to see if it only fails 94% of smokers by the end of the year – in which case it was the real thing, hooray! Or more than 94%, in which case it was a bad medicine, a bogus fake disreputable fraud, which doctors would not prescribe.

Because no doctor would prescribe NRT products that failed more than 94% of smokers in the long run. They draw the line at 94% failure. That’s the kind of medical standard which you just do not get with the internet, and that’s why we still need doctors.

Hope we’re all clear on that now.  If you just want to be free of the smoking habit, though, click here to discover why you don’t need either of ’em.