Sunday, 30 March 2008

Ciggy substitute abuse on rise

ABOUT 425,000 Australians are fuelling a boom in the nicotine replacement market, now worth more than $90 million a year.

Despite anecdotal evidence of many reformed smokers getting hooked on nicotine replacement patches, lozenges and chewing gum, medical experts still know little of the health impact of long-term use.

Harry Hemley, from the Australian Medical Association, said other quitting strategies, such as hypnotherapy and medication, tended to be more effective but he sometimes recommended nicotine replacement when other methods failed.

"My experience with patients is that they haven't been all that successful," Dr Hemley said. "I've had patients who've used them for years on and off and become dependent on the patches and the gum."

The Australian nicotine replacement market has grown immensely since nicotine gum first became available on prescription in 1984, helped by a rise in the social stigma attached to smoking and wider availability of the products.

Nicotine replacement products gradually release nicotine into the bloodstream, relieving the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal without the other harmful chemicals contained in tobacco smoke.

In 1997, when patches and gum became available over the counter at pharmacies, sales spiked 1117 per cent in a single year.

In the year after their sale was further liberalised in 2003, sales increased by as much as 5257 per cent, revealed a study conducted by the Smoking Cessation Research Unit at Sydney University, which was funded by the nicotine replacement product manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline.

Since smoking was banned in pubs and clubs in July, Nicabate, made by GlaxoSmithKline, has been sold on a trial basis in some licensed premises. Its competitor Johnson & Johnson has been giving out information and free samples of Nicorette patches in pubs.

Research conducted in 2005 by the Cancer Council found 21.3 per cent of successful quitters believed nicotine replacement therapy helped.

A review of 110 trials by the independent Cochrane Collaboration found only 17 per cent of smokers who used nicotine replacements successfully quit.

Suzie Stillman, deputy director of the lobbying organisation Quit, said it was common for failed quitters to use nicotine replacement products incorrectly, such as using patches inconsistently or giving up before they completed the recommended course.

Nicotine increases a person's heart rate and blood pressure and slightly elevates the risk of heart disease. A 2003 study conducted by the National Cancer Institute in the US showed it might also contribute to the development of some cancers.

Professor Ron Borland, at the Cancer Council, said nicotine alone was at least 95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes. He said the doses contained in nicotine replacement products were probably of equivalent harm as caffeine.

Quote: Cold Turk
(Written by: John Lennon)

Temperature's rising
Fever is high
Can't see no future
Can't see no sky
My feet are so heavy
So is my head
I wish I was a baby
I wish I was dead
Cold turkey has got me on the run
My body is aching
Goose-pimple bone
Can't see no body
Leave me alone
My eyes are wide open
I can't get to sleep
One thing I'm sure of
I'm in at the deep freeze
Cold turkey has got me on the run
Come on,
Cold turkey has got me on the fucking run
Thirty-six hours
Rolling in pain
Praying to someone
Free me again
Oh I'll be a good boy
Please make me well
I promise you anything
Get me out of this hell
Cold turkey has got me on the run
Cold turkey, cold turkey,
Cold turkey, cold turkey, cold turkey, cold turkey,
Oh, oh, oh, yeah, Oh, oh, oh, oooh
Cold turkey, cold turkey, cold turkey, cold turkey

Quote: I gave up smoking after 35 years 3 months ago. Go cold turkey and save your money it works just fine.

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