The Truth About Nicotine Replacement Therapies

Study confirms nicotine replacement therapies are not effective—what a shock!

A recent study conducted by the Harvard University School of Public Health and the University of Massachusetts Boston confirmed what many people fighting on the front lines of the smoking cessation battle already knew or suspected: Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT), such as gum or the patch, are not an effective way to help people quit smoking. Nearly 1/3 of NRT users relapsed regardless of whether or not they were heavy or light smokers.

Advocates of NRT claim that products such as the patch or nicotine gum are not meant to help smokers quit, but rather are just a way to help gradually alleviate the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. However, recent research, such as the study in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology conducted by Dr. Rueven Dar of Tel Aviv University, shows that smoking is a psychosocial and not a physical addiction. Thus, products that claim to mitigate the symptoms of nicotine are merely a marketing ploy to sell their product, making spurious promises about curing tobacco addictions and leaving vulnerable smokers in the wake of their deception.

Smoking is a psychosocial habit that can be treated only when smokers address the underlying reasons behind why they ever lit up and continue to light up. Quitting cold turkey or by way of gradual withdrawal will not be effective enough because smokers have not really addressed the root of the problem with these methods. Additionally, NRTs are harmful because they promote a quick fix mentality that is all too prevalent in the Western world, an idea that products fix problems which is a line of thinking that takes the power to make changes towards a healthy lifestyle out of the hands of individuals.

Instead of continuing to market the false idea that smoking is caused by nicotine addiction, governments, researchers, and corporations should begin to find ways to invest their time in promoting therapy as a way of getting off cigarettes. Therapeutic methods such as hypnotherapy seek to help people take control of their smoking habit by helping them learn to take control of their own mind and its ability to form and control habits. Once smokers realize that the ball is on their field and that they ultimately have the power to quit smoking, they will be much healthier not only physically but also mentally: They will have taken the steps necessary to see them power of mind over matter in actions and will be able to apply this lesson in other areas of their lives where it is needed.