Why should I use nicotine, aren’t I trying to get off nicotine?

Blog Post created by dr_hurt on May 20, 2008
Why should I use nicotine, aren’t I trying to get off nicotine?

Many people ask us this question. There are 5 nicotine replacement medicines that are approved by the Food and Drug administration as safe and effective in helping people stop smoking. Nicotine is the addictive substance that keeps people using tobacco but it does not cause the health problems. The extensive death and disease caused by smoking is from exposure to other chemicals in tobacco smoke such as benzene, polonium, carbon monoxide and tobacco specific nitrosamines to name just a few of the more than 4000 chemicals that have been identified.

Also, it is important to know that the cigarette is the most effective device ever invented to deliver nicotine. Cigarettes are designed to very quickly deliver large doses of a highly addicting form of nicotine. This causes changes in the brain of the smoker that create craving and withdrawal when the person does not have nicotine. None of the medications deliver nicotine like the cigarette. Nicotine replacement is designed to reduce the craving and withdrawal that occur when a person is trying to quit smoking. It is safe, effective, and at least doubles a person’s likelihood of success.

Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco
dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated over 33,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org