of Nicotine Gum
'May Be Placebo Effect'
Health) - Smokers who chew nicotine gum to help them quit may
do just as well with ordinary chewing gum, a small new study suggests.
at the University of Glamorgan in Pontypridd, Wales have shown
that conventional gum is just as good at reducing cigarette cravings.
Their findings suggest much of the benefit from nicotine gum may
be the so-called placebo effect--where smokers feel better simply
because they expect the gum to have an effect.
pretty surprised at the results,'' said Dr. Gareth Davies, a lecturer
in psychology who led the research project. ''There was pretty
much no difference between the two groups.''
The UK government
announced earlier this year that nicotine replacement therapy--including
patches, gum and spray--would be widely available on the National
Health Service as part of a bid to cut smoking-related illnesses.
Consumers can also now purchase these products over the counter
at pharmacists and in some high-street shops.
took the action based on research showing that nicotine replacement
therapy doubles smokers' chances of successfully giving up.
works by delivering a small amount of nicotine into the body in
order to provide smokers with the kick they get from cigarettes
but without the damaging effects of smoke.
studies have shown the gum is effective, they have not compared
it to ordinary chewing gum.
the department of humanities and social sciences at the University
of Glamorgan, recruited 45 smokers who smoked at least 15 cigarettes
a day for the study.
were split into three groups and given nicotine gum, ordinary
chewing gum or nothing at all during a 4-hour period in which
they were deprived of cigarettes. Each volunteer then filled out
a special questionnaire designed to measure the strength of their
cravings--the higher the score, the stronger their yearning.
presented at a recent British Association of Psychopharmacology
meeting in Harrogate, Yorkshire, showed that those who chewed
nothing had the highest marks, but that the nicotine gum and chewing
gum groups both scored the same.
gum and a placebo gum are both equally effective at reducing acute
craving for cigarettes,'' the researchers concluded. ``The findings
suggest that while nicotine gum appears to be effective in reducing
acute cravings, much of this may be a placebo effect.''
Reuters Health, ``We could not draw any conclusions from why there
was no difference. There is evidence that sometimes eating something
sweet can reduce cigarette cravings.''
for Pharmacia and Upjohn, a pharmaceutical firm that manufactures
nicotine gum, said there was hard evidence from over 80 trials
that nicotine replacement therapy--including gum--is effective.
She said a
year-long analysis of multiple studies by the Cochrane group--a
team of researchers who produce evidence-based studies for the
NHS--had shown abstinence rates of 17% with nicotine gum, compared
with just 10% in control groups.
Reference Source 89