Philip Morris helping smokers quit?

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Dear Editor,

A March 2003 study published in Tobacco Control combined and averaged all seven over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) studies and found that 93% of nicotine patch and gum users had relapsed to smoking within six-months.

In June 2003 Philip Morris kicked-off a massive marketing campaign inviting those addicted to nicotine to visit its website where it tells them to “get medication” [more nicotine] and “use it correctly.”

Aside from Philip Morris knowing NRT’s 93% adult relapse rate it knows that 95% of youth NRT quitters and roughly 100% of second time NRT users also relapse within six-months.

Nicotine is nicotine and once in the brain it doesn’t matter who sold it to you or how it entered the body. It is impossible for a nicotine addict to regain normal function of their enslaved dopamine, serotonin and adrenaline pathways while continuing to feed upon nicotine.

I don’t know who should be more ashamed, Big Tobacco or Big Pharm. It looks like this time they’re partners in keeping smokers coming back for more.

John R. Polito

Nicotine Dependency Counselor

1325 Pherigo Street

Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

(843) 849-9721

[email protected]

Fact References:

1. 93% midyear OTC NRT relapse rate – Hughes, Shiffman, et. al., “A meta-analysis of the efficacy of over-the-counter nicotine replacement.Tob Control.” 2003 Mar;12(1):21-7 (link to free full text copy – ).

2. “Get medication and use it correctly” Philip Morris U.S.A. website –

3. 95% youth NRT relapse rate – Hurt, RD et al., Nicotine Patch Therapy in 101 Adolescent Smokers , Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000;154:31-37 [ ].

4. 100% NRT relapse rate for second time users (recycling) – Tonnesen P, et al., Recycling with nicotine patches in smoking cessation. Addiction. 1993 Apr;88(4):533 [ ].