Tobacco Dependence

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One commonly used pharmacological treatment for tobacco dependence is a nicotine-containing gum called Nicorette. The main reason to quit smoking cigarettes is its powerful association with lung cancer, emphysema, and other medical problems. Yet nicotine, the active ingredient in cigarettes, is another drug that is associated with pleasant effects and with withdrawal discomfort, thereby making it an extremely addicting drug. Providing cigarette smokers with nicotine replacement in the form of a gum will help them avoid the health risks associated with smoking cigarettes. One problem with Nicorette is that it is difficult to chew correctly and therefore people need to be trained in how to chew it in order to derive the therapeutic effect. Recently, a patch has been developed that is placed on the arm and automatically releases nicotine. A method that shows good potential as a treatment, the patch was made avail able in the early 1990s. Detoxification from nicotine may also be facilitated with the medication clonidine, the same agent used to help alleviate opiate withdrawal symptoms.

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