With the exception of oral tobacco products, tobacco is typically consumed through combustion, in which tobacco leaves are burned at high temperatures and the resulting smoke is inhaled. Combustion is the most efficient method of delivering nicotine to the brain.
Tobacco companies understand the importance of nicotine and want to continue to be the providers of choice for nicotine products, but they also understand the dangers created by the combustion of tobacco products, most notably that customers routinely die from their use. Therefore, tobacco companies are creating new products to keep individuals addicted to nicotine while reducing toxic exposures caused by combustion. Such products include noncombustible cigarettes (e.g., Eclipse, Premier) and oral tobacco (e.g., lozenges, strips, snus, orbs), some of which are dissolvable. There is an urgent need for research and regulation of these products.
Beginning in the 1970s, pharmaceutical companies began providing nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to ease nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Because these products are considered pharmaceuticals, they must undergo rigorous approval to assure their safety and efficacy. NRT doubles smoking quit rates and is currently available through patches, gum, lozenges, and inhalers.
Entrepreneurs have created many novel nicotine delivery products, such as nicotine water, wafers, candy, inhalers, and electronic cigarettes. These products provide nicotine in an innovative yet unregulated manner, and the potential risks are largely unknown.
The arrival of novel nicotine delivery products in the mass market creates a new avenue for individuals to initiate or maintain nicotine addiction, which could result in increased addiction, fewer cessation attempts, increased use of multiple products, and addiction to higher levels of nicotine. However, these products could also potentially play a role in the cessation of combusted tobacco products.
Nicotine is a highly addictive drug, and to make it look like a piece of candy is recklessly playing with the health of children.Gregory Connolly, Harvard University, US, 2010
the industry must Say:
We told Congress under oath that we believed nicotine is not addictive. We told you that smoking is not an addiction and all it takes to quit is willpower. Here’s the truth: Smoking is very addictive. And it’s not easy to quit. We manipulated cigarettes to make them more addictive.One of the US Department of Justice’s Proposed Corrective Statements for Cigarette Companies, 2011