New Smoking Cessation Therapy More Closely Replicates Smoking

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Researchers at Duke University Medical Center are developing a new smoking cessation therapy that may prove more effective than current nicotine replacement therapies.

Traditional Nicotine Replacement Therapies

Inhalers, sprays, and nebulizers are all popular nicotine replacement therapies. Products like the Nicotrol inhaler work by delivering nicotine vapor to the mouth and upper airways, with little of the nicotine reaching the lungs. These nicotine-containing medications have a tendency to leave a residue in the mouth and throat, causing irritation and keeping the desired amount of nicotine from reaching the lungs.

The New Technology

The new technology is intended to more closely replicate the experience of smoking a cigarette, and initial testing looks promising. In a group of healthy smokers, the new technology led to a more rapid increase in nicotine levels than the Nicotrol/Nicorette inhaler, resulting in immediate relief of withdrawal symptoms.

Jed Rose, director of the Duke Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research, explains how the new technology works: "When [pyruvic acid and nicotine] combine, they form a salt called nicotine pyruvate. This reaction transforms invisible gas vapors into a cloud of microscopic particles which is inhaled, just like a smoker inhales from a cigarette."

The system is still being tested, but the developers hope that it will be commercially available within 5 years.

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