The safe, effective quit-smoking pill Americans can’t get

According to the CDC, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing close to half a million people each year — more than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries and firearm-related incidents combined.

I had to read that statistic twice before it sank in.

Surely if a safe and highly effective smoking cessation remedy were available, pharmaceutical companies would jump at the chance to produce it and get it into people’s hands.

It’s been a while since I had to report to you on Big Pharma’s greed machine and how it makes us sicker.

But now I’ve got a doozy for you.

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The natural substance that could double your chances of quitting

Cytisine is a plant-based compound that eases smoking withdrawal symptoms. It’s been used in Eastern Europe as a low-cost stop-smoking aid since the 1960s.

There is a great deal of solid research demonstrating that cytisine is a more efficient smoking cessation aid than nicotine — and that it is safe. (The obvious advantage, of course, is that it doesn’t put the same addictive substance back into the body).

For example, a study published just last year pooled the results of eight randomized control trials comparing cytisine with a placebo.

Among the 6000 patients involved, the results showed that cytisine more than doubles the chance that a person will successfully stop smoking.

And in an earlier study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, cytisine was compared with a nicotine-replacement aid such as the patch.

At the one-month point, 40% of the 1310 subjects had continuously refrained from smoking, as opposed to only 31% of those on nicotine-replacement therapy.

Why you can’t get cytisine in the U.S.

With these kinds of results, why can’t smokers in the United States get their hands on cytisine?

“It should be available to patients in the U.S.,” says Dr. Maher Karam Hage, professor of behavioral science at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. Lisa Fucito agrees.

Dr. Fucito is a professor at Yale School of Medicine. She is also the director of the Tobacco Treatment Service at nearby Smilow Cancer Hospital.

“The challenge in the U.S.,” Dr. Fucito says, “is that you need a pharma company behind a med.”

And therein lies the rub.

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You see, since cytisine is a naturally occurring compound, it can’t be patented, any more than, say, oregano can be patented.

So there’s really very little incentive (read monetary gain) for a big drug manufacturer to try and push it through the very complex — and costly — FDA approval process.

In other words, there’s no money to be made by producing cytisine and making it available to those who need it, so Big Pharma simply won’t do it.

In 2017, Canada’s version of the FDA approved cytisine as a natural health product, meaning it’s available over the counter.

Why hasn’t that happened in the U.S.? If the pharmaceuticals can’t make money from cytisine, why not release it to the natural health market so millions of people can use it?

I don’t have an answer for that.

Limited safe options currently available

So what should you do if you’re trying to kick the habit?

I’ll tell you one thing you shouldn’t do.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine took a look at the effects of e-cigarettes on your health.

What they found is that it’s not worth it.

On the other hand, one study found that placing a drop of black pepper and angelica essential oils on a tissue and inhaling it whenever you have the urge to smoke can significantly reduce the strength and frequency of your cravings.

Partnering up with someone can make you almost six times more successful — and that’s backed by research!

So however you do it, don’t go it alone. If you don’t have a friend who’s able to commit their support, check out the American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking program.

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Want to quit smoking in 2024? Cytisine can help … if you live in the right country —Eureka Alert

There’s a Pill That Helps People Quit Smoking. Why Isn’t It Sold in the U.S.? — Slate

Evaluation of the effectiveness of cystine for the treatment of smoking cessation: A systematic review and meta-analysis — Addiction

Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.