Pharma's best kept secret? As just reviewed, it's that clinical smoking cessation studies reflect the most lethal junk-science ever perpetrated upon humans. Clever bait and switch ploys, the result is always the same, lower odds of success for millions and millions of real-world addicts than if they'd simply left quitting products alone.
Should you trust GlaxoSmithKline, the U.S. seller of Nicorette and Nicoderm products, and Pfizer, maker of Chantix and Nicotrol, with your life? Are you aware that U.S. Justice Department criminal investigations resulted in both GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer admitting guilt in committing felony consumer fraud?
Have you ever stopped to reflect on the fact that you've never once heard any GlaxoSmithKline Nicorette or Nicoderm commercial suggest that, "Smoking causes lung cancer, emphysema and circulatory disease, that you need to purchase and use Nicorette or Nicoderm because smoking kills"?
You haven't and never will. But why?
As hard as this may be to believe, the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries are in bed together. Since 1984 they've operated under a nicotine marketing partnership agreement. The once secret documents evidencing their agreement are many, and suggest that neither is permitted to directly attack the other's products.
The partnership's purpose is to keep you in the family, to ensure your purchase and use of their nicotine. While it's their objective to keep you handing them your money to satisfy your dependency's wanting, I hope it's your dream to permanently arrest and silence it, and defy them.
Regretfully, science turned its head as financial stakeholders redefined "cessation" from meaning an end to nicotine use, to replacing it.
They remained silent as the pharmaceutical industry re-labeled a natural poison "medicine" and termed its use "therapy."
And why total silence when seeing apples compared to oranges?
What sense does it make to compare the accomplishment of someone who has stopped using nicotine to stimulate brain dopamine pathways, to someone who continues stimulation via NRT, e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, Zyban, Chantix or Champix?
But who has greater fault, those paid or profiting by knowingly engaging in sham nicotine shell games, or government agencies who continue to hide population level cessation method findings, findings that would aid users in making informed, intelligent and reasoned decisions?
Until recently, I struggled trying to understand why any government health official would discourage natural cessation. For years, I toyed with the possibility that health bureaucrats had grown lazy, don't read cessation studies, are generally stupid, or simply don't care.
It wasn't until July 2012 that I learned about the CDC Foundation. Established by Congress in 1995, it's a non-profit organization in which corporations such as GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer partner with the CDC, by making financial donations towards projects that the industry wants the CDC to study.
Online documents at www.cdcfoundation.org suggest that the amounts actually paid by cessation product makers are secret. What isn't secret is the partnership between the CDC and the industry.
What percentage of over-the-counter (OTC) NRT users are still not smoking at six months or one year? Would this be important to know? I challenge you to locate an answer to this critical question on any government, commercial or health website advocating NRT use. Good luck.
A March 2003 study, conducted by paid NRT industry consultants, combined and averaged all seven U.S. conducted OTC NRT patch and gum studies. OTC studies are important because their design is as close as possible to the way these products are used in the real world. Study participants simply walk into the pharmacy, purchase or are given the product, and then use it without any formal counseling, education or support.
Researchers found that only 7% of OTC study participants were still not smoking at six-months. That's right, a product with a 93% failure rate. It's actually worse. The same industry consultants also published a November 2003 study which found that as many as 7% of successful gum nicotine users were still hooked on the gum at six months.
Obviously these were two different studies. Even so, the math supports the July 2013 Gallup Poll finding that quitting with nicotine gum is nearly impossible.
What are the odds of success during a second or subsequent NRT attempt? Do the user's odds improve or get worse? Again, I challenge you to locate an answer to this rather important yet elementary question on any government or health organization website advocating replacement nicotine use.
The pharmaceutical industry, government health agencies and health non-profits have known since as early as 1993 that if you've already tried and failed while using the nicotine patch, that your odds during a second patch attempt drop to near zero.
Unlike cold turkey, where each failed attempt actually increases the odds of eventually self-discovering the Law of Addiction, the odds of success for the repeat NRT user dramatically decline following failure. Why would anyone hide this data?
Nicotine addicts are also not told that by 2003 at least 36.6% of all continuing nicotine gum users were chronic long-term users of greater than 6 months.
Let me share the first paragraph of an email I received. "I'm a 24 year old male who smoked cigarettes for about 6 years until stopping 2 years ago. Unfortunately, I did so by switching to Nicorette. In a horror story that I'm sure you've heard dozens of times, I'm now horribly addicted to the gum."
If able to get our brain's dopamine pathways adjusted to functioning without nicotine while at the same time continuing to use it, we should be extremely proud, because we are in fact super-heroes.
But if among the 93 out of 100 first time OTC NRT users who quickly relapse, or among the nearly 100% who fail during a second or subsequent attempt, rest assured, your brain dopamine pathways functioned as designed.
They made a circuitry-activating event (nicotine's arrival) extremely difficult, in the short term, to forget or ignore.
Replacement nicotine use defies the very purpose of withdrawal and recovery, the time needed to move beyond nicotine's influence. The few NRT users who do succeed are not breaking free because of weeks or months spent toying with replacement nicotine, but in spite of having done so. Frankly, it's testimony as to their drive and determination.
Core dreams and desires for freedom are not altered by standing in front of any weaning product or even Billy Bob's Lima Bean Butter. It is "us" doing the work.
So long as we keep our day #1 dreams vibrant and alive long enough to become entirely comfortable within nicotine-free skin, we'll eventually be free to award full credit to any product or procedure we desire.
But should this book serve as a tool in aiding your recovery, do understand that it was still "you" who put its lessons to work, you who did all of reading, reflecting and lifting, and the glory remains 100 percent yours!