Innovative Study: Is It Possible to Give up Smoking Using Nicotine-free Cigarettes?

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After several years of research work the German start-up “” has developed a tobacco-based, nicotine-free cigarette. The task now posed is to demonstrate its effectiveness for quitting smoking through a large-scale scientific study.

In 2011, the former EU Health Commissioner John Dalli announced his intention to require the tobacco industry to reduce the nicotine content in cigarettes. The world's leading experts in the domain of the study of addiction believe that this measure has the greatest potential to reduce tobacco-related mortality. Yet a corresponding obligation was not incorporated in the new EU-Tobacco-Products-Directive which was decided by the European Parliament on Friday.

It is generally known that giving up smoking using conventional methods such as nicotine patches or chewing gum often fails due to barrier of habits. In order to quit smoking, the entire daily routine has to be modified. However, many smokers find it difficult to forgo the cherished cigarette with morning coffee or during a break with fellow employees.

These habits can be kept when giving up smoking with the aid of nicotine-free cigarettes. As soon as the body no longer receives any further nicotine, the basis for addiction is removed and the urge to smoke recedes after a few weeks. Nicotine-free cigarettes could thus be the solution for many smokers who want to give up this vice. Although nicotine-free cigarettes represent the most attractive aid for quitting smoking, they have so far not been available on the market.

The German start-up “” intends to change this situation. After several years of development, the company succeeded in producing tobacco-based, nicotine-free cigarettes. “The production methods turned out to be much simpler than originally expected. Nicotine-free cigarettes can be produced using traditional cultivation methods, without the use of chemical substances or genetically manipulated plants,” explains Managing Director Sebastian Schewe.” plans to market nicotine-free cigarettes exclusively as an aid in giving up smoking. For this reason, the company is attempting to have its cigarettes classified as a medical device. Sebastian Schewe emphasizes that nicotine-free cigarettes are just as harmful to health as regular cigarettes. They differ only in that they are non-addictive and this way permit the cycle of addiction to be broken.

As only a small number of subjects have participated in the studies conducted up until now, many researchers continue to doubt that nicotine-free cigarettes are effective in quitting smoking. They suspect that other substances in addition to nicotine are also responsible for creating and maintaining addiction. Sebastian Schewe respondes to these objections by announcing that his company will only bring its product onto the market, “once its effectiveness has been irrefutably confirmed by independent experts within the framework of a scientific study.”

To organise this study, “” has launched a campaign on Indiegogo. This crowdfunding-platform allows innovative concepts to be realised by having a great many people support them with small amounts of money. In return supporters receive a corresponding consideration for their contributions. Starting now, smokers who are interested in the new product can test nicotine-free cigarettes and apply to participate in the study via Indiegogo.

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Sebastian Schewe

Sebastian Schewe
since: 11/2013
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