Nicotine meets all critical criteria for an addictive drug. Furthermore, there is no evidence that there would be wide-spread compulsive use of tobacco without nicotine. These findings have led to consideration of the cigarette as a contaminated vehicle for an addictive drug (nicotine). Nevertheless, nicotine itself may also be used therapeutically to reduce exposure to carcinogens and other tobacco toxins. Nicotine replacement is a useful adjunct in treating tobacco dependence. For example, nicotine replacement in the form of a polacrilex resin (chewing gum) can alleviate physically based signs and symptoms of tobacco abstinence. The fact that this form of nicotine replacement is not attractive to non-users of tobacco has opened the door to the use of nicotine in a therapeutic modality, permitting hope of eliminating tobacco dependence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine