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Nicotine-gum users: watch what you drink.

Nicotine-gum users: Watch what you drink

Many people attempting to break tobacco's addictive hold chew medically prescribed nicotine-laced gum. It can reduce tobacco withdrawal, a desire to smoke, and such side effects as weight gain -- but only when sufficient nicotine is absorbed. As a result, patients usually receive instructions on how and when to chew the gum. But when some people who followed these rules still obtained little benefit from the chewing therapy, researchers at the University of Kentucky in Lexington and the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Addiction Research Center in Baltimore decided to investigate the effects of diet. In the Sept. 25 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, they report that these individuals may have "received the equivalent of placebo therapy" if they consumed acidic foods or beverages prior to chewing the gum.

Eight male, long-term smokers volunteered for a series of three-hour test sessions. Prior to each session, the men abstained from nicotine and caffeine for 12 hours. At the start of each test, the subjects rinsed their mouth with coffee, cola or distilled water. Then they chewed gum containing 4 milligrams of nicotine at a prescribed pace for 15 minutes. Blood pressure, heart rate, skin temperature and subjective responses -- such as tingling sensations -- were assayed before, during and 20 minutes after each chewing cycle. The researchers sampled blood and saliva from the men at frequent intervals.

In contrast to the distilled water rinse, the coffee and cola mouth rinses "virtually eliminated" absorption of the chewing gum's nicotine, the team reports. That makes sense, they point out, since coffee and carbonated drinks are both very acidic, and oral nicotine absorption depends on limiting saliva's acidity. The researchers conclude that many smokers may inadvertently thwart gum therapy -- especially in the morning, when the craving for cigarettes is strong and the tendency to comsume fruit, juice, coffee or tea is high.
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Title Annotation:acidic foods or beverages may nullify effect of nicotine
Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 6, 1990
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