To the Editor.
—The evidence from meta-analysis that the nicotine patch is indeed an effective aid to smoking cessation is encouraging.1 It must have occurred to many cigarette smokers, however, that the steady delivery of nicotine by the patch is entirely different than that gratifying first deep drag on a freshly lit cigarette. Cigarettes would seem likely to deliver a sharp rise in blood nicotine that might even reach the toxic range transiently. If this is true, the cigarette industry has furnished smokers with an inhaler that delivers safe levels of nicotine. In my personal experience, cigars, with their long-wave delivery of nicotine, do not satisfy cigarette addiction.The addictive component of cigarettes is nicotine, and carcinogens and pulmonary irritants are something else. Perhaps the manufacturers of patches or the manufacturers of cigarettes should develop another safe nicotine inhaler that would satisfy cigarette addicts without exposing them to the
Richardson GS. Using the Nicotine Patch to Stop Smoking. JAMA. 1995;273(3):181. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520270015006