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May 7, 1982

New knowledge about nicotine effects

JAMA. 1982;247(17):2333-2338. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320420007003

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Remember the cigarette advertisements of the 1940s: "Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet" and "Have a Camel with your meal and after it—they satisfy"?

Well, recent research suggests that those ads were accurate. It appears that cigarettes may reduce the desire for sweets and help some people to achieve greater satisfaction from their meals. And the responsible ingredient seems to be nicotine.

In fact, a wealth of recent evidence indicates that nicotine in cigarettes is responsible for a host of physiological and psychological effects and that these alterations in metabolism and mood are a major reason why people smoke—and find it so hard to stop smoking.

This research is buttressed by the therapeutic use of nicotine-containing gum to aid in smoking cessation. In one soon-to-be-published placebo-controlled trial, use of the gum doubled quit rates.

"In the 1950s people talked about cigarette smoking as a psychosocial habit," notes Lynn