30th August 08:55
MAYBE NICOTINE (unsmoked) IS GOOD FOR YOU
III - Gold in Nicotine
By Wanda Hamilton
"It helps digestion, the gout, the toothache, prevents infection by
scents; it heats the cold, and cools them that sweat, feedeth the hungry,
spent spirits restoreth, purgeth the stomach, killeth nits and lice; the
juice of the green leaf healeth green wounds, although poisoned; the syrup
for many diseases; the smoke for the phthisic, cough of the lungs,
distillations of rheum, and all diseases of a cold and moist cause; good
for all bodies cold and moist taken upon an empty stomach; taken upon a
full stomach it precipitates digestion."
John Josselyn on the medicinal uses of tobacco, 1675 (quoted in C.A.
Weslager, Magic Medicines of the Indians, Signet, NY: 1974)
"Nicotine is an amazing chemical."
Jack Henningfield, 1998 (quoted in "Smoking Aside, Nicotine Remains an
Amazing Chemical," Scott Shane, The Seattle Times, 1/11/98, p. A10).
Henningfield, a pharmacologist at Johns Hopkins and former National
Institute of Drug Abuse scientist, is also a consultant to SmithKline
obacco was used medicinally by the indigenous populations in the Americas long
before the arrival of European settlers. After the Europeans began to colonize
the New World, they too used it to treat numerous physical diseases and
complaints, a practice which continued in American folk remedies until well into
the 20th century.
However, as the anti-tobacco movement gained strength and momentum in the 1980s,
both tobacco and the nicotine it contained were excoriated by public health
officials. And in 1988 the U.S. Surgeon General's report for the first time
asserted that nicotine was an addictive drug, chaining smokers to their
cigarettes. This claim has become a favored weapon not only of the anti-tobacco
establishment but also of trial attorneys attempting to win huge sums of money
in lawsuits against the tobacco industry.
Pharmacolgists and other scientists, who had been investigating the
physiological effects of nicotine since at least the 1950s, began to find that
nicotine could have significant the****utic applications, both as a stop-smoking
aid and as a medicine for treating various diseases. Their interest in nicotine
increased as new discoveries about the substance emerged.
A time-specific online search of the National Library of Medicine's PubMed
database demonstrates quite well the pattern of increasing scientific interest
in nicotine. Between 1963 (the earliest publication year PubMed indexes) and
1970, 1092 articles on nicotine are listed; between 1971 and 1980, 2346 articles
are listed; between 1981 and 1990, 3771 articles are listed; and between 1991
and 2000, 6919 articles are listed. In other words, in thirty-seven years,
published research involving nicotine multiplied by more than a factor of six.
The pharmaceutical industry had seen for some time the potential profits in
developing nicotine-based smoking-cessation drugs. In 1962, Pharmacia's
scientists began working on such nicotine delivery devices, and by 1971 they had
perfected nicotine-laden gum, which was later marketed by SmithKline Beecham as
Nicorette. As the anti-tobacco movement grew, other pharmaceutical companies
became interested in the potentially huge market for smoking-cessation products.
When researcher Jed Rose developed the transdermal nicotine patch in the early
1980s, the pharmaceutical industry was quick to begin steps to bring it to
It wasn't just the smoking-cessation applications of alternate nicotine delivery
systems that interested the drug companies, of course, but a multitude of other
pharmacological applications as well.
As Jed Rose, developer of the transdermal nicotine patch said, "There is a
tremendous growth of interest in the nicotine field. There's been a virtual
explosion of new findings on every level," ("A Cigarette Chemical Packed with
Helpful Effects?" John Schwartz, The Washington Post, 11/9/98, p. A10).
Nicotine: The Wonder Drug
"The importance of nicotine's safety, especially its long-term safety, is
related not only to its role in the cessation of smoking but also to its
potential role in the treatment of many clinical conditions."
Alexander Glassman, M.D., Book Review of Nicotine Safety and Toxicity, Ed.
by Neal L. Benowitz, NY, Oxford Univ. Press, 1998, in The New England
Journal of Medicine, 2/18/99.
Some of the already established pharmacologic applications of nicotine include:
pain relief, relief of anxiety and depression; improvement in concentration and
performance in those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorders; relief of
some of the symptoms of acute schizophrenia; relief of some of the symptoms of
Tourette's syndrome; relief of some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease; and
relief of some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
New, cutting-edge research indicates even greater medical applications for
"This study demonstrates that nicotine stimulates recovery from brain damage
and the results are discussed in relation to neural mechanism and potential
applications." (Brown RW, Gonzalez CL, Whishaw IQ, Kolb B, "Nicotine
improvement of Morris water task performance after fimbria-fornix lesion is
blocked by mecamylamine," Behav Brain Research, Mar 15, 2001.)
"The research, involving animal studies, showed that the nicotine agent
created more new blood vessels in blocked arteries than any other known growth
factor. The new agent could be used to treat failing hearts and limbs with
poor circulation. It holds the potential for non-surgical heart by-pass
procedures." (Company Press Release, "Research Indicating That Nicotine Holds
Potential for Non-Surgical Heart By-Pass Procedures Honored by the American
College of Cardiology," 3/17/00)
"Nicotine might be a surprising alternative someday for treating stubborn
forms of tuberculosis….'The compound stopped the growth of tuberculosis in
laboratory tests, even when used in small quantities,' said Saleh Naser, an
associate professor of microbiology and molecular biology at UCF.... Naser
said nicotine worked better than about 10 other substances also tested."
("Shocker: 'Villain' nicotine slays TB," Robyn Suriano, Orlando Sentinel,
"In addition, nicotine can exert a neuroprotective effect by attenuation of
AA-induced upregulation of nNOS metabolism. These data may have the****utic
implication for the treatment of acute spinal cord trauma." (Toborek M,
Garrido R, Malecki A, Kaiser S, et al, "Nicotine Attenuates Arachidonic
Acid-Induced Overexpression of Nitric Oxide Synthase in Cultured Spinal Cord
Neurons," Experimental Neurology, 161(2), Feb 2000).
"According to a new study, nicotine may reduce cramping and other symptoms of
colitis, a painful intestinal disease that affects hundreds of thousands of
people in the U.S. and millions around the world. The study, published in the
Annals of Internal Medicine (Mar 1, 1997), could lead to better treatment for
the estimated 320,000 people who suffer from ulcerative colitis in the US."
(AP, Mar 1, 1997).
Possible use of nicotine in the prevention of classical Kaposi's sarcoma with
KS herpes virus infection. (Goedert J, Vitale F, Lorenzo G, Romano N, National
Cancer Institute, "Classical Kaposi's Sarcoma With KS Herpes Virus Infection:
Reduced Risk with Cigarette Smoking," Proceedings of the American Association
for Cancer Research, Vol 42, March 2001).
Treatment of clinical depression. "That could mean a whole new arena for new
antidepressant drugs. It's quite possible you could make derivatives of
nicotine that wouldn't have the medical complications of nicotine but could
prove very useful in the treatment of clinical depression." Dr. Alexander
Glassman, chief of clinical psychopharmacology at Columbia University's New
York State Psychiatric Institute (quoted in "Kicking Habit Kicks Up
Depression," Neil Sherman, HealthScout, 6/19/01).
Given studies such as these, in addition to the wealth of studies on the
established the****utic applications of nicotine, it's not difficult to
understand the drug industry's interest in the substance. Though the
pharmaceutical companies cannot patent nicotine per se, they can patent
nicotine delivery devices and new the****utic compounds containing nicotine as
a primary ingredient. In fact, they have already accomplished a portion of
this task by patenting nicotine delivery devices as smoking cessation aids and
receiving FDA approval for their efficacy and safety. The pharmaceutical
industry would of course be delighted if the tobacco companies and their
"nicotine delivery devices" (i.e. cigarettes) were eradicated entirely. Then
Big Drugs would be the sole provider of nicotine to the world.
Tobacco Companies and The****utic Nicotine
Despite Big Drugs' efforts to wrest control of nicotine from the proprietary
hands of the tobacco industry, some of the tobacco companies are fighting back
by starting pharmaceutical companies of their own.
In 1997 R J Reynolds formed Targacept, Inc., a pharmaceutical division
focusing on developing "compounds" to treat such disorders as Alzheimer's,
Parkinson's, depression, pain, ulcerative colitis, Tourette's Syndrome,
attention deficit disorder and
schizophrenia--all of which had been shown to respond to treatment with
nicotine. On August 24, 2000, RJR announced that it had spun off Targacept
after completing a $30.4 million equity financing with lead investor EuclidSR
Partners and other venture investors. RJR will own 43 percent of the new
company, which has "more than 60 issued patents and pending applications, as
well as hundreds of compounds that may have the potential to treat disease,"
(PR Newswire, company press release, 8/25/2000).
On February 8, 1999, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, a global pharmaceutical company,
announced an alliance with Targacept for a "collaborative research,
development and commercialization agreement…to develop new drugs to treat
Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases" (Company Press Release, 2/9/99).
Japan Tobacco, now the world's third largest tobacco company, also has a
pharmaceutical arm. On Oct. 26, 1997 Johnson & Johnson, marketers of Nicotrol,
announced it had signed a licensing agreement with Japan Tobacco for the
rights to a novel class of compounds for the treatment of pain and
inflammation. J&J would have exclusive rights to develop and market the
"compounds" worldwide except in Japan and South Korea. J&J ended the licensing
agreement in July 2000, but Japan Tobacco said it would continue trials of the
drug in Japan and consider other options for its development and marketing
In May 2001 Brown & Williamson, a division of British American Tobacco,
announced the release of Ariva, a mint hard candy containing as much nicotine
as a cigarette. B&W did not claim the****utic uses for the candy, but said it
was for smokers to use in venues where they cannot smoke.
Also in May 2001, chewing tobacco and snuff giant Swedish Match announced the
development of a nicotine gum which would be launched in Europe later in the
year. As with the mint candy, no the****utic applications are claimed. Swedish
Match is simply billing it as an alternative chew.
Nicotine is indeed a wondrous substance. It can be used as a pesticide and is
toxic in sufficient quantities at sufficient strength, but it can also heal
and soothe man's body and soul. The Indians revered the tobacco plant, the
greatest natural source of nicotine, as a gift from the gods. Now it appears
that multinational corporations are battling over golden nicotine just as
European countries battled over control of the New World's gold more than four
30th August 10:01
MAYBE NICOTINE (unsmoked) IS GOOD FOR YOU
Johnson & Johnson has spent over $133 million already on anti-smoking PR and I
guess it is paying off because in 2004 alone sales of cessation products sales
were almost a billion dollars.
Cessation Products More Popular Amongst Low-Income Population
The smoking cessation products market has shown irregular growth the past
few years with 2004 retail sales at $799.4 million, a growth of 2.5% over
2003. The market, long-suffering the catch-22 inherent in its consumer
base, is struggling with another pressing issue: lack of innovation
compounded by a small number of market players. To drive future growth,
the industry needs to build excitement and branch out into new areas in
terms of both formulation and target markets.