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For Authors Continuing Education
Vol. 69, No. 9
ISSN: 1488-2159
October 2003


Are Nicotine Replacement Strategies to Facilitate Smoking Cessation Safe?


• Chris Lavelle, DDS, DSc, FRCPath, FRCD(C), MBA •
• Catalena Birek, DDS, PhD •
• David A. Scott, PhD •

A b s t r a c t

Professional obligations to curb the prevalence of cigarette smoking reflect the importance of this preventable risk factor for innumerable diseases. These include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and oral, lung and other cancers, although the morbidity and mortality rates for cerebrovascular disease (e.g., ischemic strokes) and cardiovascular disease (e.g., ischemic myocardial infarction) tend to be greater. Various alternative nicotine sources (e.g., transdermal nicotine patches, nicotine gum, nicotine nasal sprays) have been incorporated into smoking cessation programs.

This review is intended to increase professional awareness of nicotine delivery systems available in Canada, including safety considerations. The pathogenic potential of nicotine, regardless of source, and the contraindications to the use of nicotine replacement therapies are discussed. However, the systemic nicotine load in individuals undergoing replacement therapy is generally lower than during active smoking. Nicotine is only one of many thousands of constituents of tobacco smoke. Furthermore, nicotine replacement is usually delivered over the short term (a matter of weeks). Therefore, nicotine replacement is recognized as a relatively safe and effective aid to smoking cessation.


MeSH Key Words: nicotine/administration & dosage; risk assessment; smoking cessation/methods
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