Anti-smoking supplement under attack

Related tags Pregnant women Nicotine

Trials of a natural supplement designed to stop smoking have caused
controversy in the UK as they are being carried out on pregnant
women. Manufacturers of NicoBloc however say it is a safer method
than the usual nicotine replacement patches.

A UK hospital taking part in trials for a natural stop-smoking aid came under attack yesterday from smoking cessation groups.

Liverpool Women's Hospital is conducting trials to determine whether pregnant women who are unable to stop smoking would benefit from the new product called NicoBloc.

NicoBloc is said to contain approved food ingredients in a syrup that is applied in drops to the filter of a cigarette immediately before smoking. This can block up to 99 per cent of the tar and nicotine from being inhaled, according to the manufacturers who cite clinical tests conducted at Stillwell & Gladding Laboratories, New York.

The US-based company claims that by increasing the drops gradually to a maximum of three, while simultaneously reducing the number of cigarettes smoked daily, the smoker is gently weaned off both addiction and habit over about six weeks. And because the substance is made from natural ingredients, it does not affect the unborn baby.

Anti-smoking campaigners, however, have expressed concern at the use of NicoBloc as it allows smokers to continue to smoke while following the giving up programme. This means pregnant women using the product continue to be exposed to cigarette smoke.

According to a report by the BBC news, the NHS has refused to endorse the product, recommending conventional nicotine replacement therapies such as gum and patches instead. There is also alarm that trials are being carried out on pregnant women.

NicoBloc maintains that the product is however safer than nicotine replacement products.Maria Leahy, NicoBloc's medical director said: "It is wonderful when pregnant women are able to give up smoking through willpower alone, but for those for whom the addiction is too strong, NicoBloc offers an excellent solution to assist them. NicoBloc is a simple, entirely safe, all-natural product and is a marvellous tool for pregnant mothers who wish to give up smoking."

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