If you ask the average smoker what the most difficult aspect of quitting smoking is, they’re likely to say, “the cravings.” As Jane Brody once wrote in one of her Times articles, “each cigarette sets up a craving for the next one.”
I remember my father pacing the floor during his attempts to stop the habit. My mother would warn my brother and I that “your dad’s trying to quit smoking again,” which signaled to us that it was a good idea to remain under his radar for awhile. Talk about walking on eggshells! To be honest, we were all relieved when he succumbed to his cravings and smoked!
My father finally did quit, cold turkey, which, according to the National Health Institute, proves successful only 4% of the time. To assuage the craving problem, companies have come up with several methods that will give the smoker the nicotine he craves through other, less toxic means, like patches, or gum. However, according to various studies, these products are vastly underused; if smokers were more willing to try them, researchers say that the success rate would double or triple.
Perhaps this is because using a patch seems defeatist, to some. After all, if you use a patch you’re going to eventually have to wean yourself off of them, also.
But hope may be on the horizon: according to the journal Pharmcometrics, a Japanese study shows that an extract made from oat leaf might help smokers reduce their cigarette intake, if not quit altogether. The supplement has no nicotine; it works by targeting enzymes and brainwaves in the brain that assist us in cognitive performance.
8 smokers with a mean age of 32 were given the supplement for 28 months. On average, the smokers reduced their intake from 20 to 9 cigarettes a day. They all claimed that their cravings were radically reduced while taking the supplement.
They study team also discovered that after the trial run, the smokers all had less carbon monoxide on their breath, going from 17 ppm to 11.9 ppm.
While there undoubtedly needs to be more extensive research, the Japanese study does give pause, and is certainly worth pursuing. After all, according to the National Health Institute, 40% of smokers in the U.S. try to quit, during any given year, yet only 5% of those attempts are successful.
An all natural cessation supplement sans nicotine, or any other harmful substance may be just what the doctor ordered.