/Tobacco: “Smoking is a chronic illness like other illnesses”
Tobacco: “smoking Is A Chronic Illness Like Other Illnesses”

Tobacco: “Smoking is a chronic illness like other illnesses”

Patches, gums: more than 300,000 French people have bought these substitutes every month since the start of the school year.

Box of nicotine patches to help smokers sold in pharmacies.  (JEAN-PIERRE AMET / MAXPPP)

More than 300,000 French people buy nicotine substitutes (patch, chewing gum or chewing gum, lozenge, inhaler, etc.) every month since September, reveals franceinfo Thursday, November 29. Since May, the government has introduced the reimbursement of these substitutes by social security. There is no longer a ceiling and we no longer advance money in pharmacies. As a result, doctors’ prescriptions have jumped, + 66% compared to last year. “Smoking is a chronic illness like other illnesses”, explained on franceinfo Marion Adler, tobacco specialist.

franceinfo: Is 100% refund a good thing?

Marion Adler : It was important to consider that smoking is a chronic illness like other illnesses. When we are dependent on alcohol we have the reimbursement of cures, when we are dependent on heroin we have the reimbursement of Subutex. So it was important to consider that it was necessary to reimburse the treatments to help quitting smoking. The poorest people, in general, are the most addicted and most in need of the right dose of nicotine.

So the smoker is sick?

Yes, we are addicted to nicotine and we smoke in spite of ourselves every day and we can no longer go a day smoke-free. It is a lack of freedom.

Isn’t there a risk of doing too much?

The risk is cigarettes, not nicotine. The nicotine in cigarettes is the only thing that is not dangerous, but it is addictive, it is what makes you smoke every day. So, it is important to know that nicotine is not dangerous in itself, but will help you not to suffer from what it feels like when you don’t smoke for a few hours or a few days. So, it helps calm the pain of withdrawal. It’s essential. If you take too much gum, it’s like when you smoke too much during a party, you have a mushy mouth, nausea, nauseous words. If you put on too many patches you will feel the same.

Substitutes are not everything. Do you need to be accompanied?

It can help, but the good thing is that the substitutes are available over the counter at drugstores. So people can buy them without a prescription and it’s cheaper than buying cigarettes. Some people buy substitutes and quit smoking without a prescription because it works so well. It is true that it helps better if we are accompanied, if we can help people manage each moment that is an obstacle to stopping smoking.

Is the electronic cigarette recognized as a withdrawal aid?

It is not a drug, but what we see in our patients is that there are people who are helped by electronic cigarettes. This is something that will help them to quit smoking. It can be associated with validated treatments such as patches or gums.