As if we needed another reason to tout the powerful benefits of a plant-strong diet, a new study suggests fruits and veggies may help smokers quit. Check out the report below from The Guardian Nigeria on the recently released study from the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research. And no, I don’t read this newspaper regularly, it showed up in my daily Google search.
Thursday, 28 June 2012 00:00 BY CHUKWUMA MUANYA
Can plant-based foods and herbal preparation help smokers quit the habit for good? CHUKWUMA MUANYA writes.
THERE have been various proposed treatments for people who want to quit smoking. Top on the list is the administration of nicotine, the putative addictive substance in tobacco smoking.
One of the most successful approaches, which have been used to date in reducing the incidence of tobacco smoking, relies upon nicotine containing chewing gum, and nicotine patch. However, these approaches have reported unpleasant side effects, and they are not easy to come by in this part of the world.
But researchers have found that eating more plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables and spices may help smokers quit the habit and stay tobacco-free for longer.
According to a new study published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, smokers who consumed the most fruit and vegetables were three times more likely to be tobacco-free for at least 30 days at follow-up 14 months later than those consuming the lowest amount of fruits and vegetables.
These findings persisted even when adjustments were made to take into account age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, household income and health orientation.
They also found that smokers with higher fruit and vegetable consumption smoked fewer cigarettes per day, waited longer to smoke their first cigarette of the day and scored lower on a common test of nicotine dependence.
The study University at Buffalo (UB), United States, public health researchers, is the first longitudinal study on the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and smoking cessation.
Also, a herbal preparation made predominantly with ginger (Zingiber officinale), scent leaf (Ocimum gratissimum, nchuanwu in Igbo, effirin ajale in Yoruba), cloves (Syzygium aromaticum), nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), camphor plant (Cinnamomum camphora), among others has received a United States patent for quitting smoking.
The novel nicotine free anticigarette herbal formulation has received a United States Patent 7534454 as an anti-dote to the poisoning effects of tobacco products such as cigarettes and other similar tobacco related products.
The formulation comprises of sterilised dried plant powder/extracts together with the conventional additives to form the oral dosage forms, which include tablets, capsules, syrup and powders ready for suspension and mouth spray.
The anti tobacco addiction herbal formulation comprises of Sesbania grandiflora, Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus), holy basil (Ocimum sanctum), nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), Elettaria cardamomum, Carum copticum, clove (Syzygium aromaticum), Cinnamomum tamala, calamus root (Acorus calamus), ginger (Zingiber officinale), black pepper (Piper nigrum), Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Cuminum cyminum, Nigella sativum, camphor plant (Cinnamomum camphora), Piper longum, scent leaf (Ocimum gratissimum) and Hemidesmus indicus.
The inventors include: Karerat Arun Kumar, Ifthikar Oommer Rowther Mohammed, Varghese Joy, and Vellappillil Achuthan Venugopal of MIR Holistics Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, India; and Palpu Pushpangadan, Rawat Ajay Kumar Singh, Rao Chandana Venkateswara, and Govindarajan Raghavan of National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.
In a detailed description of the invention, the inventors wrote: “…If desired one or more pharmaceutical additives can be added and the composition converted to a solid dosage forms like tablet or capsule or used as a syrup, aerosol spray etc. Sesbania grandiflora and Ocimum gratissimum potentiated the free radical scavenging and 89.5 per cent stopped smoking with the formulation containing the Sesbania grandiflora and Ocimum gratissimum than that of the composition containing the other components…”
It was observed that the formulation at a dose of more than 1,000 mg/kg did not cause any biochemical changes in serum or any significant change in the organ weight or any change in haematological parameters. It was further observed that the formulation at a dose of 100-200-mg/kg showed stoppage of smoking in three to10 weeks treatment as well as showed free radical scavenging property and potent antioxidant activity.
“It is, therefore, noted that the formulation is useful as an antidote to the effects of tobacco as well as helps prevent smoking,” the inventors wrote.
Meanwhile, the authors, from UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions, surveyed 1,000 smokers aged 25 and older from around the country, using random-digit dialing telephone interviews. They followed up with the respondents fourteen months later, asking them if they had abstained from tobacco use during the previous month.
Chair of the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior at UB, Dr. Gary A. Giovino, said: “Other studies have taken a snapshot approach, asking smokers and nonsmokers about their diets. We knew from our previous work that people who were abstinent from cigarettes for less than six months consumed more fruits and vegetables than those who still smoked. What we didn’t know was whether recent quitters increased their fruit and vegetable consumption or if smokers who ate more fruits and vegetables were more likely to quit.”
First author on the paper and graduate research assistant in the UB Department of Community Health and Health Behaviour, Dr. Jeffrey P. Haibach, said: “We may have identified a new tool that can help people quit smoking. Granted, this is just an observational study, but improving one’s diet may facilitate quitting.”
Several explanations are possible, such as less nicotine dependence for people who consume a lot of fruits and vegetables or the fact that higher fiber consumption from fruits and vegetables make people feel fuller.
“It is also possible that fruits and vegetables give people more of a feeling of satiety or fullness so that they feel less of a need to smoke, since smokers sometimes confuse hunger with an urge to smoke,” explains Haibach.
And unlike some foods, which are known to enhance the taste of tobacco, such as meats, caffeinated beverages and alcohol, fruits and vegetables do not enhance the taste of tobacco.
The UB researchers caution that more research is needed to determine if these findings replicate and if they do, to identify the mechanisms that explain how fruit and vegetable consumption may help smokers quit. They also see a need for research on other dietary components and smoking cessation.