Rinse And Spit - Mouthwash Helps Smokers Quit
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) -- A mouthwash that makes cigarettes taste awful and cleans the gums, all at the same time? No, it's not a ``Saturday Night Live'' sketch--it's a potential new method to help smokers kick the habit, according to researchers at th
``The guy who developed this rinse got the idea that if you mixed chemicals in a certain way and rinsed with the combination it could make the taste of a cigarette awful--and he tried it out on a few friends who smoked and they kept calling him for more,'' said Dr. Sebastian Ciancio, professor and chair of the Department of Peridontics and Endodonics at State University of New York at Buffalo, and director of the Center for Dental Studies.
According to investigators, the mouth rinse is designed to affect only tobacco smoke, rendering the taste of a cigarette terrible for 5 to 8 hours after rinsing in the way one would with a normal mouthwash. Without utilizing any nicotine or drug to achieve its deterrent effect, researchers note that the mouthwash could be helpful to those individuals who are unable to use other available smoking cessation aids that contain drugs--such as pregnant women and patients recovering from heart bypass surgery. And they add that the same mouthwash may also have a beneficial side effect of removing plaque and preventing gum disease.
Researchers are set to begin a 1 month trial in June with 20 men and women of all ages who smoke at least one pack of cigarettes a day--all of whom indicate a willingness and motivation to quit smoking. Hoping to have data by mid-July, the researchers will seek to answer three questions: Does it reduce smoking and help people quit?; What do smokers think about the product?; and, Does it reduce plaque and improve the health of the smokers' gums?
In an interview with Reuters Health, Ciancio said that even though the inventor of the mouthwash is a reputable scientist with a good track record--previously he worked with the team that produced the first Xerox copy paper--he himself greeted the concept of an antismoking mouthwash with some dubiousness when it was brought to him at the university. ``He's quite a good scientist and he used to be a chemist, but actually when he contacted me I wasn't sure if it was for real or not, so I asked him to send his patent, and he did.''
Although the inventor wishes to remain anonymous at this time for patent purposes, Ciancio no longer feels any hesitation touting the potential of the mouthwash--citing the anecdotal evidence that this antismoking method may prove to have great potential. ``His (the developer's) friends had tried everything else to quit--the patch, the gum, acupuncture, psychological means--and nothing had worked,'' he said. ``But he says this thing had worked for them, and I don't know of any other mouth rinse like this.''