NicoBloc – a new product for smokers

When immediate quitting is not an option



The properties of what later became known as NicoBloc were first observed in the early 1970’s during the Vietnam War. American soldiers were given free issue cigarettes but these tended to be the cheapest brands and as a result were very harsh to smoke

The NicoBloc Story

The properties of what later became known as NicoBloc were first observed in the early 1970’s during the Vietnam War. American soldiers were given free issue cigarettes but these tended to be the cheapest brands and as a result were very harsh to smoke. Soldiers got into the habit of applying Glycerine gel (which was included in their medical kit) to the filter tips of cigarettes – since it was noticed that Glycerine had the ability to trap cigarette tar and reduce the harshness.

This observation led to many laboratory trials which were conducted to develop a fluid which, while it was consistent in the amount of tar and nicotine that it trapped in standard filter cigarettes, it also did not significantly alter the taste or the smoking experience. The result was a completely drug- and nicotine-free solution that is made entirely from safe, FDA approved, food grade ingredients.

In the 1980’s, the product was initially test marketed through drug stores in the US but at that time there was not a strong anti-smoking movement or much publicity about the dangers of smoking and therefore the product did not achieve much awareness amongst smokers.

In 1990, it was decided that this product required a major education programme to both educate smokers about the dangers of smoking and training on how to use the product for maximum effectiveness. Recognising that smoking behaviour combined aspects of habit and addiction, professionals from both Weight Watchers and Alcoholics Anonymous were involved in developing a similar programme for smokers and as a result, the Rosen Stop Smoking Programme was born. Rosen stood for ‘Reduce and Overcome Smoking by Eliminating Nicotine’.

The Rosen Programme was a six-week course that included educational materials and practical demonstrations and centred on the use of the fluid. The course originally operated for groups of smokers in the workplace where employers were keen to help their staff give up cigarettes. This programme was operated throughout the UK and Ireland for over three years with many thousands of smokers achieving very high success rates (average 60% of participants actually stopping smoking).

The success of the Rosen Programme highlighted an interesting fact. Almost everybody that stopped smoking knew of other people outside of where they worked that would benefit from the Rosen Programme. Recognising that smoking was a worldwide problem where the existing cessation methods were not very successful, it was decided to evolve the Programme into a product available to the general public and Rosen Holdings Ltd was created to undertake this work.

The knowledge and experience gained from the work-based Rosen Programme was developed into the product now known as NicoBloc. Apart from the fluid, education and training are still important factors in helping smokers achieve success. Each pack of NicoBloc comes with a DVD providing animated instructions on how to maximise use of NicoBloc together with printed materials that helps smokers set their own weekly targets. This is further supported by a comprehensive website that provides additional information and tools for helping smokers.

GRM – Gradual Reduction Method

There is much research to show that while large numbers of smokers want to quit, they would prefer a method that allows them to cut down gradually. The general advice to smokers is usually to set a ‘quit date’ and then to stop smoking completely. If this can be achieved and sustained, then this would be the best option for the smoker. However, most smokers have tried at least once to stop ‘cold turkey’ and have found the associated withdrawal symptoms uncomfortable and the urge to smoke so powerful, that they often relapse and go back to smoking.

Once of the reasons put forward for this is that it is now generally accepted that nicotine is more addictive than heroin and other hard drugs and therefore instantly stopping puts quite a strain on a smoker’s body system. This being the case, the use of NicoBloc is centred on GRM (gradual reduction method) which is based on the same weaning-off principles used in addiction therapy, whereby the amount of nicotine consumed is gradually reduced over a period of time until the smoker is ready to stop completely.

There are two aspects to GRM – to gradually reduce the amount of nicotine that a smoker consumes from each cigarette and to gradually reduce the amount of cigarettes smoked over a period of time. This means that at the end of a period, typically six weeks, most smokers are down to just a few cigarettes a day and at the same time, have been gently weaned off of the addictive nicotine. At this point, the smoker still has to make their own decision to completely stop smoking, but as they are now doing this from a very low level, their bodies are much more able to cope with this change and therefore they are able stop smoking without suffering much of the usual withdrawal symptoms that smokers experience with other methods.

While nicotine is the addictive substance, it is also important to recognise that it is the tar in cigarettes which causes most lung and other health problems. It has been shown that switching to low tar brands does not remove these dangers and for this reason, cigarette companies have been stopped from promoting low tar cigarettes as less dangerous. Observations made during the Rosen Programme trials showed that as tar consumption was gradually reduced using NicoBloc, many smokers found that they were able to breathe easier, cough less and gain more energy.

As well as addiction, habit is another important aspect to smoking behaviour. GRM allows the smoker to gradually modify their smoking behaviour over a period of time so that the habit of smoking is sufficiently weakened to such an extent that it is not a traumatic event when the smoker does completely stop.

NicoBloc GRM combines the best of addiction therapy and behaviour modification techniques into a ‘smoker-friendly’ method. Furthermore, as NicoBloc is applied to the cigarette and not the person and is completely drug-free, it has been judged safe for use by pregnant women and people with other medical conditions where other methods are not advised or are ill-tolerated by the smoker.

How does NicoBloc GRM work?

One drop of NicoBloc put onto the filter of a cigarette will trap approximately 33% of the tar and nicotine. A 33% reduction in nicotine appears to be enough to start the weaning-off process but not enough to cause any withdrawal symptoms. In the second week, two drops are used on each cigarette, reducing tar and nicotine by about 66% and from week three onwards, three drops are used which blocks up to 99%.

In NicoBloc GRM, it is important that every aspect of smoking is gradually changed. For example, as well as tar containing the toxic chemicals, it is also the tar that gives tobacco its flavour. By gradually reducing the tar, the smoker’s taste buds get accustomed to this gentle change as well and this is why the smoker does not experience much change in taste. This is another reason why using NicoBloc is preferable to switching to low tar brands.

Motivation is a key element in any process where a target has to be reached. With NicoBloc GRM, smokers report that they feel motivated because they can see the nicotine and tar deposits on the filter, thereby knowing that they have reduced their intake of harmful substances. Since the smoker can see an instant result, they tend to become committed to the NicoBloc GRM concept very quickly and persevere with it, which is one of the main factors that makes NicoBloc a successful method. As mentioned above, smokers often notice health benefits associated with reduced tar which further motivates. Sometimes a smoker might forget to use NicoBloc on a cigarette and are surprised at how strong their usual cigarette feels – this is yet another motivating factor as the smoker realises how effective NicoBloc is.

Physically, NicoBloc works by creating a moist barrier within the filter of the cigarette. As the smoke passes through this barrier, the smoke is cooled down causing a percentage of the tar and nicotine vapour to condense into a solid form which then sticks to the filter material and is prevented from passing through to the smoker’s lungs. NicoBloc does not add anything to the inhaled cigarette smoke but actually takes out some of the toxic chemicals. However, it is important to recognise that while NicoBloc is a method of reducing consumption and preparing the smoker to stop, it is not a way to make smoking safe as there are other chemicals in cigarette smoke that can be injurious to health.

Research has shown that about 70% of users of NicoBloc had tried previously, but unsuccessfully, to stop smoking with other methods. Research also shows that on average, a smoker will make three attempts to stop smoking before they succeed. Therefore, NicoBloc is an ideal method for both the smoker who is embarking upon their first attempt to quit as well as those who have failed previously with other methods.

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