A better substitute for nicotine.

A better substitute for nicotine.

We’ve been ecstatic about the recent feedback from customers who’ve been able to curb their nicotine habit after using Inhale Health products.


Though we don’t explicitly promote our products as a replacement for nicotine, we were curious to understand why customers were sharing similar experiences that ended their smoking addiction.

Psychology of a smoker

The psychology of smoking and the smoker is based on the complex interplay of nicotine, genetic, learning, emotion­al, reward and punishment sensitivity, and environmental factors that characterize the indi­vidual smoker1. Substantial evidence indicates that there are many differences between smokers and the fac­tors that drive their smoking and influence their quitting smoking2.

Whether smoking is habitual and largely attributed to psychological factors or largely attributed to nicotine dependence can be determined by Fagerstrom Tolerance Questionnaire (FTQ; Table 1) and Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND; Table 2). The Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence was designed to provide an ordinal measure of nicotine dependence related to cigarette smoking.

fagerstrom questionnaire

When a person scores at least 6 points on the tests, smoking can be largely attributed to nicotine dependence, and when the score is low, smoking can be largely attributed to psychological factors. A survey of company workers and city employees conducted by a public health center showed that nicotine-dependent smoking with a score of at least 6 points was relatively uncommon and that the habitual factor had to do more with smoking in most cases. This suggests the importance to examine the issue from a psychological perspective.

Understanding habits

“Reward learning” is a process by which organisms acquire information about stimuli, actions, and contexts that predict positive out­comes. A frequent outcome in this process serves as a catalyst to habit formation - sequential, repetitive, motor or cognitive behaviors elicited by external or internal triggers that can go to completion without conscious oversight. Nicotine enhances dopamine release in rein­forcement/reward circuits in the brain and thereby may be associated with increased attention to and effort for reward ­related stimuli.

Smokers who recognize the psychological motivation behind their dependence can find opportunities to substitute reward expectations from nicotine with alternative therapies, ideally leading to a modification of pre-existing habits.

Breaking the mold

According to Nicotine & Tobacco Research, sleep disturbance is commonly reported as a prominent subjective symptom by quitting smokers. In addition, after overnight abstinence (while sleeping), a majority of smokers find the first cigarette of the day to be particularly satisfying, pro­moting a sustained cycle of cigarette use3. It's time to ditch the late-night smoke breaks. Kick off a healthy nighttime routine and reward yourself with melatonin.

Inhale Health’s mission aims to leverage advancements in technology that expand alternative paths toward wellness. Per our recent customer feedback: Caffeine in the morning, Vitamin B12 in the afternoon and Melatonin at night can serve as a viable substitute to nicotine while supporting the formation of positive lifestyle habits. Patterns change behavior.

  • 1 Audrain-McGovern J, Nigg JT, Perkins K: Endo- phenotypes for nicotine dependence risk at or before initial nicotine exposure; in NCI Tobacco Control Monograph Series, No 20: Phenotypes and Endophenotypes: Foundations for Genetic Studies of Nicotine Use and Dependence. Bethesda, National Cancer Institute, 2009, chapt 8.
  • 2 Pergadia ML, Der-Avakian A, D'Souza MS, Madden PAF, Heath AC, Shiffman S, Markou A, Pizza- galli DA: Association between nicotine withdrawal and reward responsiveness in humans and rats. JAMA Psychiatry 2014;71:1238-1245.
  • 3 Lessov-Schlaggar CN, Pergadia ML, Khroyan TV, Swan GE: Genetics of nicotine dependence and pharmacotherapy. Biochem Pharmacol 2008;75: 178-195.
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