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LETTER: Anti-smoking activists ignore benefits of nicotine

Anti-smoking groups have not done their research before making their ads. Nicotine is not the culprit they make it out to be.

Maryka Quik, a neuroscientist and program director of the Neurodegenerative Disease Program at SRI International based in California, has published "dozens of studies revealing the beneficial actions of nicotine within the mammalian brain," Discover magazine reported last year.

She's quoted in the magazine as saying, "The whole problem with nicotine is that it happens to be found in cigarettes."

Harold Kahn, epidemiologist at the National Institutes of Health, in a military study showed that while smokers were far more likely to die of lung cancer and emphysema than non-smokers, they were notably less likely than nonsmokers to develop Parkinson's disease.

"Following up, researchers expected the finding to be just a statistical aberration in Kahn's data, but instead quickly confirmed it," Discover reported.

Here's more from Discover: "In 2008, Paul Newhouse, director of the Center for Cognitive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, compared performance on a series of cognitive tasks in 15 nonsmoking ADHD patients while wearing either a 7-mg nicotine patch or a placebo patch. After just 45 minutes with the nicotine patch, the young adults were significantly better at inhibiting an impulse, delaying a reward and remembering an image they had seen. ...

"Psychologist Jennifer Rusted of the University of Sussex in Britain calls the drug 'the most reliable cognitive enhancer that we currently have.'"

Miles Anderson