Nicotine might help prevent corona virus infections.
The French government has temporarily restricted the sale of nicotine substitutes after French researchers announced a clinical trial to determine whether nicotine can help prevent coronavirus infection or treat COVID-19 complications. The temporary restrictions do not affect consumer products such as nicotine patches or tobacco products.
The government stated that the restrictions are intended to prevent “excessive consumption”, stimulated by the announcement of studies showing that nicotine is promising as a COVID prevention drug, and to ensure “continued and appropriate care for people who need medical assistance to stop smoking”.
The emergency ordinance limits the sale of products such as nicotine patches, chewing gums, lozenges and inhalers to one month’s supply per person and prohibits online sales. Customers will be asked to provide pharmacies with their personal details in order to track sales. The order is valid until 11 May, when some restrictions will be relaxed.
The clinical trial, which begins at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital
It follows a study showing that French smokers are far less likely to become infected with the virus than the general population. The French data confirm earlier results from China and the United States. The study uses nicotine patches that release nicotine very slowly and are not able to create addiction or dependency in nicotine-dependent consumers.
The World Health Organization said on Friday that the French data “does not match what we see in other countries,” but that is wrong. The results are remarkably consistent and show that smokers are hospitalized with the virus disproportionately less often than non-smokers.
Scientists, including Greek cardiologist and e-cigarette researcher Konstantinos Farsalinos, suspect that nicotine occupies certain receptors on cells that are the main targets for the corona virus to enter the body and block the virus’ access. If the benefit is proven, nicotine could become a gap prevention measure until a vaccine against the coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, becomes available.
Nicotine has many benefits that are generally ignored by the medical establishment. It is a reliable cognitive enhancer that improves short-term memory and reaction time, and it is known to prevent Parkinson’s disease. Researcher Paul Newhouse of Vanderbilt University is currently leading a large, multi-institutional study of nicotine as a treatment for the cognitive impairment that leads to Alzheimer’s disease.