One in five adults currently smoke in New Zealand but researcher Phillipa Newton says taking micronutrients could stop relapses for people trying to quit.
Masters student Phillipa Newton
“Smoking is still a major issue in New Zealand. It costs government over $1.5 billion a year because of early death, loss of production due to illness and smoking-related healthcare costs,’’ Newton says.
“Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in New Zealand accounting for around 4300 to 4600 deaths a year. Second-hand smoke is the leading environmental cause of preventable death in New Zealand and kills around 350 people a year.
“More than 60 percent of Christchurch smokers have relapsed since the earthquake. Research indicates that the prevalence of smoking in Christchurch has increased since the earthquake while the rest of New Zealand rates are declining.
“There is a history of using nutritional supplements in the treatment of addiction, mood, anxiety and many more psychological disorders.
“Previous research on the use of micronutrients for addiction has shown that relapse rates and drug hunger can be reduced and psychological functioning can be improved while on the nutrients.
“My study uses a broader array of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, to evaluate the impact micronutrients have on withdrawal symptoms from smoking.
“I am conducting a four month trial, supervised by associate professors Neville Blampied and Julia Rucklidge, using micronutrients to reduce the withdrawal symptoms and improve the mood of the participants when they quit smoking.
“We expect that consumption of nutrients should result in the reduction of withdrawal symptoms at a faster rate compared to somebody who quits without the supplement on a placebo. Fewer withdrawal symptoms and better mood after quitting should in turn reduce the rate of relapse.
“I am looking for current smokers 18 years and over with no acute or chronic illness who are not currently taking psychiatric medication to take part in the study,’’ Newton says.
Participants can sign up for the study here: www.mentalhealthandnutrition.co.nz.
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