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Drugs & Health Blog

Small Matter with Big Potential for Smokers Trying to Quit

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Sara Bellum

There’s been a lot of talk about nanotechnology lately—like what does it take to be able to control things as small as atoms or molecules. Now, scientists funded by NIDA are trying to use nanotechnology to help people quit smoking.

How, you ask? By delivering small amounts of nicotine via skin patches into a smoker’s body to help with cravings. That should be a lot safer for people than inhaling it into their lungs!

Patches are good ways to deliver some medicines to the body, but they do have limitations. For example, everyone who wears these patches receives exactly the same dosage of medicine. That dosage may not be right for everyone. For instance, when doctors prescribes a medication for a patient, they adjust the dosage depending on your age, size and weight, for starters.

Now, NIDA scientists are discovering how to use nanotechnology to do something similar. The key components are carbon nanotubes—tiny “tubes” bonded together chemically, also known as “buckyballs” (weird). They are about 1/50,000th of the width of a human hair! Scientists can put tiny nets made of carbon nanotubes onto the skin patch, and actually program it to deliver nicotine at the right dose for the person trying to kick the habit. Pretty cool.

So size can matter…and sometimes super small is best!

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


I have a lot of respect for science and conventional medicine. but i also think that it is very important to work on mind. many times it is mind over matter.
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Dina Ruth

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I stongly think that this product will hellp the people out there in this to stop smoking. Because even thought that they may not have the cigorette or what every tobacco/nicatine based product they use, they dont have it in there mouth it will still help with there need of nicatine at the time of when they think they need to pop a tobacco base product into their mouth.