To stop smoking there are people who rely on alternative treatments such as yoga, hypnosis, meditation and tai chi, and there are also those who use supplements and natural remedies. However, the efficacy of these remedies has not yet been proven, although the pharmacological support of cytisin, a natural substance similar to varenicline, appears to be useful.

Dr. Licia Siracusano, Oncologist and contact person at the Anti-Smoking Centre at the Humanitas Cancer Center spoke about this topic at the microphones of Obiettivo Salute on Radio24.


What is Cytisin?

“We already know varenicline, which is derived from cytisin; cytisin has a precise mechanism of action against the nicotine receptor: it acts as a partial agonist against the nicotine receptor, blocking this receptor and pretending to be nicotine, thus reducing the need for the nicotine receptor itself.

This allows the individual to progressively get rid of cigarettes without suffering and without torturing the receptors and therefore scientifically the crisis of abstinence seems to be non-existent.

Consequently, the control of psychological addiction remains, or the daily habit of smoking, the perception of cigarette as a crutch: and this is precisely the path that is taken in the centers in learning to smoke without cigarettes”, explained Dr. Siracusano.


The Smoking Prevention Centre of Humanitas

Smoking is a real addiction, both physical and psychological. Physical dependence is induced by nicotine, a psychoactive substance that can quickly reach the brain, stimulate the receptors on the surface of nerve cells and trigger the release of dopamine and adrenaline, neurotransmitters associated with feelings of pleasure, euphoria and well-being.

Physical dependence is followed by psychological dependence: smoking becomes a habit and a refuge in moments of difficulty and stress.

Stopping smoking, however, is not always easy and can lead to withdrawal symptoms, such as insomnia, irritability, anxiety, headache, and risk of relapse. That is why it is important to turn to specialized facilities, such as the Humanitas Smoke Prevention Centre.