Mattie Williams started smoking to be part of the crowd.
"I didn't like smoking. I just kept trying and kept trying and kept trying and eventually, I got hooked," she said.
Thirteen years later, she decided to quit for that very same reason.
"It's like I was the only one in the group who smoked," she said.
That desire to quit brought her to Duke's Nicotine Research Center. Dr. Jed Rose studies different ways to help people quit smoking. He is launching a new study using nicotine-free cigarettes and the nicotine patch.
The idea is to break both the nicotine addiction and the habit of having a cigarette in your hand.
"Subsequently, they'll be weaned off both the patch and the nicotine-free cigarettes," he said.
Rose is also testing the effectiveness of nicotine lozenges. Williams took part in a similar study using the nicotine-free cigarettes, patch and a nicotine inhaler.
"Every two weeks, they cut down one-third," she said.
In six weeks, she was tobacco-free. Rose warned that the nicotine-free cigarettes are merely a tool to help people quit smoking. They are not a safe substitute for the real thing.
"Indeed the carbon monoxide and cancer-causing components of the tar would still be inhaled," he said.
The idea is that they would only be used for a short period of time with the ultimate goal of becoming cigarette-free.
"I haven't cheated, not one time, not one cigarette, not one patch, not one inhaler," Williams said.
For more information on these studies, you can call
Copyright 2022 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.