Yesterday I was dealing with a stop smoking client. I saw her last week. I explained to her the psychology of why she smokes in order to motivate her to stop. This seems to have worked. Last week she thought she wanted to stop smoking: this week she is determined to stop smoking. And apparently, is willing to try anything and is in fact is trying everything all at once. She is using nicotine patches, affirmations, hypnotherapy and cream of tartar.
Cream of Tartar? She told me she had read on the Internet that taking a teaspoon of cream of tartar mixed with orange juice would remove all the nicotine from her body.
I had never heard of this so I decided to find out about it. After all, if it worked then I need to start telling clients about it. I quickly found a source on-line, in fact several sites described it. On examining the sites it became clear that there was just one site that all the others were using as their source. On checking that site, it became clear that there is no scientific study cited as evidence for doing this. In fact none of the websites offered any sort of proof at all. Most sites said something like 'it is said that' with no attribution and my conclusion is that they are all relying on each other.
How likely is it that Cream of Tartar might work?
It is actually Tartaric Acid, potassium bitartrate, a mild acid commonly used in baking. In very large quantities it is poisonous, but a teaspoon a day will do no more damage than altering the acid balance of your stomach perhaps and giving an incredibly sour taste to the orange juice. The sour taste is probably what influences the people who say it works. The strange taste will act as a placebo and will remind the smoker about how much they want to stop and could well have an effect. The orange juice contains citric acid, and ascorbic acid as vitamin C. And lots of sugar, so it is probably not a good mixture for most people.
I won't be advising my stop smoking clients to start drinking it.