Green Tea Benefits in Quitting Smoking

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The scientifically proven dangers of smoking cigarettes have driven many people to quit the habit. Some have been successful, and some have not. Scientists continue to search for effective methods for helping people break this dangerous habit. Some research shows that green tea may be an effective aid, in addition to offering other benefits for smokers.

The Claims

Several manufacturers market green tea products specifically aimed at individuals looking to quit smoking. One manufacturer claims drinking its tea helps replace the physical habit of smoking -- instead of having a cigarette, you have cup of tea. This, it says, is key to breaking the psychological addiction of cigarettes. The manufacturer also claims its product helps reduce anxiety, relieve stress, control appetite, increase energy and detoxify the body and lungs.

What the Research Says

Science supports many of the claims made by the smoking cessation tea manufacturers. Green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which the author of a review published in "Science China Life Sciences" in May 2010 says has a calming effect. Plus, in combination with the caffeine in green tea, L-theanine enhances the ability to switch attention and ignore distraction. This could help smokers deal with cravings better. In a study published in the same issue of the journal, researchers looked at the effects of replacing a regular cigarette filter with a green tea filter. After using the tea filters for two months, the 70 study participants had reduced cigarette consumption by nearly 60 percent, and over 30 percent had quit. In addition, researchers note that components in green tea help protect cells from toxicity induced by smoking.