The National Health Service doesn’t do research in smoking cessation. That might surprise you, but what will probably surprise you a lot more is that neither does the pharmaceutical industry. It researches smoking cessation products, but that is not the same thing at all as researching smoking cessation.

What we mean by this is they aren’t looking at the problems because they are too busy looking at the solutions, which is of course back to front. There are only two reasons why people fail to stop smoking. One is the addiction to nicotine, and the other is the psychological dependence this creates. At The Doctor Richard Mackarness Foundation, we study both of these issues, and one of the factors involved in nicotine addiction is the one food that can keep you addicted to nicotine.Yes, that’s right, it’s tomato.

Before we go any further, let’s explain what the connection is. The tomato plant and the tobacco plant are in fact related. They are both Nightshade family (yes, as in Deadly Nightshade), or Solenaceae, if you want the Latin name. Because of the genetic relationship between the two plants, the products of those plants have molecules in common. When your immune system sees a molecule of tomato, it will put it into the same receptor it would bot a molecule of tobacco, because, in layman’s terms, it fits.

The problem this will give you is that when your body is looking for a tobacco molecule, but you won’t give it one because you’re trying to stop smoking, and it sees a tomato molecule, it will put it into the same receptor. This might sound like a good thing, because you could be forgiven for thinking tomato might be a great nicotine replacement product, but you need to think just what an NRP does. Yes, it satisfies your craving, but it keeps you addicted. Tomato molecules can keep you addicted to nicotine.