Does mixing cream of tartar with orange juice and drinking the concoction help you stop smoking? No, that's not true: A claim has gone viral that suggests the simple concoction of cream of tartar and orange juice can help a person stop smoking but there are no published medical studies that support this claim.
The claim appeared as a post (archived here) where it was published by Facebook on May 3, 2020 under the title "For all my cigarette smokers that's struggling with quitting." It opened:
Go to your favorite grocery store and buy Cream of Tartar Seasoning and a gallon of Orange Juice. Mix 1 teaspoon in a glass and drink 2x a day. I recommend when you get up and another glass halfway through your day.
I know this sounds too simple, but it really works! The Cream of Tartar flushes the nicotine out of your system and blocks it from receiving it again! After about two days, smoking tastes like shit, you're blocked from the nicotine rush and the desire is gone!
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
There is not a miracle cure to help people stop smoking and there is no medical evidence that drinking a mixture of cream of tartar and orange juice can help you stop smoking.
The claim began making the rounds on Facebook in October 2019 and was a lengthier story, with the user posting that they quit smoking using "$5 of food stamps" to kick the habit.
The original post has been taken down, but the story continues to remain popular.
Ramsee Ankh Ka's post on Facebook with a screen grab of the claim with a picture of grocery story Cream of Tartar has earned 41,000 shares.
There were many critics of the method on the Facebook post.
Tiarra Tee I tried this on Tay a month ago for 2 weeks straight no lie! The shit did NOT work😤
Jahknee Snowyman I don't know how true or not true that is, but I do know it's a laxative so maybe the person that wrote that is just a practical joker trying to get people to poop their pants.
Shana Nicole Breece After some research, dont do this it will make you throw up and or shit yourself and stomach cramps. Dont take everything you see on Fb seriously.
"The Doctors" TV show addressed this claim on the show in April 2019 and a group of three doctors tried the mixture.
They took a sip and said it tasted like orange juice. Dr. Andrew Ordon described the flavor as: "Just a little more tart."
Dr. Travis Stork told the audience: "Drinking juice could be a distraction.
"Anything you do as a distraction could work, so in that sense, maybe," he said about the mixture.
They noted that false information spreads faster than true information, citing a study from MIT.
The American Cancer Society does not list mixing cream of tartar with orange juice as an effective method to stop smoking.
That organization recommends treatments that are a combination of several facets including medication provided by a medical professional, counseling and encouraging a smoker to persist in trying to quit smoking.
The ACS reports the body has an "actual physical dependence" on nicotine and the replacement therapies can help with the withdrawal symptoms, but the organization does not mention a cream of tartar and orange juice mixture as a treatment.
The nicotine in tobacco leads to actual physical dependence. This can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to quit. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) gives you nicotine - in the form of gum, patches, sprays, inhalers, or lozenges - but not the other harmful chemicals in tobacco. NRT can help relieve some of the physical withdrawal symptoms so that you can focus on the psychological (emotional) aspects of quitting. Many studies have shown using NRT can nearly double the chances of quitting smoking. It hasn't been studied as much for quitting smokeless tobacco, but the NRT lozenges may help.
The claim in the post says
The Cream of Tartar flushes the nicotine out of your system and blocks it from receiving it again! After about two days, smoking tastes like shit, you're blocked from the nicotine rush and the desire is gone!"
Does cream of tartar "flush" nicotine out of your system?
There are no medical studies that show that using cream of tartar and orange juice will be effective in helping a person stop smoking.
There was one study that showed taking an excessive amount of cream of tartar could be fatal.
The Journal of Medical Toxicology reported in a study in 2012 about cream of tartar, warning about two deaths they found from over-ingestion.
Cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate) has a long history as a cooking aid and medicinal purgative. Despite containing large amounts of potassium, there are no well-documented cases of it causing toxicity. We report two cases in which intentional ingestions of cream of tartar resulted in life-threatening hyperkalemia. In addition, we briefly review the use of cream of tartar as a historical purgative.
In both cases, individuals ingested a large quantity of cream of tartar in an effort to "clean themselves out". They manifested similar initial symptoms (vomiting), abnormal serum potassium (>8.0 mmol/L), and EKG's with peaked T waves. Both patients were treated for hyperkalemia and recovered without complication. A search for articles on an academic internet database failed to identify any cases specifically dealing with ill effects of potassium bitartrate and numerous websites continue to purport its beneficial health effects.
Ingestion of cream of tartar can potentially result in life-threatening hyperkalemia.
The Farmer's Almanac touted the mix in 2017 as a treatment to stop smoking but warned readers to consult a doctor first and did not provide medical studies to back up the claim.
Stop Smoking - Cream of tartar is said to rid the body of nicotine and reduce cravings for cigarettes. To remove toxins, bolster the immune system, and remove cigarette cravings, try this: mix ½ cup of fresh orange juice, combined with 1/2 tablespoon of cream of tartar and drink daily for 10 to 30 days as a natural remedy to stop smoking. Discuss this treatment with your physician before implementing.
Laxative - Cream of tartar has been used as a natural remedy for constipation. It has a diuretic effect on the body, so it should only be used as an occasional remedy to prevent dehydration and loss of vital electrolytes. Cream of tartar is high in potassium so if you're on a potassium-restricted diet, or need a remedy for constipation, discuss dosage and options with your healthcare professional first.
The claims that cream of tartar "pulls nicotine out of your body" were debunked by Snopes.com.
The original poster of the mixture corresponded with TruthorFiction.com after the post went viral, claiming that the method worked to help him stop smoking and that he was surprised by the reach the post had.
I can tell you that it 100% worked for me and that I first learned of it from a previous Facebook post. Google shows several resources that back the claim, but I can tell you it did work for me. I had no idea the post would go Viral as it has, just sharing my experience.
There are no medical studies to back up the assertion that the cream of tartar and orange juice mixture can help stop a person from smoking.