“Nicotine causes cancer”. That’s just one of the misconceptions that surrounds nicotine. In fact, while not healthy in an absolute sense, nicotine is nothing like as bad as nicotine plus the tar, toxins and carcinogens that are in cigarette smoke. And in this post we aim to clear up some of the misconceptions.
1. Does Nicotine Cause Cancer?
Many people – including the majority of smokers – believe nicotine could give you cancer. This is not true – or at least there is no proof that it does. Cancer is caused by all the other stuff in cigarette smoke, including about 70 chemicals known to cause cancer. Actually studying this isn’t easy, though, because historically most people got nicotine through smoking. However, people using patches, gums or snus (Swedish smokeless tobacco) are exposed to nicotine without the huge number of nasty ingredients in smoke. Studies of both NRT and (high-quality) snus have shown no link with cancer.
The reason “high-quality” was specified is because nicotine products tend to contain small amounts of tobacco specific nitrosamines, which are a known cause of cancer. In studies of Swedish snus manufactured to minimise the amount of these chemicals, there is no increase in cancer risk, aside from a potential risk for pancreatic cancer (but still much less than the risk from smoking).Do you want to know more about the nicotine and its effects, come to Cacuq forum!
2. Is Nicotine a Poison?
The poisonous dose of a substance is the amount of it required to kill 50 percent of those exposed, called the LD50. For nicotine, this was previously thought to be between 30 and 60 mg for an average adult. However, after looking in vain for where this figure actually came from, Bernd Mayer found out that it was derived from self-experiments from the 19th century.
These experiments really aren’t very reliable. Among many other claims, they said one of the experimenters had seizures for two hours after taking just 1 to 4 mg of nicotine, which is about the amount you’d absorb from 3 to 4 cigarettes or even less. Unless we’ve missed chain-smokers regularly falling into seizures, we can safely say this isn’t in line with day-to-day experience.
Based on other evidence, Mayer updates the estimate to between 500 and 1000 mg for an average-sized adult. It could also be even higher than that. For smokers and vapers, the important point is that the nicotine absorbed from cigarettes or electronic cigarettes is not strong enough to poison you. (Remember the scientist’s adage – the poison is in the dose!)
Most of the nicotine in a cigarette is destroyed or burned, and e-cigarettes seem to deliver slightly less nicotine than a regular cigarette (see point 10). Most nicotine poisonings that have occurred have been caused by insecticide or by harvesting tobacco, or from nicotine gum handed out by anti-smoking clinics to children.
3. Is Nicotine Really Addictive?
Some scientists have maintained that nicotine is more addictive than heroin. However, the science is really not clear cut here. Some studies found that when you have no chance of getting a cigarette, your nicotine cravings decrease. For example, when Jewish smokers observe the Sabbath and refrain from smoking, their urge to smoke a cigarette also decreases. Another study found that the physiological act of lifting the cigarette to your mouth and taking a puff has been vastly underestimated – perhaps deliberately, as most cessation studies are funded by pharmaceutical companies who sell nicotine cessation aids.
4. A Stimulant – AND a Relaxant!
Nicotine is biphasic – it both stimulates and relaxes you. Take a little and it stimulates you – more than that, it can accentuate the mood of the moment, heightening your awareness of pleasure. Take a lot, though, and it can help calm and relax you in stressful situations. When you smoke a cigarette, short, sharp inhalations produce the stimulant effect, whereas longer, deeper inhalations produce the relaxant effect.
However, the effect smoking has may also differ according to the situation you’re in. The relaxant effect occurs during stressful situations, when the same dose in other situations would have a stimulating effect. The difference in effects depending on the dosage taken should be the same for vaping. However, because vaping doesn’t provide nicotine as effectively as smoking, the relaxing effects probably aren’t as easy to obtain, unless you’re in a stressful situation.
TAGS:NICOTINE-CONTAINED ECIGS, ECIGS