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Video: Scientists Have Dispelled The Myths About Nicotine
Scientists have dispelled the myths about nicotine
Scientists from the British Royal College of Internal Medicine have found that nicotine is not the leading cause of fatal smoking-related diseases. As shown by the study “Nicotine without smoking. Reducing the harm to health from tobacco consumption”, nicotine is addictive and generally unsafe, but it cannot be classified as hard drugs and carcinogenic substances.
Scientists from the British Royal College of Physicians have found that nicotine is not the leading cause of fatal smoking-related illnesses. As shown by the results of the study “Nicotine without smoking. Reducing harm to health from tobacco consumption”, nicotine is addictive and generally unsafe for health, but at the same time it cannot be classified as hard drugs and carcinogenic substances. The main hazardous exposure to smoking is other substances in tobacco smoke.
According to representatives of King's College, the most effective alternative to traditional smoking, which helps not only to reduce harm to health, but also to gradually eliminate the use of nicotine, is electronic cigarettes. They state that the health risks posed by continuous vape smoking do not exceed 5% of the harm caused by tobacco smoking.
According to a report published by the college in 2016, excessive consumption of nicotine contributes to the development of hypertension, increased heart rate and has a number of local irritant effects on the body. However, it does not increase the risk of malignant tumors.
In the report "Nicotine without smoking …" scientists emphasize that the harm of nicotine cannot be completely denied. The adage that a drop of nicotine kills a horse is not unfounded. Compared to other alkaloids such as cocaine, nicotine is highly toxic. It is readily absorbed through the skin and, at high concentration, can cause severe intoxication and even death. However, the dose considered fatal to the horse is significantly higher than the amount of nicotine that can be contained in one pharmaceutical drop (approximately 0.05 ml) - 50 mg. According to a British animal health website, the lethal dose of nicotine that killed 50% of the horses tested is 100-300 mg (2-6 drops).
According to British scientists, none of the fatal diseases associated with smoking is caused primarily by the consumption of nicotine. The main cause of lung cancer is direct exposure to carcinogens found in tobacco smoke. Another fatal smoking-related illness, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can result from the irritating and pro-inflammatory effects of smoke. As for cardiovascular diseases, they affect the human body due to the effect of smoke on vascular coagulation and vascular walls.
According to David Zaridze, Doctor of Medical Sciences, President of the Cancer Society of Russia, nicotine is indeed not a carcinogen. “Smoking is considered to be the cause of 15 forms of malignant tumors. The main role in their development is played by carcinogenic substances contained in the resin - mainly those that are formed as a result of tobacco burning. These are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (benzpyrene and others) and tobacco-specific nitrosamine. However, nicotine is addictive, and therefore it is so difficult for many smokers to quit this bad habit. It has a number of side effects: it affects the function of the cardiovascular system, in particular, the heart rate, heart rate increases from it, blood vessels narrow."
One of the main challenges for tobacco addiction scientists is to draw a clear line between smoking and nicotine use. “The time has come to dispel the scary myths about nicotine,” said Anna McClain, professor at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neurology at King's College London. According to the Public Health information portal, according to a survey conducted by another British research institute, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), 9 out of 10 people believe that nicotine is very harmful to health. However, nicotine is no more dangerous than the caffeine in one cup of coffee. Tobacco smoking causes much greater damage to health, which, when burned, releases tar, toxins, arsenic and other harmful substances.
In addition, studies have shown that nicotine, like caffeine, can even have beneficial effects. For example, it can be used as a stimulant that increases heart rate and sensory processing speed, and also reduces overall body tension.
The idea that the nicotine found in cigarettes and associated with pleasure is, by and large, practically harmless, has occupied scientists as early as the 70s. According to British psychiatrist Mike Russell, "people smoke for nicotine and die because of tar."
However, according to Yuri Udalov, a therapist of the highest category, head of the therapeutic department of City Clinical Hospital No. 40, “in order to finally prove that nicotine does not cause fatal diseases, scientists must conduct a multicenter study, i.e. this issue should be dealt with not one institution and not one country, but scientists around the world."
Consuming nicotine without the harmful and potentially harmful constituents of tobacco smoke can significantly reduce harm to health. For example, the spread of chewing tobacco, known as snus, in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries has proven the relevance and positive effect of such an alternative on public health. In 10 years (since 1995) of chewing tobacco consumption, the number of people who smoke in Sweden has decreased by 3.7%.
Another public health alternative to traditional smoking is nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) - the use of chewing gum and patches that deliver nicotine to the human body without the involvement of tobacco. At the moment, NRT is considered the safest and most studied method of treating nicotine addiction. However, many smokers who have tried NRT are reverting back to cigarettes. According to scientists, this is due to the fact that when using NRT, the rate of entry of nicotine into the human body is much lower than when smoking.
British scientists consider electronic cigarettes to be a more effective alternative to smoking tobacco. Their first prototype was developed in 2003 by the Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik: he patented a device that looked like a cigarette, but instead of burning tobacco, it produced steam based on a mixture of liquid nicotine, water, propylene glycol and flavors. The aim of the invention was to simulate the look and feel of smoking a cigarette by changing the way nicotine is “delivered” to the body. The consumption of nicotine in the form of vapor avoided poisoning with toxic substances - the products of tobacco combustion, which are usually inhaled along with the smoke of a smoldering cigarette.
According to David Zaridze, at the moment the experience of using electronic cigarettes is not enough to fully assess the long-term effect they have on human health, this requires more time and research. “Electronic cigarettes deliver a certain dose of nicotine to the body, i.e. are a tool for nicotine replacement therapy. However, it is clear that they contribute to smoking cessation, which in turn leads to a decrease in the risk of developing diseases associated with smoking cigarettes. As you know, there are pharmaceutical nicotine-containing drugs that also contribute to smoking cessation. But e-cigarettes, in my opinion, have a slight "advantage" in terms of the behavioral (not pharmacological) habit of the smoker. Electronic cigarettes mimic the process of smoking cigarettes,therefore, as far as I know, they have received more "acceptance" from smokers than pharmaceuticals, "added the President of the Russian Cancer Society.
Representatives from the Royal College of Therapeutics emphasize that the possibility of harm to health from long-term use of e-cigarettes should not be completely denied. However, this is not due to the consumption of nicotine, but to the inhalation of other components that make up the liquids. However, the harm from these substances can be minimized with proper use of vapes - if the liquid is not overheated. According to research carried out by scientists from the San Diego Institute of Public Health, high heating temperatures during smoking can cause dangerous chemical effects on the human body. The same consequences can occur after using "expired" cigarettes with liquid residues. In all other cases, the health hazard arising from constant smoking of vapes does not exceed 5% of the harm,which causes tobacco smoking.
The Royal College of Physicians is a British research institute dedicated to improving medical practice. It was founded in 1518 and is known for developing the world's first international standard for the classification of diseases. Today, RCP is focused on reducing morbidity and improving patient care. One of the most important areas of work of the College is the development of the concept of harm reduction from tobacco consumption. The first report on the dangers of smoking was published by researchers in 1962. In it, scientists for the first time suggested that smoking is directly related to the occurrence of cancerous tumors.