Nicotine is not the cause of fatal diseases associated with smoking.
Scientists from the British Royal College of Therapy ( Royal College of Physicians ) have found that nicotine is not the main cause of fatal diseases associated with smoking. As shown by the results of the study “Nicotine without smoking. Reducing the harm to health from tobacco use, nicotine is addictive and generally unsafe for health, but it cannot be classified as hard drugs and carcinogens.
The burning of tobacco contributes to the inhalation of large amounts of harmful and potentially harmful components that are widely recognized as the most likely causes of smoking-related diseases.
Safe alternative to cigarettes
The most effective alternative to traditional smoking, which helps not only to reduce the harm to health, but also gradually to abandon the consumption of nicotine, representatives of the Royal College consider electronic cigarettes . They declare that the health hazard arising from the constant smoking of wipes does not exceed 5% of the harm that tobacco smoking causes.
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 irritable effects on the body. However, it does not increase the risk of malignant tumors.
In the report "Nicotine without smoking ..." scientists stress that it is impossible to completely deny the harm of nicotine. The saying that a drop of nicotine kills a horse is still not groundless. Compared with other alkaloids, such as cocaine, nicotine is highly toxic. It is fairly easily absorbed through the skin and at high concentrations can cause severe intoxication and even be fatal. However, the dose, which is considered lethal to the horse, significantly exceeds the amount of nicotine that can be contained in one pharmaceutical drop (approximately 0.05 ml) - 50 mg. According to the British animal health website, the lethal dose of nicotine, from which 50% of the tested horses died, is 100-300 mg (2-6 drops).
According to British scientists, none of the fatal diseases caused by smoking is primarily caused by the consumption of nicotine. The main cause of lung cancer is the direct effect of carcinogens in tobacco smoke. Another fatal disease associated with smoking, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, can be a consequence of the irritable and pro-inflammatory effects of smoke. As for cardiovascular diseases, they affect the human body due to the effects of smoke on vascular coagulation and vascular walls.
According to the doctor of medical sciences, president of the Cancer Society of Russia David Zaridze, 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 the carcinogenic substances that are contained in the resin - mainly those that are formed as a result of burning tobacco. These are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (benzpyrene and others) and tobacco-specific nitrosamine. However, nicotine is addictive, and so many smokers are so hard to give up this bad habit. He has a number of side effects: it affects the function of the cardiovascular system, in particular, the heart rhythm, his pulse quickens, the vessels narrow. ”
One of the main tasks of scientists involved in tobacco addiction is to draw a clear line between smoking and nicotine consumption. “The time has come to dispel the terrible myths about nicotine,” emphasizes Anna McClain, a 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 caffeine, which is contained in one cup of coffee. Much more damage to health is caused by smoking tobacco, which, when burned, emits tar, toxins, arsenic and other harmful substances.
In addition, research has shown that nicotine, like caffeine, can even have a positive effect. For example, it can be used as a stimulant, which increases the heart rate and the speed of processing sensory information, and also reduces the overall body tension.
The idea that nicotine contained in cigarettes and associated with pleasure, by and large is almost harmless, took scientists back in the 70s. According to the British psychiatrist Mike Russell, "people smoke for nicotine, and die because of tar."
However, according to Yuri Udalov, a general practitioner of the highest category, head of the therapeutic department of City Clinical Hospital №40, “in order to finally prove that nicotine does not cause fatal diseases, scientists should conduct a multicenter study, i.e. one institution and not one country, but scientists all over the world. ”
Consuming nicotine without harmful and potentially harmful ingredients contained in tobacco smoke can significantly reduce the harm to health. Thus, the spread of chewing tobacco, known as snus, in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries proved the demand and positive effect of such an alternative to public health. For 10 years (since 1995) the consumption of chewing tobacco, the number of smokers in Sweden has decreased by 3.7%.
Another alternative to traditional smoking for public health is nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) - the use of chewing gum and patches that deliver nicotine to the human body without tobacco. At the moment, NRT is considered the safest and most studied method of treating nicotine addiction. However, many smokers who have tried to switch to NRT are returning to cigarettes. According to scientists, this is due to the fact that when using NRT, the rate of nicotine in the human body is significantly lower than when smoking.
British scientists consider e-cigarettes a more effective alternative to tobacco smoking. Their first prototype was developed in 2003 by a Chinese pharmacist Hon Likom: he patented a device that looked like a cigarette, but instead of burning tobacco, produced steam based on a mixture of liquid nicotine, water, propylene glycol and flavors. The aim of the invention was to simulate the appearance and sensations of smoking a cigarette by changing the method of “delivering” nicotine to the body. The consumption of nicotine in the form of steam made it possible to avoid poisoning by toxic substances - products of burning tobacco, 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 into the body, that is, they are a tool for nicotine replacement therapy. However, it is obvious that they contribute to quitting smoking, which, in turn, leads to a decrease in the risk of developing diseases associated with cigarette smoking. As you know, there are pharmaceutical nicotine-containing drugs that also contribute to quitting smoking. But electronic cigarettes, in my opinion, have a slight “advantage” in terms of behavioral (non-pharmacological) habits of a smoker. Electronic cigarettes imitate the process of smoking cigarettes, so as far as I know, they have received more “recognition” from smokers than pharmaceuticals, ”added the President of the Russian Cancer Society.
Representatives of the Royal College of Therapeutics stress that the possibility of causing harm to health from the long-term use of electronic cigarettes should not be completely denied. However, this is not associated with the consumption of nicotine, but with the inhalation of other components that make up the composition of liquids. Nevertheless, the harm from these substances can be minimized with the correct use of wipes - if not to allow overheating of the liquid. According to the results of research conducted by scientists from the San Diego Institute of Health, a high heating temperature during smoking can cause dangerous chemical exposure to the human body. The same consequences can occur after using “expired” cigarettes with residual liquids. In all other cases, the health hazard arising from the constant smoking of wipes does not exceed 5% of the harm that tobacco smoking causes.
Royal College of Physicians (Royal College of Physicians) is a British research institute dedicated to the development of medical practices. It was founded in 1518 and is known for having developed the world's first international standard for the classification of diseases. Today, RCP activities are aimed at reducing morbidity and improving patient care. One of the most important areas of work for the College is to develop a concept of harm reduction from tobacco use. The first report on the dangers of smoking was published by researchers in 1962. In it, scientists first suggested that smoking is directly related to the occurrence of cancer.
Source: Public Health Portal