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Is nicotine the main cause of smoking-related diseases?

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Nicotine has been related as the predominant factor around smoking-related diseases. Something that needs to be analyzed in more detail

Smoking wreaks havoc on health; however, for many adults taste, ritual, and sensory experience are the reasons they do so. When tobacco and cigarette paper are burned at extremely high temperatures, smoke is produced – a product of combustion – that contains more than 6,000 chemical substances, of which more than 100 are classified by public health as harmful or potentially harmful. Namely, the main problem with smoking cigarettes is the smoke itself.

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It is clear that not starting to smoke or quitting smoking are always the best options, that is why institutions related to public health around the world, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), among others, encourage quitting this habit under scientific demonstrations around the damage it produces.

However, it should be noted that nicotine, while addictive and not without risk, is not the primary cause of smoking-related illness; and it is based on this that those adult smokers, who would otherwise continue to smoke, could opt for alternatives that help improve their lifestyle.

Nicotine and smoke-free products

Nicotine is found naturally in the tobacco plant. Once inhaled, nicotine is absorbed through the lungs directly into the bloodstream, reaching various organs and the brain, releasing dopamine and other stimulants. After repeated stimulation with nicotine, the brain adapts to its presence, but this is a process that is reversible when a person stops using nicotine-containing products.

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A statement from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finds that “it is primarily the toxins and carcinogens in tobacco smoke, not nicotine, that cause disease and death.”[1]. Namely, the real culprit is combustionwhich liberates harmful substances contained in the cigarette and that are inhaled by the smoker.

So science-based, smoke-free products containing nicotine are not without risk, but they have the potential to be less harmful than continuing to smoke regular cigarettes. It must be stressed that smoke-free products should only be used by adults as an alternative mode to continuing to smoke, so obtaining accurate information on each individual device is crucial. But the facts are clear: they are a less harmful option.

Institutes such as Public Health England (PHE) and the US Food and Drug Administration see the potential of nicotine-containing products as alternatives to continuing to smoke. In this context, a study by Phillip Morris International (PMI) details that adult smokers deserve accurate and non-misleading information in order to make an informed decision. “This is one of the reasons why combating public misperceptions about nicotine is so important. Nicotine-containing products can help support public health goals by encouraging smokers to quit cigarettes and switch completely to smoke-free products. That is, science-backed smoke-free products can play a role in steering adults away from cigarettes who would otherwise continue to smoke.[1] ( Public Health England, “PHE publishes independent expert e-cigarettes evidence review”, 2018).

In conclusion, nicotine is not the main cause of smoking-related diseases, but combustion is. Additionally, today there are alternatives for nicotine administration that represent a lower impact on the health of adult smokers.

*Between Itabsa and El Universo there are commercial agreements in order to publish this content.

[1] Nicotine Is Why Tobacco Products Are Addictive | FDA Revised August 24, 2022

Source: Eluniverso

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