We all know the dangers associated with smoking but how big a part does nicotine play in smoking addiction and is it really the most dangerous ingredient in cigarettes?
Explode some of the myths about nicotine and reveal the facts.
Myths: Nicotine is carcinogenic
Fact: Nicotine is not proven to cause cancer. There are more than 4,000 other chemicals in cigarette smoke, many of which are known to cause cancer. In particular it is the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and nitrosamines that are the probable causative agents for lung and other cancers. The risks associated with NRT, to aid stop smoking are significantly outweighed by the risks of smoking.
Myths: Nicotine causes the diseases related to smoking
Fact: Cigarettes are a well-known cause of cancer, chronic lung disease, heart disease, and other disorders. It is the myriad of toxins in cigarette smoke, rather than the nicotine content, that is responsible for the majority of the harmful effects. In other words, it is the delivery system, not the addictive drug, which is responsible for the vast majority of tobacco-related diseases.
Myths: Nicotine is responsible for adverse health effects related to smoking
Fact: The main adverse effect of nicotine in tobacco products is addiction, which sustains tobacco use. Because most smokers are nicotine-dependent, they continue to expose themselves to toxins from cigarettes. It is the other chemicals in cigarettes, not nicotine, which are responsible for most of the adverse health effects related to smoking.
Myths: Nicotine causes yellow stains on fingers and teeth
Fact: It is not the nicotine in cigarettes, but the tar that causes the unsightly yellow-brown stains on fingers and teeth.
Myths: NRT is more harmful than smoking because of nicotine’s addictive nature
Fact: Nicotine is an addictive drug. When smoked, it is delivered into the lungs and is rapidly absorbed by the blood, reaching the brain within approximately ten seconds. At this point, smokers experience a nicotine "hit" - causing the brain to produce dopamines, a neurotransmitter that regulates emotion and feelings of pleasure. The brain soon comes to expect regular doses of nicotine and suffers nicotine withdrawal symptoms when the supply is interrupted. The addictive nature of nicotine is largely due to its dose and rapid delivery to the brain when smoking cigarettes. Compared to cigarette smoking, NRT provides lower doses of nicotine, which are delivered more slowly, in a controlled way, and over a shorter period of time with the dose being stepped down.
Myths: NRT is no safer than smoking
Fact: The benefit of NRT used to help give up cigarettes far outweighs the risks of smoking. The nicotine that is in NRT is manufactured through regulated pharmaceutical methods, as opposed to that in cigarettes, which is unregulated. Cigarettes contain more than 4,000 other chemicals compared to NRT, and it is these, rather than the nicotine content, that is responsible for the majority of the harmful effects.
Myths: NRT substitutes one addiction for another
Fact: The addiction risk of nicotine in medications has proved to be very low compared to the risk posed by tobacco products. NRT has low abuse liability compared to tobacco products. The likelihood of abuse (i.e. use for reasons other than smoking cessation) and of dependence with currently available nicotine medications is very low.
Myths: NRT results in weight gain
Fact: Cigarettes contain nicotine, which acts as a stimulant. Most smokers put on a small amount of weight when they stop smoking. NRT works by releasing nicotine (at a lower level than cigarettes) and it has been shown that some types of NRT can help you control weight gain during a stop smoking attempt.
Myths: Nicotine is a man made substance
Fact: Nicotine is a naturally occurring substance derived from the tobacco (Nicotiana) plant. Most nicotine comes from Nicotiana tobacum, but there are 66 other species of plants that also contain the substance. It belongs to a group of chemical compounds called alkaloids.