BEAMSVILLE, Ontario, June 09, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — For many, nicotine is synonymous with smoking, which is a misconception that dates to the smoking era. Smoking is responsible for almost 9 out of 10 cases of lung cancer and known to cause various other forms of cancer. While nicotine is habit forming, it is not a carcinogen and not the cause of smoking’s harms. There is no significant scientific evidence connecting major health problems with the use of nicotine alone. However, because nicotine enters the body along with many harmful chemicals while smoking combustible cigarettes, many erroneously believe that it is the nicotine in cigarettes that causes hazardous health conditions such as cancer.
Vaping mimics the act of smoking as the user inhales vapour containing nicotine. Though they may appear similar, this is the extent of their likeness. Nicotine vaping contains a fraction of the toxic chemicals found in tobacco smoke and eliminates combustion, but due to the visual likeness, the two products are often conflated.
“Smokers commonly misperceive that nicotine is a major carcinogen,” said Dr. Khayat who is a professor of Oncology at Pierre et Marie Curie University and head of Medical Oncology at La Pitié-Salpétrière Hospital in Paris.
On the topic of reduced risk alternatives to smoking, Dr. Khayat stated, “All of these alternatives such as snus, electronic cigarettes (vapes) and heated tobacco products (HTPs) are showing very significant efficacy in helping people switch from real cigarettes that are very bad to health.” He also noted the conclusion of Cancer Research UK, “Nicotine does not cause cancer, and people have used nicotine replacement therapy safely for many years. NRT is safe enough to be prescribed by doctors.”
It is unsurprising that myths about nicotine persist as surveys find most physicians still perceive nicotine as cancer causing. Canadian smokers would benefit from physicians having greater access to seminars on combustion free alternatives and modern harm reduction strategies.
Additionally, there is a lack of awareness that vaping products are a less harmful source of nicotine for those who switch to vaping. A 2020 survey found that only 22 percent of current smokers recognized that vaping is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. In part, this is likely due to misperceptions about nicotine.
“The lack of clear messaging to smokers on reduced risk alternatives, combined with vaping misinformation being heavily reported by the media, has contributed to lessened adoption by smokers. We know that smoking kills half of its users, and as such, we need to encourage reduced risk products for those who need to continue using nicotine to quit combustible tobacco,” said Darryl Tempest, Government Relations Counsel to the CVA Board.