That’s just one of the misconceptions that surrounds nicotine. In fact, while not healthy in an absolute sense, nicotine alone is not as bad as nicotine plus the tar, toxins and carcinogens that are in cigarette smoke. And in this post we aim to clear up some of the misconceptions.
1. DOES NICOTINE CAUSE CANCER?
It’s common for people to believe nicotine could give you cancer. This is not true – or at least there is no proof that it does. Cancer is caused by inhaling cigarette smoke. it has been suggested that nicotine could speed up the development of cancer, but this has not been proven – some studies have suggested it does, while other studies say it doesn’t!
2. IS NICOTINE A POISON?
Nicotine is a poison, and a deadly one. If you took all the nicotine from 30/40 cigarettes, administered it to a person, and all the nicotine was absorbed, that person could die. However, the nicotine absorbed from cigarettes or electronic cigarettes is not strong enough to poison you. Most of the nicotine in a cigarette is destroyed or burned, and e-cigarettes seem to deliver slightly less nicotine than a regular cigarette. Most nicotine poisonings that have occurred have been caused by insecticide or by harvesting tobacco, or from nicotine patches handed out by anti-smoking clinics to children.
That said, here are a couple of points to bear in mind:
• keep e-liquid and e-cigarettes away from your children, especially very young children and toddlers, who are more susceptible to nicotine poisoning.
• only use e-liquid from respectable suppliers.
3. WHAT ELSE IS BAD ABOUT NICOTINE?
While we do not know everything about nicotine, we do know that the health effects are those similar to caffeine. Both cause a temporary increase in blood pressure, and both can increase the pulse rate, and nicotine may also have an effect on foetal development.
4. IS NICOTINE REALLY ADDICTIVE?
Some scientists have maintained that nicotine is more addictive than heroin. However, the science is really not clear cut here. Some studies found that when you have no chance of getting a cigarette, your nicotine cravings decrease. For example, when Jewish smokers observe the Sabbath and refrain from smoking, their urge to smoke a cigarette also decreases.
Another study found that the physiological act of lifting the cigarette to your mouth and taking a puff has been vastly underestimated – perhaps deliberately, as most cessation studies are funded by pharmaceutical companies who sell nicotine cessation aids.
5. A STIMULANT AND A RELAXANT
Nicotine is biphasic – it both stimulates and relaxes you. Take a little and it stimulates you – more than that, it can accentuate the mood of the moment, heightening your awareness of pleasure. Take a lot, though, and it can help you calm and relax you in stressful situations.
6. DOES NICOTINE CAUSE BRAIN DAMAGE?
According to at least one study, nicotine has been found to stimulate recovery from brain damage. Unfortunately, other studies argue that nicotine also causes permanent changes to the brain, especially if used from an early age.
7. NICOTINE AND MEMORY
Nicotine may also help your memory. This is a controversial area, because once again some studies find it does help prevent Alzheimer’s and improve memory, while at least one study argues that it accelerates the growth of Alzheimer’s by encouraging the growth of tangles in the brain.
A more recent study found that nicotine patches helped patients with mild cognitive impairment gain 46% of normal performance, while a test group who did not receive nicotine declined by 26% in the same period.
8. NICOTINE, AGGRESSION AND CONCENTRATION
According to several studies (conducted on both monkeys and humans), nicotine can lower your aggression levels and improve your concentration. Indeed, one study found that nicotine decreases your level of aggression, make your brain up to 30% smarter and makes you less aggressive in stressful situations.
9. DOES NICOTINE MAKE YOU FEEL LESS HUNGRY?
Nicotine can make you feel less hungry. This may have been one of the reasons why tobacco originally became so popular at a time when people were often hungry.
10. ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES AND NICOTINE DELIVERY
Studies have found that electronic cigarettes did not deliver as much nicotine as cigarettes do.