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Nicotine – Why Aren’t All The Effects Talked About?

11th November 2014



With the general phobia of non-users towards vaping, and also the constant presumptions of any possible negative aspect of vaping compounds, the impression could only be that e-cigs are still more harm than good and should be treated much like combusted tobacco smoke. Of course, vaping devices are very varied, and there are differences in e-liquids, which mean that some will produce trace amounts of some compounds and so can still cause a level of irritation. E-cig manufacturers are looking into these risks and how to minimise them still further. Our e-cigs for example, are low temperature devices compared to some of the higher voltage/power products out there, and that means these issues are already extremely minimal.

But if there are *some* largely theoretical risks of the nicotine itself, shouldn't the media recognise that there are also potential BENEFITS to nicotine as well? This is how we sensibly treat a cup of coffee. A cup of your favourite blend is loaded with AGE radicals (Advanced Glycation End radicals) and contain compounds like acrylamide. But, coffee and tea also contains protective compounds such as polyphenols. And they also contain caffeine. Caffeine is much like nicotine, and there are not large differences in how stimulating or addictive they are. Caffeine has both good and bad effects. The best way that scientists have at present for evaluating the impact of coffee is to look at the real world correlation on the number of coffees and life expectancy. Generally the data is positive for at least several cups a day. So there isn't much to worry about. We all accept that some people don't react well to caffeine, but we don't see alarmist reports about that. The situation is exactly the same with vaping.

The following study tells us that nicotine is not very addictive by itself, in humans or animals, and that it has benefits. It's the cigarette that reverses that due to the overwhelming levels of other noxious compounds. The nicotine itself is neither good or bad, but a mixture of the two, just like caffeine:

Study finds nicotine safe, helps in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's

It's time those using currently theoretical concerns about nicotine and e-cigs, treated the activity in the same way they study and treat caffeine and coffee. The fact is e-cigs, like a cup of coffee, will not be safe for everybody (if you already have lung cancer or at risk of remission, effects of nicotine on adolescent brains, possible actions in those with dangerous lung or nasal infections, or those with allergic type reactions), but that doesn't warrant treating the activity as being more harmful than beneficial, at this stage for everyone else. Worrying about the ill effects of caffeine on pregnancy is correct. Worrying about nicotine and e-cigs in adolescents is a similar situation. But this doesn't qualify general alarm and calls for blanket bans or ultra-stiff regulation that makes it too expensive for all but the big pharma and tobacco players to control the market.

A balanced analysis beckons.