Is Nicotine All Bad?

Posted on May 21, 2015

Photo: flickr

The possibility that people can be addicted to nicotine, but not die from it, is at the heart of a growing debate in the scientific community. Scientists don't doubt nicotine is addictive, but some wonder if a daily dose could be as benign as the caffeine many of us get from a morning coffee.

It's a debate that has been aggravated by the rising popularity of electronic cigarettes - tobacco-free gadgets people use to inhale nicotine-laced vapor, which have helped some people quit smoking. The idea of nicotine as relatively benign goes against the negative image of the drug that built up over the decades when smoking rose to become an undisputed health threat.

Pure nicotine can be lethal in sufficient quantities. There is some evidence it may lead to changes in adolescent brain development, especially to the part responsible for intelligence, language and memory.

At the moment, researchers are studying genetic differences in how deeply people inhale, as part of a project analyzing people's needs and responses to nicotine.

"Should we really be that bothered about addiction in and of itself, if it doesn't come with any other substantial harms?" said Munafo. "

For more information on the discussion, click the link


Category(s):Health / Illness / Medical Issues, Smoking Cessation

Source material from Scientific American


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