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 nicotine addiction and reveal the facts.
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 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 Electronic Cigarettes, to aid with nicotine withdrawal, significantly outweighed by the risks of smoking.
Myths: Nicotine is responsible for adverse health effects related to smoking
Fact: The main adverse nicotine effect in tobacco products is nicotine 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: Electronic Cigarettes 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: Electronic Cigarettes 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: Electronic Cigarettes 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. Electronic Cigarettes 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: Electronic Cigarettes 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.
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In early August two of the UK's leading electronic cigarette retailers released sales numbers for the first half of 2011. According to those numbers, sales were up to the point where both retailers were projecting they would shatter annual sales records previously set in 2010. Both also noted no end in sight to the increase in sales, as more and more smokers in the UK are turning to the electronic alternative.
To date the UK remains one of the most vaping-friendly countries in the world. As a result, smokers can use the cigarettes almost anywhere in public without fear of breaking the law. This has resulted in record numbers of smokers switching to e-cigs on a daily and weekly basis. All of this works together to drive up the sales and set new records for e-cigarette retailers.
"Nudging" Sales Higher
Just a few weeks ago the UK government's nudge team came out with an official statement amounting to a ringing endorsement of electronic cigarettes. According to the team, electronic cigarettes are the best replacement for conventional tobacco on the market. They should be fully embraced and supported by the government and the British people alike if the UK is ever to rid itself of the toxins of tobacco.
To the average consumer this might have been good news simply in light of the fact that electronic cigarettes help smokers get around the nationwide smoking ban. But to electronic cigarette manufacturers and retailers, it was pretty much a blank check. With the UK government's endorsement, they are now expecting sales to increase to even greater heights than they were expecting just three months ago. It is actually one of the rare cases where government intervention has been a good thing for sales.
Elsewhere in the World
While the UK easily leads the world in electronic cigarette purchases, the United States is not far behind in second place. The sheer buying power of that country means that electronic cigarette sales in the U.S. are also going through the roof. Just like the UK, many retailers are expecting to set new records in 2011 without even breaking a sweat. Thanks to dynamic web marketing and word-of-mouth recommendations, U.S. retailers are enjoying a good year.
All is not well everywhere, however. There are a few places, like Canada and Ireland, where electronic cigarettes are completely banned. Users in those countries must find alternative methods for getting e-cigs and their accessories. For obvious reasons, sales in those countries are down drastically. Nonetheless, smokers who want to switch to electronic devices will apparently find a way to get them wherever they live.
As sales continue to increase there seems to be no end in sight for the future of electronic cigarettes. Thankfully, the UK has played a huge role in this. Hopefully, she will continue to lead the way as electronic cigarettes again acceptance in more and more places around the world.