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Does Nicotine Cause Cancer?

Lungs with a cigarette.a conceptual photo, directly above and close-up.Pretty much everyone understands that smoking cigarettes leads to cancer. Most people also know that cigarettes contain nicotine. Numerous Surgeon general’s warnings and “stop smoking” campaigns have made it clear that nicotine is dangerous and smoking causes cancer. But does nicotine cause cancer?

The answer is no, it does not.

Nicotine has an entirely different negative effect on the body and is not directly related to the cancer-causing properties of cigarettes. All that nicotine usually does is cause addiction. If there is too much nicotine in the body, an overdose may occur. Too little nicotine causes withdrawal symptoms. But it isn’t actually responsible for cancer.

You can blame that on tar. This is the sticky, black substance in cigarettes that provides the bulk of the product’s flavor. If cigarette manufacturers were to get rid of tar, their cigarettes would not taste as good, and people would be far less likely to buy that particular brand.

What this means is that any nicotine product without tar is not going to cause cancer. That includes nicotine patches, nicotine lozenges, nicotine sprays, e-liquid and others. There are still plenty of negative effects to be had from these, particularly when it comes to the addictive qualities of nicotine, but cancer is not one of them.

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If someone is concerned about the effects of tar on their body and the eventual cancer it will cause, then they have a few options. They may be inclined to try a cigarette with low tar levels or low nicotine levels. But what that usually does is cause them to just smoke more than they normally would. They may not get as much tar or nicotine with each cigarette, but they are more likely to smoke additional cigarettes just to get their nicotine fix and to find a semblance of decent flavor.

They could also take up some sort of smoking cessation product. Patches, lozenges, sprays, gums and more make for plenty of options for those wanting to quit smoking and transition away from the habit slowly. These contain no tar, but they can contain more nicotine, and they are easier to overdose on.

Smokers can also use electronic cigarettes. These contain nicotine, so they are still addictive, but they contain no tar, so they are not as hazardous. Many people have successfully transitioned from smoking cigarettes to vaping eCigs.

The best option is for smokers to quit entirely. This is not always possible and is rarely easy, but it is the most effective way to escape all the negative effects that cigarettes can have. That is not to say that some of the effects of smoking won’t have long-term consequences, as they very well could. The longer someone has been smoking, the greater their risk of experiencing the worst effects that smoking has to offer, even after they quit.

So while nicotine contains nothing that can cause cancer, it is often part of the cycle that leads to cancer. The addictive quality of this chemical causes smokers to consume more tar and to eventually succumb to cancer.

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