If you are someone who tends to immediately believe every first news article you can find on the internet; then there is a high possibility your belief is one that is far from the truth. One excellent example is the nicotine and cancer relationship.

Many articles like the opinion paper in Nature Reviews Cancer journal with a comment that said there are emerging evidences that establishes the direct contribution of nicotine to cancer development. The paper said that the list of cancers related to nicotine is expanding. Yet, research is still ongoing and available data are not yet enough to establish a definite conclusion.

Author Sergei Grando is a professor in Dermatology and Biological Chemistry departments at University of California Irvine. He said that there are reasons for being concerned about nicotine safety not just in tobacco, but more so in ecigs where nicotine is heated along with other unknown ingredients.

Concern Over Nicotine

Nicotine could contribute to cancer. Yet, regular use of nicotine alone is not proven by evidences to have a direct and grave carcinogenic impact. While the substance could have a role in tumor development such as interfering with the body’s way of killing the cancer cells; if used at low doses, these grave effects are not matters of concerns except for people with higher risks than others due to their medical conditions.

In fact, Grando himself has confirmed it. He stated that nicotine alone is not that significant unless administered in very high doses. According to laboratory study critics, using certain substances in high doses could cause cancer and controls on substance use are not frequently used in experiments.

In Grando’s study, mice were administered through injection with nicotine for two years at doses that are equivalent to those of Swedish snus users. About 80% of the lab mice developed tumors, but critics argue that the effects on mice do not actually count as effects on humans.

Another area of the experiment that raises alarms on nicotine and cancer relationship is the fact that nicotine could increase cancer cell survival. Nicotine is also linked with the spread and proliferation of cancer cells. According to the researchers, there are also evidences suggesting that nicotine can enhance the body’s resistance to radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments.

According to Grando, the most important directions of current research include evaluation of cancer incidents. It is not only lung cancer that must be investigated in terms of nicotine association, but also other types of cancers and secondary tumors among users of nicotine products like tobacco and electronic cigarette.

Research should also clarify the types of cells and tissues that are and could be affected by tobacco related changes. The links between mutation of nicotinic receptors and other cancers related to tobacco should also be identified by research. The cell mechanism in terms of nicotine protection against cancer treatments must also be investigated.

Painting The Picture

In essence, no matter how comprehensive this latest study about nicotine and cancer links, it cannot be denied that the picture to be painted is still not complete because available evidences are inconclusive. Grando’s review shows the surprising effect of nicotine and also lists some of the benefits of the substance.

Current evidences suggest that nicotine could be harmful when used in higher doses. Vaping nicotine through electronic cigarettes actually reduces the substance dosage.

How much and how long the substance is used that could produce the harmful effects are also not yet known. There remain a lot of unknowns about nicotine and its effects. Nevertheless, the long years humans have been consuming other foods and crops with nicotine should also be considered. If cancer is indeed caused by nicotine, potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant, etc. should probably not be allowed for human consumption.

Those who are expressing their opinion that nicotine is carcinogenic should probably take caution because as studies are still not yet done, conclusions should also not be hastily made.