53% of Americans mistakenly think nicotine is carcinogenic, says new study

A recent study by researchers at Virginia Tech shows that nearly 53 percent of Americans surveyed are under the misconception that nicotine causes cancer.  Another 21.2 percent are unsure. 1,736 people were survey in the study, and by the way, there is no scientific evidence that nicotine is carcinogenic.

The study’s findings were first announced at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco 24th Annual Meeting in Baltimore just last week.  The results seem to indicate that the majority of Americans may be under the mistaken impression that nicotine consumption and smoking are equally as dangerous to one’s health.  What many people may be surprised to learn is that tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, cauliflower, and even many teas contain sufficient amounts of nicotine.

The report offers other key findings, too. 

  • According to the data, 84.7 percent also believe that nicotine is the substance in cigarettes that keeps people addicted. However, a recent study from Harvard University proves otherwise. According to Harvard, it’s the tar and needlessly added chemicals found in combustible tobacco products that keeps smokers hooked.  It’s not the nicotine.

Related Article:  Vaping News: Harvard study shows nicotine is not addictive

  • The findings also indicate that 92.6 percent of Americans know that smoking causes cancer, which is good news.
  • Strangely, 52.5 percent of smokers also believe the myth that nicotine is a carcinogen.
  • Comparatively, only 14.6 percent of the vaping community is likely to assume that this mild stimulant is carcinogenic.
  • Meanwhile, 31.6 percent of smokers believe that vaping and electronic cigarettes are “less harmful” than smoking.
  • Only 3.4 percent of smokers thought e-cigs were “much less harmful” than smoking.
“That adults’ misperceptions about the health effects of nicotine persist despite the long-term availability of FDA-approved over-the-counter nicotine replacement products is troubling. It needs to be addressed with clear communications to the public—especially smokers—that nicotine is not what is causing smoking-related disease. Leading public health experts have called for trusted authorities to communicate clearly about nicotine to smokers. This should help them understand that there is a continuum of risk across nicotine-containing products and use that understanding to help them reduce risks to their health.”

The fact that so many Americans are fundamentally wrong about the carcinogenic risks associated with nicotine is not all that surprising.  But the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is also peddling this same misinformation campaign is truly alarming.

Currently FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb is considering new regulations that would limit and reduce the levels of nicotine found in combustible tobacco products. So far, he has not mentioned any considerations of perhaps regulating the deadly tar and addictive chemicals found within these same products.  And so far, he has not included e-liquids in these possibly new regulatory measures.   So far. 

Related Article:  FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb issues new statement of vaping products

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