Public health expert says nothing substantially ‘wrong with nicotine’ in vaping

In a lecture conducted recently at London South Bank University (LSBU), Dr. Lynne Dawkins of the Centre for Addictive Behaviours Research refuted several myths surrounding vaping and nicotine. The scientist and academic discusses everything from junk science to common misperceptions that tobacco and nicotine are equally as deadly.  She began by quoting a popular scientist and specialist in the field of tobacco harm reduction from as far back as the 1970s.

“Professor Mike Russell from King’s College London said years ago back in the 1970s, ‘People smoke for the nicotine, but they die from the tar.’ And by that, he meant that nicotine is the main component of tobacco smoke.  It is the addictive ingredient(s), but it’s the burning associates with smoking that causes all the harms.  So, burning of tobacco leaves) is associated with tar and carbon monoxide.  So, tar is a collective term used to describe all the other compounds in cigarette smoke.  The problem with tar is that it’s sticky, so it sticks to the lungs, it sticks to the airways.  This means that the tiny hairs that usually sweep the carcinogens out of the body can’t do their usual job.  And this allows the cancer-causing agent to build up over time.”

Dr. Lynn Dawkins then proceeds to discuss the varying comparisons of vaping as a tobacco harm reduction tool as compared to the more conventional nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) like nicotine-enhanced patches, gums, and lozenges. Especially noteworthy is that the public health expert indicates in the beginning of her lecture (YouTube) that she has previously performed research for Big Pharma companies- the manufacturers of these NRTs.  This rare admission adds credence to the doctor’s claims about vaping being significantly less harmful than smoking. 

“What’s wrong with nicotine? It’s the burning that is associated with smoking’s harm… this is the basis for nicotine replacement products, patches and gum and so on, giving people the nicotine they need without the harmful effects of burning.”

Related Article:  Tobacco expert: ‘People smoke for nicotine, but they die from tar’

She goes on to explain that the many public fallacies and constantly evolving conspiracy theories about e-cigs are not necessarily due to the general public’s lack of ability to process the scientific facts about nicotine.  In fact, they are essentially being taught the wrong facts thanks to a “surge” of thousands of misleading publications in the past five years.

“Back in 2008, there were no published studies, only three in 2009, and there was a steady kind of trickle of publications coming through up until 2014when we saw a huge surge in publications. So, everybody jumped on the e-cigarette research bandwagon by that time, and even this year alone, there’s been over 500 research articles published on electronic cigarettes.  And I may have found even more if I’d used the word “vape,” or “vaporizer,” or “ENDS,” and so on.“
“So, we do know a lot about e-cigarettes.  There have been quite a lot of studies published. But one caveat there.  Just because there have been quite a lot of studies published on the topic doesn’t mean every single study is conducted with the utmost rigor or accurately designed or interpreted as carefully as the results could be.” 

Strange statistic regarding e-cigs and NRTs mysteriously comes to light

As Dr. Dawkins goes on to discuss in detail the typical demographics of people who purchase electronic vaping devices, she notes that the majority of vapers are trying to quit smoking or are former smokers.   And while she readily admits that as small portion of vapers are also never-smokers, she makes a rather remarkable claim.

About the same percentage of never-smokers who vape matches the number of never-smokers who experiment with conventional NRTs. 

Why would someone who has never smoked a cigarette in her life seemingly decide out of thin air to purchase a nicotine patch or nicotine chewing gum?  Even Dr. Dawley cannot answer that question definitely.  But these odd statistics are something that this blogger has never heard about in the past, and I wonder.

Has FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb been hiding this information from us intentionally?  Or is he simply unaware?

Related Article: Smokers who switch to vaping see improvements in myocardial health, says scientist

(Image courtesy of YouTube)

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