Glad you have quit smoking or chewing tobacco using nicotine gum, patches or e-cigarettes? Think again.
Consumption of nicotine, an important constituent of tobacco, in any form is not only highly addictive, but also connected to cancer and an increased risk of cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal disorders, states a research paper published in the Indian Journal of Medical Paediatric Oncology by oncologists from the Tata Memorial Hospital.
Most addicts opt for the nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), a safer alternative that allows them to quit smoking or tobacco with minimal withdrawal symptoms. However, while doing so, the patients are put on other forms of nicotine such as gum, patches and e-cigarettes, where nicotine is used in controlled and measured amount. “Nicotine poses several health hazards of varying severity. It directly decreases the immune response and negatively impacts reproductive health,” states the paper.
The drug controller general of India (DCGI) allowed the sale of the drugs used in the replacement therapy over the counter a decade ago.
“NRT preparations are aggressively promoted and sold over the counter in India. The product is being manufactured and marketed by the tobacco industry. The safety profile of this drug is of great concern, especially among those who consume it without medical supervision,” said Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, one of the authors of the paper published on Thursday.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, however, has not included nicotine as a carcinogen. The authors had reviewed over 90 studies in animals and humans done across the world on nicotine to highlight the health problems it can cause.