This article is a point-by-point analysis of the facts, evidence, and opinion that demonstrate conclusively that nicotine has no link to cancer in humans.
Given the evidence, any link discovered in animal or cell studies is quickly recognized as irrelevant.
1. NICE – official UK medical guidance
Nicotine does not cause cancer, according to NICE PH45. If a UK medical doctor disregards the recommendations of their clinical guidance agency, they risk penalties or civil actions.
In other words, if a doctor asserts that nicotine has the potential to promote cancer, they are directly contradicting the official medical advice on which they rely to practice their profession. If they provided therapy based on this idea, you would have a solid basis for legal action.
If a doctor in the United Kingdom were informed that nicotine has no link to cancer and yet prescribed you Champix (varenicline) for smoking cessation because he thought the dangers of Chantix and NRT were comparable, then that doctor would have no grounds for defense in a negligence lawsuit if you subsequently murdered someone or committed suicide as a result of a severe psychotic episode.
They have been told officially that nicotine has no association with cancer.
We may also note that, given the UK medical establishment’s reputation for being the most conservative globally, and if they reject what might otherwise be interpreted as “establishment propaganda,” this alone demonstrates a convincing case that there is no such relationship.
2. The Snus data
Let’s assume we had a huge mountain of data collected for more than three decades about an isolated population who used nicotine without smoking in high amounts for lengthy periods and where hundreds of thousands of individuals have been tracked for multiple decades.
What if those facts (considering the volume and time involved) proved that a large quantity of nicotine without smoke has no apparent impact?
We have that information, and we have a mountain of data from Swedish Snus.
This data mountain illustrates that the consumption of high-quality, meticulously manufactured tobacco without combustion has little effect on health.
Snus has yet to be linked to any type of cancer in hundreds of clinical trials with nearly 100,000 participants that have lasted decades.
The health effects of switching to Snus or quitting entirely are the same.
Then there are the statistics: Snus users in Sweden have a lower incidence of tobacco-related illness than smokers, and they are essentially non-existent.
Benowitz and others used the Snus data in their applications for long-term NRT licenses since no change in risk could be identified.
3. The NRT data
The same conclusion can be drawn from studies of nicotine replacement therapy: There was no indication of a link between cancer and the treatment.
The NRT data is tiny compared to the Snus data. It has only been collected since 1984; nevertheless, it does have an edge in that it focuses on just the specific compound: nicotine.
NRT medications have now been licensed for long-term use, except for those people who have pre-existing medical problems, in which case special precautions should be observed (such as smoking bans and restricting the number of cigarettes that can be smoked per day). No evidence of harm has been found except for individuals with pre-existing diseases.
4. No senior medical support for cancer
No senior medical specialist in this field will claim that nicotine has a scientifically-significant link with cancer in humans, as shown by clinical trials or national health statistics.
There is no evidence for it, and there’s a lot of evidence to work with.
5. Nicotine effect modelling
There is no evidence that nicotine’s effects in animals and cell cultures translate to humans.
In other words, to try and connect smoking with cancer ad infinitum may be used to generate fraudulent research. Still, the massive wave of data and facts makes this utterly pointless aside from the headline value (as the media will publish anything that sells papers, subscriptions, and advertising inventory, and that pleases big-scale advertisers).
6. The effects of nicotine propaganda
The anti-nicotine message has a commercial benefit and, given the zealots’ susceptibility to puritanical fanaticism, is probably effective.
The campaign’s effectiveness appears to be self-perpetuating, and it must be regarded as one of the most successful commercially sponsored efforts since it approaches being a perpetual motion machine; all that is required is a tiny push from those who benefit.
It also demonstrates the enormous power of propaganda: it can even persuade professionals to accept the incorrect version of reality.
The effect on doctors
In most cases, we generally picture doctors as medical experts – they’re the individuals we pick to give us general health advice.
However, a recent poll of British and Swedish medical practitioners discovered that 44 percent of British doctors believe nicotine is linked to cancer and an even greater proportion (amazingly) who consider it one of the most hazardous ingredients in cigarette smoke. However, their official national clinical guidance authority instructs them that nicotine has no link with cancer and is not one of the harmful components in cigarette smoke (NICE PH45).
So it appears that about half of all British GPs are unaware of the issues and will be guilty of medical negligence if they advise on anything regarding smoking cessation, even though the average UK GP practice receives around £10,000 per year for smoking cessation services.
Suppose a patient asks whether nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or varenicline is the best option. In that case, they might be influenced by a false belief that NRTs have some type of cancer or other adverse health effect and choose varenicline (Chantix/Champix).
If the patient develops heart problems or a severe mental condition after taking varenicline, the doctor is guilty of negligence. Given the degree of ignorance, this cannot be avoided.
The effect on surgeons
Specific disinformation assaults on nicotine will have an impact on general surgery.
The dual opposing viewpoints, both wrong that may influence the decisions and actions of surgeons and other medical personnel:
“Nicotine promotes or even causes cancer by promoting blood vessel development and vascularity in tissue and growth and regeneration of damaged tissue. As a result, it aids the formation of tumors or may contribute to their development.”
– and also:
“Nicotine should not be used before surgery, such as smoking or smokeless tobacco or vaping, since it prevents the healing of damaged tissue by preventing blood vessel regeneration and vascularity. As a result, it delays post-operative recovery.”
Both of these well-known propaganda claims cannot be correct simultaneously. The individuals who propagate these beliefs should choose one and stick with it because mixing both of them demonstrates the utter lunacy of anti-nicotine campaigns.
These statements are false, as might be apparent from their self-canceling nature.
Smoking is detrimental to one’s health and may impede post-surgical recovery; this has nothing to do with nicotine; otherwise, we’d have to stop eating vegetables (nicotine is an active component present in the regular diet; everyone consumes it; everyone tests positive for it).
Nicotine and cancer – conclusion
Because we have decades of experience with nicotine outside of smoking, and because there is a data mountain on real-world experience, and since no connection between nicotine and cancer can be established, it’s reasonable to state that (as NICE has) that nicotine does not cause cancer.
Nicotine has not been proven to induce, promote, or prolong cancer in humans.
It may be associated with various things in the lab, but any result you pay for in a CT or RCT is attainable. The buyer chooses the outcome they desire, which is a bit of a habit for anything tobacco-related and affects pharmaceutical company earnings.
Keep in mind that animal and in vitro studies on nicotine’s effects do not apply to humans. We have a massive mountain of real-world data on people over multiple decades that demonstrate this; and reality-based evidence, such as the country’s health statistics.