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Nicotine Itself Isn't The Real Villain (Sally Satel, Forbes Contributor)

In a very interesting and objective article, Sally Satel, a contributor of Forbes who we follow, noted that regulators outlined the need to discuss 'nicotine'. We think that Ms Satel is a very wise woman, because she noted, particularly in response to the need to discuss nicotine, that if we were to discuss nicotine in terms of its dangers, then we would need to discuss it only within that sphere in which it is dangerous, i.e. in cigarettes. Nicotine, by itself, doesn't cause cancer or heart diseases or any of the other diseases attributed to cigarettes, it's the thousands of other chemicals in a cigarette that cause said diseases. What nicotine does, is get you addicted to the cigarettes. 

If nicotine were to get you addicted to something infinitely less harmful than cigarettes, or not harmful at all (the jury is still out on that), such as for example, an e-cig which contains flavouring, water, and a glycol, and NOTHING ELSE,  then there wouldn't really be any need to discuss anything concerning nicotine. 

Ms Satel points out in her article, that many Americans still don't know that nicotine is not the killer in cigarettes, but rather see that e-cigs contain nicotine and think them just as harmful as cigarettes. This needs to change, pronto! When it comes to your health, and you're puffing away at something that is almost certain to kill you, not knowing that there is a healthier alternative is not acceptable. 

But nicotine is only a menace when it can addict people to conventional cigarettes – that is, tobacco wrapped in paper. By contrast, in the process of vaping, nicotine carries little risk by itself. Negative health consequences have not materialized within the seven years e-cigarettes have been used in the U.S. – though it’s essential to keep monitoring.

Ms Satel, also risks somewhat, to add that nicotine alone can actually have some benefits to the user: 

Nicotine is a mild stimulant and poses negligible risks in healthy people. It enhances the performance of some tasks, especially those involving vigilance and rapid visual cue processing. It can also sharpen memory, concentration and attention in the short term.

Also, because nicotine receptors appear to regulate other receptor systems, its effect can vary according to one’s mood and level of arousal. A smoker who feels anxious or stressed can be calmed with nicotine, and a smoker who is tired will perk up with nicotine.

We admire the fact that Ms Satel is not afraid to call a spade, a spade. We obviously don't condone smoking or addiction to nicotine, but we are pleased that more and more people are recognising vaping as a smoking cessation aid. If vaping can give you your nicotine fix without any of the other chemicals you get from cigarettes, then that is what we will continue to strive for. 
Ms Satel goes on to describe the chemical influence that nicotine has on the brain, particularly on its release of dopamine and its short and long-term benefits. Ms Satel ends her article with an appeal to authorities to recognise the difference between smoking and vaping, and not to regulate vaping in the same way they do smoking. Her final message is a poignant one: 
If policy makers reject the scientific truth about nicotine and make e-cigarettes more scarce, then the likely result is that more Americans will die from smoking.

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