Nicotine, not just smoke, may help promote cancer

Nov 29, 2010

Nicotine, as well as smoke, can invite serious health problems.

For decades, people have known that smoking dramatically increases their risk for lung cancer and emphysema, along with many other dangerous medical conditions. However, smokers may have more reason for concern based on some new research.

Various media outlets this week highlighted findings from Taiwanese researchers showing that nicotine itself - not just the smoke from cigarettes - can contribute to the growth of cancer cells. The findings are being detailed in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

One thing about this finding is that it might make people think twice about switching from cigarettes to other supposedly safer tobacco products, including the new electronic models that use water vapor to deliver nicotine.

Many states have tried to reduce public tobacco use by imposing increasingly high taxes on cigarettes and other products. In recent years though, the number of smokers has still remained stable at around 20 percent of the U.S. population.

Smokers can also expect to pay significantly higher premiums for life insurance based on the statistical likelihood that their life expectancy will be shorter than others.

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