Is nicotine so harmful?

Victor LitvinenkoLife
Is nicotine so harmful?

"The best way to quit smoking is not to start," smokers joke as they light up another cigarette. For most smokers, quitting nicotine altogether is utopia. But the modern approach to smoking is not as categorical as before: manufacturers offer less harmful alternatives to regular cigarettes, writes medical portal Health-ua.com.

How are smokeless products affecting health in countries where there is mass abandonment of cigarettes in favor of tobacco heating systems? Why are smokers increasingly choosing smokeless alternatives?

Why are tobacco heating systems less harmful?

Tobacco smoke from the burning process is known to contain many elements that are hazardous to health. Heating tobacco at low temperatures prevents it from burning, so smokeless products emit an aerosol that contains significantly fewer chemicals compared to cigarette smoke. In addition, smokeless technology prevents the formation of ash and particulate matter containing carbon.

Tobacco heating systems aerosol contains on average 95% fewer harmful chemical components compared to cigarette smoke.

At the same time, manufacturers note: despite the absence of combustion and tar, as well as the reduction of harmful chemicals in tobacco heating systems, no smokeless product can be completely safe.

There are different approaches to assessing the quality of a smokeless product:

  • No tobacco combustion process;
  • Clinical studies on the effects of smokeless products on human health;
  • Long research studies after tobacco heating systems have been placed on the market;
  • Studies of statistics and public health indicators after switching from cigarettes to smokeless alternatives.

The mass transition of Japanese people to smokeless products has led to a dramatic drop in sales of conventional cigarettes in Japan. As a result, hospitalizations of patients with chronic lung and heart disease have declined.

Statistics Norway has released the following data: the percentage of "daily smokers" has dropped from 25% in 2005 to 8% in 2021. They explain this by the fact that the number of chewing tobacco users in the country has increased from 5% to 15%.

At the same time Cancer Today data speak for themselves: the mortality rate from lung cancer among men in Norway and Sweden is the lowest in the EU.

Smokeless products and cardiovascular disease: what do the studies say?

Harmful substances in cigarette smoke penetrate through the alveoli into the bloodstream and cause oxidative stress and inflammatory reactions. This contributes to atherosclerosis, which can lead to dangerous cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, peripheral artery disease, etc.

To date, there is experimental evidence that proves: Aerosol has significantly less effect on vascular plaque formation mechanisms compared to cigarette smoke.

Although smokeless products are not completely safe, more and more studies appearing every day prove that smokeless variants are less harmful to health than regular cigarettes.

Scientists say: switching from cigarettes to tobacco heating systems slows the progression of atherosclerosis, helping to delay cardiovascular disease. A 12-month clinical trial is planned in the U.S., Europe and Asia, involving more than 1,800 patients and ending in 2025.

A 3-year clinical study of the effects of smokeless products on lung health in patients with chronic bronchitis who continue to smoke is also planned. The goal of the experiment is to show how the progression of the disease slows in patients who have given up cigarettes in favor of tobacco heating systems. Scientists plan to recruit 1,895 people from Europe, the United States and Asia.

Researchers are confident: replacing cigarette with smokeless products can reduce inflammation and oxidative processes in the body. As we can see, smokeless products are less harmful alternatives to cigarettes for smokers who don't want to give up the habit.

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