Lab study spun to show alarming results, but study of 63,000 women suggests no risk
I noticed a rather alarming article the other day suggesting that nicotine can cause breast cancer.
We already know that in labatory conditions nicotine can accelerate the growth of cancer. (As we saw in our recent article on nicotine on the smokers’ angel, it can also accelerate the recovery of muscles after an accident and of the brain after brain damage.)
However, there is a big difference between accelerating the growth of cancerous cells in a labatory and actually causing cells to become cancerous. In addition, the data we have on snus suggests that when nicotine is obtained without combustion the danger of developing cancer drops to almost nil. According to Dr Nitzkin:
the literature on snus, which is evaluated on our website, basically shows that in the best of the epidemiological studies available today snus do not increase any cause of death. In other words, if there is a health hazard from snus it is smaller than can be measured with these studies.
The substance that makes cigarettes addictive may also cause the growth of cancer tumours, scientists revealed today.
It is the first time nicotine has been implicated as one of the chemicals in cigarettes that can trigger the development of breast cancer.
Source: Daily Mail
It is something that worried me, and I immediately contacted TheTobaccoHarmReduction website to get a scientist’s take on it.
It is also possible that nicotine promotes actual cancer growth in people, but it is clear from decades of research on smoke-free nicotine users that if it does, it is sufficiently rare that it is impossible to detect. Indeed, the link between smoking and breast cancer is among the weakest for any cancer among older adults.
In essence, the study did not find anything new, and the dramatic headlines are the results of editors spinning the results of the study to creat maximum impact.
Those still worried should be reassured by the results of an additional study (mentioned in the comments section of Carl Phillip’s blog post).
The study, according to Reuters article Smoking not tied to risk of early breast tumour, followed 63,000 post menepausal women.
That smokers and ex-smokers were no more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than non-smokers.
(If you wish to switch to e-cigarettes and are still worried about nicotine, remember you can always switch to the zero nicotine electronic cigarette!)