Lack of knowledge about nicotine among doctors

A majority of American doctors, as many as 80 per cent, wrongly believe that nicotine causes cancer, COPD and heart disease. This is according to a new US study.

Nicotine is addictive. But according to modern research, it is the smoke, and not the nicotine, that is the major health risk for cigarette users. It is the substances formed during combustion that cause diseases such as cancer and heart disease. KOL while inhaling carbon monoxide greatly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the nicotine itself does not cause any known chronic diseases.which opens the door to the use of nicotine medicines for smoking cessation, for example.

Lack of knowledge about nicotine

But knowledge about nicotine and its health effects is poor among doctors. This is according to a study at Rutger University. Over 1000 doctors participated in the study. Of these, 80 per cent responded, incorrectly, that they believe that nicotine causes cancer; 83 per cent believed that nicotine causes heart disease. 83 per cent believed that nicotine causes heart disease. 81 believed that nicotine contributes to the development of COPD. In all cases, the doctors showed a lack of understanding of the consequences of smoking and nicotine. This is of concern to the researchers behind the study.

"Doctors need to understand nicotine, especially in the context of counselling patients on products that help them quit smoking" says the researchers in a press release.

Low nicotine cigarettes just as dangerous

In the United States, which recently introduced regulations to control all nicotine products, including snus and e-cigarettes (which do not dispose of smoke).), can doctors' lack of knowledge can have dangerous consequences, researchers say. 

"For example, we have recently received cigarettes with lower nicotine content approved by the FDA, despite being at least as harmful as traditional cigarettes. At the same time, there are several other nicotine products on the market designed to reduce the risks, such as chewing gum, patches and smokeless tobacco. It is therefore important that physicians have the right information about nicotine and its true effect on health," said the researchers.

Misperception of risks

At the same time, less than a third of doctors lacked knowledge about the risks that nicotine, for example, can pose during pregnancy. Nicotine can affect the foetus, although the impact itself is much greater because of of other substances found in cigarette smoke. But a third of doctors did not even answer the question, the researchers note. This suggests a lack of interest.

"It should be a priority to correct the misconceptions about nicotine that apparently exist among doctors. Especially when our regulatory framework is designed to encourage smokers to use other nicotine preparations or smokeless tobacco products to reduce the harm of cigarette smoking" says Cristine Delnevo, Director of the Rutgers Centre for Tobacco Studies and Professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health.


Rutgers-Led National Survey Uncovers Doctors' Misconceptions About Nicotine Risks

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