Joseph Magero
2 min readFeb 4, 2020

A south African born Professor by the name Michael Russell once said, “people smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar”.This sentiment needs to be echoed more in today’s society where there’s gross misunderstanding when it comes to nicotine .Nicotine is an alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants, predominantly in tobacco, and in lower quantities in tomato, potato, eggplant , and green pepper.

You'll be surprised to know that Nicotine doesn’t cause smoking-related diseases, such as cancers and heart disease, but it is addictive.Cigarette smoking and the many chemicals it exposes a person to, not nicotine itself, presents the highest risk. According to Cancer research UK , nicotine is addictive but does not cause cancer. Most damage to health caused by smoking is due to tar. Researchers from U.K. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) stated that “…it is primarily the toxins and carcinogens in tobacco smoke — not the nicotine — that cause illness and death.” In fact, other chemicals in smoke, such as benzo[a]pyrene, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, and benzene, are the primary causes of smoking-related diseases.

It’s the burning which cause the harm. Consuming nicotine without any burning is same like getting a caffeine rush from drinking hot coffee.Most research points to cigarette smoke, not nicotine, as being the primary contributor to cancer among smokers.The W.H.O understand this, so much so that they recommend nicotine patches for smokers looking to quit smoking.

A lot of people assume that since combustible cigarettes , snus and e-cigarettes contain nicotine, then they must be equally harmful to one’s health.This is however , is not the case . A World Health Organization (WHO) analysis of previous research argues that snus is unlikely to cause oral or gastric cancer. As a result of this research, the WHO suggest that snus may be an important method of harm reduction.

Society’s relationship with tobacco and nicotine is changing due to technology (vaping products). The more smokers get accurate information,the closer we get to curbing smoking.