Two leading cancer specialists have spoken out about nicotine to give confidence to electronic cigarette users by stating that it doesn’t cause cancer. Dr David Khayat, professor of Oncology at Pierre et Marie Curie University and head of Medical Oncology at La Pitié-Salpétrière Hospital, and Dr Peter Harper, a consultant medical oncologist at Guy’s and St. Thomas Hospital in London, are leaders in their field and their statement can be trusted implicitly.
Both doctors have been responsible for hundreds of cancer research papers and gave garnered praise for their peer-reviewed work which has led to innovative drug treatments and improvements in cancer management.
The pair believe in the application of tobacco harm reduction policies in public health approaches and fully support electronic cigarettes as a harm reduction tool because vaping reduces the user’s exposure to toxins and carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals).
They say that vapes and other reduced risk nicotine products enable smokers to choose something that has been shown to work as a quit smoking route when the traditional approaches of gum, spray or patches have failed.
Dr Harper said: “The combustion of tobacco generates smoke and ash containing a toxic mix of chemicals that causes serious health effects, including fatal lung diseases and cancer”.
Dr Khayat continued: “Nicotine does not cause cancer.”
“Doctors even prescribe nicotine replacement therapy to help smokers quit. Exposure to the carcinogens present in the smoke of combustible cigarette is what causes cancer. There is a dose-response relationship; the greater the exposure to a carcinogen, the higher the risk to develop cancer.”
They spoke out following a recent survey that confirmed traditional nicotine replacement products carry a very poor success rate.
Professor Peter Hajek, Director of the Health and Lifestyle Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London, led a research team that found switching to vaping worked around three times better as a quit attempt than relying on gum, spray or patches.
Professor Hajek was the first to conduct a gold standard piece of research into the subject in 2019. He followed this up with a succession of similar papers including this one looking at ecigs vs. patches.
Drs Harper and Khayat are even more harsh when it comes to attempting to quit via a cold turkey method. Ongoing research finds that if one hundred smokers attempt to quit using tobacco by going cold turkey, at most 4 or 5 will be able to succeed.
The duo recognise that the act of vaping is a key component to why it is so successful. Being able to hold something and draw on it in a similar way to smoking plays a key role.
“Nicotine is not the only factor in addiction to tobacco; there is also the so-called ‘smoking ritual’ where the smoker lights the cigarette, puts it in their mouth, puffs on it, and so on,” said Dr Khayat.
A lot here to put minds at rest.