Nicotine...Friend or Foe?

Q: Does nicotine cause cancer?

A: No, tar in cigarette smoke causes cancer.  But, nicotine is an addictive drug. It is not the nicotine in cigarette smoke that causes cancer. Nicotine may keep you smoking, but it is the other bad chemicals in cigarettes that make smoking so dangerous.

Things to consider about smoking, nicotine, and cancer

Q: If nicotine does not cause cancer, what does?

A: The tar and chemicals in the smoke vapor cause cancer.

Q: Why don't the cigarette companies just take the tar out of the tobacco?

A: Tar provides most of the flavor for your cigarette. Less tar, less flavor!

Q: Why don't the cigarette companies just take the nicotine out of the tobacco?

A: You'd stop smoking and they wouldn't get your money!

Q: Isn't it better to switch to a low tar, low nicotine cigarettes?

A: No, even though it may feel better on your chest, chances are you will puff harder and smoke more of each cigarette to get the nicotine.

Q: I have a hard time quitting smoking. Is there a safer way to get nicotine?

A: Yes, you can get clean nicotine in a nicotine patch, gum, nasal spray, lozenge, or inhaler; these products don't have tar.

Q: Won't I get hooked on nicotine in the patch, gum, nasal spray, lozenge, or inhaler?

A: Most people find it easy to get off nicotine medicines after a few months. Cigarettes get you addicted by delivering nicotine quickly to your brain. Nicotine in smoke enters your lungs as a vapor and reaches your brain in 7 to 10 seconds. That is why most smokers feel satisfied after one or two drags on a cigarette. Products like the nicotine patch, gum, nasal spray, lozenge, or inhaler deliver nicotine slowly. Nicotine gets absorbed through the skin or through the lining of the nose or mouth.

Q: Does nicotine replacement really work, or is it just another way to get money out of smokers?

A: Nothing will work unless you want it to. Nicotine medications can help by dulling your cravings for a cigarette and are proven to increase your chances of quitting.

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