The stigma around nicotine must be dispelled – informed doctors can make a significant difference
04th Sep 2023
According to a recently published international study that examines physicians’ attitudes towards nicotine, nearly 80 percent of surveyed doctors believe that nicotine causes diseases such as cancer. This misconception needs to be addressed in order for doctors to provide accurate advice to their patients.
15,000 doctors from around the world
The study surveyed 15,000 doctors in eleven countries (China, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States), and in all countries, a majority agree in the belief that nicotine causes various smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer, atherosclerosis, and COPD. At the same time, about 80 percent are interested in acquiring knowledge about harm reduction in tobacco use.
See the study here.
On August 20th, a seminar was held about the study, attended by the two doctors Riccardo Polosa and Jed Rose. Both emphasized the importance of spreading accurate knowledge about nicotine among doctors, who can then provide proper advice to their patients. Both Dr. Polosa and Dr. Rose have long researched the effects of nicotine, and Dr. Polosa recommends nicotine itself to help smokers quit smoking. There is no research indicating that nicotine causes cancer, Dr. Polosa argued.
Doctors who have done research on nicotine can imply that nicotine doesn’t cause cancer, and during the seminar, some even likened nicotine to a form of medication against smoking.
Riccardo Polosa suggested that a doctor who isn’t familiar with a medication won’t recommend it to their patients. Therefore, he emphasized the need to spread knowledge about nicotine within the medical community.
Even though doctors are experts in their fields, basic science is misunderstood. The misconception that nicotine causes cancer, which still prevails among a significant number of doctors, can be addressed if accurate information is available and can be spread to smokers. This could help them realize that there are less harmful alternatives to smoking.