Nicotine – a toxic drug

By Abdellatif Sharaa

God gave man all characteristics and advantages and made him supreme over all creation. He gave him a brain to think, analyze, decide and act. Yet I am amazed to see how weak and naive this man can be, no matter the level of education and learning he achieved, to a point that makes his use of the bounty of brains limited.

Many of my friends may question my assertion, and they may be right, but I am alluding to those who willingly do harm to their bodies. I have seen a good number of doctors smoking in their clinics, and giving strong advice to their patients to quit smoking as part of their treatment, and I personally know some doctors who had ailments that were caused by the cigarette.

We all are aware of the huge business tobacco companies are running, and their brilliant marketing campaigns on which they spend millions. That is no problem for them because theirs is a multibillion-dollar business. Those companies think about their future of course, and do not want to lose even a dollar – rather they want to increase their profits, so we started hearing about alternative nicotine delivery devices to replace the “bad” old tobacco stick, as I like to call it.

About such devices, the American Journal of Public Health said: “It is well established that nicotine meets all criteria of a highly addictive drug. However, as recognized by the US surgeon general, the nicotine delivery system itself is an important determinant of the toxic and addictive effects engendered by nicotine use. Therefore, altering the form of nicotine dosing may allow for selective therapeutic action in efforts to develop safer and less addictive nicotine replacement therapies.”

This may be expert opinion, but I find it difficult to understand how this can be achieved while we are talking about a highly addictive drug! The article continues: “It is the case that initial tobacco use often escalates to compulsive use, accompanied by tolerance and physical dependence. This is not usually observed with nicotine replacement therapies.

These observations are consistent with laboratory data indicating that (1) nicotine polacrilex and transdermal systems deliver nicotine more slowly and at a lower dose level than tobacco-based forms, and (2) human data suggesting that the abuse liability of these systems is substantially lower than that of the tobacco based nicotine delivery system.”

Though I am still not convinced about any level and concentration of any foreign substance getting into our bodies, I hope that what is being said about the devices is first right, and second a way to lead to making smokers quit both smoking and vaping altogether. I also hope that tobacco giants start thinking about getting into other businesses instead of spending millions on research and development on nicotine delivery into our bodies.

A final note: Many plants are toxic and harmful if ingested as they are, but they are also a source of highly effective medicines for a wide range of illnesses. Think about it. Thank you!