What is it about?

Cigarette smoke contains nicotine. Smoking causes many diseases, but how much of the biological effect is due to nicotine alone and not smoke as a whole? We looked at published scientific papers on the effects of nicotine. We chose three specific areas to investigate: Heart disease (including blood pressure and circulation), cancer development and reproduction. These areas were chosen because they are affected by cigarette smoke, but the effect of nicotine is less clear.

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Why is it important?

The development of new nicotine-containing products, like e-cigarettes, means that consumers are inhaling nicotine without other cigarette smoke components. For this reason, it is important to understand how nicotine acts on biological systems.


The scientific literature suggests that nicotine is not the cause of smoking-related diseases such as heart disease or cancer. However, nicotine may have an effect on how babies develop during pregnancy.

Dr Leonie Price

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Biological effects of nicotine exposure: A narrative review of the scientific literature, F1000Research, September 2019, Faculty of 1000, Ltd., DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.20062.1.
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