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A survey of GPs reveals that many identify nicotine as a harmful cigarette-smoke component
Date:5/31/2013

A survey of GPs (general practitioners) in the UK and Sweden revealed that some hold the view that one of the greatest health risks from smoking is nicotine. This belief likely influences health advice to smokers when considering whether to recommend the use of alternative nicotine products.

Nicotine is the addictive component of tobacco smoke, but unlike some other constituents of tobacco smoke, it is not carcinogenic and according to the UK Royal College of Physicians, 'medicinal nicotine is a very safe drug.'

Switching to alternative nicotine products such as nicotine gums and electronic cigarettes can, therefore, help many smokers quit smoking or cut down, thereby reducing exposure to tobacco smoke and the associated harm. But the views held by some GPs in both the UK and Sweden may influence their willingness to recommend the use of alternative nicotine products to help smokers quit outright or to cut down to quit. This could have some impact on the successful implementation of the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence's guidance on harm reduction approaches to smoking. This guidance advocates broader use of nicotine replacement therapies and clearly differentiates between the risks associated with cigarette smoking and those of using nicotine products. This guidance also proposes that the education and training of practitioners should 'include the principles and practice of tobacco harm reduction.'

The survey, commissioned by British American Tobacco, involved administering an online survey to assess the knowledge, perceptions and attitudes to tobacco and nicotine products of healthcare professionals in the UK and Sweden and to understand what types of advice in relation to the use for alternative nicotine products are being offered to smokers.

'It is our belief that smokers should have available to them products that are satisfying and deliver nicotine in a safer way without the harmful toxicants
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Contact: Dr. Marina Murphy
marina_murphy@bat.com
44-771-115-0135
R&D at British American Tobacco
Source:Eurekalert

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