Nicotine Gums and Lozenges May Increase the Risk of Mouth Cancer
Nicotine replacement therapies such as gums, lozenges and inhalers meant to help people quit smoking may cause cancer, according to new research. Scientists at the University of London have confirmed a link between mouth cancer and nicotine exposure, which implies that using oral nicotine replacement therapies for long periods of time increases the risk of cancer.
While it is already established that nicotine is carcinogenic, this study suggests that it is more so than previously thought. However, leader of the study, Dr. Muy-Teck Teh explained that oral nicotine replacement products are a much lower risk than smoking, so they are still preferable. It is important not to use them too much and to follow directions.
Unfortunately, former smokers are already at a higher risk of mouth cancer, and some of them may already have lesions in their mouth that they are unaware of. Nicotine replacement therapies could give them full blown mouth cancer, which is often detected late, and therefore has a poor prognosis.
This means that if possible, safer alternatives to nicotine replacement therapy should be sought. However, if none of the alternatives are working and nicotine replacement therapy is, then it is better to stick with that, because smoking is much more risky.
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