HealthJustice Philippines, an advocacy group with legal expertise in tobacco control and health promotion, debunked the claim that nicotine is harmless.
“Though it is true that nicotine is only one of the many chemical compounds found in cigarettes, that does not make it any less harmful. Nicotine, even by itself, is harmful to health. According to the 2016 WHO report on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and Electronic Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems, nicotine, ‘a tumour promoter,’ may increase one’s likelihood of developing malignant and cardiovascular diseases, and that adolescent and foetal exposure to it has adverse effects on brain development,” said Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan, Board Member of HealthJustice, and himself a former Secretary of the Health Department.
According to the report cited by Galvez Tan, “[Nicotine] seems to be involved in the biology of malignant diseases, as well as of neurodegeneration. Foetal and adolescent nicotine exposure may have long-term consequences for brain development, potentially leading to learning and anxiety disorders. The evidence is sufficient to warn children and adolescents, pregnant women, and women of reproductive age against ENDS use and nicotine.”
Last February 4, the Vapers Association of the Philippines expressed optimism following the alleged publication of a paper by the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) suggesting that, as declared by Edward Gatchalian, president of Philippine E-liquids Manufacturers Association and HS Liquids Inc., “nicotine is the addictive chemical in cigarettes that makes people hooked to smoking, but it is the toxic gases in cigarette tar that kills smokers”.
HealthJustice also questions the existence of such a paper.
“Entities responsible for spreading the falsehood that nicotine is no longer harmful have not been able to point to a specific study or paper made by public health experts and institutions as the source of what they are currently propagating. There is no categorical finding by any reputable body that nicotine is not detrimental to health. The public urgently needs to be warned against inaccurate information being peddled by groups with vested interests, ” Galvez-Tan added.
HealthJustice Philippines is a Bloomberg Awardee for Global Tobacco Control. It is a Programme Partner of the NCD Alliance, an international network of health experts, health workers, advocates, and organizations working to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases worldwide.