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A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute indicates that nicotine may play a role in promoting the development of breast cancer. The study was conducted by a team of researchers from Taipei Medical University. This should come as no surprise considering tobacco products have been found to have no less than 60 carcinogenic chemicals. What is different about this study is that it is the first time that nicotine has been identified as a carcinogen. The fact that nicotine is what makes tobacco products addictive also makes this finding unique from other studies. As indicated in an article published on atlantablackstar.com, the combination of the addictive nature of nicotine as well as its carcinogenic effect undermines the fact that no tobacco product, no matter what form, is safe to ingest.
In this particular study, researchers introduced nicotine to both healthy and cancerous breast tissue. The conclusion of the study indicates that healthy breast tissue exposed to nicotine was more likely to have healthy tissue transform into cancer. It also found that cancerous breast tissue cells had more receptors capable of responding to the nicotine. This means that nicotine products such as gum, patches, and inhalers that are marketed as safe alternatives to smoking meant to help promote cessation can actually still contribute to the start of and growth of cancer tissue in the breasts.
The fact that breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among black women coupled with the fact that African Americans suffer from deadly and preventable diseases associated with smoking at a higher rate than the rest of the population means that this study must not be ignored by the African American community. Nicotine is clearly not as harmless as we all have been led to believe. It is important that we see past marketing and advertising schemes meant to lull us into complacency and understand that the decisions we make on a daily basis can have severe and profound effects on our health both as individuals and as a community.
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