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G**gle Transe says:
A new documentary, “You Don’t Know Nicotine” 2 argues that everything we thought we knew about nicotine could be wrong. Even more provocative is the claim that our ignorance of this is the deliberate result of a campaign of deception fueled by selfishness, greed and black money.
It’s hard to believe that a documentary that focuses on a single chemical compound, nicotine, would be particularly attractive to a large audience. But the film is about a lot more. Using the science of nicotine and related political action as a starting point, You Don’t Know Nicotine raises questions about the reliability and trustworthiness of our nation’s health authorities. The film reveals that a relatively small group of stakeholders have managed to manipulate the truth to achieve their own ends, given enough time, money and power. Interviews with scientists, activists and consumers also examine the devastating effects these manipulations have in the real world - as well-meaning as they are issued.
Most of our ideas about nicotine stem from the anti-tobacco education efforts that began in the 1980s. Thanks to these efforts, there is no longer a debate about the harmfulness of smoking today. Since then, however, the nicotine associated with this flaw has led to the belief that it is precisely the nicotine that is addictive and that nicotine causes cancer. Such ideas demonize the substance and stigmatize its users, regardless of how and why they ingest nicotine. The documentary shows that these ideas are not only wrong, but also harm individuals, public health and science.
In a fascinating section of the film, some leading experts in nicotine research are interviewed. They list a wide range of diseases and conditions that could benefit from nicotine: Tourette’s syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, ADHD, Down’s syndrome, depression in old age, and cognitive decline in the elderly (a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease), to name just a few.
For many, however, the benefits of nicotine are even more subtle, such as those with attention or mood disorders and mental illnesses. It seems to help your brain “feel good and work better,” as one expert put it.
This could explain why many smokers become used to and have difficulty quitting, not just because they are hopelessly “addicted”, but because they are getting real, therapeutic benefits from nicotine. But despite decades of research into it, the promising therapeutic potential of nicotine has been largely negated by the healthcare sector because of its seemingly inseparable association with toxic cigarette smoke.
Whether or not medical societies accept this, there are likely many people who use nicotine as a form of self-medication, like Dr. David Abrams from New York University (NYU) School of Global Public Health. For most, that means smoking cigarettes, a habit that kills millions of people around the world every year.
Therefore, says Abrams, it is important for science to find safer ways of consuming nicotine. He was one of the first to call for a ban on nicotine-containing vapor products (“e-cigarettes”). Today, however, Abrams believes that these could be exactly the kind of safe nicotine replacement products that will save the lives of those smokers once they switch to this burn-free alternative. “Science has come a long way in the last two or three years, and there is consensus now, so I’ve changed my mind,” Abrams told the filmmakers.
Unfortunately, not everyone from the academic world but also from the public health system is ready to adapt their own opinions to current science at the same time. Quite a few even try to stop such research or even prevent the resulting results from being recognized at all. This kind of pushing through agendas and also suppression of non-conforming views has no legitimate place in science, but has now become ubiquitous in the field of nicotine research.
Throughout the documentary, sections from the filmmakers’ interview with Dr. Stanton Glantz, one of the most influential tobacco control activists shown. Recently, he has also been railing against nicotine, and he always interprets this very generously in his favor. When asked if nicotine has any