【Daily Mail】Chewing nicotine gum can 'increase risk of mouth cancer'
Nicotine gum can cause mouth cancer, scientists claim.
Other tobacco replacement products, including lozenges and inhalers designed to provide smokers with the nicotine their body craves but without the tar and harmful chemicals produced by smoking, are also said to increase the risk of mouth cancer if used long term.
Previously nicotine itself, the addictive chemical in cigarettes, has not been thought to be particularly carcinogenic - but the study by University of London scientist Muy-Teck Teh suggests otherwise.
Health risk? Research states that chewing nicotine gum can increase the chances of getting mouth cancer
His research, published in the journal Public Library of Science One, focuses on the importance of a gene known as FOXM1 to the development of mouth cancer.
Analysis of 75 patients found mutations of the gene were more likely when nicotine replacement products were used, particularly when the patients already had a lesion inside their mouth.
Dr Teh said: ‘This study cautions the potential co-carcinogenic effect of nicotine in tobacco replacement therapies.
‘Although we acknowledge the importance of encouraging people to quit smoking, our research suggests nicotine found in lozenges and chewing gums may increase the risk of mouth cancer.’
Nicotine gum and similar products generally carry advice they should only be used for a few months - but in practice many ex-smokers are still using them years after giving up.
Around 5,000 Britons a year suffer from mouth cancer, usually blamed on smoking, chewing tobacco or drinking alcohol.
Previous research suggests that nicotine can contribute to the growth of tumours.
Read more: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0004849