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Smokers commonly misperceive that nicotine is a major carcinogen: National survey data
  1. Nick Wilson,
  2. Jo Peace,
  3. Richard Edwards,
  4. Deepa Weerasekera
  1. Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Nick Wilson, Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, PO Box 7343 Wellington South, New Zealand; nick.wilson{at}

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In vitro testing has shown that nicotine may play a role in making cancers more aggressive,1 but the currently available evidence does not suggest that nicotine in itself induces cancer.2 Despite this, many smokers believe that nicotine does cause cancer. For example, in a USA-based study it was found that 65% of smokers believed nicotine causes lung cancer and 71% believed it caused oral cancer.3 Furthermore, some smokers regard nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) as also being carcinogenic.4 These findings are concerning since misperceptions about nicotine may result in underutilisation of NRT. Therefore, we aimed to assess these views in New Zealand (NZ) smokers, with the context being …

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  • Funding This study was funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand (grant 06/453).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.