Reading Pure nicotine, as used in nicotine patches for smokers, may increase the risk of vascular disease and promote the growth of tumors. The report American scientists in the journal "Nature Medicine" (Volume 7, p. 833). In the laboratory and in mouse studies, John Cooke of Stanford University and colleagues found that nicotine enhances blood vessel growth while inhibiting the programmed death of aged cells. This means an increased risk of deposits in the blood vessels and faster growth of tumors. It is frightening that these effects already occur at nicotine concentrations, as they occur in smokers in the blood, the researchers write.

Nevertheless, Cooke does not generally warn against the use of nicotine patches or gums. Anyone who gets rid of smoking can tolerate the increased risk for a short time, says Cooke. Further research on humans should now follow.

Ulrich Dewald


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