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Is nicotine safe?

Because of its association with smoking, nicotine has a bad reputation. But in reality it’s a fairly benign and mild stimulant, similar in effect to caffeine. It doesn’t cause cancer, and it doesn’t seem to cause other diseases either. Nicotine is probably safe for most people to use.

Like caffeine, it causes a temporary increase in heart rate and high blood pressure because it constricts the blood vessels when it’s absorbed. That might make vaping nicotine a poor choice for people with serious heart problems — but, as always, a better choice than smoking. Pregnant women should probably avoid nicotine altogether if possible, although the research that shows risks for the unborn child is questionable.

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