brain damage/changes from nicotine?
There's an oft-parroted claim that nicotine changes the juvenile brain, or causes irreperable damage in its development. This of course is bunk, based on misrepresenting rodent studies.
The human brain in 14-19 year olds is nothing like that of rats or mice in their
equivalent "adolescent" stage (4-12 weeks old).
And if nicotine had such lasting effects on the human brain, "would we not have seen it?" (Tobacco had been around for a century.)
- Myth #6: The nicotine in JUUL causes brain damage in teenagers
- Q4.6: Does nicotine damage the developing adolescent brain?
- Vaping: what people are getting wrong | The Economist
- Youtube: Is Nicotine harmful to developing brains?
- SRNT15 class it a "speculative" claim
nicotine == poison
The origin assumption is certainly that nicotine is a plant neurotoxin for insects. Which of course has much less implications for humans, where it acts more like a nutrient/hormone. (When oxidized as nicotinic acid; it's also called niacin, formerly known as a vitamin b3 form [term not used anymore]).
nicotine == heroin
The hyperbolic heroin comparison from 1988 notwithstanding, that's not to say that nicotine couldn't induce a dependence by itself (even isolated from tobacco).
|promote substance affinity||fairly plausible🟩|
|changes the brain||get outta here🟥|
But the implication that it changes the human brain, even for individuals where it potentially promotes other substance use, is still a bit farfetched. [citation needed; but also attributing too much probability to the possibility here]
one human study
There's now a longitudinal/observational study; unclear as to the relevance though. It measured cognitive abilities against tobacco/nicotine (and one-time) use, expressly does not establish causality. But kinda reeeks of the very selection bias they wanted to avert. The 117ml brain size reduction would be fairly odd. As are the lingustic skills (more an indictment of tobacco use probality from socioeconomic and educational inclinations). Gotta wait for real reviews...
media scare phrases
- "nicotine = brain poison🟥" (TFCA/flavorshookkids, PR agency)
- sci-fi brain worms🟥 (FDA, CTFK?)
- "harm adolescent brain development🟥" (CDC-OSH)
- "Studies in rats🟧 have shown that chronic nicotine exposure during adolescence can diminish cognitive functions" (TI), and straight up lies in some more blatant tweets🟥.