The effects of nicotine are similar to that of another popular drug: Caffeine. There is no evidence that nicotine causes any substantial risk for cancer, and the research shows that the risk for cardiovascular disease is minimal.
The confusion about nicotine comes from anti-smoking activists who talk about nicotine and smoking as if they were the same. While it is true that people smoke mostly because of nicotine, it’s the smoke that is responsible for nearly all of the early death and disease.
Though nicotine can be consumed safely by most individuals (evident by the availability of over-the-counter NRT), it may have a negative effect on fetal development and women who are pregnant should consult with their doctor regarding plans for smoking or nicotine cessation. Read more here.