Nicotine, many users of this powerful chemical have a love hate relationship with it. The effects of nicotine have been widely studied and well understood. Nicotine in its natural form are part of the nightshade family. This same family houses plants such as tomatoes and eggplants. Nicotine in its very nature is not extremely dangerous. It does not cause cancer on its own but when combined in with smoking it can become deadly. Nicotine is one of the worlds most addictive chemicals. Pair this with the dangerous compounds found in cigarettes and it is a deadly pairing.
What is Nicotine
Before discussing the effects of nicotine we must first understand what nicotine is. It comes in two forms, the natural form as discussed earlier and in a synthetic form. It is a incredibly addictive chemical compound that has an array of side effects that will be discussed later on. Now while these side effects may not be life threatening, that does not mean they should be taken lightly.
There are multiple ways to consume nicotine. The first and most damaging way is to directly consume it in its liquid form. This can cause burning and an overall terrible experience. More common ways are through chewing/snorting tobacco and cigarettes. Chewing/snorting tobacco releases the most into your system followed by smoking it. It has been well documented that quitting nicotine is at least as difficult as giving up heroin. This with heart, and gastrointestinal side effects makes it easy to see just why nicotine is a dangerous chemical.
History of Nicotine Use
The tobacco plant has been used in North America for at least 2,000 years. In the 1600s people started smoking tobacco in pipes and thus the sensation was born. From here it only grew bigger and bigger. Some people right away saw how addictive the plant was while other people swore on its medicinal value. In 1880 a machine that allowed for the mass production of cigarettes was created. Shortly thereafter large tobacco companies started sprouting up. With the creation of these companies, millions of people now had access to this addictive chemical.
By then we had already been using tobacco as an insecticide so we knew that it contained poisonous properties. Nonetheless, we continued to mass produce cigarettes as it grew into a billion dollar business. Then In 1828, Wilhelm Heinrich Posselt, a doctor, and Karl Ludwig Reinmann, a chemist, both from Germany, first isolated nicotine from the tobacco plant and identified it as a poison according to medicalnewstoday.com.
Lawmakers banned the selling of nicotine products to minors in 26 states by 1890 yet it was not until 1964 that the U.S. Surgeon General linked smoking to heart disease and lung cancer. And not until 1994 when they recognized nicotine as the main component that causes the addiction. By this time millions of people were addicted and simply could not stop. To this day millions of people continue to smoke tobacco related products. Although many vaping products contain nicotine, and nicotine is dangerous in its own right. It eliminates tar, formaldehyde, and hundreds of other chemicals from entering your body.
Effects of Nicotine
The effects of nicotine are numerous. Nicotine is known as a sedative and a stimulant. Meaning that while it can calm you down at the very same time it can give you a kick.
Nicotine itself stimulates the adrenal glands which increases heart rate and can produce a positive feeling in a person's body. While the feeling may be great the overall effect on your body might not be ideal. As soon as adrenaline is pushed into your system it stimulates your body to release glucose. This accompanied with less insulin being produced by the pancreas makes it quite the dangerous drug. Increasing blood glucose levels can lead to a whole other array of problems. Diabetes, vision problems, and kidney disease are only some of the problems that can arise from blood sugar swings.
Arguably the most dangerous issue with nicotine is that it stimulates the dopamine chemical in the brain. This is the pleasure portion of the brain. This pleasure release is what keeps people coming back for more. The more dopamine released into the system, the happier the person is. This is part of the reason that people build up high tolerances to nicotine, they need more of the nicotine to achieve the same levels of happiness.
Depending on your tolerance level when you use nicotine it may also affect you like a sedative. Nicotine is a tricky chemical, and an addictive one that can affect you in numerous ways.
More Effects of Nicotine
Nicotine can also affect you in more specific ways. From increased heart rate, and breathing rate to improved memory and relaxing.
Nicotine is known to raise alertness, euphoria, and a sense of being relaxed. These are the main reasons people get hooked on nicotine. These positive feelings associated with it normally outweigh the negatives in many people minds.
Some of the effects of nicotine include but are not limited to these from the Medical News Today.
- An increased clotting tendency, leading to a risk of harmful blood clots
- Enlargement of the aorta
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Irregular and disturbed sleep
- Possible blood restriction
- Nausea and vomiting
- An increased risk of stroke
- Joint pain
E-liquids that contain nicotine may also contain a flavoring that can cause popcorn lung. Diacetyl is the flavoring responsible for this so be sure to be on the lookout when using e-liquids that contain this chemical.
How the Body Processes Nicotine
Once nicotine enters the system it passes the blood-brain barrier in roughly 8-20 seconds. After about two hours half of the nicotine that has entered the system has now left. The liver is responsible for filtering the nicotine out of your system.
When Nicotine enters the body through smoking vape pens it is safer. While it may not be much safer, when compared to traditional cigarettes the effects are night and day. Cigarettes contain hundreds of other harmful chemicals that enter the body. Vaping on the other hand primarily consist of Vegetable Glycerin and Propylene Glycol and the nicotine is added to the mixture. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has deemed nicotine itself is not a carcinogen. Therefore when inhaled in an e-cigarette or other vaping device the harmful effects we see in traditional cigarettes are not present. Yet, one must must take into account that nicotine is highly addictive and can lead people to trying cigarettes.
Addiction and Withdrawal Symptoms
The effects of nicotine withdrawal symptoms can be severe. From cravings to depression nicotine withdrawal is not something to take lightly and should not be done without a proper support group. People who are suffering from withdrawal symptoms may be more moody, depressed, irritable, may have strong cravings, anxiety, emptiness, and difficulty focusing. All of these are symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and should not be taken lightly. Consuming nicotine has also been shown to make cocaine more addictive. This chemical is not one to be taken lightly and treatment options are available for people who wish to take that route.
To quit smoking is not an easy task especially if you try to do so without help. So to truly Quit we here at Provapor recommend you talk to your doctor to set up treatments to help you quit smoking. There are three major types of treatments that can be employed and have been proven to be effective, especially in tandem. The three treatments are nicotine replacement therapy, non-nicotine medication, and counseling.
Nicotine replacement therapy provides you with a source of nicotine without tobacco and its harmful chemicals. The nicotine replacements come in the form of patches, gums, lozenge, inhalers, and sprays that help curb withdrawal symptoms and cravings. For non-nicotine medication, you use medications that increase the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in the body similar to what nicotine would do. This results in decreased withdrawal symptoms and a reduced feeling of pleasure from smoking. Common examples of these medications include bupropion, varenicline, and nortriptyline.
The final form of treatment is counseling and helps you develop the skills you need to avoid tobacco products in the long run. This form of treatment takes the longest to take effect and the longer you spend in counseling the better your results will be. Counseling comes in many forms including telephone counseling, individual or group counseling programs, and internet-based programs and many others.
Nicotine has been in the spotlight lately with e-cigarettes starting to explode. The vaping craze has only added to nicotine consumption. While more research needs to be done into vaping, the most current studies suggest that vaping nicotine in e-cigarettes is safer than smoking it in traditional cigarettes. Now that is not to say that it is perfectly safe. We are only suggesting that it is safer than traditional cigarettes.
A recent study conducted by the European Respiratory Journal found tomatoes can help repair the damage caused by smoking cigarettes. Another study showed that exercise can greatly improve your chances to quit nicotine as those same "happy" chemicals that nicotine releases are also released while exercising. In as little as 14 days people can start seeing fewer withdrawal symptoms if they stick to exercise and allow their body to completely flush out the nicotine.