|Copyright 2010-2012 StopSmokingHelper.org. All rights reserved.
|What is Nicotine
It is a chemical found in tobacco leaves that keeps you coming back for more. Did
you know that nicotine is a natural ingredient? In fact, it acts as a natural plant
insecticide inside the tobacco leaves. Many people who utilize organic gardening
will use nicotine products to keep the bugs away.
It is also the primary alkaloid in tobacco and accounts for roughly 95% of all the
alkaloid in the leaf. This alkaloid characteristic is what makes for rapid absorption
through the cell membranes.
This drug is extracted when the tobacco leaves are burned in cigarettes, pipes or
cigars. It is then carried on the particulate matter in the smoke emission into the
lungs. Once it is inhaled into the lungs, it is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.
Why is Nicotine Addictive
It can be said that nicotine and the brain don’t mix. But the sad truth is, they mix all
too well. This dangerous ingredient increases the release of certain chemicals in
the brain, called neurotransmitters.
One neurotransmitter is dopamine, which affects your behavior and mood. As
nicotine helps the release of dopamine, the smoker’s mood elevates, thus
delivering that sense of satisfaction or high. You could say it is a mood-altering drug,
which explains why it is so addictive.
This powerful chemical has a high binding attraction to brain tissue. Interestingly,
the capacity to add more binding sites is higher in smokers than nonsmokers.
There are simply more receptors in the smoker’s brain designed to bring in more of
The total nicotine content of tobacco is about 10.2 mg. Only about 1-1.5 mg of it is
absorbed during smoking. But the alkaloid nature of the drug and the large surface
area found in the lungs, make for rapid absorption. In fact, high levels are sent to the
brain within 10-20 seconds of the first puff. This delivery is faster than intravenous
(IV) administration and produces a rapid behavioral conditioning or reinforcement.
In essence, the smoker is able to manipulate or control the level of drug in their
brain. It acts a lot like opium or cocaine, where the user adjusts the dosage to meet
Smokers are also able to control the related side effects - again, like a controlled
substance. The rapid delivery to the nervous system prevents the smoker from
developing any sort of tolerance mechanism. This further, reinforces the behavior.
Chemical levels found in the bloodstream depend largely on the smoker. They
control the dosage on a puff-by-puff basis. Quantity depends on puff volume, depth
of inspiration, puffing rate and mix of room air. All these are variables the smoker
can change, depending on their need to satisfy the addiction. This is why switching
to light cigarettes or lower-yield cigarettes doesn’t work. The user simply changes
the variables to ramp up the dosage.
Physiologically, why is it hard to beat? Well, the simple answer is because there
isn't anything else quite like it. Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) often fail
because of the slow and gradual dosing of the needed drug. The smoker starts the
therapy expecting satisfaction, but has to wait up to 30 minutes to feed the need with
NRTs. Subsequently, they give up on the approach and return to smoking.
Effects of Nicotine
Because this drug has the ability to release neurotransmitters, it should not be
taken lightly. The effects of this chemical are very well documented and are
influenced by several factors. Genetics plays a certain role in how it affects the body.
Metabolism (length of time it stays in your body) is very important when
understanding how it will affect you. Diet, age, sex, race/ethnicity, presence of liver or
kidney disease, pregnancy, use of medications and smoking will all influence the
time it stays in your body.
It’s important to note here that it accumulates elsewhere in the body. High
concentrations are found in stomach acid and saliva. Perhaps more importantly,
breast milk, fetal serum and amniotic fluid are places where nicotine collects. So
you have to be aware the effects of this drug go beyond your own body.
In short-term, low concentrations, as seen with smoking, nicotine just kind of
speeds everything up. The effects include tremor, increased heart rate, blood
pressure, respiratory rate, and level of alertness. The effects of nicotine themselves
can be seemingly harmless or disastrous, depending upon your current health
situation (read nicotine overdose)
It's a good thing that only a small fraction of the available drug in tobacco is
absorbed during smoking. Imagine what would happen if just another ten or fifteen
percent were absorbed. On a side note, chain smokers suffer more of these side
effects because they are delivering more drug to their bloodstream.
Millions of people suffer from the ill effects of addiction and think nothing about it.
That is, not until they get a dreadful medical diagnosis like heart , cardiovascular or
pulmonary disease. But it should now be clear why we should not underestimate
the effects of this drug.
|We've been helping people breathe easier for 20 years.
Let our experience help you.
You Can Quit Smoking
Start enjoying what life can be!