Nicotine Addiction

Nicotine is an addictive drug; it is found in the smoke from tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, and pipes.

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Nicotine Addiction

Smokeless tobacco products such as snuff and chewing tobacco also contain high levels of nicotine. It causes changes in the brain that make people want to use it more and more. Nicotine addiction is known to be one of the hardest addictions to break. When a person smokes a cigarette, the body acts instantly to the chemical nicotine in the smoke.

Nicotine is absorbed through the skin and mucosal lining of the mouth and nose or by inhalation in the lungs; nicotine can reach peak levels in the bloodstream and brain rapidly. Through cigarette smoking, nicotine is quickly distributed throughout the body, reaching the brain within 10 seconds of inhalation. Through cigar and pipe smokers, so nicotine is absorbed more slowly through the mucosal membranes of the mouth.

Nicotine causes a short-term increase in blood pressure, heart rate and the flow of blood from the heart. The smoke from the cigarette contains carbon monoxide, which reduces the amount of oxygen the blood can carry.

This, when merged with the nicotine effects, produces an imbalance between the demand for oxygen by the cells and the amount of oxygen the blood can supply. And so the cells are deprived of oxygen. Nicotine also increases the risk of hardening of the arteries which may cause heart attacks.

Carbon monoxide may damage the inner walls of the arteries and promote fatty buildups in them. With time, this causes the vessels to narrow and harden. Nicotine may also contribute to this process.


Other sources of information for these topics.

NIDA - Research Report Series - Nicotine Addiction
From the National Institute on Drug Abuse, report on nicotine, nicotine delivery systems such as cigarettes and other tobacco products, the extent and ...

Nicotine and Addiction: Fact Sheet no. 9 - ASH
ASH-UK factsheet on nicotine, its properties, difficulty in quitting, measures of dependence, withdrawal systems, genetic influence, and tobacco industry ...

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