What is Nicotine?

Tobacco use is one of the largest forms of substance abuse and a major cause of preventable deaths in our society today.  All forms of tobacco use, such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipes and cigars are habit-forming and cause dependence and withdrawal.  Nicotine is the addictive chemical in tobacco and can act as both a stimulant and a sedative.


Nicotine stimulates the outer part of the brain that controls complex behavior and mental activity by traveling through the bloodstream to the brain in several seconds.  Nicotine also stimulates the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline, which increases blood pressure, speeds up the heart rate by fifteen to twenty beats per minute, constructs blood vessels, inhibits urination, irritates membranes in the mouth and throat and dulls taste buds.


Nicotine causes dependence in three ways.  First, it provides a strong sensation of pleasure.  Second, it leads to severe discomfort during withdrawal.  And finally, it stimulates cravings long after withdrawal symptoms pass.


Nicotine reinforces and strengthens the desire to smoke because it affects the brain and gives the user a sense of well-being.  After a couple of years of smoking, most people continue to smoke to prevent withdrawal.


If you would like more information about nicotine, please contact Nicotine Anonymous at 877-879-6422, or visit them online at www.nicotine-anonymous.org.


Phone code: 1782

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