Nicotine is a word any person who can string a coherent sentence seamlessly together has heard about at one point or the other. It is responsible for so many broken New Year resolutions that would make even weight loss blush.
To some, the memories it evokes are best forgotten. To others, well…to others it’s the least of their worries.
But do you really know much about this word that has shaped the lives of so many, directly or indirectly, other than the purportedly bad reputation that engulfs it?
Let’s take you to school with our nicotine FAQ, shall we?
What is Nicotine?
Nicotine is a chemical compound that is found in tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, tobacco chewing, snuff).
When nicotine is mentioned you are bound to subconsciously link it to tobacco products. But did you know it is also present in pepper, eggplant, potato and tomato plants? That’s right, it’s part of the alkaloids found in these plants that belong to the nightshade family.
It is this alkaloid content that may cause the sensitive ones to experience heartburn and stomach upsets when they eat these foods. However, the psychotropic toxin is not as potent as in tobacco.
Is Nicotine Addictive?
When someone says something is addictive, they could mean either of two things: physical addiction, aka physically dependent, where your body relies on a particular substance for its physical wellbeing; and second, psychological addiction which means the addicted will still get the craving, but won’t get to a point of dealing with the physical withdrawal symptoms.
Nicotine addiction can be grouped under the former, and so would alcohol. Psychological addiction results when the stereotypical fat cop doesn’t get his doughnuts, or your gambling habits and other high-risk endeavors such as skydiving or bungee jumping.
Nicotine is the reason people find it hard to stop smoking. It is the reason you feel so testy when you miss a hit in the morning. It is the reason you feel so crappy when you try to kick the habit. It is the reason you miss smoking years after you successfully quit. Cigarette smoking does not mean you are addicted to smoking though; it means you are hooked to the nicotine.
In short, it’s one of the most addictive substances known to man.
Is Nicotine the only Harmful Part of Cigarettes?
Nicotine may be bad-mouthed, but it alone is not all of this bold accusation.
Tobacco smoke is loaded with other dangerous toxins that number in the thousands – at least 4,000 chemicals have been confirmed – most of which are poisonous. Things get uglier particularly when you set fire to the tar (yes, tar). Effects of tar include emphysema, bronchial diseases, and lung cancer.
Other familiar harmful byproducts include carbon monoxide which is one of the main culprits of the high risk of heart disease amongst smokers. Others are acetaldehyde and nitrosamines.
How is Nicotine used for Smoking Cessation?
Many have tried to quit smoking to little or no avail (blame it on the nicotine).
This was before electronic cigarettes and the vaping culture came around. The good thing with vaping (there’s a lot to list it all here) in this regard is that it allows one to scale down on the nic levels taken in, until ultimately, you no longer need it.
In other words, e-cigarettes are your best bet to quit smoking without going cold turkey.
Any more questions about nicotine and how it affects you? Let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them.