So much has been said about cigarettes smoking. While there are more than 7000 chemicals in cigarettes, most of which are toxic, the one ingredient that usually gets a lot of reprimanding is nicotine. Nicotine may not be as harmful as the other ingredients in cigarettes such as tar, carbon monoxide and ammonia. Still, it is one of the most addictive substances on the planet.
According to research, nicotine is just as addictive as heroin or even cocaine. Before we go further let us explore a few facts about Nicotine.
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The average Nicotine Content in Cigarettes
An average cigarette contains about 10 milligrams of nicotine. However, on average, a person will get roughly 1-2 milligrams of nicotine from the cigarette. This is because not all of the smoke is absorbed in the lungs as most of it is exhaled before the absorption.
‘Light’ cigarettes which are advertised as a low-nicotine option, have a nicotine content of between 0.6 and one milligrams. Despite their low chemical amount, research has shown that the so-called light cigarettes have the same nicotine boost as the regular cigarettes. The nicotine in light cigarettes occupies roughly 79% of the brain’s nicotine receptors while the regular cigarettes occupy 88%
Denicotinized cigarettes which have just 0.05 milligrams of nicotine in each cigarette have an occupation of 26% in the brain’s nicotine receptors cells. This amount of nicotine is enough to cause addiction and other effects.
While an average smoker will absorb about 1mg of nicotine per cigarette, there will be variations depending on the smoker and the type of cigarette smoked. Let us look at some other factors that can influence nicotine absorption in a person
Mode of application. Chewing tobacco or snorting facilities rapid absorption of nicotine through the oral mucosa. This will make more nicotine to be absorbed in the bloodstream compared to smoking where most of the chemical is exhaled through the smoke
Various forms of nicotine replacement therapy. This includes nicotine gums, inhaler, sublingual tablets, nicotine patches and lozenges. Absorption of nicotine from these formulations is slower and more gradual than smoking, snorting or chewing.
Style of smoking. According to a study, smokers who take long puffs and inhale deeply are more likely to consume more nicotine than their shallow inhalers counterparts. This is because their system absorbs most of the chemical
Females inhale less nicotine because they are less likely to finish an entire cigarette. They also have shallower inhalations than males
African Americans are frequent smokers; they smoke most of their cigarettes and have deeper inhalation periods. As a result, the nicotine content in their bloodstream is higher.
Type of cigarette smoke. While all cigarettes function the same way in terms of brain nicotine receptor occupancy, there are those with higher concentrations of nicotine than others.
The measure of nicotine absorbed in the body, otherwise known as the ‘nicotine boost’ is determined by several factors. The factors range from the application of the nicotine substance, the type of cigarettes, race and gender. It is essential to understand these factors so that you can be informed depending on your unique needs.
In the United States, nicotine dependency is higher than any other chemical dependency
This research was conducted by the CDC. Nicotine works on the reward system of the brain and influences the production of dopamine. Feelings of pleasure from the dopamine surge make users crave for more and thus leads to dependency.
Nicotine is a psychoactive drug
This substance cause euphoria and relaxation. Its metabolism releases glucose and epinephrine which causes euphoria to the user. This is followed by calmness and focused concentration as nicotine works on various neurotransmitters.
Quitting nicotine presents undesirable withdrawal symptoms such as;
- Carving of tobacco products
- Unexplained hunger
Chewing or sniffing tobacco products releases more nicotine into the body than smoking. This is because chewing or snorting delivers nicotine directly into the body while during smoking, most nicotine goes up with the smoke.
- Nicotine is toxic
This drug is more harmful to the body than the so-called hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine. The main reason being that nicotine is readily absorbed by the bloodstream and takes only 7 seconds to reach the brain through the lungs.
- Nicotine has harmful side effects
While it has been commended for its ability to boost memory and increase concentration, there are also some adverse effects of its intake. Nicotine consumption can lead to increased risk of heart attacks and hypertension, memory loss, gastrointestinal problems, among others.
Nicotine in medicine
This substance has been scolded for all the negativity it presents. But studies show that nicotine possesses some therapeutic properties. Nicotine is said to improve memory and combat Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. It also works as an inflammatory agent and allergic reactions and asthma.
What about E-cigarettes?
Many people who desire to quit smoking turn to vaping to soften the blow of the withdrawal symptoms. But is vaping any better than traditional smoking?
The proponents of these devices claim that they help people quit smoking; research suggests that on the contrary, they can promote dual-use. Users are more likely to smoke while still vaping. While it is true that e-cigarettes do not contain the same amount of toxic substances as regular cigarettes, they are still not safe.
Vaping also contains nicotine, and we have seen its adverse effects on the body. Sadly, many vapers get more nicotine than those who use traditional tobacco products. This is because it is possible to buy higher voltage devices which have an increased level of nicotine. Also, a user can adjust the voltage in his cartridge to get a higher dose of the chemical.
Vaping is on the rise, especially among the youths as it reduces the stigma of smoking due to its smokeless attribute. Others factors that make e-cigarettes appealing to the young people: the false belief that vapes are less harmful, they have a less per use cost than the conventional cigarettes. Additionally, vape cartridges come in different flavours such as watermelon, apple, and pears which are enticing to the young people.
Read next: Best Cigarette Rolling Machine
Best Ways To Stop Smoking
Quitting to smoke is not easy as your brains used of the dopamine surge and the pleasurable feeling that comes with it. It is an uphill task that requires a lot of determination and persistence. If you have decided to let go of your smoking habit, here are a few practical guidelines to follow
Make an honest listing of everything you like about smoking. Draw a line and on the opposite side list down the things you dislike about smoking
Make a list analyzing all the hurdles you are likely to encounter in your quest. Research on how you can best combat those challenges.
Set a particular quit day. Mark it clearly on your calendar
Remember to take each day at a time. Start by reducing the number of cigarettes you consume in a day as you build the momentum. Quitting suddenly can cause negative withdrawal symptoms
Plan ahead on what to do when the craving hits. You can either take a walk, talk to a friend, fold the laundry etc.
This article contains just but a few tips that will help you to quit smoking. You can get more tips from other trusted sources.
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Nicotine is an addictive psychoactive substance that gets one hooked to cigarettes and other tobacco-based products. On average, a standard cigarette contains about 10mg of nicotine, but much less content is absorbed in the bloodstream due to several factors discussed in this article. In general, nicotine is harmful to the body, and much caution should be taken when consuming it.
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