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Nicotine Use

Nicotine Is Highly Addictive

Nicotine is the main psychoactive ingredient found in tobacco; when taken as a replacement therapy nicotine is used as a drug that helps people quit smoking. By providing low levels of nicotine, nicotine can lessen withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.

In fact, nicotine is a drug with addictive properties. Here, we’ll look into the medical and recreational uses of nicotine. Plus, we’ll look at the health risks associated with nicotine use. More answers to many other nicotine-related questions in this article. Finally, we invite your questions about nicotine at the end.
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Nicotine Recreational Use

When nicotine is administered, it is absorbed into the blood stream and quickly reaches the brain, where it acts on the cholinergic receptors. It increases the level of dopamine in the brain’s reward system, and produces pleasurable symptoms which ultimately lead to nicotine abuse and addiction. By stimulating the release of neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, epinephrine, dopamine and beta-endorphin, nicotine causes central nervous system (CNS) stimulation and relaxation.

How is nicotine used? Nicotine can be delivered to the system through various routes of administration, such as:

  • nicotine chewing gum
  • nicotine inhaler
  • nicotine lozenges
  • rectally
  • smoking cigarettes
  • sucking and chewing on tobacco
  • through the nasal passage (snorting tobacco or nasal spray)
  • transdermal patches

Medical Use Of Nicotine

Therapeutically, nicotine is used to help smokers quit cigarettes in order to eliminate the damage from smoking. Nicotine is delivered to the system through gums, dermal patches, lozenges, electronic cigarettes or nasal spray. The goal is to make users gradually stop depending on nicotine. The problem is, the nicotine in the smokeless products is absorbed at the same rate as smoking tobacco, and addiction is still very strong.

Nicotine Products And Their Use

Chewing Gum – Nicotine gums are designed to help people quit smoking. While you chew your gum, you will notice a stinging sensation and a taste of peppermint. Keep chewing the gum until the taste or tingling sensation almost stops. Then repeat the entire process for half an hour. Usually, the gum should be chewed until the taste keeps returning. It is very important to chew the nicotine gum slowly. Chewing it too quickly can cause you unpleasant feeling and other complications such as hiccups, nausea, or stomach problems. Never swallow the gum, and don’t eat or drink 15 minutes before using the gum. The treatment with nicotine chewing gum usually lasts for about 6 (six) weeks.

Inhaler – Nicotine inhalers convert nicotine into vapor which is absorbed by the mouth and throat.

Lozenges- Move the lozenge from one side of your mouth to the other as it dissolves. It is forbidden to eat or drink 15 minutes before or while you are using a nicotine lozenge. Lozenges slowly dissolve after taken orally; use is often accompanied by warm feeling in your mouth.

Nasal Spray – Keep your head back slightly and insert the tip of the bottle as far into your nostril as you can. Spray each of the nostrils. Don’t swallow, sniff, or inhale while spraying. Make sure to wait a few minutes before blowing your nose.

How Nicotine Use Affects The Body?

When used for a short period, nicotine produces the following effects:

1. Nicotine (smoked or chewed) has an immediate effect on oral cavity. It leads to bad breath and stains the teeth. Tobacco chemicals reduce salivation, causing dry mouth and contributing to the growth of odor causing bacteria.
2. Most users report a significant decrease of appetite and are afraid of weight-gain, which is one of the most common reason smokers are unwilling quit.
3. Nicotine can boost the mood, give a sense of well-being, and may even relieve minor depression. It also stimulates memory and alertness, so tobacco users often depend on it to perform well on tasks.
4. Nicotine may cause sweating and nausea. It also increases the activity of the intestines and may cause diarrhea.
5. Nicotine increases the heart rate by 10-20 beats per minute, and it also increases the blood pressure in nicotine users by 5-10 mmHg.
6. Coughing is the body’s defense mechanism to remove irritants from the respiratory tract. Smoking damages the protective structure in the respiratory tract allowing harmful particles to be deposited in the lungs. That’s why smokers usually caught heavily.

Long-term effects of nicotine

Long-term effects of nicotine include:

  • addiction
  • blood vessels damage
  • cancer
  • increased risk of heart diseases
  • inhibits the release of insulin
  • kidney damage
  • poisoning
  • premature aging

Prolonged Use Of Nicotine

Nicotine dependence is the most common form of chemical dependence in the United States. Both smoking and smokeless sources of nicotine can lead to dependence, and thus lead to withdrawal when the user quits. But quitting tobacco and nicotine use can be difficult and may require multiple attempts.

Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal appear within 2-3 hours after the last use of tobacco or a nicotine product. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms depends on the duration of nicotine dependence and the amount of nicotine administered regularly. Usually, withdrawal symptoms peak 2-3 days after the last time they smoked or used a nicotine product.

Common nicotine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • anxiety
  • concentration problems
  • depression
  • frustration
  • headaches
  • increased appetite and weight gain
  • intense cravings
  • nervousness
  • nightmares
  • restlessness
  • sleeplessness

Nicotine Use Questions

Have more questions regarding nicotine use or would like to know more about you nicotine detox and/or nicotine addiction treatment options? Addiction Blog is here to help. We invite your questions and comments in the section below. We try to provide a personal and prompt response to all your legitimate inquiries.

Reference Sources: NCBI: Medicinal uses of tobacco in history
MedlinePlus: Nicotine and tobacco
NIH: DrugFacts: Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products

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