General Article Nicotine addiction & side effects on the body

Topic Selected: Smoking and Health Book Volume: 406

What is nicotine?

Nicotine is a chemical compound produced naturally in the nightshade family of plants. It is an alkaloid which accumulates in the leaves of the tobacco plant and to a much lesser degree in potatoes, aubergine and tomatoes1. It is found in cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, wet and dry snuff, E-cigarettes, most vaping juices and heat not burn devices.

How does nicotine work? What are the nicotine side effects on the body?

When tobacco smoke or vapour is inhaled, nicotine is absorbed through the mucosal linings in the nose, mouth and lungs and travels through the bloodstream to the brain. When sniffed, snussed (via pouches) or chewed it is absorbed through membranes in the mouth and nose. It then travels through the body, via the bloodstream to the brain. It is also possible to absorb it through the skin.

When smoked nicotine reaches the brain in about seven seconds2. It is about the same when vaped, around 8-20 seconds. Nicotine reaches the central n...

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