5 Things You Need to Know about Nicotine

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

Dr. Howell

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist for us to understand that nicotine is the powerful substance behind the addictive nature of cigarettes. Perhaps, you have heard of this for millions of times already. But do you ever wonder why nicotine is addictive? Is there something we should be afraid about this addictive substance? At the end of this post, you will have better understanding of nicotine, what it does, and how it can affect your health. And hopefully, you will be motivated to quit smoking now.

1.  Nicotine is a fast-acting drug that affects your entire system.

Nicotine is a substance that is naturally found in cigarettes. When you smoke, nicotine is immediately carried deep into your lungs and from there, it is absorbed by your blood stream which is then transported to all parts of your body, including your heart and brain.in fact, nicotine that is inhaled reaches your brain faster than any drug that enters the body through the veins.

2.  Nicotine damages many parts of your body.

Any foreign substance can disrupt the normal functioning of your body, from your heart to your brain, lungs, and other major organs. Too much nicotine can slow down your blood flow which creates a domino effect on your body parts. For instance, interrupted blood flow makes it difficult for your heart to maintain normal palpitation. The lack of oxygen which arises from poor blood circulation then damages healthy cells, particularly in the brain.

3.  Nicotine disrupts your brain’s pleasure circuitry.


The reason why nicotine is addictive is because it stimulates your brain to produce endorphins – the hormones that create feeling of goodness and pleasure. The problem is that the feel-good effect of nicotine is so quick that you need to get an immediate dose of it to experience the same good feeling. The ‘on-and-off’ production of endorphin that is triggered by nicotine causes harm to your brain’s pleasure circuitry in the long run. As a result, you become highly dependent on it. Thus, nicotine addiction begins.

4.  Nicotine withdrawal makes it hard to quit smoking.

The moment you get hooked to cigarettes, you will find it hard to kick them off from your life. It’s because nicotine withdrawal comes along with many undesirable symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, depression, dizziness, sleeping problems and upset stomach.


5.  You can’t easily remove nicotine from your system.

The worst thing about nicotine is that it doesn’t leave your system easily. It may take days from the time you quit to completely remove all the traces of nicotine from your system. Sometimes, it takes months. Doctors recommend ex-smokers to undergo detoxification process to cleanse their system from nicotine and all other toxins and hazardous compounds they accumulated through smoking.

Because of the many available smoking cessation treatments, you can actually get rid of your nicotine dependency without having to suffer from the debilitating withdrawal symptoms. There are medications, therapies and medical treatments that can certainly help you quit smoking today.



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