Top-Rated Free Essay

Tobacco and Nicotine Addictive Properties
Topics: Nicotine, Tobacco / Pages: 4 (818 words) / Published: Apr 26th, 2005

In the world today, Nicotine is one of the most frequently used addictive drugs. The impact it has on society is like no other. It is one of more than 4,000 chemicals found in the smoke of tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. This addictive drug is the primary component in tobacco that acts on the brain. Tobacco can be found two ways, it can be dried brown leaves of various sizes or it can be a grown form of tobacco. When extracted from the leaves, nicotine is colorless, but quickly turns brown when exposed to air. It then becomes a poisonous, pale yellow, oily liquid with a pungent odor and acrid taste. The amount of nicotine contained in tobacco leaves ranges from 2% to 7%. There are four ways in which you can use tobacco. They are cigarette smoke, dry or wet snuff, and chewing tobacco. The cigarette smoke is inhaled through the mouth. Most cigarettes in the US contain 10 milligrams or more of the nicotine. Since most of the nicotine is destroyed by the heat of burning the actual concentration of nicotine in smoke is low. So, when inhaling the smoke you actually only take in 1 to 2 mg of nicotine per cigarette. Nicotine is absorbed through the skin, lining of the mouth and nose, or by inhalation in the lungs. Depending on how the tobacco is taken, nicotine can reach peak levels in the bloodstream and brain rapidly. Cigarette smoking, for example, results in quick distribution of nicotine throughout the body, reaching the brain within 10 seconds. Cigar and pipe smokers on the other hand, do not inhale the smoke so the nicotine is absorbed more slowly through the mouth. When using the wet snuff it would be held either between your lips or between your gums and cheek. The dried snuff is snorted up the nose and the chewing tobacco is chewed. Nicotine has many various effects on the body. In small doses nicotine can serves as a stimulant, entering the bloodstream and promoting the flow of adrenaline, a stimulating hormone. It also raises the blood pressure and reduces the appetite, and it may cause nausea and vomiting. Nicotine is addictive! Most smokers use tobacco regularly because they are addicted to the nicotine. You can be addicted to the nicotine in a physical and physological addiction. Addiction is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, even if they are in the risk of health problems. It is well documented that most smokers identify tobacco as harmful and express a desire to reduce or stop using it, and nearly 35 million of them make a serious attempt to quit. Unfortunately, 7% of those who try to quit in their own achieve more than 1 year of abstinence; most relapse within a few days of trying to quit. Some of the other factors besides nicotine addictive properties include its high level of availability, the small number of legal consequences of using the tobacco, and the advertising methods used by companies. What most people do not realize is that the cigarette is a efficiently engineered drug delivery system. A typical smoker will take 10 puffs on a cigarette over a period of 5 minutes that it is lit. Thus, a person who smoke 1-1/2 packs daily, gets around 300 "hits" of nicotine to the brain each day. People who use tobacco products can also develop a physiological addiction to nicotine. Research has shown that nicotine increases the flow of dopamine in the brain, creating pleasurable feelings and a craving to keep nicotine in the bloodstream. Lack of nicotine can cause withdrawal symptoms. When a smokers uses the tobacco product in the many different ways, there can be many different side effects. A smoker usually has a strong odor along with yellow teeth and white lumps on the inner lining of the mouth, also known as leukoplakia. There are also long and short term effects. Some of the short term effects are weight loss, bad breath, tooth decay, and an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Nicotine also has long term effects. Others are heart attacks, wrinkled skin, gum disease, and it also impairs the sense of taste and smell. Today, there is chewing gum and patches that contain nicotine to help smokers try to quit. Although the absorption rate is much slower and they do no provide the pleasurable results, the gum and patches do help relieve some of the symptoms of withdrawal. Combining the use of the gum and patches can result in a nicotine overdose and toxicity, casing nausea and a headache. Nicotine nasal sprays and inhalers more closely mimic the delivery of nicotine obtained by smoking. Some researchers have suggested that the prolonged use of nicotine replacements, beyond the recommended use of a few months could damage the cell lining the blood vessels and lungs.

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