An estimated 34 million adults in America smoke cigarettes every day. Though these numbers have declined over the last decade, it’s still around 14 in 100 people who smoke. This makes nicotine, the addictive drug found in cigarettes, one of the most widely used drugs in the USA.
We’re all aware of the dangers of cigarettes, but what about nicotine?
An increasing number of people who depend on nicotine are switching to vaping or e-cigarettes to continue enjoying nicotine effects with fewer harmful tobacco effects. That’s why we’re looking at exactly how nicotine affects the body and mind.
Nicotine Effects on the Body
Let’s understand the science of it all first. Nicotine is a chemical stimulant that comes in both natural and man-made forms.
Stimulant is a catch-all phrase for any kind of substance that increases activity within the body and central nervous system. In nicotine’s case, when we smoke or vape, we absorb nicotine into our bloodstream through our lungs.
The drug then spreads throughout the body, reaching the brain within a few seconds of inhaling. Once it hits the brain, nicotine has a few effects.
For starters, you’ll get a quick rush of endorphins and dopamine. These are the chemicals the body produces to relieve pain and stress. They’re so strong that they can be likened to opioids.
Because nicotine is a stimulant, it also stimulates the adrenal gland. This makes the body release adrenaline. In turn, adrenaline stimulates the central nervous system, increasing our heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure.
These effects have knock-on effects on our behavior and more.
Common Side Effects of Nicotine
One of the most common side effects of nicotine is a decrease in appetite and, in turn, weight loss. Research shows that on average, smokers are skinnier than their non-smoking counterparts.
As well as this, because of the chemicals and hormones that get released in our brain when we consume nicotine, the drug may improve mood.
This is because dopamine interacts with other chemicals like serotonin, oxytocin, and other endorphins. All these endorphins help balance and regulate our mood.
Meanwhile, the adrenaline from nicotine can also give us a rush of energy. This increases our alertness, essentially waking us up.
There is also growing evidence to suggest nicotine has the potential to help with memory. This is because the stimulant has cognitive-enhancing effects. Future research is ongoing to look at whether this means nicotine has the potential to help conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Of course, nicotine effects aren’t all great. It’s also associated with increased sweating, nausea, and even diarrhea.
For cigarette smokers, nicotine comes from tobacco that’s filled with tar, carbon monoxide, and more nasties that have severe health effects long-term. That’s why so many people with nicotine addiction have switched to vapes and e-cigarettes.
These synthetic nicotine products have far fewer harmful chemicals in them, making them a better option for those trying to reduce their nicotine dependency. There are many flavors available and you can see what’s trending here to help you find popular flavors.
While tobacco itself contains many harmful substances, nicotine is often misunderstood as being responsible for these. Nicotine effects on the body vary from positive effects like increased mood to negative effects like nausea depending on the person.
It goes without saying, a drug-free lifestyle is the healthiest choice. If you’d like to learn more about healthy lifestyles, check out the health and fitness section of our blog.