5 Things You Never Knew About Nicotine

As one of the most well-known chemicals (out of more than 4,000) found in tobacco products, nicotine has developed quite the reputation. Unfortunately, though, it hasn’t been for anything good. For instance, did you know that nicotine is still one of the most heavily used addictive substances in the U.S.? But beyond knowing where nicotine is found (primarily tobacco products), what else do you know about it?

Here are 5 Things Everyone Should Know:

1.    Nicotine takes a major toll on your heart. That’s because it temporarily increases your heart rate by 2 to 3 beats a minute and increases blood pressure in the short term because it constricts blood vessels. Nicotine reduces blood flow to the heart.

2.    It also has a surprising impact on your brain. As a neurotransmitter, nicotine produces a natural high within 7 to 10 seconds of inhaling. It’s also a central nervous system stimulant, which can decrease the sensation of pain. Furthermore, nicotine actually changes nerve signals that control physical actions, behavioral control and memory. That's why a certain setting or a smell can trigger a craving for cigarettes.

3.    Nicotine isn’t just found in cigarettes. There’s a common misconception that when it comes to nicotine, cigarettes are the biggest offenders. Turns out, this isn’t at all the case.

In fact, e-cigarettes, hookahs, pipes and chewing tobacco, all have just as much nicotine—if not more. In fact, smoking a hookah can often give a person more nicotine than a cigarette (thanks to the fact that a larger amount of smoke is inhaled during a single hookah session). Furthermore, tobacco dip and snuff actually have more nicotine than cigarettes—a lot more.

For example, holding dip in your mouth for 30 minutes can give you as much nicotine as smoking 4 cigarettes. Two cans of snuff have as much nicotine as 10-1/2 packs of cigarettes.

4.    The stress-nicotine connection. While there are many reasons people may turn to tobacco products—social situations, weight loss, enjoyment, boredom…etc.—the biggest reason by far is stress. Although we all have different mechanisms to cope with stress (some healthier than others), the sad truth about nicotine is that it actually increases physical and mental stress over time, instead of minimizing it.

5.    Working with others will improve your quitting odds. Instead of taking the cold-turkey quitting route, or seeking out self-help tools, talk with a health expert who can offer the support, advice and expertise you need to quit for good. Not only do those who work a health care provider, or go to support groups, have better quitting success rates, they also enjoy numerous positive health impacts (almost immediately).

If you’re ready to begin your journey to a smoke-free life, start GMC’s free Smoking Cessation Program. This comprehensive service offers counseling, education and support for those who interested in quitting smoking.


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