What is nicotine?

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Nicotine is a substance that is found mainly in tobacco.  Other plants like cauliflower and green tomatoes for example also contain nicotine but to a much lesser extent.  Nicotine is considered to be a highly-toxic and addictive drug because of its psychoactive properties.  It is known to have various effects on the nervous system which is considered dangerous to health.

One tobacco leaf contains up to 7% of nicotine.  When these leaves are made into cigarettes, as much as 3mg of this substance may be inhaled by a smoker. This little amount of nicotine can have adverse effects on the body including the elevation of heart rate or tachycardia ad constriction of small blood vessels among many other effects.  Inhalation of nicotine also results to some kind of euphoric feeling for the smokers.  Some people feel really good about themselves when they smoke a cigarette.  There are also others who claim that they become more alert and active because of the nicotine in their tobacco or cigarette.  These seemingly positive effects make nicotine a highly addictive substance and this is the very reason why nicotine-based products like tobacco are regulated in many countries in terms of sale and usage.

Beyond nicotine’s effect on alertness and sense of well-being, prolonged consumption of this substance can lead to various health illnesses.  Chain-smokers of tobacco are known to be prone to a variety of lung disease secondary to nicotine.  These include bronchitis, emphysema, and even lung cancer among others.  Some people may also develop heart disease because of prolonged tobacco consumption.  The basic act of nicotine inhalation may result to palpitations and elevated heart rates for some people.  Nicotine is also known to promote the growth and development of carcinogens in the body.  This is the reason why some people who smoke regularly do not only develop lung diseases but also diseases affecting other parts of the body.

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