This article was originally written by Natan Young
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There was a time when smoking a cigarette was kind of the “chic” and fashionable thing to do in many social environments. During many years (and still today) there was kind of a social conditioning for smoking. It was like wearing a nice suit or a fashionable hat. Something everyone should “use” if they ever wanted to be included in the “winners” side at the end of the game. Regretfully, the game is over already for many smokers that had to suffer the most common consequence of smoking, i.e., an early death.
The most active ingredient in a cigarette and the one that is involved in causing the heavy addictive characteristics of tobacco is the naturally occurring liquid alkaloid better known as Nicotine.
While there are thousands of chemicals in a single cigarette, including the naturally occurring ones and also those added by cigarette manufacturers, it is one, Nicotine, that produces all the good feelings that draw people back for another cigarette or plug of tobacco, again and again.
In the standard procedures of cigarette manufacturing, producers use tobacco where Nicotine normally makes up about 5 percent of the plant by weight. Just packed cigarettes, contain 8 to 20 milligrams (mg) of nicotine (depending on the brand you prefer to smoke), but only approximately 1 mg is actually absorbed by your body when you smoke a cigarette.
But you do not need industrial amounts of Nicotine in your body in order to become addicted to cigarette. This minimal quantity of Nicotine that you absorb with each cigarette you smoke is more than enough to make you eternally beg for more, and more again.
Nicotine readily diffuses into your body through the following channels: Skin, Lungs and the Mucous membranes such as the lining of your nose or your gums. That’s why you will get equally addicted to nicotine even if you just chew and spit tobacco.
The path Nicotine follows into your body starts right into the small blood vessels that line the tissues covering the channels mentioned above. From there, nicotine travels through your bloodstream and then it safely arrives to the brain, and then is delivered to the rest of your body.
Even considering that Nicotine takes a lot of different actions throughout the smokers body (many of them very bad), what it does once it has arrived to the brain is responsible for both the good feelings you get from smoking, as well as the irritability you feel if you try to quit; i.e., the brain becomes addicted. Within 10 to 15 seconds of inhaling the smoke of your cigarette, you will probably be in the throes of nicotine’s effects.
Nicotine initially causes a rapid release of Adrenaline, the “fight-or-flight” hormone. The effects of this hormone are the familiar: Rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and rapid, shallow breathing. All this state of high alertness caused by adrenaline also tells your body to dump some of its glucose stores into your blood.
And if we consider that Nicotine itself may also block the release of the hormone insulin. This all means that nicotine puts people in a hyperglycemic state, having more sugar than usual in their blood torrent. So you become kind of a part-time diabetic with each cigarette you smoke and with the long term consequences this condition brings.
This is not all because over the long haul, as you keep smoking and absorbing nicotine everyday, this can increase the level of the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) in your blood which will in consequence cause great damage to your arteries. And this will make it more likely that over time, and this is not a very long time, you could have a heart attack or a stroke.
The health problems associated with using nicotine-containing products are far worse than any benefits you may feel at the beginning. The average person will be in high risk of; Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Stroke and Emphysema.
It should be mentioned that many of these illnesses are actually caused by other chemicals in cigarette smoke or in smokeless tobacco products, different to Nicotine. The biggest problem with nicotine is how easily it makes you become dependent on smoking or chewing tobacco. Which also brings up the conclusion that Nicotine-free cigarettes are not much healthier, maybe less addictive but equally dangerous.
The position of the medical and scientific communities world wide is that nicotine is definitely addictive. Nicotine meets both the psychological and physiological characteristics of what we call an addiction.
When trying to quit smoking you will surely have this symptoms, arising due to the lack of nicotine in your blood stream. Irritability , Anxiety, Depression, Craving for nicotine. And yes, no one denies it; quitting cigarette smoking can be a real nightmare for many people.
For many smokers, even a day without Nicotine is excruciating. Statistics indicate that every year, millions of people try to break the nicotine habit but only 10 percent of them succeed. Will you succeed?