A Tobacco plant is made up of approximately 5 percent of nicotine by weight. There are two categories of tobacco products cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. Nicotine has many effects on the body but the effect it has on the brain is responsible for the so called “good feeling” that is behind the addiction. Nicotine is considered to be addictive because of the psychological and physiological effects on a person. The Center for the Advancement of Health published the results of a study on teenager smokers:
Almost two-thirds of the smokers had one or more symptoms of nicotine dependence, and of these, almost two-thirds said that they had their first symptom before they began smoking every day or that the symptoms had made them start smoking every day. Feeling addicted was the most common initial symptom, while cravings, irritability, nervousness, and anxiety when unable to smoke were the most commonly reported symptoms overall. (1)
When a person continues to use something compulsively knowing the negative effects on his or her body, the person is considered psychologically addicted. The physiological effect of nicotine turns on the reward pathway of the brain. The continued use of tobacco products as the result of nicotine addiction has many short and long term effects on a person’s body. There are many methods available to tobacco users to help break the nicotine addiction and stop the effects of nicotine before the effects to their body becomes permanent.
Nicotine has several short term effects on the body. Nicotine is absorbed into a person’s body faster through the use of a cigarette than any other source of nicotine. Nicotine is absorbed into your blood stream faster when it is inhaled. The lungs have tiny air sacs that line the inside; these tiny air sacs are called alveoli. The gas exchange occurs in the alveoli and the lungs absorb compounds like nicotine into the blood stream. Once nicotine is in the blood stream it flows almost immediately to the brain. The carbon monoxide that is inhaled through the use of a cigarette reduces the amount of oxygen the blood can carry. The reduced amount of oxygen and the effects of nicotine delivered to the brain cause an imbalance of the amount of oxygen that is demanded and the amount of oxygen supplied. As a result of a reduced amount of oxygen in the blood stream the heart rate increases, because the heart has to increase the flow of blood to deliver the amount of oxygen that is required throughout the body. The body’s blood pressure also increases when nicotine is introduced into the body. Nicotine stimulates the adrenal gland which releases adrenalin and noradrenalin. The release of these hormones can have numerous effects on the body’s vascular system and cause an increase in blood pressure.
In addition to the short term effects nicotine addiction also has severe long term effects. A person that is addicted to nicotine has an increased chance of getting cancer. Nicotine...