Nicotine As A Means For Weight Control

3299 words - 13 pages

Nicotine as a Means for Weight Control:

Tobacco drieth the brain, dimmeth the sight, vitiateth the smell, hurteth the stomach, destroyeth the concoction, disturbeth the humours and spirits, corrupteth the breath, induceth a trembling of the limbs, exsiccateth the windpipe, lungs, and liver, annoyeth the milt, scorcheth the heart, and causeth the blood to be adjusted."
Tobias Venner

Via pecta ad vitam Longam, 1693 (Fielding, 1992)

Introduction:

Since around the 1950's-60's, smoking has been a target of attack for the scientific community and rightly so. Smoking, as well as other forms of tobacco use, has been proven to be linked with serious health problems and diseases such as lung cancer and emphysema. Research has become so extensive that actual causal and not simply correlational relationships have been proven. Yet, smoking remains the number one preventable cause of premature death and disability in theunited States (390,000 death per year.) (gopher:flminerva.acc.Virginia:70/00/p ... ubstancetfacts/substance/drucl/tobacco.txt.) So after all the negative evidence of smoking and other uses of tobacco products, why do people insist on continuing? The presence of a substance called nicotine partly answers this question, Nicotine effects in tobacco products are associated with addiction, tolerance, and motivation reasons for use. One motivation less focused on but none the less very important is the use of nicotine as an appetite suppressant. Many people, especially young women, associate nicotine with weight loss and dietary control. Two questions arise: Is the claim that nicotine as a means to control weight grounded in factual evidence, or rather the product of an image portrayed by the tobacco industry? If evidence does support the claim, is the use of nicotine as an appetite suppressant advantageous and efficient enough to outweigh the other proven harmful effects?

What is Nicotine?

Tobacco is a plant whose dried leaves are used in the production of cigarettes and other tobacco products such as pipe tobacco, cigars, chewing tobacco, and snuff. Over 4,000 gases, particles, and compounds such as tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide pollute tobacco. Nicotine is the psychoactive compound and is only found in tobacco. This compound is the primary cause for addiction to tobacco products because it acts as a mild stimulant to the central nervous system. In new smokers, nicotine can induce nausea and if taken in larger dosages, it can be associated with tremors, quick breath, and a decrease in the production of urine.

How does Nicotine affect the body?

Nicotine is addictive:
Here is a scary thought for smokers: "The moment smoke enters the body, it attacks the tissues of the mouth, tongue, throat, esophagus, air passages, and lungs. In the lungs, most of the inhaled compounds are retained. Once nicotine is absorbed into the lungs, its effects reach the brain within 6 seconds, twice as fast as main...

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