...got its name from the tobacco plant Nicotiana tabacum (named after the French ambassador Jean Nicot de Villemain who sent tobacco and seeds to Paris from his station in Portugal).
But tobacco was being used a long time before that as evidence has pointed to humans using tobacco as early as 6000 B.C.— of whom were smoking and chewing the plant as well.
Tobacco is actually a member of the deadly nightshade (or belladonna) family of flowering plants. If you are suddenly scared of your habit, keep in mind that tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and hot pepper plants are also part of this family.
These plants are all full of alkaloids—an alkaloid (if you slept through high school science) is an organic compound that is composed of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and sometimes also oxygen and because of this composition.
Effects of Nicotine
You crave a cigarette when you are stressing out or in a bad mood because of the nicotine in the cigarette. The nicotine may temporarily leave you with feelings of relaxation and calmness; it may even reduce your stress and anxiety. [i]
The funny thing is though; nicotine is actually considered a stimulant, not a depressant. Nicotine amps up your central nervous system, stimulating your adrenal glands into secreting adrenaline (fight or flight hormone).
Your body actually becomes more alert, even though you feel relaxed. Nicotine also causes dopamine to be released in the pleasure and motivation sections of your brain leaving you with feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.
The more you have of something, the higher your tolerance towards it will become. This is due to the body’s ability to adapt to situations / stresses that it is placed under. For nicotine, when you sleep most of the nicotine in your body will have broken down and be gone from your body.
This is the reason why most smokers will tell you that the best cigarette they have is their morning cigarette. This is because as you smoke throughout the day, the nicotine builds up in your body and has less of an effect.
Scientists have found that nicotine also appears to slightly improve the memory and concentration of its users. This may be due to the increase of the production of chemicals acetylcholine, glutamate and norepinephrine that the presence of nicotine stimulates. These chemicals are linked to concentration, memory and also wakefulness.
Nicotine & Addiction
We are all aware that nicotine is addictive and also quite difficult to quit. 1 milligram of nicotine out of the 10 milligrams that an average cigarette contains is actually enough to get any person hooked.
Yes, smoking is hard to quit because of the nicotine. Like many others you probably have exhausted all options in the past like patches, gum, pills, hypnosis and even going cold turkey—to no avail. Vaping and electronic cigarettes are not a stop-smoking device, but rather they offer an alternative to users who still wish to satisfy their nicotine cravings without the stigmas that go along with tobacco cigarettes.
Though at the moment there is still plenty of debate on the effects of e-cigarette use, the elimination of tar from combustible cigarettes is one obvious reduction of harm that ecigs offer. Even Neal Benowitz of the University of California in San Franciso who specializes in the study of nicotine and tobacco and its effects on human health has called e-cigarettes, “…an advancement that the field has been waiting for”[i] and expects their usage in programs to stop smoking.
8 Quick Facts On Nicotine:
- Nicotine makes up about 5% of a tobacco plant by weight. Learn more about the nicotine content in your eliquid as compared to a tobacco cigarette here>
- Nicotine is one of the four ingredients found in eliquid. The other three are propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and natural flavoring.
- Insignificant amounts of nicotine are found in eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes, and cocoa plants. This means every person who eats these foods can have a positive test for having nicotine present in their system even if they do not smoke.
- Nicotine, like caffeine is toxic to insects and was used as an insecticide.
- It only takes 10 seconds for nicotine to get to your brain after inhalation.
- There is currently research on nicotine and how it may lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s Disease occurs in a person when dopamine levels in the brain are less than the acetylcholine that is produced. Nicotine happens to decrease acetylcholine levels in the brain, which is what has led to this hypothesis.
- The amount of nicotine in chewing tobacco can be five times higher than present in a cigarette. Learn more about customizing your eliquid nicotine levels here>
- Contrary to popular belief, nicotine does not turn your teeth yellow. Read more about the myth here>