What You Need to Know about Nicotine

Nicotine is the chemical found in the tobacco within cigarettes. It is known as the product that causes addiction in cigarette smokers. Nicotine comes from the nightshade family of plants (Solanaceae) and is predominantly in tobacco and coca. Lower amounts of it can be found in foods like tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and green peppers. Nicotine functions as an antiherbivore chemical, since it is a neurotoxin to insects. In the past, nicotine was widely used in insecticides. Derivatives of nicotine can be found in imidacloprid, an insecticide created by Bayer Cropscience.

                                                              Information About Cigarettes

A single cigarette contains about 1 mg of nicotine. It acts as a stimulant in mammals and is responsible for the dependence-forming properties of cigarettes. This addiction is said to be one of the hardest habits to break, by the American Heart Association. Tobacco addiction is said to have the same behavioral and pharmacological characteristics as other illegal drugs, such as heroin and cocaine.

Nicotine, named after the tobacco plant Nicotiana tabacum (named after French Ambassador in Portugal Jean Nicot). Jean Nicot sent tobacco seeds to Paris from Brazinin 1560, promoting it for medical uses. Nicotine is produced by isolating the substance from the tobacco plant (done first in Germany during the year 1828 by chemists Posselt and Reimann). Since it has a nitrogen base, it forms salts with acid, which are most of the time solid and water soluble. It can also easily penetrate the skin. At temperatures below nicotine's boiling point, it will burn and the vapors it forms combust at 308k, or 95 degrees Fahrenheit, in air even though there is low vapor pressure. When cigarettes are being smoked, most of the nicotine is burned; desired effects are still provided during inhalation.

Once nicotine is entered into your body, it quickly moves through your bloodstream and crosses the blood-brain barrier. This occurs within the first 7 seconds of the tobacco smoke being inhaled. It stays inside your body for about two hours. The amount that is absorbed by the body depends on how much is smoked, if it is inhaled and if a filter was used. Nicotine can also be found in chewing tobacco, dipping tobacco and snuff. Since these are held in the mouth between the lip and gum or snorted through the nose, the amount that is released into your body is a whole lot more than when the tobacco is smoked (none of it is being burned and released, all is being taken in). Nicotine acts on the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (mostly the ganglion type nicotinic receptor) and one CNS type nicotinic receptor. The first is the adrenal medulla, which increases flow of adrenaline and stimulates hormones.

There's Help to Quit

There are anti-smoking aids that help people addicted to cigarettes to quit smoking. Such aids include therapy, patch and gum. To quit smoking on your own, you can try chewing the gum; this delivers low levels of nicotine into your body. The patch is a three step program that slowly but surely eliminates your need for cigarettes.