WHAT DOES SMOKING AND NICOTINE DO TO YOUR BODY?
Smoking is very harmful to your health in a multitude of ways, increasing the risk of over fifty serious health conditions including cancer, heart attack and stroke. Nicotine is a stimulant and itself doesn’t produce the same risks as smoking; it can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, but recent studies have indicated that nicotine may help to prevent the onset of conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
If you are looking to quit smoking, then you may want to read the information below.
At present, around 19% of adults around the world smoke tobacco and this number is very rapidly decreasing. The dangers of cigarette smoking and use of other tobacco products are more than ever high profile news, due to medical research that has been undertaken by governments and leading medical and research groups.
Even with the number of smokers decreasing each year, around 78,000 people a year still die in the UK due to it. That why smoking conditions/illnesses and cigarette smoking is now classed as one of the largest causes of preventable death and illness. We are now becoming more aware of the dangers of cigarette smoking and people are starting to give up this bad habit. They are broadening their horizons and turning to healthier forms of smoking cessation, such as e-cigarettes or Nicotine Replacement Therapy.
Smoking increases the risk of getting more than fifty different serious health conditions. Some of these are known to be fatal, and others can be conditions that are either short or long-term illnesses, such as eleven different Cancers, Heart Attacks, Strokes, to name but a few.
Nicotine is an alkaloid which predominately found in the Tobacco plant and surprisingly in tomato’s, potato’s, eggplant (aubergine’s), and green peppers.
Nicotine is a drug which speeds up the central nervous system to increase neural activity in the brain, otherwise known as a stimulant, like caffeine found in your cup of coffee. This chemical receives a large amount of bad press due to its connection with cigarettes. Yes, Nicotine can raise blood pressure and raise your heart rate, but the substance itself has been proven not to kill you.
Presently, In the US, research is under way to help prove that Nicotine may be good for slowing the aging process of the brain and memory. This study is currently showing that Nicotine is helping Alzheimer and Dementia patients recollect and pay attention.
Last Year (2000), the World Health Organisation (WHO) said “It is also now widely recognized that, though it is the nicotine that causes dependence, tobacco products (which can be characterized as particularly ‘dirty’ drug delivery devices) are responsible for the vast majority of the damage to health.”
WHAT MAKES CIGARETTES SO TOXIC AND DANGEROUS?
Every year, more than 8 million smokers die from smoking related illnesses around the world. By taking a puff of a cigarette you are harming nearly every organ system in your body, and lowering your overall health by an incredible rate.
Tobacco smoke contains many chemicals in a cigarette that are harmful to both smokers and non-smokers and at least 69 of these can cause Cancers, such as lung, oesophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, cervix, colon, and rectum, as well as acute myeloid leukaemia. The harmful chemicals within a cigarette include some of the following: Arsenic (rat poison), Tar (what they make roads out of), Benzene Aromatic Amines, Beryllium (a toxic metal), Cadmium (a toxic metal) (1), 1,3–Butadiene (a hazardous gas) and Cyanide (the same chemical use in gas chambers in WW2).
Is it really worth putting yourself and your family through all the above, for just a puff of a traditional cigarette? Especially when there are companies which sell smoking cessation products which are similar in look and feel, but just do not cause all the heartache of smoking.
Smoking can also make it incredibly hard for a woman to get pregnant. It can also lead to a higher risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, premature birth, abnormally low birth weight and the possibility of leaving your baby with forever scars like a cleft palate. If you smoke during or after pregnancy, you could also place your baby at risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (2).
Becoming pregnant is a joint effort, and men who smoke are at greater risk of being impotent.
HOW IS NICOTINE ABSORBED BY THE BODY?
The cause of nicotine dependency
is due the addictive quality of nicotine itself. Nicotine increases the release of neurotransmitters, which regulate behaviour and mood.
Nicotine triggers the release of a neurotransmitter called Dopamine and this gives people a satisfying rush and a pleasant feeling (3).
When you inhale a lit cigarette, the nicotine is broken down into more than 15 different substances, including cotinine, anabasine, and nornicotine. It enters the body and gets absorbed through the Pulmonary veins in your lungs and then circulated around the body through your bloodstream where it quickly reaches its destination (the brain). This process takes place in a matter of seconds.
WHAT ARE THE SHORT TERM EFFECTS OF NICOTINE ON YOUR BODY?
As we previously mentioned, nicotine is a highly addictive chemical. When nicotine enters the body, it stimulates and sends adrenaline (a pleasurable kick) around your body. Because this kick is accumulated, the short term effects this produces can increase your blood pressure, your heart rate and the rate in which you breathe.
HOW LONG DOES NICOTINE STAY IN YOUR SYSTEM?
A couple of hours after inhaling a cigarette, your body would have removed around 50 percent of the nicotine which first entered the body. Because this happens so quickly, you may be left craving for yet another cigarette.
It can take up to a couple of weeks for nicotine to leave the blood and a further several weeks to be removed from your body.
HOW DOES MY BODY REMOVE NICOTINE?
There isn’t any quick way to remove nicotine from your body and it can take several weeks.
When Nicotine is inhaled it goes into the lungs, where it gets transported by your bloodstream, enters the kidneys then the heart and ends up in the brain, which results in a tolerance to nicotine. This process is where the body compensates for the presence of a chemical in the body so that it can continue to function normally and can leave you wanting more.
After some time, your body will start to chemically process the nicotine with six chemical compounds (the main being Cotinine) and remove it from your entire system. This process is called metabolism.
Nicotine is removed from the body mostly via urine through the kidneys, and sometimes through a person’s faeces. So essentially you are literally putting the money you spend on cigarettes right down the toilet!
WHAT IS NICOTINE DEPENDENCE?
When someone talks about their Nicotine dependence, this means that they are referring to their craving and needing / wanting more. Nicotine produces a temporary pleasing effect in your brain, so you more than likely end up reaching for yet another cigarette.
Regardless of the length of time you have actually been smoking, being able to stop smoking can improve your health. It isn't easy but you can break your nicotine addiction.
IS VAPING SAFER THAN SMOKING TRADITIONAL CIGARETTES?
When people research vaping devices, this is one of the main questions that is asked. It seems that incorrect information is being written and published by some mainstream media outlets which puts vaping in a negative light.
Information that has been medically reviewed from leading medical and research groups suggest that vaping is a dramatically safer alternative to smoking and a very recent study by Public Health England reiterated that “electronic cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes”.
Cancer Research UK is one of the leading cancer charities in the world and they strongly advocate the use of e-cigarettes and vaping as one of the most effective innovations to help fight cancer and other smoking related diseases.
Today, e-cigarettes have helped stop over 3.6m people in the UK from smoking, yet, there are still a number of people who still believe that vaping is as or more harmful than traditional cigarettes. Despite the large amount of evidence that does clearly state that vaping is better than smoking, the question is constantly asked by regulatory bodies around the world.
An expert on the effects of smoking, Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), has recently stated: “There are over 6 million smokers in England and smoking is still the leading cause of premature death and disease particularly among the most disadvantaged in our society. Helping more smokers quit is vital if we’re to achieve the government’s vision of a smoke-free society by 2030, and vaping has a role to play. Vaping has helped many thousands of smokers quit to date.
But many thousands more could benefit if they were not put off by the persistent, worsening and inaccurate beliefs the public hold about vaping. Smokers should be reassured by today’s authoritative and detailed report which shows that the UK’s e-cigarette regulations are effective and vaping remains a safer alternative to smoking. I urge smokers to have confidence in our regulatory system and not be put off by alarmist headlines about the risk of vaping which are not backed up by the evidence.”
CAN VAPING HELP TO CUT DOWN OR QUIT SMOKING REGULAR CIGARETTES?
Being able to give up smoking can be very tough. However, it is proven that in the UK last year that e-cigarettes have helped over 3.6m people to stop smoking. Despite all the evidence that clearly states vaping is better than smoking, this question is still constantly debated by governments and regulatory bodies around the world. For example, the US health authorities and political groups are taking a very tough anti-vaping stance by banning the sale of flavoured e-liquids and e-cigarettes. This is counterintuitive considering over 480,000 people die every year in the US as a direct result of smoking cigarettes. You would think every government in the world would be endorsing a product like e-cigarettes if it helps people to quit smoking.
Although vaping is much less harmful than smoking, it’s not completely harmless. So, you should plan to eventually quit vaping too, but only when you know you won’t go back to smoking.
Cancer Research UK has recently stated “There is growing evidence to show that e-cigarettes can help people cut down or stop smoking”. And a study that they refer to found that e-cigarettes may have helped an extra 50,000 adult smokers in the UK to quit in 2017 (4).
WHAT DOES SMOKING AND NICOTINE DO TO YOUR BODY? - CONCLUSION
We want to deliver all the facts on smoking to the people who visit our site and let them make their own decision.
It is very true that by smoking cigarettes, you increase the risk of harm to yourself. By inhaling tobacco smoke from cigarettes, you are breathing in 4,000+ chemicals and 50 Carcinogens. It is this chemical cocktail that increases your risk of death and causes others harm through 2nd hand smoke (5).
Nicotine is the known chemical in cigarettes that people have heard of and yes, it is an addictive entity. However, nicotine on its own or in a “cleaner” format like NRT or vaping poses minimal risk of harm and cannot kill you! This is the reason behind still being able to purchase products which contain nicotine, such as e-cigarettes and Nicotine Replacement products (NRT) to help you stop smoking. There may even be some positive benefits to taking nicotine! (6)
“vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco cigarettes and the proportion of vapers who also smoke, or ‘dual users” – Public Health England
(1) National Cancer Institute: Cadmium
(2) Reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
(3) Smoking and mental health
(4) E-Cigarettes may help over 50,000 smokers to quit in England each year
(5) Health Problems Caused by Secondhand Smoke
(6) Beneficial effects of nicotine
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Written by Mike Cameron
Mike Cameron is a former smoker of 15 years (2 packs a day) until he successfully quit using a cigalike. Mike is the Co-Founder and CEO of SMOKO E-Cigarettes and over the last 10 years, SMOKO has prevented 600M+ cigarettes from being smoked, helped their customers save £320M+ of their hard-earned money from going up in smoke and helped 10,000’s of adult smokers in 25+ countries to live smoke-free.