Effect, overdose, side effects and much more
The stupid idea of smoking herbal toxins
Those who smoke cigarettes ingest the plant toxin nicotine it contains. It’s the strong poison of the tobacco plant. Nicotine is also used as a pesticide because of its toxic strength. For example against aphids.
If you want to know why people still got the idea to smoke tobacco plants with their strong poison nicotine, how it comes to nicotine addiction and, above all, how effective smoking cessation works, you should read the following text carefully.
What’s nicotine? – An explanation
Nicotine is a neurotoxin that the roots of the tobacco plant produce. The original function there was to ward off predators such as insects. So when people smoke a cigarette, they absorb deadly insect repellent into their bodies.
When is Nicotine Deadly?
When the dose of this toxic substance is too high, it will cause symptoms of intoxication in the body. Especially with children there is even a mortal danger if they accidentally swallow a cigarette (or a nicotine-containing liquid from the e-cigarette).
The lethal dose for an adult is 6.5 to 13 mg per kg of body weight. A leaf of the tobacco plant contains approx. 12 to 20 mg of nicotine. There is a limit value for the nicotine content of smoke in cigarettes in Europe, which is 1 mg nicotine. Incidentally, a chain smoker consumes 20 to 40 mg per day.
Do you remember what your first cigarette was like?
If you ask a smoker how they felt with their first cigarette, they always get the same answer: “That wasn’t good at all, didn’t taste at all, I had to cough and it was really disgusting.”. A clear sign from the body that it has something against this neurotoxin. And rightly so, when you consider that it is also an insecticide.
Even so, many ignore this message from the body and continue smoking until they become addicted. Nicotine also plays an important role in the body and especially in the brain.
Now I ask you: Do you know exactly why you smoke and why you are dependent on this substance, which is actually so bad and incompatible with the body?
what does nicotine do in the body?
Have you ever wondered what it does in your body? Here’s the answer: when you smoke, nicotine gets into the bloodstream and the blood carries it to the brain. This process only takes about 7 to 10 seconds.
The link between nicotine and dopamine
Nicotine is one of the few substances that manages to overcome the brain. The so-called blood-brain barrier is actually there to protect the brain from poisoning. The nicotine docks on the so-called achethycholine receptors within a short time and promotes the release of happiness-promoting hormones (e.g. dopamine) and other neurotransmitters such as serotonin, noradrenaline and endorphins. This attack on the functioning of some nerve cells in the brain creates a pleasant feeling of calm and relaxation in the smoker.
The seizure of these receptors in the brain prevents other substances from docking in the brain. The reason for this is that the nicotine blocks the receptors that are used by 50 other vital proteins. This has serious consequences for the balance of neurotransmitters, the immune system and many body functions, as this disrupts the signal transmission between the nerve cells so decisively. By the way, so-called natural non-smoking capsules block these receptors in the brain and ensure that the nicotine cannot dock. This helps a lot in smoking cessation.
Effect of Cigarettes on the Reward Center
In addition, the nicotine has a stimulating effect on the nucleus accumbens, where it ensures the release of catecholamine. Vital processes such as sex or ingesting food also stimulate this part of the brain in order to ensure the repetition of these vital actions. The nucleus accumbens is therefore also known as the reward center. The brain also wrongly classifies nicotine as essential for survival.
According to many smokers, a supposedly positive effect of smoking is an increased ability to concentrate. However, experts agree that the ability to concentrate is only created through the habit of smoking. Specifically, this means that when the nicotine level in the blood drops, a kind of “deficiency” arises, which makes the person concerned restless. After this “deficiency” has been eliminated, the ability to concentrate also returns.
This phenomenon can be summarized as follows: “The smoker feels with a cigarette just like a non-smoker feels without a cigarette.”
Is Nicotine Carcinogenic?
Basically, it is about clarifying whether pure nicotine, i.e. without the other additives in a cigarette, can be the trigger for cancer. Research suggests a connection between nicotine and tumor growth, as it promotes cell proliferation. This is particularly the case with lung cancer cells. In addition, it’s said to make the cells more resistant to chemotherapy, since the breakdown products of it’s prevent “programmed cell death” in the metabolism. The growth of cancer cells is thus promoted by the nicotine. However, research has only found this in certain types of cells.
In general, nobody can say whether pure nicotine is really carcinogenic. There is simply not enough data for humans to be able to make a universal decision.
IIn 2009, researchers observed in mice suffering from cancer that tumors and metastases grew faster than in the comparison group without. However, the daily dose was three to five times as high as in humans. In mice with the actual daily nicotine dose of a nicotine patch, the mice did not become ill.
Side Effects and Symptoms: Smoked Too Many Cigarettes?
You will quickly notice what it does to the body if you smoke too much. The following side effects also occur with “reasonable” consumption of cigarettes. However, if you smoke too much, you risk an overdose with the associated side effects.
Metabolism, adrenaline, blood pressure
The Nicotine has a huge impact on metabolism. This is accelerated, as the digestion is stimulated by increased gastric juice production and stronger bowel activity. Due to the influence of nicotine, the body also breaks down fats and blood sugar more quickly. The result: smokers have to go to the toilet more often.
It also increases the frequency of breathing and sensitivity to pain. In addition to releasing adrenaline, which increases the heart rate, nicotine also constricts blood vessels, which can lead to irreparable damage. Another side effect is that it increases blood pressure and clots, which can cause thrombosis (blockage of blood vessels with blood clots).
Yellow fingers and teeth – Another side effect of Nicotine
Yellow fingers and teeth are not a side effect of nicotine. The effects of nicotine are limited to the points mentioned above. The yellow spots that often occur in smokers are therefore not due to the effects of nicotine, but to the tar that is contained in cigarettes.
Nicotine as a luxury food: Deadly enjoyment
Nicotine is used for two things these days: insect repellent and as a luxury food. It doesn’t go well together, but it’s a fact. In the following, however, it will be about the nicotine in cigarettes.
Ingredients of cigarettes: what else is there and why?
In addition to nicotine and the actual tobacco, manufacturers have now added more than 600 known additives to cigarettes.
These additions usually have one of three tasks:
- They serve as a preservative
- Served as a moisturizer
- Cigarettes are designed to improve the smoking experience
The best-known additive is probably menthol. But there are also natural substances such as cocoa, lactic acid or liquorice to be found in cigarettes. Basically, cocoa has the good property that the airways are widened. In combination with cigarettes, however, this means that you can inhale the cigarette smoke more deeply through the elongated airways. This damages the lungs more.
The manufacturers add sugar, among other things, to improve the smoking experience. This is considered to be the most common additive, because by using a bio-chemical process in the brain, the smoking experience should be made more intense overall. Instead, it’s known that burning sugar produces aldehydes, which attack the human mucous membranes.
Are these additives in the cigarette harmful?
The question of whether the substances in a cigarette are really harmful is not so easy to answer. It is currently certain that the problem is not necessarily the added substances. Their interactions with other tobacco substances are more problematic. Lead, formaldehyde, arsenic and cadmium in particular are cancer-promoting substances that can be further intensified by additional substances.
Light brands and menthol cigarettes are even more harmful
Menthol or light cigarette smokers are often of the opinion that these cigarettes are better for the body. In the case of the menthol additive, this fallacious conclusion comes from the fact that the smoke from menthol cigarettes feels cooler and it reduces the sensation of itching when inhaling. However, this only causes you to inhale the smoke deeper and it does more damage to the lungs.
There is also a misconception with light cigarettes. It is a fact that light cigarettes contain less nicotine, but for this reason smokers – mostly unconsciously – pull on them stronger and longer. The hoped-for effect of consuming less nicotine is not achieved.
Are Tobacco Additives Addictive?
The connection between nicotine addiction and the additives in cigarettes is also a hotly debated topic. We know that additives can simplify and even increase the intake of nicotine in tobacco. For example this happens by influencing the smoke particle size. This can make the human organism react more strongly to the smoking experience. While improving the smoking experience and reducing the negative experience of smoking, no direct addiction can arise, but this can be significantly promoted.
Nicotine: Physical dependence
The main cause is that it only takes 10 seconds to work in the brain. Because of this, there is a high risk of physical addiction. Research has shown that smokers experience withdrawal symptoms after just 100 cigarettes. It’s leads to addiction in around 60% of smokers.
To look at the addiction factor, we must first look at the breakdown in the human body.
This happens in your body
The liver breaks down pure nicotine in just four hours. You then excrete the waste through the bladder and urine. Since nicotine is a poison, it mainly stresses the detoxification organs. In the meantime, however, the brain asks for more neurotoxins, since it has already got used to the “good feeling” that nicotine triggers. If this replenishment does not take place, withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, inner restlessness or lack of concentration are the result.
This poison is in the body a maximum of three days after smoking the last cigarette. After that, the physical withdrawal of nicotine addiction is already over.
Why is Nicotine Addicting?
Although there are studies that show that a smoker takes on a cigarette an average of 400 times a day to meet his daily “nicotine needs”, the latest research is of the opinion that nicotine addiction does not actually exist. Especially toxicologist Prof. Bernd Mayer and the Swedish researcher Dr. Karl Fagerström are of this opinion.
However, it is a fact that this ingredient supports an addiction after increased tobacco consumption, as it subliminally contributes to the fact that the craving for tobacco is increased in the brain. This results in an increased potential for addiction, which, however, is more subconscious and, above all, behavioral. The addictive potential is less due to the desire for nicotine, but sometimes to its effect in the human brain, more precisely to the stimulation of the nucleus accumbens (“reward center”). The fact is, the brain absorbs nicotine quickly. This is also one of the reasons why it is addicting.
Comparison with Heroin and Cocaine
Compared to medication, you have to recognize that nicotine, in the form of tobacco products, is highly addictive. Nicotine ranks 9th overall on the list of the most dangerous drugs, based on physical harm, addiction potential, and impact on the consumer’s social environment. It’s behind heroin and cocaine, but the danger of nicotine shouldn’t be underestimated.