Nicotine is a chemical found in cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and other nicotine products. It can also be present in urine and saliva.
The effects of nicotine vary from person to person. Some people experience a pleasant feeling when they use a small amount of nicotine. Others may experience anxiety or dizziness when they use the drug.
When ingested, nicotine is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. As soon as it reaches the brain, it activates a reward center. This stimulates the release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, which increases your mood and feelings of pleasure.
Adrenaline, another neurotransmitter, also increases heart rate and blood pressure. During this time, your body is releasing glucose into the bloodstream. At high doses, this can cause your arteries to narrow, putting you at risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Using nicotine causes your body to release more dopamine, which helps improve your mood. However, the endorphins, or “feel good” hormones, are not lasting. If you stop using nicotine, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, headaches, diarrhea, and shortness of breath.
Many people who smoke become addicted. They may continue smoking to cope with uncomfortable feelings, such as stress. Smoking also increases the likelihood of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Tobacco products, such as cigarettes, are highly toxic and can be dangerous to your health. Even a few cigarettes a day can increase your risk of developing heart problems.
Smoking can also lower your appetite. In addition, the nicotine released from cigarettes can affect your memory and cognitive abilities. Long-term exposure can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s.