Nicotine

Individual drugs: tobacco, nicotine chewing gum (Nicorette), nicotine skin patch (NicoDerm), chewing tobacco, snuff, cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco.

Nicotine is a stimulant that increases attention, concentration and memory. An overdose from nicotine would cause tremors and convulsions that could paralyze muscles needed for breathing. Less serious effects of tobacco poisoning include dizziness, nausea and weakness, which disappear when the drug is eliminated. Nicotine is highly addictive and promotes the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in brain regions that meditate reinforcement.

Studies have shown there is a rapid development in tolerance to the effects of nicotine. Withdrawal from nicotine includes cravings and irritability for up to two weeks. Cancer smoking also contributes to diseases of the heart and vascular system. Smoke from cigarettes is just as damaging to the non-smoker who is exposed to secondhand smoke. Expectant mothers who smoke risk passing the smoke and nicotine to their unborn babies.

For more information on nicotine, Smokefree.gov is an excellent source.

The Ohio Tobacco Quit Line is a great resource for people who are ready to quit using tobacco, but need the support and the motivation to stay tobacco-free.