Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs known till date. It is very hard to get rid of Nicotine addiction. As per the latest reports in 2009, released by National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 27.7% of American population, aged 12 or older, are tobacco users. Due to the presence of Nicotine, Tobacco is categorized as an illicit drug by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Nicotine is a chemical, to be more precise, an alkaloid that acts as a psychoactive drug, stimulating the central nervous system processes, when induced into the human body. Based on this property, it is commercialized in the form of cigarettes for human intake. Tobacco leaves contain considerable proportion of Nicotine and hence are used in preparation of cigarettes. Cigarettes contain 10 mg of Nicotine, but on smoking barely 2 mg of Nicotine enters into human body. However, this little amount carry enough toxins into the human body. The major parts of human body affected by Nicotine are brain, heart and lungs. Nicotine is very fast in showing its effects in the body, as it takes only 7 seconds to reach the brain in the body.
Impact on Central Nervous System
Nicotine has a striking diffusing property, hence it readily gets absorbed into the cells of lungs, brain and blood. Nicotine effects the brain in human body by acting up on the functioning cells of brain called Neurons. Neurons help in transmitting the messages from brain to different parts of the body. Neurons contain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which help in transmitting both received and sent messages from one neuron to another.
The chemical structure of Nicotine is very much similar to the most important neurotransmitter called Acetylcholine. It is involved in functioning of numerous bodily functions such as muscle movement, breathing, heart rate, learning and memory. On smoking, Nicotine replaces Acetylcholine and causes the dependent systems of the body to function abnormally.
It also impacts other neurotransmitters that affect mood, appetite and even impairs the normal functioning of respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
Impact on Heart
Nicotine gets easily absorbed into the blood. As the blood is circulated through all the organs of the body, it can very easily penetrate into each and every cell of the body part. Heart, as the center for blood circulation, receives blood from different body parts through a network of veins and arteries (blood vessels). The nicotine present in the blood damages the walls of arteries by increasing the fatty build ups. It also increases bad cholesterol in blood vessels, blocking the free flow of blood in them.
Therefore, the free flow of blood to heart is obstructed and it consequently results in heart strokes, which are very lethal. Accumulation of unnecessary fatty tissues may also lead to the development of chronic heart diseases.
Other major body parts which are affected by Nicotine consumption are lungs. It reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of lungs resulting in a conflict in demand and supply for oxygen in the cells of body, which leads to death or impairment of cells.
The other effects of nicotine are gastrointestinal problems (nausea, diarrhea, acidity, etc.), dermatological problems (skin allergies), throat cancer, jaw pains, etc. Nicotine is very hard to get rid off. However, the ill effects of Nicotine abuse are still harder to treat.