Nicotine is the most well-known substance in cigarettes; tar, ammonia and acetone are the lesser-known yet just as harmful chemicals in the tobacco-base products. When the substance enters the body, either via smoking a conventional cigarette or using a nicotine vaporizer (i.e., electronic cigarette), certain reactions happen that can eventually result in nicotine addiction, among other health issues.
Comparison of Nicotine Carriers
It must noted, nonetheless, that a nicotine vaporizer is considered as the better alternative to conventional cigarettes for several reasons. For one thing, the nicotine dose does not come with other harmful chemicals associated with burning tobacco including benzene (a petrol additive), formaldehyde (embalming fluid), carbon monoxide (car exhaust fumes), and hydrogen cyanide (gas chamber poison). Think of it as skipping on the bad parts and enjoying the better part of the act of smoking or in the case of a nicotine vaporizer, vaping.
For another thing, the user you, for example of the electronic cigarette can choose from a wide range of nicotine strengths. Your choices include extra strength (i.e., when you are still in the first few days of weaning yourself from conventional cigarettes, thus, you will still want your nicotine fix) to zero (i.e., when you want to stop inhaling nicotine into your system yet still enjoy the act of puffing and dragging on the nicotine vaporizer).
We understand, of course, that nicotine addiction can be similar in several aspects to extreme sport addiction – going cold turkey is ill-advised because of the high risks for relapses, which can result in stronger addiction. Slow yet sure steps toward weaning yourself off nicotine is the best course of action.
From Inhalation to Excretion
Nicotine takes effect almost immediately upon inhalation. Take note that the following process applies to both conventional cigarettes and electronic cigarettes although the scope may be different depending on the strength of the nicotine.
Within 10 seconds, the inhaled nicotine is absorbed through the skin barrier. It then travels through the mucosal linings of your nose, mouth and lungs before travelling into your brain via your bloodstream. It will then start a domino effect in the body including:
- Stimulation of the adrenal glands in producing epinephrine or adrenaline, a neurotransmitter and hormone that increases blood pressure and heart rate but constricts the blood vessels.
- Stimulation of dopamine production; dopamine is a neurotransmitter controlling the brains pleasure center, which explains the sensations of relaxation when inhaling nicotine.
While nicotine can be absorbed via your skin and gastrointestinal tract, as is the case with skin nicotine patches and nicotine gum, inhalation is the best form of getting the substance into the bloodstream and, hence, enjoying its pleasurable effects. This is because of your lungs millions of alveoli, tiny air sacs with an enormous surface area that can deliver the nicotine directly into the bloodstream.
Once absorbed into the body, your liver releases enzymes that break down the nicotine or at least by as much as 80%. Nicotine then becomes cotinine and nicotine oxide, among other metabolites, which can then be excreted in urine although it can also be found in the hair and saliva.
Effects on the Body
Nicotine helps in relaxation you will feel calmer as well as less stressed and les anxious. You may even feel lesser physical pain although it may be attributed to your more relaxed state of mind (i.e., placebo effect).
But its effects do not stop there! Nicotine can increase your physical stress because of it stimulant effect on your central nervous system; the relaxing effect appears to be brought by the ritual actions of smoking (i.e., puffing, dragging and blowing out). Your physical stress is evidenced by your rapid and shallow breathing as well as the increase in your heart rate and blood pressure.
You are alert, not relaxed! But depending on the dosage of nicotine, you can also feel sleepy and therein lies the paradox of nicotines effects on the body.