What is Nicotine?Nicotine is the substance found in tobacco which creates mild intoxication. It is found in all tobacco products such as: cigarettes, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, and cigars. When a person smokes a tobacco product, they inhale the smoke which contains nicotine as well as over 500 chemicals. Nicotine is the drug in tobacco that causes addiction. When a user is addicted to nicotine, they feel as if they need nicotine in order to function normally. The smoke from tobacco also contains tar which is damaging to the mouth, throat, and lungs. Nicotine reaches the brain within 10 seconds after intake.
What are the immediate effects of nicotine?
increase in blood pressure
increase in heart rate
thickening of blood
narrowing of arteries
decrease in skin temperature
increase in respiration
stimulation of the central nervous system
What are the delayed effects?
high blood pressure
blockage of blood vessels
depletion of vitamin C
reduction in the effectiveness of the immune system
cancer of the mouth, throat, and lungs
cancer of the upper respiratory tract
bronchitis and/or emphysema
dryness and wrinkling of the skin
production of abnormal sperm in males
How does smoking affect Women and Pregnancy?
Women who smoke have a greater risk of premature detachment of the
placenta. Once detachment has occurred, perinatal death rates also
increase. This risk increases by 20% with every 1/2 pack of cigarettes
Women who smoke also suffer from more reproductive tract infections,
fertility and menstrual disorders, earlier menopause, and problems during
Female smoking-related death rates have been rising. It is estimated by
the year 2020, more than one million adult females will die from tobacco-related illness.
NICOTINE AND PREGNANCY
low birth weight
greater occurrence of miscarriage and stillbirth
impairment of mental development
impairment of physical development
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
baby has a greater likelihood of being hyperactive
Because nicotine is so addictive, there are withdrawal symptoms that may occur when a person is not using the drug .
What are the withdrawal symptoms from nicotine?
drop in pulse rate
drop in blood pressure
disturbance of sleep
difficulty in concentration
craving for tobacco
Although these symptoms may cause discomfort for a brief period of time, the benefits to a person who quits smoking greatly outweigh an addiction to nicotine.
These benefits include improved health and greater enjoyment of everyday activities (According to the National Association of Tobacco Addiction Counselors 1998).
CHANGES YOUR BODY GOES THROUGH WHEN YOU QUIT SMOKING
According to the American Lung Association of Washington (1999) the body goes through many stages once a person stops smoking.
Within 20 minutes of last cigarette:
Blood pressure drops to normal
Pulse drops to normal rate
Body temperature of hands and feet increase to normal
Within 8 hours:
Carbon dioxide level in blood drops to normal
Oxygen level in blood increases to normal
Within 24 hours:
Chance of heart attack decreases
Within 48 hours:
Nerve endings start to regrow
Ability to smell and taste enhances
Within 48 – 72 hours:
Nicotine leaves the body
Within 72 hours:
Bronchial tubes relax, making breathing easier
Lung capacity increases
Within 2 weeks to 3 months:
Walking becomes easier
Lung function increases up to 30%
Within 1 to 9 months:
Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease.
Cilia regrow in lungs, increasing ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce infection .
Body’s overall energy level increases
Within 5 years:
Lung cancer death rate for average smoker (one pack a day) decreases from 137 per 100,000 people to 72 per 100,000 (after 10 years, rate drops to 12 deaths per 100,000 – or almost the rate of a non-smoker).
Within 10 years:
Pre-cancerous cells are replaced
Other cancers, such as those of the mouth, larynx, esophagus, bladder, kidney and
pancreas decrease (there are 30 chemicals in tobacco smoke that cause cancer)
ALL BENEFITS ARE LOST WHEN YOU SMOKE JUST 1 CIGARETTE A DAY! According to the American Lung Association of Washington (1998).
Finally, recent research in The American Journal on Addictions conducted by Elizabeth B. Stuyt, MD(1997) indicates people who continue to smoke cigarettes while they are in treatment for other drugs relapse twice as frequently as those individuals who were required to abstain from nicotine at the same time as their other drugs. This is one of the key reasons why we require all the adolescents who we work with to abstain from nicotine as well as alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. To allow your child to continue his nicotine addiction while he abstaining from other drugs is an enabling behavior which sets your son up for a relapse.