How Does Nicotine Affect the Body?


Nicotine is the primary component in cigarettes and other tobacco products. When any tobacco product is smoked, nicotine gets into the lungs and it is absorbed into the bloodstream from there. It is carried by blood to all the parts of the body, which include the brain. This chemical is extremely addictive in nature and is able to result in changes in the level of various brain chemicals, such as norepinephrine and dopamine, which are responsible for raising alertness and changing mood. This can result in various types of complications. It leads to a rapid increase in the level of the adrenaline hormone within the system, which relaxes the mind but also increases blood pressure and heart rate at the same time. Read on and know exactly how does nicotine affect the body.

How Does Nicotine Affect the Heart?

The ingestion of nicotine leads to a release in the hormone known as epinephrine, which can lead to rapid breathing, elevation in blood sugar levels, hypertension and rise in heartbeat. Although it makes the mind feel more relaxed, it actually makes your body work harder in order to pump blood and increase the intake of oxygen by the cells. This puts the heart under extra strain. Prolonged nicotine intake can cause cardiac stress, strokes and heart attacks. As the chemical is a vasoconstrictor, it narrows down the blood vessels and raises risks of cardiac disorders.

How Does Nicotine Affect the Lungs?

Smoking causes damage to the thin hairy cilia, which prevent the lungs to successfully remove dirt and germs from itself. Inhalation of nicotine can result in repetitive wheezing, coughing, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and even lung cancer.

How Does Nicotine Affect the Immune System?

If you are interested to know how does nicotine affect the body and its immune system, know that a study by the University of Louisville research team has found that the chemical increases susceptibility to swelling and infections. It affects the manufacturing of a specific form of white blood cells, which are developed in the bone marrow in order to protect the body from infections and disorders. Cells affected by nicotine are also unable to kill bacteria as efficiently as healthy cells, which make immune functions weaker as a result.

How Does Nicotine Affect the Teeth?

The chemical also has a detrimental effect on overall health of teeth. Other than causing yellowing and discoloration of the teeth, it also leads to gum-thinning when inhaled over a long period. This ultimately leads to bacterial penetration of the roots and gum infection. There is also weakening of the dental roots, leading to teeth weakening and bad breath.

How Does Nicotine Affect the Fetus?

Nicotine also poses a lot of risks for the fetus of pregnant women, and raises the risk of premature birth, still birth and miscarriage. It also increases the risks of mothers delivering babies with low birth-weight.

An overdose of nicotine can lead to muscle tremors, vomiting, dizziness, convulsions as well as lung paralysis within a few minutes. Now that you know how does nicotine affect the body, you will obviously find it better to kick the habit of smoking, keeping such issues in mind.