Only 10 seconds after inhalation

The other side of cigarette smoking, the nature and impact of nicotine


Cigarette smoking is a multimillion-dollar industry that continues to thrive amidst the current financial climate. The desire to get that nicotine fix is not perceived as concerning because it is sold at most corner stores, it has several different grades and the way it is portrayed in media it appears to be something that the cool kids do and or the sexier males indulge in. This will be an attempt to talk about one of the main ingredients in cigarettes, nicotine and how it impacts us psychologically, physiologically and what are some of the implications.

Research evidence has commented that the infiltration of tobacco on the bloodstream is determined by how it is taken. The smoking of cigarettes enhances the distribution of nicotine in the body of those who indulge in the habit. It takes a total of ten seconds for nicotine to reach the brain after inhalation (Hanson et al., 2018). According to the (National Institute on Drug Abuse [NIDA] 2016), there are several factors that should be considered as it relates to absorption of nicotine by the body. These factors include the composition of the tobacco, the density of the tobacco, the length of each cigarette, if there is a filter, the potency of the filter, the volume of smoke inhalation and the amount that is used daily (Hanson et al., 2018).

The physiological effects of nicotine mainly impact the central nervous system. Researchers reiterated that nicotine activates brain circuitry regions that is responsible for the regulation of pleasurable feelings. The take over ignites the interest of the neurotransmitter dopamine and triggers a release in the reward center of the brain (Hanson et al., 2018). Additional experts in the field expounds on the effects of nicotine on the brain and reported that corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) is a neuropeptide that is evident in several areas of the brain. These were namely the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, central nucleus of the amygdala (CeA), bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), ventral tegmental area (VTA), and locus coeruleus (LC), (Grieder et al., 2014). When this happens the potential for abuse is heightened (Hanson et al., 2018). Additional research findings argued that exposure to nicotine that is brief can cause changes in the brain that could climax into compulsive drug taking (Adermark et al., 2016). Apart from the impact of nicotine on the brain it increases the respiratory levels at low dose whereby charming the receptors in the carotid artery (that is in the neck) and works as the agent who takes note of the amount of oxygen that the brain requires (Hanson et al., 2018). Excessive use of nicotine is responsible for the following diseases as outlined in the text. Individuals will be more susceptible to cardiovascular disease, cancer, bronchopulmonary disease, and other illnesses (Hanson et al., 2018). More information coming out from other experts in the field of neuropsychology and psychiatry has discovered that cigarette smoking will climax with symptomologies related to disease in nearly every organ of the body (CDC 2016).

Because of the addictive nature of nicotine smoking cessation treatment must be implemented. Without this step most individuals will relapse within seven days of abstinence when the symptoms peak (Bruijnzeel, 2016). Additional commentaries from more experts in the field postulated that one of the underlying issues that makes it difficult to overcome the dependency on nicotine is because the psychological aspect is more pervading than the physical because of the captivating influence of urges experienced by chronic users (Hanson et al., 2018).

Electronic cigarettes

The use of electronic cigarettes is the latest level of sophistication that is popular among adolescents. These cigarettes deliver nicotine and other substances to those who are avid users and find vaping comforting (Hanson et al., 2018). The design of these instruments consists of a rechargeable battery-operated heating element, a replaceable cartridge that is seasoned with nicotine (or other chemicals), and an atomizer that works as a heating agent to infuse the vapor for inhalation (FDA 2016). Further exploration of the medically influenced nature of e-cigarettes pointed to the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE). This organization promotes the use of e-cigarettes as a therapeutic arm to assist in a recovery model to help kick the habit (Grant, 2021). They came to this conclusion by utilizing a randomized clinical trial (RCTs) evidence-based approach (Grant, 2021). Let us now turn our attention back to the observation of the FDA, that highlights the deceptive nature of the descriptive components of e-cigarettes cartridges because they are marketed as nicotine free. This raises a concern for vulnerable youth in the community as it could potentially lead them to develop a carving for tobacco products that makes nicotine addiction more inevitable (FDA 2016).


Cigarette smoking can be as psychologically destructive as any other known substance. Long or even brief indulgence in the habit could result in major health issues that takes away our ability to live our best life and function more effectively. The challenge is to confront this desire that we have as well as the false notion that smoking is a good stress reliever, will make us look cool or will take away the edge. The form in which we engage in the use of smoking does not keep us from getting the symptomologies that are the rippling effects of ingesting the poisonous substance called nicotine.


Adermark, L. M. (2016). Temporal rewiring of striatal circuits initiated by nicotine. Neuropsychopharmacology 41, 3051-3059.

Bruijnzeel, A. W. (2016). Neuropeptide Systems and new Treatments for Nicotine Addiction.

Psychopharmacology, 1420.

Center for Disease Control Prevention (CDC). (2016). Fast Facts. Retrieved from


Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2016). E-Cigarettes: Questions and Answers. Retrieved from

Food and Drug Administration:

Grant, S. (2021). Reporting Certainty of Evidence on E-Cigerette Use for Adult Smoking Cessation.

American Journal of Public Health, 227.

Greider, T. H.-P.-B.-C. (2014). VTA CRF neurons mediate the aversive effects of nicotine withdrawal

and promote intake escalation. National Neuroscience 17, 1751-1758.

Hanson, G. R. (2018). Drugs and Society thirteenth edition. Burlington MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2016). NIHPublication. Retrieved from

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