NICOTINE FACT SHEET
Nicotine is a substance found in tobacco. 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.
Nicotine is a stimulant to the brain and the central nervous system.
- 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
SMOKING AND PREGNANCY
- 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
- stomach ulcers
- weight loss
- dryness and wrinkling of the skin
- production of abnormal sperm in males
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 smoked.
Women who smoke also suffer from more reproductive tract infections, fertility
and menstrual disorders, earlier menopause, and problems during pregnancy.
Female smoking-related death rates have been rising. It is estimated that
by the year 2020, more than I million adult females will die from tobacco-related
NICOTINE AND PREGNANCY
Because nicotine is so addictive, there are withdrawal symptoms that may
occur when a person is not using the drug
- low birth weight
- premature birth
- 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
Although these symptoms may cause discomfort for a brief period of time,
the benefits to a person who quits smoking greatly outweigh an addiction
- drop in pulse rate
- drop in blood pressure
- disturbance of sleep
- slower reactions
- difficulty in concentration
- craving for tobacco
These benefits include improved health and greater enjoyment of everyday
EXTENT OF USE
Tobacco (nicotine) use is the number one health problem in the U.S.
The National Household Survey (1993) reports:
- 71.2% of those surveyed have used nicotine
- 29.4% used in the past year
- 24.2% used in past month
- 75.5% of ages 12 and up who have used nicotine are white
- 57.4% ages 12 and up were Hispanic
- 59.6% ages 12 and up are black
- 45.3% of 8th graders have smoked cigarettes
- 56.3% of 10th graders have smoked
- 61.9% of 12th graders have smoked
- 8.3% 8th graders are regular smokers
- 14.2% 10th graders are regular smokers
- 19% 12 graders are regular smokers
If you suspect a problem with nicotine, cigarettes and/or other drug
use, please contact the National Drug Information Treatment and
Referral Hotline at (800) 662-HELP(4357). They can supply you with:
- printed materials
- treatment services in your state
- referrals for treatment
- alcohol treatment services
- adolescent and family services in your state
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