We are constantly warned about the effects of smoking and how we shouldn’t contaminate our bodies with bad toxins.

The chemical you hear most associated with cigarettes is nicotine. But what it does it actually do to your body?  We reveal the effects of nicotine on the body and, you may be surprised to find out some of the places where nicotine can be found.

What is nicotine?

Is nicotine addictive? Oh yes. It’s the stimulant chemical that gets you hooked on cigarettes – the one that makes you crave drag after drag.

When tobacco is inhaled, nicotine is absorbed into your bloodstream and only takes about eight seconds to get to the brain. It then travels to major organs including your lungs and heart, affecting your breathing, appetite, memory and mood.

Where is nicotine found?

We all know that nicotine is found in tobacco but did you know, there is also nicotine in many vegetables? Although in low quantities, nicotine can be found in aubergine, tomatoes, potatoes and green peppers. It’s also found in cocoa leaves and many insecticides.

What are the effects of nicotine?

The chemical causes a temporary increase in blood pressure and heart rate, which in turn causes stronger heart contractions. When nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream, the vessels can become constricted, leading to heart attacks and strokes.

The lungs lose their ability to clean and filter out dirt, which makes wheezing more persistent. This can lead to chronic pulmonary diseases or at worst, lung cancer.

Nicotine can also cause the following side effects:

  • Muscular and joint pain
  • Increased probability of blood clots
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Headaches
  • Increased blood pressure

Are e-cigs better than cigarettes?

There are thousands of chemicals in normal cigarettes – some of which are poisonous and many more proven to cause cancer. E cigarettes don’t contain anywhere near as many chemicals and more importantly, none of the poisons.

When vaping, you can control the strength of nicotine in your e cig liquid. Choosing a lower strength of nicotine than is present in traditional cigarettes means that less of the chemical is absorbed into your bloodstream when you vape.

Smokers of traditional cigarettes also inhale tar but it is not present in vape smoke. In fact, Public Health England, a governing body, carried out a report which showed that e cigarettes are 95% less harmful than tobacco. 

E cigarettes don’t smell so there’s no disgusting-scented clothes to wash when you’ve been on a night out. In fact, some indoor venues even allow you to smoke e cigarettes inside instead of having to make your way outside for a crafty fag in the howling rain.

And don’t forget about the cost – today you’d pay around £10 for a pack of Malboro Lights versus as little as £5 for a vaping starter kit, which cost little to maintain.

If you’re looking to kick your habit but enjoy the sensation of smoking, vaping is a great alternative. While e cigarettes are not entirely nicotine-free, they are considered much safer with a fraction of the risk of smoking traditional cigarettes. If you are new to vaping or fancy trying it, look out for a full vaporiser kit, which can be used with low nicotine levels allowing the strength to be lowered gradually.

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