Addressing Three Misconceptions About Nicotine and its Effects

Addressing Three Misconceptions About Nicotine and its EffectsThanks to progressive research and advancements in healthcare technology, we as a society understand more about the effects of smoking than ever before. A habit that was once glamorized is now widely condemned, with some governments even outlining plans to create a ‘smoke-free’ generation with new legislation.

Despite the vast amounts of modern research into the topic, there are still lots of misconceptions among the general public about nicotine and its impact on the body. Nicotine is a naturally occurring substance that’s found in tobacco products like cigarettes and cigars. It’s classed as a stimulant, but also often behaves like a depressant, which is one of the main reasons why it’s such a highly addictive substance.

If you’re a smoker, are committed to stopping smoking, or know someone who is affected by this harmful habit, it’s important to know the facts. In this post, we unpack three misconceptions about nicotine to help you understand the impact it could be having on your body.

1) Nicotine causes cancer

Since it’s a chemical found in the tobacco plant, people often link nicotine to cancer. In fact, information published by the UK Government reveals that four in ten smokers and ex-smokers believe nicotine is the cause of most smoking-related cancers. However, most experts agree that nicotine isn’t the substance that’s responsible for the cancer-causing effects of smoking, with thousands of other chemicals causing more harm to our bodies’ cells.

With so many factors at play, some scientists would argue that it’s not as cut and dry as this, and nicotine does contain properties that could contribute to the development of cancer. For instance, it can speed up cell growth, or even become poisonous to cells in larger doses. Either way, what’s clear is there are more toxic chemicals present in tobacco products that are far more likely to be the root cause of the increased cancer risk in
smokers.

2) Vapes and e-cigarettes don’t contain nicotine

Addressing Three Misconceptions About Nicotine and its EffectsModern e-cigarettes have been around since the early noughties, but they’ve steadily become increasingly popular over the last few years. Young adults are the most prolific age group when it comes to vaping and e-cigarette use, with 11% of 18-24-year-olds using the devices. With just 4.5% of all adults using e-cigarettes, it shows how prominent they are amongst the younger generation. For a long time, these devices were viewed as a good thing when used as a substitute for tobacco products. But, while the absence of certain toxins in e-cigarettes does help to mitigate some of the risks associated with smoking, there are growing concerns about the effects that vaping can have on our bodies and brains.

The vast majority of these products still contain nicotine. In fact, research found that 99% of e-cigarettes sold in assessed venues across the country contain the substance. Nicotine consumption can be particularly harmful to adolescents since it can stunt brain development and increase the risk of developing other addictions later in life. It can also alter how memories are formed or new skills are retained in our brains. In addition to the physical impacts, vaping can contribute to a range of mental health issues, particularly when a young person becomes ‘dependent’ on the nicotine in these products.

3) Lack of nicotine affects your mood more than consuming it

It’s generally known that when an individual is addicted to nicotine, withdrawing from the substance can dramatically alter their mood. Common feelings brought about by reducing nicotine consumption include irritability, sadness, frustration, and anxiousness.

However, the substance can also impact emotions and feelings in different ways while consuming it. These are often positive feelings, but are short-lived and quickly replaced by the negative emotions associated with nicotine cravings and withdrawals. For example, smoking may invoke an instant sense of relaxation, and nicotine has also been shown to boost dopamine release in the brain temporarily. However, in the long term, smoking inhibits the brain’s ability to produce dopamine naturally, which in turn can contribute to persistent low moods or depression.

Making healthy choices

Understanding the impact of smoking and nicotine consumption will allow you to make more informed lifestyle choices that could benefit your long-term health.

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About Lauren

Lauren is the Content & Community Manager for Wellness Force Media. According to Lauren, wellness is about finding gratitude and joy in doing any type of physical or self-care activity that we love. Wellness means providing ourselves with self-love, good nutrition, and the inner peace that our individual minds and bodies need.

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