Smoking is a risk factor for a wide range of conditions including cancer, heart diseases, stroke, and other chronic diseases. Adding to that, smoking, and in particular nicotine addiction can result in health complications, and even death, which can be avoided by quitting smoking. The reason as to why nicotine is dangerous is due to the various substances released into the body from smoking it that are often toxic, thus harmful to your body and health. Once you have inhaled the cigarette smoke, it takes a few minutes to get into your brain and bloodstream. In the brain, it triggers a number of chemical reactions that create a feeling of pleasure, but it is only short-lived. At the back end, the nicotine released into your body is causing damage in various parts of your body.[1] [2]

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How Dangerous Is Nicotine?

Cigarettes smoke contains thousands of compounds, and hundreds of them are harmful to human health. Some of the compounds found in cigarette smoke are tar, formaldehyde, chromium VI, benzene, arsenic, cadmium, polonium-210, and 1,3-butadiene. Most of these compounds have been linked to various types of cancer and other health complications. For example, 1,3-butadiene is associated with certain types of blood cancer while benzene is linked with leukemia. On the other hand, chromium VI can lead to lung cancer and cancers of the nose and nasal sinuses, whereas arsenic is a risk factor for lung, skin, liver and bladder cancers.[1]

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Nicotine is a stimulant, and once in the body, it triggers the release of adrenaline. As a result, one experiences an increased heart rate, and blood pressure, thus restricting the proper flow of blood into the heart muscles. Therefore, smokers get rapid, shallow breathing and the feeling of the heartbeat. Adrenaline released also causes excess glucose to be released into the bloodstream, which acts as an appetite suppressant. Other than that, nicotine inhibits the release of insulin, which is responsible for removing excess glucose in the body, thus leaving one at risk of becoming hyperglycemic.

The biggest danger or rather complication of nicotine is an addiction. Once a smoker has had one too many cigarettes, the body craves for more. Needless say, whenever they have nicotine withdrawal, they become agitated and experience discomfort, and to relieve these symptoms, they need to smoke a cigarette. So, every other time the nicotine starts to leave the body, a smoker will always light another cigarette, and another after the levels have dropped again, and the cycle continues.[2]

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Some of the dangers and complications of nicotine and its addiction include; lung damage, heart diseases including damage to the heart and blood vessels, fertility problems in both males and females, pregnancy complications for pregnant women and increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome for the fetus. Other dangers are a risk of type 2 diabetes, a weakened immune system which leaves one susceptible to other illnesses, eye problems including cataracts and glaucoma, poor oral hygiene, and even unhealthy skin and hair.[3]

Do Smokers Wake Up To Smoke?

Smoking and nicotine abuse are also linked to sleep problems such as insomnia and sleep-disordered breathing. These are some of the sleep complications you are likely to experience if you are used to smoking prior to sleeping. The reasons why you should not smoke before bed is because despite nicotine being a sedative, it is also a stimulant, and it results in increased heart rate and alertness. Therefore, instead of letting your body relax for sleep, you are making it feel more awake while in actuality you intend to sleep. Nevertheless, after a few hours, the nicotine will start reducing in your system. If you are an addict, you will experience withdrawal symptoms, which will instigate your brain to wake you up and get more nicotine hence interrupting your sleep. As a result, you will develop sleep deprivation complications which often lead to a bad mood, lack of concentration and poor cognitive performance.[4]

Conclusion

The list of dangers of nicotine is long and it can affect your overall health in adverse ways. If you are a smoking addict, you are susceptible to lung damage, diseases, and getting lung cancer among other health complications. In some types of illnesses, smoking worsens the condition and can result in irreversible damage. Other than that, nicotine also affects one’s ability to get good sleep to the point of even waking up in the middle of slumber to take a smoke.

References:  

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Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: August 17, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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