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What Happens When You Smoke Cigarettes?

February 22nd, 2008 · No Comments

The cigarette is a very efficient and highly engineered drug delivery system.

By inhaling tobacco smoke, the average smoker takes in 1 to 2 mg of nicotine per cigarette. When tobacco is smoked, nicotine rapidly reaches peak levels in the bloodstream and enters the brain in a few seconds. A typical smoker will take 10 puffs on a cigarette over a period of 5 minutes that the cigarette is lit. Thus, a person who smokes about 1-1/2 packs (30 cigarettes) daily gets 300 “hits” of nicotine to the brain each day.

In those who typically do not inhale the smoke—such as cigar and pipe smokers and smokeless tobacco users––nicotine is absorbed through the mucosal membranes and reaches peak blood levels and the brain more slowly.

Here is a video of what happens to your body when you quit smoking cigarettes.

Immediately after exposure to nicotine, there is a “kick” caused in part by the drug’s stimulation of the adrenal glands and resulting discharge of epinephrine (adrenaline). The rush of adrenaline stimulates the body and causes a sudden release of glucose, as well as an increase in blood pressure, respiration, and heart rate. Nicotine also suppresses insulin output from the pancreas, which means that smokers are always slightly hyperglycemic (i.e., they have elevated blood sugar levels). The calming effect of nicotine reported by many users is usually associated with a decline in withdrawal effects rather than direct effects of nicotine.

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Tags: Smoking - Nicotine Addiction

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