Nicotine is only one of the thousands of chemicals in tobacco, but it is the major component that acts on the brain. The lungs readily absorb nicotine from the smoke of cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. The tissues of the mouth can also absorb nicotine when a person smokes cigars or pipes or chews tobacco.
Nicotine reaches the brain in seconds and has a direct effect on the body for up to 30 minutes. When a person uses tobacco regularly, the levels of nicotine accumulate in the body during the day and persist overnight, exposing the person to the effects of nicotine for 24 hours.
By Rachel Ehmke
If you are feeling shyer than you'd like to be, you're in good company. A lot of kids—and adults—say they get nervous during social situations. Maybe it's speaking up in class or making a phone call or just trying something new. You might feel butterflies in your stomach, or your heart may race or you get suddenly shaky and sweaty. Those things are your body’s reaction to fear. And if fear of being embarrassed or making a mistake is getting in your way, there are some things...
In the body, nicotine acts as both a central nervous system stimulant and sedative. The person immediately feels the stimulant effect and pleasurable sensation. It increases alertness, relaxes muscles, improves memory and attention, and decreases irritability. The stimulant effect causes a sudden increase in blood pressure, breathing rate, and heart rate. The central nervous system stimulation is followed by depression and fatigue, causing the person to want another cigarette.
Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances. Some teens show early signs of addiction within days to weeks after starting to smoke. Repeated tobacco use causes a need for increasingly large amounts of nicotine to feel the same effect (tolerance). And repeated use causes withdrawal symptoms if the person tries to quit.
Increased risk among women for having babies with a low birth weight, which may result in the death of the baby. Women who smoke are also at risk for menstrual problems, early menopause, and osteoporosis.
Increased risk among men for erection problems.
Signs of use
Cigarette odor on clothing
Cigarette or other tobacco product packages or wrappers in wastebaskets
Sudden need for a teen to go outside or to the bathroom after meals