Around the world, you might hear different myths that you will be inclined to believe. Just like a myth I heard a while back that said that the nicotine content in tea and coffee could slowly just eat you up from the inside. I did believe this at the moment and could not bring myself to drink the cup of tea that I was holding and it was only later that I found that nicotine had nothing to do with tea or coffee and my cup of tea was wasted in vain.
In fact, there have been several researches to find about nicotine and tea. Although the initial few researches claimed that tea did contain nicotine but in negligible amounts which was too little to do any harm to the human body and that the nicotine content in tea leaves varied greatly, later researches revealed that tea did not in fact contain any nicotine. People just confuse nicotine with caffeine all the time when they say it could harm you.
Nicotine: What is it?
Nicotine is perhaps one of the most widely found and used chemical around the world. Most people believe that nicotine is an artificial chemical that humans invented simply to use in cigarettes and coffee and tea to make them more addictive. However, that is far from the truth. Nicotine is a natural colorless substance that is found most commonly in tobacco plants but can also be found in certain fruits and vegetables such as potatoes and tomatoes.
However, this does not mean that nicotine cannot be made synthetically. Given the high sales of cigarettes – that contain nicotine – it is necessary to produce nicotine synthetically to meet the growing demands of smokers.
Is Nicotine Harmful?
Most people also tend to believe that it is nicotine that makes cigarettes so harmful, however, that again is not the truth. What makes cigarettes so harmful is tar and the carcinogenic compounds that it contains, not the nicotine that is found inside. But, this does not mean that nicotine is not harmful at all. Nicotine does carry harmful side effects but the biggest of these side effects is the addiction that nicotine causes.
Facts about Nicotine Addiction:
To help you understand how nicotine works and why so many around the world are addicted to it, here are some facts that might help to simplify the equation for you:
1. Dopamine Causes the Addiction:
You are addicted to nicotine only because of dopamine. How? Well, dopamine is the happiness or pleasure hormone that our brain releases. So, whenever we do something fulfilling, the feeling of fulfillment comes from dopamine. This dopamine is an addictive substance which is why we always want to do something fulfilling to get that dopamine rush again.
What nicotine intake really does is that it lets the nicotine absorb in the bloodstream and reach the brain. When it does reach the brain, the brain releases dopamine to reward us. So, then our brain becomes hard wired to reward the nicotine intake which also causes cravings for nicotine, which we see as craving for cigarettes.
2. Nicotine And Adrenaline:
Remember the last time you were very sleepy but you had an exam the next day. So, you decided that you will just have a cigarette and just get back to studying. When you smoked, you saw your sleep go away and felt that you had some energy in your body. Well, nicotine intake not only releases dopamine, but also adrenaline. Adrenaline is the material that stimulates the body and gives you that kick. It is often released when your brain senses an emergency and it heightens your reflexes.
3. Nicotine Withdrawal:
When I told you that nicotine was highly addictive, you might have taken it to mean that it was addictive like perhaps chocolates, or tea, or coffee where you crave it when it is not there but you do not just depend on it. Well, nicotine addiction is not like that. You actually do depend on it. When you cannot satisfy your craving for nicotine, you will find yourself experiencing extreme headaches and feelings of doom. You might feel that there is no happiness left in the world.
Although these might seem like an exaggeration, these are the exact symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. The withdrawal from nicotine is so disturbing that it can push smokers into depression and causes more than half smokers to rebound to smoking even when they clearly want to quit. This is one of the biggest reasons that cigarette smoking is so widespread around the world and has claimed millions of lives up till now.
The only way to quit smoking is to adopt a gradual approach. You slowly lower the nicotine intake in your body which is the bare minimum required to satisfy the craving. Once you develop some resistance, you might be able to let go for good.