Image for post
Image for post

Thanks to misinformation spread by tobacco control control advocates here (probably due to ignorance),majority of people in Africa assume that it’s the nicotine that makes cigarette smoking harmful. When anti-tobacco campaigns began across our continent, nicotine was not separated from harmful tobacco smoke, but rather grouped together with it in a way that caused a significant number of people (including educators & legislators) to believe that nicotine was in itself a scourge on health.In fact,if you ask any random person on the street if nicotine is bad,most will say yes.

We have already established that this is not the case. Nicotine is a naturally occurring chemical in the tobacco plant, and is one of the reasons why people smoke cigarettes. Nicotine is addictive and not risk free. However, it’s not the primary cause of smoking-related diseases.

It’s not nicotine however,that makes cigarette smoke so harmful.Most damage to health caused by smoking is due to tar. Researchers from U.K. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) stated that “…it is primarily the toxins and carcinogens in tobacco smoke — not the nicotine — that cause illness and death.” In fact, other chemicals in smoke, such as benzo[a]pyrene, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, and benzene, are the primary causes of smoking-related diseases.You will be surprised to find out that food plants like potatoes, tomatoes and eggplants contain nicotine.

It is however,addictive.Nicotine is highly toxic when ingested or absorbed in high doses (beyond those found in smoking or vaping), and it can increase a person’s heart rate and blood pressure.The degrees of nicotine addiction can vary depending on the ways in which people ingest nicotine. Smoking delivers a rapid hit of nicotine directly to the brain. This quick action happens because of the method of ingestion. Many cigarettes contain additives that break down the resistance to nicotine and deliver it to the brain quicker, thus resulting in greater addiction potential.

Alternatives to smoking, including vaping, patches, and gum, deliver nicotine in a slower fashion. This altered method of uptake reduces the potential strength of the addiction.These facts beg the question, should nicotine be considered dangerous on its own? Is an addiction to something that is relatively harmless all that bad? When people begin to understand that nicotine is not the menace it was once painted to be, it’s likely that people want to smoke tobacco less and use nicotine products more.

Believe it or not nicotine has various benefits. Nicotine is a neurostimulator, now tested as a medicine for Alzheimer disease and dementia. Nicotine therapy may offer protection against cognitive decline or dementia.

Society’s relationship with tobacco and nicotine is changing due to technology (vaping products). The more people get accurate information,the closer we get to curbing the tobacco epidemic.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store