Tobacco Use Disorder: Biological Factors

Nicotine is the primary psychoactive ingredient in tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and waterpipe tobacco. Nicotine is responsible for many of the effects of tobacco on the body: increased heart rate and blood pressure, enhanced energy and euphoria, improved memory and attention, decreased appetite, and relief of stress and anxiety. These effects produced by tobacco products are determined, in part, by the rate at which they can deliver nicotine to the brain. For instance, on inhalation from a cigarette, nicotine is absorbed into the lungs and travels to the brain within 10 to 20 seconds. Thus, the effects of nicotine consumed via inhalation have a fast onset and a short duration of action. In contrast, nicotine from smokeless tobacco products is absorbed through ...

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