Nicotine Facts

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Nicotine is a highly addictive substance present in tobacco plants. All tobacco products contain nicotine, including cigarettes, non-combusted cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, hookah tobacco, and most e-cigarettes.

How Does Nicotine Affect the Nervous System? 

Nicotine can exert a sedation effect, depending on the level of the smoker’s nervous system arousal and the dose of nicotine taken. Repeated exposure to nicotine results in the development of tolerance, the condition in which higher doses of a drug are required to produce the same initial effect. 

What are the Health Effects of Nicotine?

Nicotine exposure has been linked to lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, exacerbation of asthma symptoms, and is associated with cancers of the mouth, kidney, esophagus, pharynx, stomach, pancreas, cervix, ureter, and bladder. 

How Fast Does Nicotine Reach the Brain? 

Nicotine can reach peak levels in the bloodstream and brain rapidly. Cigarette smoking and vaping results in nicotine reaching the brain within just 10 seconds of inhalation. 

What are the Symptoms of Nicotine Addiction? 

Nicotine is highly addictive. The ingestion of nicotine results in a discharge of epinephrine from the adrenal cortex, causing a sudden release of glucose. Stimulation is followed by depression and fatigue, leading the user to seek more nicotine. 


Information provided by the Regional Prevention Center at Seven Counties Services, dedicated to preventing and reducing substance misuse and suicide within our communities. View or download our Substance Misuse Resource Toolkit for additional prevention resources.

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