Addiction – it is continued dependence on a substance or activity that can temporarily alter the chemical balance of the brain. Some physical addictions are drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
What is Niccotine?
The tobacco plant (Nicotiana spp.) contains an organic compound known as Nicotine. This poisonous alkaloid has the power to alter moods and change the effects of the brains as it is readily absorbed by the body. A human body can absorb nicotine through various channels like mucous membranes, skin or can ingest it directly through cigarettes, cigars, hookahs. It is an active ingredient in tobacco smoke. It is pungent in odor and acrid in taste. It should be noted that nicotine is also used as an insecticide and fumigant.
How long does nicotine stay in your system?
Nicotine is a neurotransmitter. This means when a cigarette is smoked, the smoke after reaching the lungs, mixing withblood gets transmitted to the brains in mere seven seconds. There are neurons and cells that transmit information to all parts of the body. The neurotransmitter attaches itself to the subset of the neurons, this causes a chain reaction. The brain then releases certain chemicals like dopamine, which increases the level of relaxation.
Acetylcholine and norepinephrine are also released which makes the person more alert, has a calming effect and in certain cases even reduces appetite. Anxiety and pain are also reduced by the increase in the acetylcholine and beta-endorphin levels. This further stimulates the release of glucose and adrenaline which causes the heart rate and blood pressure to increase. This pleasing and euphoric effect leads to dependence and withdrawing it is a difficulty. Nicotine not only acts as a stimulant but also as a sedative.
The smoke filled lungs produces carbon monoxide which damages the artery walls which increases the chances of heart attacks and may also cause respiratory failure. This nicotine blood carrier has numerous cancer causing chemicals and poisonous substances which reaches every part of the body. After the calming effect is over the person may feel depressed and may crave for another smoke. This dependence is also the cause for type 2 diabetes, schizophrenia, paralysis, infertility in women, impotency in men, weekend senses, and increase in asthma attacks. Cancer of the esophagus, pancreas, cervix, kidney and other vital organs are also major effects for prolonged use of nicotine. It also causes leukemia.
As nicotine takes a long time to be flushed out of the system they affect the skin, increasing the process of ageing.Nicotine craving can also be inherited. Children who’s either parent smokes are more likely to experiment it at a very early age. There are also a group of people who inhale through pipe, hookah or cigarette only at social gatherings. They are not addicts and are able to quit without any symptoms. Depression caused by illness could also be the reason for a person to start smoking as it acts as a sedative making them forget their pain. Peer pressure is also another factor for the increase in the percentage of teenage chain smokers. Not only smokers but also passive smokers are prone to the life threatening diseases.
Nicotine drug test
Cotinine is the byproduct that a human body produces when nicotine is mixed in the blood. Urine test kit is an inexpensive and effective way of determining the amount of cotinine in the body. It utilizes the immunoassays principle. There is also a blood test done to detect nicotine. Nicotine stays in the blood for about two hours after intake and converts to cotinine whose life is about 24 hours.
Thus for best results from the blood this test should be taken within 24 hours after the person has last smoked or chewed tobacco. Saliva test is also done on the same basis and it is non invasive. Hair follicle test is the most accurate test for detecting nicotine and it can show results even after a year of consuming nicotine. Though this is a very expensive test as hair is taken from the person’s head and examined using expensive tools and technique it gives a very accurate picture. In a bald person the hair sample may be collected from another part of the body.
Quitting and removing nicotine from the body
Quitting this addiction is extremely difficult. There are numerous ways of which very first being a very strong desire to cure oneself of this addiction. There are nicotine gums and patches available that is not addictive but gives the same desire that consuming tobacco give. Yoga or any physical activity can be tried when the desire to smoke is strong. Other methods are like delaying the urge to smoke for a few moments, then for some hours and so on or a support group could also prove to be very helpful.
The bottom line is the faster we quit this addiction, the more years we add to our lives.