|Nicotine is an addictive drug and a natural ingredient found in the tobacco plant. It is a colorless, toxic alkaloid containing powerful chemicals such as carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen. Many products including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco as well as nicotine replacement products use nicotine. This substance causes changes in the brain which induce a euphoric state of mind for the smoker.
When a person smokes and inhales the nicotine, a chemical called dopamine in the brain is released, producing feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. These good feelings cause the smoker to want to use it more and more. However, when nicotine is absent and the smoker has not had a regular nicotine fix, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms are experienced.
The dependence on nicotine is based on psychological and physical factors. For instance, the smoker develops certain typical behaviors associated with smoking. Usually, a cigarette is smoked after eating, while drinking a cup of coffee or alcohol, in stressful situations or when another smoker is smoking. Acting as a stimulant, nicotine’s addictive properties definitely affect mood and performance. Nicotine has been said to be even more addictive than alcohol, heroin and cocaine, and it can take as few as four cigarettes to develop a lifelong addiction.