Overview of Nicotine

What is Nicotine?

Nicotine is a chemical derived from the tobacco plant. Nicotine is a toxic and highly addictive stimulant drug.

Typical Nicotine Products

Nicotine is typically delivered to users through tobacco products, such as cigarettes, hookah, or smokeless tobacco, and more recently has been available in a non-tobacco form delivered through electronic cigarettes or e-cigs. It may also be administered for short periods in the form of FDA regulated Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) via gum, patch, or lozenge as part of tobacco cessation treatment.

The Danger of Nicotine

While nicotine alone is a dangerous substance, it is also often combined with other chemicals, making the use of nicotine and tobacco products even more unhealthy.

The Addictiveness of Nicotine

The addictiveness of nicotine is equivalent to if not greater than cocaine and heroin, making it the most addictive substance known to humans.

Effects of Nicotine

  • Increased production of epinephrine/adrenaline and dopamine.
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure with blood vessel constriction, increasing risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • At consumption/absorption of greater than 30-60 mg in adults, death.
  • Tissue irritation, including skin rash and coughing, wheezing and/or shortness of breath from nose, throat and lung exposure.
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting/abdominal pain at high exposures.
  • Headache
  • Tremors

Long Term Effects of Nicotine

  • Addiction.
  • Insulin resistance and sensitivity, increasing risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
  • Higher blood pressure and increased heart rate.
  • Greater risk of heart palpitations and chest pains.
  • Adverse effects on fertility and fetal development during pregnancy.

Treatment for Nicotine Addiction and Smoking Cessation:

If you think you or a friend may have an issue with nicotine or tobacco products, please call (530) 752-6334 or go to Health-e-Messaging and login to schedule a free, confidential appointment with our Mayo clinic certified, Safe Zone trained intervention specialist. If you think you or a friend may have overdosed on nicotine, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or dial 911 in the case of an emergency.


Smoke and Tobacco Free Campus

For a healthier community and cleaner environment, UC Davis is a smoke and tobacco free campus. Learn more about Breathe Free