Nicotine addiction keeps people smoking longer, and the longer they smoke, the more damage they do to their bodies.

The design and contents of tobacco products make them more attractive and addictive than ever before.  Today’s cigarettes deliver more nicotine more quickly from the lungs to the heart and brain.

As detailed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, research demonstrates the many effects nicotine has on the body as soon as it enters the bloodstream.

  • Nicotine stimulates the adrenal glands to release the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline), which in turn stimulates the central nervous system and increases blood pressure, respiration, and heart rate.
  • Nicotine increases levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which affects the brain pathways that control reward and pleasure.
  • Continued nicotine exposure results in long-term brain changes for many tobacco users, resulting in addiction.

When an addicted user tries to quit, he or she experiences withdrawal symptoms including irritability, attention difficulties, sleep disturbances, increased appetite, and powerful cravings for tobacco. These symptoms may begin within a few hours after the last cigarette. Treatments can help smokers manage these symptoms and improve the likelihood of successfully quitting.

For more information on the drug nicotine, please refer to the following page:

Nicotine Addiction

The reality is that smoking is not … a choice.  For most smokers, tobacco use is an addiction, and nicotine is the primary drug of choice.” Let’s Make the Next Generation Tobacco-Free, Your Guide to the 50th Anniversary Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health

Nicotine addiction and smoking causes immediate and long-term damage to the body and has been linked to a number of diseases and health problems.  Nicotine also interacts with common prescription medications.

  • Diseases and health problems linked to smoking
    • Cancer such as lung, trachea, bronchus, esophagus, oral cavity, lip, nasopharynx, nasal cavity, larynx, stomach, bladder, pancreas, kidney, liver, uterine, cervix, colon, rectum, and leukemia
    • Respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and tuberculosis
    • Cardiovascular disease such as peripheral arterial disease, coronary heart disease, and stroke
    • Reproductive complications in pregnancy and adverse effects on male reproduction and sexual function
    • Diabetes
    • Eye disease

For more information on the diseases linked to smoking, please refer to The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress, 2014 Surgeon General Report Executive Summary.

  • Nicotine interactions with prescription medications
  • A total of 55 drugs (353 brand and generic names) are known to interact with nicotine.
    • 13 moderate drug interactions (67 brand and generic names)
    • 42 minor drug interactions (286 brand and generic names)

For a complete list of the drugs that interact with nicotine, please refer to