Leave The Pack Behind!!


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Nicotine and cigarettes

What is Nicotine? Nicotine is a chemical that is found in the tobacco

leaf. Many studies have shown that it is the nicotine in tobacco that

reinforces a person’s desire to smoke. Nicotine is one of the most highly

addictive substances known, and experts believe it creates a stronger

dependence that cocaine or heroin.

What does Nicotine do? Nicotine has a powerful effect on the brain and

the central nervous system. A tolerance to nicotine begins with the first

cigarette. The first time someone smokes they become ill and dizzy, but

the more they smoke, the less they are bothered. Nicotine, unlike other

drugs and alcohol, does not affect normal activities.

When smokers inhale, nicotine first goes into their lungs. From the lungs,

it is carries to the brain by the bloodstream – all in seven seconds!

Once nicotine reaches the brain, it causes a real “hit”. It triggers a

wide range of responses throughout the body.

**Nicotine also has an effect on chemicals that regulate mood, learning,

alertness, and ability to concentrate. However, nicotine also increases

alpha waves, the brain activity pattern associated with relaxation, and

triggers the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural tranquilizers.

This is what might cause smokers to think that smoking relaxes them, but

the effect is only temporary. The long-term effects can be dangerous.

Information from The Lung Association.




Last updated: October 15, 2002



for this program has been provided in part by the Government
of Ontario and by Health Canada.
Ce program est financé par
le Gouvernement de l’Ontario et par Santé Canada.

The ‘Leave
The Pack Behind’ name
for this program has been adopted with permission from the
World Health Organization.
Le nom du programme en anglais ‘Leave The Pack Behind’ a été emprunté à la
Journée mondiale sans tabac de 1999 avec la permission
de l’Organisation mondiale de la santé. Copyright,
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Leave The Pack Behind!!
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