Nicotine – why is it so addictive?


Many people disregard nicotine as a substance that can be abused, because of its social acceptability and ready availability. This is why many people would take up smoking without hesitation but still refrain from doing “hard drugs” as a means of justification.

However, the health risks attached to nicotine are several and extremely dangerous. Addiction is a recognized mental illness, whether it is to nicotine or cocaine, because any foreign substance that has the power to alter your brain chemistry fulfills the prerequisites of creating addiction inside a person’s mind and body.

Nicotine is a substance secreted by the tobacco plant to ward off insects from destroying the crop. It is also used as a popular pesticide to kill insects from fields. However, the negative effects of nicotine have plagued nature as well as human beings. Nicotine pesticides have been blamed for killing honey bees and has been labeled as a super-toxin, which is three times deadlier than arsenic and twice more poisonous as rattlesnake venom.

The reason our brain is receptive to nicotine is because nicotine has chemical compounds similar to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which once fitted inside the brain, hosts a series of chemical locks which enables it to take control and steer the flow of over two hundred neuro-chemicals around the brain, dopamine being one of those core chemicals.

Dopamine is the chemical responsible for pleasure inside the brain. When smokers experience withdrawal, they are noticing shortages in the production of dopamine, which makes them irritable and frustrated, and causes craving.

A good way to wean off nicotine without going cold-turkey is by switching from traditional cigarettes to electronic cigarettes. They provide a lower amount of nicotine than what you would normally receive from a conventional cigarette, without the other harmful carcinogens that are put into creating cigarettes such as tar. This way, you can slowly taper off your nicotine consumption till you feel like you are ready to kick the habit completely, to make the process physically easier for you.


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