The Truth About Nicotine

Navigating through the mass of conflicting and confusing information about smoking, vaping and nicotine use can be an difficult task.

It seems that there is a false sense of security in thinking that because we are no longer creating tar and chemical release in the body from smoking, that there are no serious considerations about using nicotine. The information presented has been compiled by a Naturopathic physician with a degree in biochemistry and is backed by scientific studies.

SBB absolutely values everyone’s freedom to choose what is right for them. We also believe that you should have the facts separated from advertising hype to make solid informed decisions.

Nicotine is addictive.

Many nicotine sources were sprayed with pesticides. Pesticides can cause short-term adverse health effects, called acute effects, as well as chronic adverse effects that can occur months or years after exposure.

Nicotine stimulates the adrenal glands to release adrenaline, which stimulates the central nervous system and increases blood pressure, respiration, heart rate, and promotes inflammation. The temporary heart rate increase constricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure. This constriction of blood vessels may decrease wound healing and contribute to the progression of macular degeneration, kidney disease, and pregnancy complications.

Nicotine appears to contribute to problematic changes in heart muscles such as hypertrophy and fibrosis. More pertinent is an increased risk of irregular heartbeat, such as atrial or ventricular fibrillation.

Nicotine decreases the flexibility of blood vessels (endothelial function). It is believed to contribute to cholesterol issues.

Nicotine increases insulin resistance and therefore could increase the risk of diabetes.

Animal studies show a risk of pulmonary hypertension (increased blood pressure in the artery system of the lungs).

Acute nicotine toxicity from an excessive dose causes nausea, vomiting, headache, chills and other symptoms. It is not known if this leads to any long term impact on health.

There could be an increased cancer risk due to nicotine. While it is not a carcinogen, it may increase cancer progression and metastasis.

Nicotine causes constant dopamine release every time you smoke. Dopamine is most notably involved in helping us feel pleasure as part of the brain’s reward system. Many smokers realize that their dopamine levels are extremely low leading to depression because nicotine has controlled this process unnaturally for such a long period that it has depleted the dopamine levels.

Nicotine should be avoided during pregnancy as it can impact fetal development in many ways. It may also reduce fertility in men and women, but more studies are needed in this area.

All of these above responses are much less than those from smoking cigarettes and the overall risk of heart disease is significantly less. Short term use of nicotine probably has low risk, but continual use is questionable especially with any preexisting heart or other health conditions.