Nicotine is highly addictive substance, and this addictive quality is the cause of the continuing use of tobacco products1. Nicotine, when smoked from cigarettes and inhaled, is quickly absorbed in the lungs. Inhaled nicotine reaches the brain within 8 seconds2.
In the brain, nicotine acts on nicotinic receptors and immediately stimulates the release of chemical messengers that produce a feel-good effect. This feel-good effect reduces as the amount of nicotine decreases in the brain, which then triggers an urge in the smoker to light another cigarette, making it a hard chain to break.
The brain seeks the feel-good effect regularly, thereby making smoking a habit3.
- Pharmacol Rev 2005; 57:79–115.
- Drugs, addiction and the brain 2014; 221–259.
- Clinics in Dermatology 1998; 16:557–564.