The dangers of smoking couldn’t be any clearer. The 7,000 chemicals and 69 carcinogens contained in cigarette smoke will shorten your life by days with every single pack.
Cigarettes also contain nicotine – the highly addictive chemical that keeps smokers coming back and causing severe withdrawals during quitting attempts.
Due to its historical and near-exclusive connection to smoking, many people believe nicotine to be highly dangerous, often mistaking it as a cancer-causing chemical or something that can cause other lethal effects to the body.
The truth is, nicotine isn’t responsible for the harmful effects of smoking, nor does it cause cancer – It simply keeps you addicted to deadly cigarettes.
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Note: Nicotine can cause issues if you already have existing comorbidities, such as a heart condition.
Nicotine is also a chemical that can help you reduce withdrawal symptoms if you can’t do cold turkey. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) lozenges, gums, inhalers, and patches contain a small nicotine dose to help you cope with nausea, headaches, and irritability.
Nicotine vaping products (NVPs) from pharmacies also contain a small dose of nicotine to help you cope with withdrawals when NRT products aren’t doing anything for you.
In today’s post, we’ll take a look at the effects of nicotine on your body, and discover whether nicotine vaping is dangerous.
Nicotine Spikes Your Adrenaline
Nicotine’s main effect, which can be a danger to people with heart and nerve problems, is consistently spiking your adrenaline to a higher level.
When nicotine is ingested or inhaled, it quickly enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain. Once in there, nicotine binds to receptors located on our nerve cells, releasing various neurotransmitters, including adrenaline.
With every puff you take, you ingest nicotine that raises your adrenaline levels.
Nicotine Increases Your Heart Rate
As mentioned, people with pre-existing heart problems may get worse if they regularly consume nicotine.
Nicotine continuously raises your adrenaline levels and also activates a specific set of receptors on your heart cells, increasing its pace and rhythm. Nicotine-induced adrenaline can raise your blood pressure to 10 to 15 BPM and keep it there.
As adrenaline levels increase, so will your heart rate, making it a potential danger to people with comorbidities and adults with hypertension or high blood pressure.
Nicotine Is Highly Addictive
The most well-known and documented effect of nicotine is its addictive nature. It’s a substance that causes behavioural effects by stimulating dopamine release.
Dopamine is the ‘feel-good’ chemical integral to our natural internal rewards system that reinforces routines and activities.
Nicotine can hijack this system by releasing dopamine for minimal effort – a combination that tempts even the most motivated smoker on the last leg of their quit journey.
While having dopamine levels hijacked won’t cause lethal problems, consistently high levels of it can lead to psychological issues, such as addiction and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to name a few.
So, Is Nicotine Lethal?
Nicotine is highly addictive; there’s no arguing that. However, nicotine isn’t lethal unless you have a severe adrenaline-sensitive comorbidity.
If you consume too much nicotine, you won’t die from it – but you may die from what it forces you to use. In the case of cigarettes, it’s the dangerous chemicals and carcinogens that are likely to kill you.
Vaping for Smoking Cessation
While there are responsible and trusted vaping products available right now in your local pharmacy, any nicotine vaping product (NVP) you purchase outside of a pharmacy is illegal and a potential danger to your health.
Here’s a small guide about illegal and pharmacy-available options, and how to use the latter for smoking cessation.
Avoid Illegal NVPs
Illegal NVPs (such as those in convenience stores and tobacconists) are imported under the radar, just like illicit tobacco and drugs, and are made as cheaply as possible for maximum profits.
Laboratory tests have also shown they contain high levels of dangerous metals such as nickel and lead. They are made without any standards at all, with tests showing they can even contain human saliva.
With illegal vapes you simply don’t know what you’re inhaling. Plus, every illegal purchase continues to support a local blackmarket hooking children as young as 5 years old.
Only Use NVPs You Can Buy from Pharmacies
Pharmacies only sell trusted medicines made to high standards suitable for medical distribution, and the same is true for the nicotine vaping products (NVPs) they dispense.
NVPs sold in pharmacies are made under stringent pharmaceutical standards on the manufacturing process and ingredients, are toxicologically assessed for inhalation, are locally insured, and are specifically designed to help you stop smoking.
All pharmacy NVP manufacturers comply with high medical standards, such as GMP and international medical device manufacturing standards.
With trusted pharmacy vapes, you know exactly what you’re inhaling. Plus, your GP and pharmacist are right there to help you every step of the way.
How Can I Get Pharmacy Vaping Products?
Go Through First-Line Solutions First
As mentioned, you need a nicotine prescription before you can purchase NVPs. As a second-line solution, one requirement is that you’ve already tried and failed to quit smoking with a first-line treatment, such as NRT products.
NRT products (like patches and gums) are the most trusted quitting option available for motivated smokers. They might not imitate cigarettes, but they contain a small dose of nicotine that may be enough to alleviate your withdrawals.
While NRTs can be effective, they don’t work for everyone. If these haven’t done the trick for you, you may be eligible for a nicotine prescription for vaping.
Chat to a GP
As mentioned, NRT products have worked for many successful ex-smokers. But, you might have ingrained behaviours and triggers that only something that mimics a cigarette can successfully address, such as the hand-to-mouth motion, and needing something to use while having a drink with friends.
If your GP deems it necessary, they can write you a nicotine prescription for NVPs.
You can chat to your usual GP about this, or book a bulk-billed phone chat with an authorised prescriber of nicotine.
Visit Your Local Pharmacy
Once you have your nicotine prescription, you can pop down to your local pharmacy. Over 2,200 pharmacies across Australia hold these products in-store, but any pharmacy can order these in for you if they don’t currently stock them.
Both your pharmacist and GP can advise you on how best to use the product, such as the initial setup, and the number of puffs to take when you feel withdrawals.
It’s clear to see that nicotine is a highly addictive chemical that is the ‘magnet’ that keeps even the most motivated smoker thinking about lighting a cigarette.
Any person with heart or other existing conditions may need to consult a health provider before they start using either NRT products, pharmacy NVPs, or any other nicotine-containing product to ensure their safety.
Otherwise, you can use nicotine as a suitable smoking cessation tool that helps during withdrawals.
We know you’re reading this to clear up the confusion about nicotine’s safety. If you’re also looking to stop smoking or vaping for good, we can help.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to bulk-billing Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good, including using responsible vaping products where appropriate.
Click here to book your bulk-billed telehealth consultation with an Australian healthcare professional and quit smoking today.