The Chemistry of Nicotine

All of us are familiar with cigarettes, but how much do you know about Nicotine which is the main active ingredient in a cigarette stick?

Nicotine acts on the nerve cells in your Brain.

It slows down blood circulation, causing oxygen to be delivered to brain and muscles at a lower rate. Hence inducing smokers to feel sleepy and lethargic.

Slow blood circulation does not help if you have bacterial infections like gangrene due to Diabetes or Chronic Smoking either. Because poor circulation results in a lack of oxygen, that enable the disease-causing bacteria to grow even faster!

Rather shockingly, Nicotine can kill if taken in dosages as small as 50 milligrams.  it will cause death to occur in little more than minutes. That however, depends on how the possible death-causing dosage is taken.

Absorbed through the skin, Nicotine works a thousand times more effectively than swallowing a similar dosage. The difference could be due to stomach acid breaking down our Nicotine molecules.

Smoking isn’t really lethal, fortunately for smokers, because the high temperatures when a cigarette is smoked causes nicotine to be oxidised to more harmless products. Though the Nicotine that is not oxidised and breathed into the smoker lungs would be rapidly taken up into the bloodstream!

Time to change to more cheery news and interesting chemical co-incidences! 😛

Notice the chemical similarities between Nicotine, and Nicotinic Acid (Niacin) as well as Pyridoxine, and you might to shocked to know that both Niacin and Pyridoxine (commonly known as Vitamin B6) are highly vital to health!

Without sufficent nutritional intake of Niacin, the disease pellagra will strike and cause people to suffer from symptoms such as dementia or diarrhea.

Fortunately for us nowadays, Niacin has found its way into our body through vitamin-enriched white bread so that we don’t suffer from Pellegra. Yet it is so called Niacin because bread-baking companies did not want Nicotinic Acid to be printed in the dietary infomation listed on their bread wrappers!!!

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