People can get over their addiction to food, television or even sports, but when it all boils down to a drug like nicotine, it always is a challenge. Look around you, almost all and sundry and anybody takes in nicotine in some form or the other. It shouldn’t be this way because nicotine is a substance that can do a lot more harm than any good. It’s like a pitch black cloud that casts its darkest shadow over you, while somehow managing to leave behind no hope of a silver lining. By definition, nicotine is an alkaloid that makes its presence felt in the nightshade family of plants. It makes for approximately 0.6 to 3.0 percent of the dry weight of tobacco. The biosynthesis of this drug occurs in the roots and the accumulation builds up in the leaves. If you have always wanted to know more about nicotine and have never got the chance to, then reading the following sections will leave you better informed on the same.  

The Addiction
As you already know, nicotine is an addictive drug. It’s the kind of substance that will make you want more and more of it, a vicious circle, for which there exists a starting point, but no clearly visible finish line. Historically and medically speaking, nicotine is known to be one of the hardest addictions to get the better off. It’s almost as good as, ‘once you’re hooked, you’re hooked for life’.  Just like any other drug, nicotine comes with an unpleasant underbelly known as ‘withdrawal symptoms’. If you are addicted to nicotine, with your nicotine fix, you are all fine, without the same, you’re only raring to get yourself ‘fixed’. The addiction begins when people get started on cigarettes and various other forms of tobacco. It is the nicotine present in these substances that results in the addiction. It might scare you to know that the behavioral and pharmacologic characteristics that make for tobacco addiction are extremely similar to the characteristics exhibited by those addicted to cocaine and heroin.  

The Withdrawal Symptoms
Every drug comes with a high and low. The ascent is the high that one experiences post getting a fix of the drug and the descent is the symptoms of withdrawal that almost always inflict harm on the person addicted to the respective drug. As far as nicotine goes, there are a set of very distinct withdrawal symptoms. Although these withdrawal symptoms can also be experienced by people hooked on to other drugs, it doesn’t really mean that they are less severe in the case of people who are addicted to nicotine. The withdrawal symptoms of nicotine can include irritability, anxiety, hostility, depression and impatience. Apart from these common symptoms, the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine can also include a considerable decrease in heart rate, a dip in concentration, an increase in appetite, restiveness and weight gain too.  

The Duration
Duration here refers to the amount of time for which nicotine stays in the body. Medically, it is a known fact that the estimated half life time for nicotine in the blood extends to up to two hours. Regrettably, when a person smokes, there always is the possibility of multiple doses where nicotine accumulates and reaches new levels. In a situation like this, it can be taken for granted that the nicotine in the blood can stay at significant levels for at least six to eight hours post smoking.  It might also interest you to know that around eighty-five to ninety-five percent of nicotine in the blood is metabolized by the liver and also excreted by the kidneys.  

The Effects
Nicotine, when consumed in whatever form, can result in a short-term increase in blood pressure, heart rate and even the flow of blood from the heart. It can also cause the arteries to narrow. When you smoke cigarettes, the smoke that you inhale contains carbon monoxide which reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. This, when bolstered by the effects of nicotine can create a lack of correspondence between the demand for oxygen by the cells and the amount of oxygen supplied by the blood.   There you go; everything that you need to know about an addiction to nicotine served to you in the simplest and most interesting manner.