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[ Nicotine ]

Nicotine (nic-o-teen) is found in cigarettes also known as ciggies, fags or rollies. It is most commonly smoked (tobacco) and can also be found in stop-smoking products, electronic cigarette liquid or snus products. Although nicotine is a naturally derived substance, cigarettes contain hundreds of different chemicals.

Nicotine is a mild, yet highly addictive, short acting stimulant (upper) which increases your heart rate and blood pressure. People taking it can experience relaxation, increased mood and reduced appetite. With regular use smokers may develop severe coughs and chest infections and a higher risk of heart disease and many types of cancer including lung, mouth and throat cancer. First time smokers may get a headrush where they feel dizzy and nauseous however this will fade after only a few tries.

Tobacco contains nicotine and can be smoked, chewed or sniffed. The amount of tobacco used varies from person to person and the dose of nicotine can range from 0.4 - 36mg/mL depending on the product. The effects of inhaling nicotine can be felt after a few seconds and usually wear off quickly. Oral use takes longer to kick in and will last longer.

What you need to know

If you choose to use nicotine:

Try using a low strength tobacco
Use a filter if you are smoking rollies
Try to use a long non-printed filter or roach
Nicotine is highly addictive and many people find it very difficult to give up smoking even after relatively short periods of use
If you are taking other drugs such as alcohol or ecstasy your desire to smoke may increase

Legal Information

Tobacco can be bought legally by anyone over 18. It is illegal for anyone to sell tobacco products to people under 18. Since 2006 there has been a ban on smoking in public places in Scotland which is now in place in the rest of the UK- you can be fined for breaking this ban. You can be fined £80 for dropping cigarette ends on the street in Scotland.

Restrictions on tobacco products will be increasing such as plain packaging and a ban on the displays in shops.

Despite being psychoactive, nicotine and tobacco are exempt from The Psychoactive Substances Act.