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If Nicotine is not the active ingredient in tobacco products, what is?Needing to know...

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kamisue | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 25, 2009 at 10:55 PM via web

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If Nicotine is not the active ingredient in tobacco products, what is?

Needing to know what the name of the chemical is tht makes tobacco products addictive, to show how it interacts with the brain and causes withdrawl symptoms

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted August 26, 2009 at 8:11 AM (Answer #1)

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Two assertions made by the answer posted above are quite true. One, that tobacco products contain many products other that could be addictive., and second physical action associated with smoking are also addictive. However both these assertions tend to play down the harmful effect of nicotine in tobacco.

Most of the other ingredients contained in tobacco are fairly representative of contents of any leaf, and many of these products could be harmful and addictive when taken in sufficient quantities. But the quantities of these other substances present in tobacco is such that immediate harm done by them or the degree of addiction caused is much less, as compared by the actual quantities of nicotine contained. In similar fashion, addictive effect of nicotine in tobacco is much more than that of other ingredients. In sum total nicotine is the most damaging ingredient in tobacco.

The other most damaging ingredient in tobacco smoking is the tar, which gets deposited in lungs. The quantity of tar inhaled can be reduced by use of filters, such as in cigarettes or in cigarettes holders. In hookah, a smoking device used in India and some other countries, the tobacco smoke is passed through water to filter out the tar and other similar ingredients.

Addiction to the action of smoking is no different from some habitual actions that individual sometimes pick up. Trying to give up these habits causes no serious physical discomfort or mental craving associated with giving up of smoking by heavy smokers. These problems of giving up use of tobacco is associated with tobacco chewing also, where actions of tobacco smoking are not involved.

In conclusion, without nicotine, tobacco is not likely to be used that commonly, because then it will neither produce the typical immediate pleasures of tobacco, nor be addictive enough.

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kjlogue | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 26, 2009 at 6:46 AM (Answer #2)

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Cigarettes are made up of many ingredients that could be "addictive."  Nicotine in itself is highly addictive.  Tobacco companies put ammonia into their products claiming that it enhances the flavor, but what it really does is allows you to absorb more nicotine into your bloodstream, causing you to become addicted.  However, in reference to Lauren A. Colby's In Defense of Smokers, the writer claims that it is not the nicotine or the other ingredients in cigarettes that causes the addiction, it is merely the smoke itself.  The act of lighting the cigarette and drawing the smoke in is what hooks its consumers.  He says one could receive the same amount of pleasure from smoking a rolled up bit of paper.  The real question here is: why don't we?

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