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Tobacco Do you know? Short-term Effects • Nicotine is the addictive chemical found in While using, and with increasing doses, tobacco leaves. When dried, the leaves can a person may experience: be used to make cigarettes, cigars, pipe • a short high, from a few moments to half tobacco, chewing tobacco and snuff, which an hour, followed by a period of relaxation is a powdered tobacco. • increased heart rate, faster breathing. • Nicotine is most often taken by breathing (Smoking causes higher levels of carbon in the smoke from a cigarette or other monoxide in the blood, decreasing its ability tobacco product. (See the “Smokeless to carry oxygen, thus causing the heart to Tobacco” sheet in this series for information work harder.) on chewing tobacco and snuff.) • increased ability to concentrate • Nicotine is a stimulant (increases energy and alertness). When smokers haven’t had a • relief of depressed (sad) feelings cigarette for a while, they may go into with- • dizziness, coughing, diarrhea and vomiting drawal and feel jumpy or jittery. Smoking in first time or novice smokers a cigarette may make them feel calm. This • reduced appetite (lack of desire to eat) calmness occurs because the nicotine is getting rid of the withdrawal symptoms. Good News About Quitting • Smokers obtain a dose of between 0.1 mg If you quit smoking, the health benefits start and 0.4 mg of nicotine per cigarette, even right away, and after 10 years a person’s health though most Canadian cigarettes contain is similar to someone who never smoked. 0.5 to 2.0 mg of nicotine. There are legal “nicotine replacement” products • Tobacco contains about 4,000 other very available without a prescription to help those harmful substances, such as tar, acids, who want to quit (gum, patches, nasal spray). glycerol, ketones and carbon monoxide. • Second-hand smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals and gases, such as lead, arsenic, Long-term Effects formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, and After regular use over a long period of time, can cause cancer in non-smokers. a person may experience: – Two-thirds of the smoke from a cigarette • mood swings and lack of energy enters the surrounding air. • illness from various cancers. Smoking is the – Second-hand tobacco smoke contains main cause of lung cancer and can cause nitrogen dioxide in concentrations at cancer in many other places (colon, mouth, 50 times, and hydrogen cyanide at throat, bladder, cervix). 160 times, recognized hazardous levels. • chronic bronchitis and emphysema (serious • In Canada, it is illegal to sell or supply lung problems affecting ability to breathe) tobacco products to any person under 18. It is also illegal for underage people to buy • heart disease and stroke, with stroke an or possess tobacco. extra risk for women on birth control pills Continued on Back… • weakened immune system (the body is • Pregnant mothers who smoke run a unable to fight off infections as easily) greater risk that their babies will be born • digestive system problems, such as ulcers sick or premature. • problems with the healing of cuts/wounds • Second-hand smoke is dangerous to babies, as they breathe faster than adults, taking in • death – smoking is the main preventable more pollutants from the air. cause of death and disability in Canada. Over 35,000 people die each year from • Second-hand smoke has been linked to SIDS smoking related diseases. (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), which kills 100 babies every year. Tolerance and Dependence • Second-hand smoke is a cause of asthma • Smokers can be psychologically dependent attacks, ear infections, bronchitis and (they feel they need it) as well as physically coughs in children. dependent (the body needs it) on nicotine. • Children's exposure to second-hand • People who smoke do not seem to develop smoke may contribute to heart disease in a tolerance for nicotine, so they don’t need adulthood. more to get the same effect. However, they do need to smoke at certain intervals to REMEMBER: A person's experience with any keep the desired level of nicotine in their drug can vary. Here are a few of the many things system to avoid withdrawal symptoms (see that may affect the experience: the amount and next section). strength of the drug taken, the setting, a person's mood and expectations before taking the dru g , • Tolerance to certain side effects (such as gender, overall health, past experience with that dizziness and nausea) felt by first-time drug and whether more than one drug is being smokers builds up quickly. used at the same time. Using alcohol and other drugs at the same time can be dangerous. Withdrawal Symptoms • After a few hours with no nicotine, a Sources and For More Information regular smoker may have less energy, be A Primer of Drug Action, Robert Julien, Henry Holt and a bit depressed (feel sad) and have a hard Company, 2001. time concentrating. Other symptoms could Be A Prevention Player, Indian-Metis Friendship Centre be nervousness, irritability, headache, of Winnipeg, Inc. 1997. anger, hunger and sleeping problems. Buzzed, Duke University Medical Centre, 1998. • Smoking will make the person feel better Fast Facts on Drugs, AFM, 2004. again. However, after quitting for good, Canadian Health Network Website: www.canadian-health- network.ca these withdrawal symptoms will go away Drugs & Drug Abuse, CAMH, 1998. within a few days to a few weeks. Nicotine Information (brochure), Vancouver Island Health • Cravings for a cigarette may last for weeks Authority. to months. Straight Facts about Drugs and Drug Abuse, Health Canada, 2000. Other Risks Street Drugs: A Drug Identification Guide, Publishers Group, LLC, Plymouth, MN, 2005. • Women smokers may reach menopause Tobacco (brochure), Addiction Research Foundation, early, get cervical cancer or have problems Toronto, 1991. with their menstrual periods. Tobacco (information sheet), Addiction Research • Bar and restaurant workers are twice as Foundation, Toronto, 1997. likely to get lung cancer from second-hand For more information or for help with a drug or alcohol problem: smoke than people who do not work in Contact your local Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (AFM) office or visit the website at www.afm.mb.ca. AFM offers a broad range of prevention these places. This is one reason why many and rehabilitation services, including harm reduction and abstinence-based regions have made smoking in public programs for alcohol, other drugs and gambling. places illegal. AFM Disclaimer: This information is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Every effort has been made to ensure that the • At least 1,100 non-smokers exposed to information was accurate at the time of publication. second-hand smoke will die this year in Permission to reproduce is granted by AFM. If you wish to order Canada. multiple copies of this or other topics in The Basics Series, please contact the AFM Library at 1-866-638-2568 or firstname.lastname@example.org.