Tobacco, Nicotine, and Cigarettes

By: Brooke Collins and Wynona Chotiner

What are tobacco, nicotine, and e-cigarettes?

  • Tobacco is a leafy plant grown around the world. There are many chemicals in tobacco.
  • Nicotine is the addictive part of tobacco and cigarettes.
  • Cigarettes cause chemicals to be found in tobacco.

How are tobacco, nicotine, and e-cigarettes abused?

To abuse tobacco, nicotine, and e-cigarettes you can smoke, chew, sniff, inhale, or dissolve the solutions in them. The more the nicotine gets in your body the more addicted you become and the chances of abuse rise.

How do tobacco, nicotine, and e-cigarettes affect the brain?

When using smokeless tobacco, nicotine goes directly into the blood and straight to the brain. The nicotine increases levels of dopamine which is usually released when doing something pleasurable.

What are other effects of tobacco, nicotine, and e-cigarettes?

When nicotine enters the body it increases adrenaline causing an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. The chemicals in tobacco cause harm to every organ in the body and can result in cancer, lung or respiratory problems, heart disease, cataracts, loss of smell and taste, lowered lung capacity, and aging skin and teeth. Smokeless tobacco also may cause cancer, tooth decay, gum problems, and mouth sores.

Can you get addicted to tobacco, nicotine, and e-cigarettes?

The nicotine in tobacco and cigarettes can cause addiction.

Can you die from the use of tobacco, nicotine, and e-cigarettes?

Yes, tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

How many teens abuse these drugs?

490,000 of teens ages 12-17 are currently using smokeless tobacco. 85% are boys while only 15% are girls.

  • 3.6% of 8th graders used cigarettes in the past month
  • 6.3% of 10th graders used cigarettes in the past month
  • 11.4% of 12th graders used cigarettes in the past month
  • In a lifetime 13.3% of 8th graders use cigarettes, 19.9% of 10th graders use cigarettes, 31.1% of 12th graders use cigarettes

What should you do if someone needs help?

For teens:

For adults:

  • For Quit Help:
    • Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), a national toll-free number that can help people get the information they need to quit smoking.
    • Visit

For More Information

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What classification do these drugs belong in?

The nicotine in tobacco is a potent central nervous system stimulant.