MigVapor’s Guide to Nicotine
If you smoke or vape, you should know a few things about nicotine. You probably know that it’s an ingredient in cigarettes and many vape juices, and you’ve probably heard negative things about its effect on peoples’ health, but there’s way more to the story!
Read on to learn what nicotine is, the surprising ways it can affect your health, why it’s so addictive, and why it doesn’t deserve such a bad reputation.
What Is Nicotine?
Nicotine is a parasympathomimetic stimulant and an alkaloid. In the simplest terms, it’s a chemical compound that is found in tobacco plants. What many people don’t know is that nicotine is also found in several vegetables, including potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cauliflower, and celery! Basically, almost everyone consumes very small amounts of nicotine on a regular basis without knowing it.
How Long Have People Been Using Nicotine?
People have been using tobacco and enjoying its effects for thousands of years. The tobacco plant is native to North and South America, and many indigenous peoples used it in sacred rituals and as a drug to treat headaches and other illnesses.
Fun fact: nicotine has also been used as an insecticide for centuries! Farmers noticed that insects were repelled by tobacco plants, so they started using the tobacco plants to protect their other crops from bugs. Over the last century or so, people began extracting nicotine from the plant and manufacturing nicotine-based insecticides. However, nicotine is falling out of favor as an insecticide because it harms honeybees, which in turn harms our ecosystem and crops.
How Does Nicotine Affect Human Health?
While nicotine has some interesting side effects on honeybees—impairing their memory, orientation, and ability to extract nectar—it affects humans in different (and arguably less harmful) ways.
Nicotine’s main effect is how it makes the user feel. When you smoke tobacco or vape with a nicotine e-juice, you will get either stimulant or relaxant effects, depending on the dosage. Usually, nicotine is a stimulant at low doses and a relaxant at high doses. This is known as a “biphasic” effect.
When it comes to the rest of your body, nicotine can have a variety of different effects. It commonly raises blood pressure and heart rate for a temporary period (usually, the raised BP and heart rate disappear within about half an hour of ending your vape session). It also causes higher insulin levels in the blood. That’s why diabetics, prediabetics, and heart disease sufferers should not smoke or vape nicotine, though it doesn’t necessarily harm those who don’t suffer from diabetes or heart issues.
Scientists studying nicotine haven’t come to a firm conclusion, but studies seem to show that nicotine alone doesn’t have long-term, serious effects on the heart unless you already have heart problems or diabetes. So, those yearly check-ups are a must to make sure you remain aware of your health conditions.
But Wait… I Thought Nicotine Was Terrible for My Health!
Here’s the thing: Nicotine in its isolated form hasn’t been studied very much. Most of its bad rap comes from smoking—and smoking involves way more than just nicotine. Smoking is pretty firmly proven to cause all kinds of terrible things, most notably cancer, heart problems, and respiratory problems. There’s no conclusive evidence that nicotine itself causes these problems.
Nicotine probably isn’t “good” for your health, and it certainly could be linked to cancers, but it shouldn’t be singled out as the bad guy when there are countless carcinogens in the cigarettes that most of this research has drawn its conclusions from.
Nicotine can have a very serious effect if you overdose. We’ll cover nicotine overdose and poisoning a little further on in this article.
The Biggest Problem with Nicotine: Addiction
At Mig Vapor, we’re well acquainted with the harm that nicotine addiction and smoking cigarettes can cause. In fact, we started this company because we wanted a safer and healthier alternative to harmful cigarettes. We didn’t want to quit cold turkey, but we wanted an option that was better for our bodies.
Nicotine is undeniably habit-forming and addictive. It gets into your system within seconds and causes pleasurable feelings in your brain that cause addiction. It’s hard to quit, easy to relapse, easy to build a tolerance, and it causes withdrawal symptoms if you don’t get your fix. Nicotine withdrawal can include irritability, intense cravings, nervousness and anxiety, headaches, and several other unpleasant symptoms.
So, most people who want to quit smoking want to do it with the least amount of withdrawal symptoms possible. We found that the absolute easiest way to quit smoking was to vape instead. And we’re not alone! So many people are using vaping to quit their smoking habit. There’s even research that suggests vaping is better than other nicotine replacement therapies (patches, nasal spray, gum, inhalers, etc.) The goal here is to taper off nicotine consumption until you’re vaping very little or no nicotine.
How to Avoid Nicotine Withdrawal with Vape
First, you’ll need to get a good vaporizer and find a company that sells a vape juice or e-juice you really like. Of course, we recommend Mig Vapor vaporizers and e-juices! You can mix your own flavor of e-liquid or use any of our single flavors or blends.
Then, you’ll want to make sure to purchase a high nicotine content e-liquid. At Mig Vapor, our highest nicotine content is 24 mg/mL. Many of our users will use 18 or 24 mg/mL until they run out. Then, they’ll go down to 12 mg/mL, 6 mg/mL and so on down the line until they’re vaping little to no nicotine. With this method, you can bypass many or all of the withdrawal symptoms by gradually tapering off nicotine consumption! Plenty of vape enthusiasts love the feeling of vaping even without any nicotine.
How to Avoid Nicotine Overdose and Nicotine Poisoning
We have a few more important things to address before we wrap up: nicotine overdose, and nicotine poisoning.
Nicotine overdose happens if you smoke or vape too much in a too-short period of time. You’ll notice dizziness, headaches, nausea, and possibly vision changes or cramps. You should abstain from vaping or smoking for several hours if you think you’ve overdosed, just to be safe. You’ll likely be OK and the symptoms should disappear within about an hour as long as you stop vaping or smoking.
However, if the symptoms persist for hours on end or if they worsen, you probably have nicotine poisoning. It’s just as serious as it sounds. Nicotine poisoning can include awful symptoms like severe heart rate and blood pressure changes, nausea and vomiting, passing out, and muscle spasms. This can even be deadly for children and elderly people. Get medical help IMMEDIATELY if you suspect nicotine poisoning in yourself or someone around you.
In Conclusion— Use Nicotine Responsibly
Nicotine has a bad rap, but most of its dangers come from:
- smoking cigarettes
- using it when you have preexisting health problems, or
- severely overdosing.
If you switch from smoking to vaping, stay on top of your health, and take care not to overdose, you’ll probably be OK. We still suggest that you’re cautious about nicotine consumption, but hopefully now you can sleep better at night knowing that responsible nicotine consumption probably isn’t such a bad idea after all.