Why is cigarette smoking still legal
Dependency risk factor
On the other hand, people are not put off by nicotine. It is sniffed, smoked and chewed. When you smoke, nicotine enters the bloodstream through the lungs or mucous membranes. It is transported via the blood to the brain, where it docks at the receptors.
These are irritation points that release vital hormones when needed. In the case of nicotine, these are dopamine and norepinephrine. They cause a pleasant feeling of happiness. The smoker feels rewarded and tries to achieve this state again and again. The risk of becoming dependent is great.
Little history of tobacco
We owe our smoking to the discovery of America. There the natives were familiar with the intoxicating effects of tobacco. They sniffed, chewed and smoked the tobacco and used it as a medicine on wounds.
However, not as a consumer item for everyday use, but primarily for medical-religious purposes. Tobacco came to us in Europe via the Spanish and English conquerors.
The first tobacco plants - which, by the way, also thrive in Europe - were brought to the French court by the French diplomat Jean Nicot in the 16th century.
As a medicinal plant, mind you, because Nicot hoped that the miracle herb would provide relief for diseases and ulcers. The official botanical name of tobacco - Nicotiana tabacum - and the main active ingredient nicotine are derived from its name.
From snuff to cigar
Amazingly, the cold was initially the most common distribution. In aristocratic circles it was considered chic and healthy to take a nose for tobacco.
A particular fan of the prize was the French Queen Catherine de Medici. In her honor, the snuff was initially called "poudre de la reine": "the queen's powder".
Katharina sniffed the brown crumbs against her migraines. The headache did not become less and an unforeseen side effect became apparent: As a result of regular consumption, there was odor disturbance or even a complete loss of the sense of smell.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the cigar then overtook snuff tobacco. She came to Europe from Central America via the Iberian Peninsula. Tobacco consumption continued to be a matter for the richer classes.
Tobacco for mass consumption
But interest in the nicotine kick also increased among the common people. This is how the consumption of chewing tobacco established itself among seafarers and in the mines. Because chewing the priems was supposed to satisfy hunger and make the chewer more productive.
Smoking became affordable for the lower social classes only when a form was found that could be mass-produced by machine. In Spain they had the idea of rolling the cut tobacco into a piece of paper.
The first machine-made cigarette production was demonstrated at the Paris World's Fair in 1867. This marked the breakthrough for mass production and mass consumption. Men and women began to indulge in the vice of smoking.
Nicotine gives the kick
The main active ingredient of the tobacco plant is nicotine, an oily, colorless liquid with a pungent taste. The first nicotine molecules reach the brain just seven seconds after the smoke has filled the lungs.
The nicotine docks to receptors that are actually reserved for the vital neurotransmitters and influences the activity of the nerve cells in the brain.
There is massive release of the messenger substances dopamine and norepinephrine. These substances are responsible for the exchange of information in the brain and cause the increased release of dopamine to create artificial feelings of happiness, which a smoker appreciates from the cigarette.
Less enjoyment, all the more addiction
The reward principle is crucial for the addictive effect of nicotine. According to the "Gesundheit in Deutschland" (GEDA) study, around 20 million Germans smoke, almost one in five of them smokes 20 or more cigarettes per day.
With every cigarette smoked, influenced by the number of puffs and the depth of inhalation, the nicotine addict builds up his nicotine level and maintains it throughout the day.
The release of happiness hormones continuously decreases, which addicts unconsciously try to compensate by increasing consumption. This leads to the body getting used to a high nicotine level and a numbing of the intoxicating effects of the substance. A vicious circle.
Unlike alcohol or heroin, nicotine is not a mind-altering drug. This is probably one of the reasons why nicotine is legal to buy from us.
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