Smoking is the primary way people choose to consume nicotine. It is an efficient and effective way to introduce the drug into a person’s system. The average smoker takes in 1 – 2 mg of nicotine per cigarette.
As a cigarette is smoked nicotine quickly reaches peak levels in the bloodstream and enters the brain. A typical smoker will take 10 puffs on a cigarette over a five minute period. For a person smoking a pack a day that is 200 “hits” of nicotine that the brain receives each day.
When a smoker inhales the nicotine from their cigarette it immediately goes to work, stimulating the adrenal glands causing them to release adrenaline. The rush of adrenaline stimulates the body and causes blood pressure, respiration, and heart rate to increase.
Research suggests that nicotine affects the brain in a number of ways, causing it to have an addictive nature. Nicotine activates reward pathways – the brain circuitry that regulates feelings of pleasure.