What are the effects of nicotine?

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
Nicotine is a stimulant that makes you feel alert, energized, and mentally sharp because it triggers a release of adrenaline, which in turn boosts heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. Unlike other drugs of abuse, nicotine does not cause a feeling of euphoria or pleasure, though people sometimes say they get a mild "buzz." Some people who use tobacco say that it calms them, but research indicates that the calming effect is actually relief from the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal and the result of changes in breathing patterns, rather than a primary effect of the drug itself.

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