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What Are the Side Effects of Nicotine?

Chewing tobacco.
Nicotine is known to increase heart rate.
Use of nicotine sprays or inhalers can cause a sore throat.
Nicotine, a legal stimulant found in cigarettes, can raise blood pressure.
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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2014
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Some common side effects of nicotine involve changes in heart rate and breathing. Users of nicotine patches or gum might sometimes notice red patches on the skin and may also sweat profusely. Other times, nicotine can cause people to have changes in their sleeping patterns. Some less common reactions to this drug could involve vision problems, cold-like symptoms, and digestive disorders.

Nicotine often causes an increase in heart rate and can also raise the blood pressure. Smokers tend to have a higher risk for coronary heart disease than that of non-smokers according to the American Heart Association (AHA). People who are trying to quit smoking should take care not to consume tobacco if using products such as nicotine lozenges, patches, or gum. This could cause an extremely high dose of this drug to enter the body, and increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. This is especially true of individuals who have already been diagnosed with heart disease.

People who use nicotine sprays or inhalers may sometimes have difficulty breathing. This is usually because nicotine can cause bronchial spasms, which are unusual contractions of muscles along the bronchial wall. These spasms are typically more common in individuals who have previously been diagnosed with asthma.

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Disturbances to sleep patterns are also one of the common side effects of nicotine. This drug is sometimes thought to cause difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Those who are using nicotine patches or gum occasionally report having vivid dreams or nightmares during this time. These normally subside when the use of the product is stopped.

Users of nicotine sprays or inhalers may also report having cold or flu-like symptoms after beginning to use these products. Sore throat is one of the more commonly reported side effects of nicotine in these forms. Others might include severe coughing, muscle aches, sinus infections, runny noses, and earaches.

Occasionally nicotine can cause a person to have blurred vision. This can sometimes be accompanied by feelings of dizziness or light-headedness. These side effects of nicotine are most common when a person first begins using tobacco products, but can also occur during nicotine replacement therapy used in an effort to break a smoking or chewing tobacco addiction.

Nicotine is a harmful substance that can cause a number of health issues. For this reason, many physicians advise their patients not to use tobacco products. Those who are already smoking or chewing may greatly benefit when they stop using these therapeutic products.

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