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Nicotine Pros & Cons

By Tracii Hanes ; Updated July 27, 2017

Nicotine is a stimulant that occurs naturally in tobacco products like snuff and cigarettes. While it can have beneficial effects on mood and concentration, nicotine's positive effects are outweighed by its health risks and addictive potential.

Memory and Concentration

Nicotine improves focus and recall by influencing parts of the brain associated with excitement and visual concentration, according to sciencedaily.com. By borrowing from lesser-used areas of the brain, nicotine increases functioning of the portions required for task performance.

Improved Mood

Nicotine has a calming effect in females exposed to stressful stimuli and increases subjective feelings of happiness and friendliness in users of both sexes, according to cambridge.org.


Addiction is a well-known effect of nicotine use. As a behavior and mood-altering drug, nicotine is as addictive as heroin, according to umn.edu.

Cardiovascular Damage

Nicotine is a stimulant that increases heart rate, blood pressure and respiration. It restricts the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, increasing the risk for cardiovascular damage, heart attack and stroke.

Cancer Risk

All tobacco products contain known carcinogens. In addition to lung and oral cancers, tobacco increases the risks of developing cancer of the liver, kidney, pancreas, nose and stomach, according to cancer.org.

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