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Myths About Drugs: Nicotine Addiction

Updated on May 11, 2011

Nicotine was discovered in the 16th century by Hernedez de Toledo, while exploring the Yucatan Peninsula. He sent the tobacco, in which he found the nicotine, to Spain and Portugal (Lande, 2010). This began the spread of tobacco use throughout the world. Although, it’s use has been controversial from the very beginning, societies have seemed to play down the known effects or potential effects and promote nicotine use.

Until recently, the idea that nicotine is a much safer drug choice as compared to other drugs such as cocaine or heroine, was embraced by a large majority of the population. The most common use of nicotine is in cigarettes. The media has largely glamourized smoking over the past few decades, regardless of the long-term effects smoking has on the body. The use of products containing nicotine are completely legal, as long as you meet age restrictions, therefore allowing easier access to this drug as compared to cocaine, which is illegal. In our society, the slogan, “Say No to Drugs” is very popular and used throughout school systems but doesn’t society contradict themselves by endorsing nicotine use? A recent study has shown that only 22% of people who try cocain become addicted, compared to 80% of all people that try cigarettes (Linden, 2011). Astounding.

Nicotine provides many of the same effects as other drugs, such as pleasure induction and stress/anxiety reduction (Benowitz, 2010). With this being said, nicotine is relatively cheaper and easier for the public to gain access to. People that are addicted to nicotine also find an improvement in concentration and reaction time (Benowitz, 2010) Those who are addicted tend to find these pleasurable aspects of usage desirable and don’t realize the bodily damage that is being done with each use. Another factor that would give rise to the inclination to use nicotine over other drugs is the fact that most employers require drug screens that look for drugs, such as cocaine or heroine, but does not think of nicotine use as a drug problem. Although studies have shown that nicotine is more addictive than other recreational drugs, society, as a whole, would need to come together to promote the decline of nicotine use or show the population that it is indeed as dangerous as other drugs and therefore should be made illegal. With this information, keeping nicotine legal would just aid in the argument that some groups have for making other drugs, such as cannibas or cocaine, legal.


Benowitz, N. (2010). Nicotine addiction. The New England Journal of Medicine, 362, 2295-2303. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Lande, R.G. (2010) Nicotine addiction. Retrieved February 10, 2011, from

Linden, D.J. (2011, February 2). Cocaine, nicotine and your inner dog.  Psychology Today. Retrieved from


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    • lyoness913 profile image

      Summer LeBlanc 2 years ago from H-Town

      I had no idea about the history of nicotine. This was a very informative and interesting write up, thank you!