Tobacco Toxicity in Tobacco Chewers
Keywords:Vasoconstriction, periodontal disease, leucoplakia, psychoactive effects, myocardial ischemia, macular degeneration, impotence, atrial fibrillation, cancers.
Nicotine is highly addictive plant derived alkaloid and the most important species in human use today is
Nicotiana tabacum. There are direct health effects of chronic nicotine exposure. Even in low doses, nicotine
causes vasoconstriction and other cardiovascular effects related to catecholamine release and promote
angiogenesis, neuroteratogenicity, and possibly some cancers¹. Periodontal disease and dental cavities
and have up to 48 times the risk of oropharyngeal cancers compared with people who do not use tobacco
products². Low doses exposure produces fine tremor, cutaneous vasoconstriction, increased GI motility, and
increase in heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure³. Low dose nicotine also increases mental alertness
and produces euphoria and desired psychoactive effects³. Metabolism is via the hepatic cytochrome oxidase
system. The half life of nicotine in the body is 1 to 4 hours and decreases with repeated nicotine exposure4.