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  • Nicotine
    • Comes from dried leaves and stems of tobacco plants
    • Tobacco contains different amounts from 15-25mg
      • Smoking cannot give nicotine poisoning but is still a toxin and is very harmful
    • Mode of action
      • When smoked it enters the lungs and passes across cell membrances
      • It then enters the blood and works at nicotinic receptors in the CNS
      • This stimulates the acetylcholine receptor and then blocks it (levels rise)
    • Effects
      • Short term effects include a burning in the mouth feeling, salivation, sickness, stomach pains, diarrhoea, agitation, headaches, dizziness, lack of coordination, high blood pressure, relaxation and improvement of attention
      • Long term effects can cause lungs to be coated in tar and the possibility of cancer
    • Tolerance
      • Quickly leads to tolerance due to producing more acetylcholine
      • At first smokers will need more for effects of mild euphoria, relaxation and lowering of anxiety
      • Rise to high levels of consumption in short space of time and have to keep this for wanted results - addiction
    • Physical and psychological dependence
      • Increased production of acetylcholine causes rapid physical dependence as it is addictive - needed for normal functioning
      • Become used to oral stimulation - without needs substitute (eating more)
      • If craving is rewarded with calm feeling it is likely to be repeated (operant conditioning link)
    • Withdrawal
      • Symptoms include anxiety, poor concentration, memory problems, depression, lack of sleep and increased appetite


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