What is Tobacco?
• Tobacco is a tall, leafy annual plant, originally
grown in South and Central America, but now
cultivated throughout the world, including
southern Ontario. There are many species of
tobacco; Nicotiana tabacum (or common tobacco)
is used to produce cigarettes.
• Nicotine, a powerful central nervous system
stimulant found naturally in the tobacco leaf, is
classiﬁed as a drug. Nicotine is one of the main
ingredients in tobacco.
How is it used?
• Tobacco leaves can be burned and inhaled (in the
form of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smoke, etc.) or
absorbed through the mouth (in the form of spit
tobacco, chew, or snuff). The membranes in the
nose, mouth and lungs act as nicotine delivery
systems - transmitting nicotine into the blood and
to the brain.
Short Term Effects
• Smokers usually feel dizzy and sick when they ﬁrst
inhale the nicotine in tobacco, but gradually build
up tolerance to its effects. Other symptoms new
smokers experience includes coughing, a dry,
irritated throat as well as nausea, weakness,
abdominal cramps, headache, coughing or gagging.
These symptoms subside as the user develops a
tolerance to nicotine.
Why Continue to
• Nicotine is highly addictive. The addictive effect of
nicotine is the main reason why tobacco is widely
used. Many smokers continue to smoke in order to
avoid the pain of withdrawal symptoms. Smokers
also adjust their behavior (inhaling more deeply, for
example) to keep a certain level of nicotine in the
• Stopping can produce unpleasant withdrawal
symptoms including depression, insomnia,
irritability, difﬁculty concentrating, restlessness,
anxiety, decreased heart rate, increased appetite,
weight gain, and craving for nicotine.
Second Hand Smoke
• Second-hand smoke consists of mainstream smoke,
the smoke inhaled and exhaled by the smoker, and
side stream smoke, the smoke released directly
from the end of a burning cigarette.
• Smoke does a lot of damage – and not just to
smokers. Anyone who’s near a lit cigarette, pipe or
cigar is probably breathing second-hand smoke.
Two-thirds of the smoke from a burning cigarette
is not inhaled by the smoker but enters the
surrounding environment. The contaminated air is
inhaled by anyone in that area.
Effects of 2nd Hand
• * Lung cancer
• * Heart disease
• * Asthma
• * Reduced lung function
• * Bronchitis
• * Middle ear infections
• * Pneumonia
• A non-smoker breathing second-hand smoke can
be exposed to 4,000 different chemicals, 50 of
which are associated with or known to cause
• Second-hand smoke has twice as much nicotine
and tar as the smoke that smokers inhale. It also
has ﬁve times the carbon monoxide which
decreases the amount of oxygen in your blood.
Where Did I Find This
• Go to
• Using the interactive tool, write a post about the
different chemicals found in tobacco smoke.
• Describe at least 4 chemicals in detail. Tell me the
name and what is it commonly used for.
• Tell me if you think smoking is a good or bad idea.