What is tobacco?
It's actually a green, leafy plant that is grown in warm climates. It is then dried, ground up, and used in many different ways such as in a cigarette, pipe, or cigar. It can also be chewed (smokeless tobacco or chewing tobacco) or sniffed through the nose (snuff).
What is nicotine?
Nicotine is just one of the 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes and its smoke. It's the chemical that makes tobacco addictive and also the chemical that makes it a drug. Nicotine is a stimulant, it speeds up the nervous system so we feel like we have more energy. It also makes the heart beat faster and raises our blood pressure.
So is tobacco really bad for us?
Tobacco plant leaves contain a key flavor ingredient called cembranoids, which has actually shown to be a potential anti-cancer agent. However, the tobacco that is found in smoking tobacco, smokeless, and chewing tobacco is not healthy for us because it contains so many additives and carcinogens that are harmful to our bodies and the environment.
What if I only smoke socially?
Social smoking can be a slippery slope. If you are smoking only when you are around certain people, you may see this as not harmful because it's only occasionally. Or, maybe it's only when you drink alcohol or just to relax yourself. Regardless of your reasons, it can easily become a daily activity.
What about smokeless tobacco?
Smokeless tobacco is equally harmful and can have the same harmful effects as tobacco that is burned (i.e. cigarettes).
Are E-cigarettes bad?
There is not as much research on E-cigarettes like there is for cigarettes and other forms of smokeless tobacco. The oil used in E-cigarettes has been found to be harmful for some users, however, there is still much that is unknown. In general, while E-cigarettes may be a "less harmful alternative" to conventional cigarettes, they are not necessarily a safe alternative.