The availability of nicotine with minimal harm justifies a complete rethink of our approach to this legal recreational drug.
Whisper it quietly, but people use nicotine for a reason. Nicotine has psychoactive effects that provide functional benefits and pleasurable sensations to its users.
Neal Benowitz, a global authority on nicotine, writing in the U.S. Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology in 2009, summarized the effects: “In humans, nicotine from tobacco induces stimulation and pleasure and reduces stress and anxiety. Smokers come to use nicotine to modulate their level of arousal and for mood control in daily life. Smoking may improve concentration, reaction time and performance of certain tasks.”
Writing in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research in 2018, the neuroscientist Paul Newhouse described the cognitive benefits of nicotine: “Cognitive improvement is one of the best-established therapeutic effects of nicotinic stimulation. Nicotine improves performance on attentionally and cognitively demanding vigilance tasks and response inhibition performance, suggesting that nicotine may act to optimize attention/response mechanisms as well as enhancing working memory in humans.”
Tobacco Reporter – 2022-08-01