Nicotine is amine which binds to acetylcholine receptors at neuromuscular junctions and in brain. It permeates the blood-brain barrier and the various membranes including buccal mucosa. Smokeless tobacco products are made such that they facilitate nicotine absorption. Nicotine absorption is slow from the smokeless tobacco than from cigarettes, but concentrations of nicotine in blood reached after smokeless tobacco are much higher than those with tobacco smoke. Systemic availability of nicotine is estimated to be about 12% for cigarette smoke, 14% for oral snuff and 3.4% for chewing tobacco. Nicotine may enhance mood, sense of well being, presumed to produce arousal or relaxation, help maintain vigilance and reduce anxiety. These effects are due to its action on the sympathetic nervous system.
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