Nicotine

Are you here because you're thinking about quitting? Seeking out information is a great first step!


What is nicotine? 

The products listed below contain nicotine, an addictive stimulant derived from the tobacco plant. The properties of nicotine, the methods through which it is ingested, as well as behaviors and thinking associated with use can lead to physical and/or psychological dependence.

Combustible Tobacco: Cigarettes, Cigars, Hookah, Kreteks, Cigarillos

The basic components of most combustible tobacco products are tobacco, chemical additives, a filter, and paper wrapping. Cigarettes are responsible for the vast majority of all tobacco-related disease and death in the United States. 

Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS): E-cigarettes, Juuls, Other Vapes

ENDS are considered tobacco products because most contain nicotine, which is derived from tobacco. ENDS produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals to make the aerosol. Users inhale the aerosol into their lungs. Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales it into the air. ENDS devices can be used to inhale THC via cartridges and have been identified in causing serious lung injury and deaths.

Oral/Smokeless Tobacco: Chew, Snus

Oral, or smokeless, tobacco is made of loose leaves of dried tobacco and may be flavored. The nicotine in the tobacco is absorbed through mouth tissue. This type of tobacco contains about the same amount of nicotine as cigarettes.

Why do people use nicotine?

People use nicotine for many different reasons.  Here are a few:

  • Nicotine is stimulating
  • Nicotine is perceived as harmless
  • Nicotine reduces your appetite
  • Nicotine is a way to relax or take a break
  • Nicotine is a way to talk to new people and connect with others
  • Nicotine use has become connected to a routine (e.g., after eating breakfast, when leaving class, while studying, at parties when hanging out with friends)
  • Nicotine is used to manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms
  • Nicotine is perceived as a socially acceptable and/or as a condition to belong to one’s peer group

Nicotine use is influenced by many factors including:

  • family history of use
  • culture
  • age of onset (i.e., starting in teenage years leads to higher rates of addiction later in life)
  • social norms
  • emotions / mood state
  • social media
  • targeted marketing strategies to vulnerable populations

How does nicotine use affect my health? 

There are many health risks associated with the substance nicotine, as well as specific risks associated with the methods used to ingest it (see below).   Some problems develop immediately, and others develop over time.

ENDS Use:  Risks to Youth and Young Adults                    

  • Nicotine harms the developing brain, specifically the parts that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.
  • Use of vape products increases risk of future dependence, not only to nicotine but to other substances.
  • Aerosol is in e-cigarettes, not harmless water vapor.  Exposure to aerosol harms the user, those around them, and is comprised of harmful substances that damage the lungs.
  • Other Risks include long-term lung damage and injury from defective products.
  • Juul carries its own risks due to exposure to especially high levels of nicotine.
  • Heated Tobacco Products (HTP) contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients.

Combustible Tobacco Use

Oral / Smokeless Tobacco Use:

How does nicotine affect our community and the planet?

Nicotine products are known to:

  • cause illness to humans and animals exposed to second and third hand smoke and vape-aerosol 
  • second-hand smoke
  • third-hand smoke 
  • pollute air, water, and earth
  • poison farm laborers that harvest the plant (many of whom are youth and children)
  • contribute to deforestation
  • impact finances due to both product costs and medical expenses

 

I’m thinking about quitting. Where do I start?

When a person becomes dependent on nicotine, it is one of the most difficult substances to stop using.

Health & Wellness is here to support you, whether you:

  • just want more information
  • have become uncomfortable with your use and want to discuss your options or challenges
  • have tried unsuccessfully to quit before and need a different approach.

Want to learn more about your relationship with nicotine?  Check out this self-assessment tool. 

If you are ready to reduce or quit use, there are many effective, research-based options that are proven to lead to success. Quitting is possible!

Keep in mind that:

  • Change is a process that takes time and consists of multiple steps.
  • Relapse is not uncommon. Research shows that people who continue to work through the process eventually succeed in achieving their goal.
  • Reducing use by decreasing amount and concentration of nicotine, delaying use by 5 minutes when you feel the urge to use, can be first steps toward change.

Guidelines to Reduce Use or Quit Nicotine Products

1. Get the Facts! Check out the websites listed under Resources to increase your knowledge about nicotine.

2. Identify Your Reasons for Reducing Nicotine Use. Make a list of all the reasons you want to quit using.Keep it in a place where you can see it every day. Any time you feel the urge to smoke/vape, review your list.Make your list personal.

3. Create and Document Your Plan. A written plan can help you:

  • keep focused and motivated to reach your goal(s)
  • provide a benchmark for your progress
  • identify potential challenges and ways to overcome them
  • Increase your chance for success

4. Set a Realistic Quit Date.

  • Give yourself time to get ready and consider what you’ll need to quit.
  • Pick a specific date, sooner rather than later, to keep you psyched about your goal.
  • Set yourself up for success. Try not to pick a quit date that will be stressful, like the day before a big test.

5. Keep Company with Supportive People.

  • Ask your friends to support you by not offering you their juul / vape /smokes.
  • Make a group pact to quit together with friends and support each other in the process.
  • Give your friends specifics on the kind of support you need, e.g., “when I ask to hit your vape, please say [fill in the blank] and do not give in to me no matter how desperate I may seem.”

6. Be Mindful of Challenges

  • Make a list of people, places, situations that trigger your desire to use and avoid these during the early stages of your quit process.
  • Get rid of all products and paraphernalia in your room.  Consider putting up inspirational quotes on walls and mirrors for encouragement.
  • Take a break from unsupportive people when you first quit.     

7. Think about how you will fight cravings and deal with withdrawal symptoms.

  • Consult a medical professional at Health & Wellness about options to help ease cravings and unpleasant symptoms associated with detoxing from nicotine.
  • To interrupt impulsive use, change up where you store your device to a place that requires more effort to get to, e.g., put it in your desk drawer across the room rather than by your bedside. 

8. Imagine yourself and your life free of nicotine.

  • Consider who you want to be in five years. Is nicotine use part of that picture?

9. Reward Your Quit Progress. Set rewards for your successes.  Quitting is hard, be proud of your accomplishments!

Resources for Quitting 

Health & Wellness

  • Meet with an ANOD (Alcohol, Nicotine, and Other Drug) Wellness Educator/Counselor to discuss where you are and where you want to be when it comes to your nicotine use. We will work with you to design a personalized plan to reach your goals, be it reducing use or quitting altogether. This service is confidential and is included in your health fee.
  • Meet with a Medical Clinician to evaluate your physical health, understand how nicotine is impacting your body, and discuss medical options (including medical acupuncture) to decrease withdrawal symptoms commonly experienced during the quit process.

Make an Appointment

Text Programs

Proven effective, text programs provide users with interactive daily text messages (tailored to their age, sign-up date or quit date), which feature encouragement and empathy, motivation, skill-and self-efficacy building exercises, tips and advice. 

  • Text “DITCHJUUL” to 88709 to enroll in Truth Initiative's programs This is Quitting and BecomeAnEX 
  • Text “QUIT” to 47848 to enroll in SmokefreeTXT for Teens 
  • Text “START MY QUIT” to 855.891.9989 to enroll in My Life My Quit, the New Hampshire sponsored quit program for youth and young adults which provides access to free and confidential text, phone and online support.  
  • Parents and other adults looking to help young people quit should text "QUIT" to (202) 899-7550.

Other

  • Quit Vaping App: Track your progress, access resources, and use the "Buddy System, where you and a friend can quit together and track each other's progress."
  • Craving to Quit® is a 21 day mindfulness-based wellness app based on a successful smoking cessation curriculum developed and tested at Yale University.  
  • BecomeAnEX provides a customized quit plan, tools and interactive guides, text message support, and tips for quitting.

  • The Asian Smokers’ Quitline (ASQ) provides FREE, accessible, evidence-based smoking cessation services in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese to Asian communities in the U.S. Eligible callers receive a free two-week starter kit of nicotine patches. 
  • Quit Now NH provides links to all of New Hampshire's nicotine treatment services. 
  • Be Tobacco Free provides further information about nicotine and how to quit.

UNH Campus Resources to Support Wellness

These resources can support your overall well-being as you work to reduce or quit nicotine use:

Health & Wellness: 

Campus Rec:

  • Physical movement and play 

Psychological and Counseling Services: 

  • Mental health

Center for Academic Resources:

  • Academic support

Get involved:

UNH Tobacco Policy

If you choose to use tobacco or nicotine, please do so in a way that does not negatively impact the safety and well-being of those around you, our campus environment, and is in accordance with the UNH Tobacco Policy.

Nicotine / Tobacco Laws

New Hampshire Clean Indoor Air Ordinances

  • Smoking is prohibited in all public schools, childcare facilities, restaurants and bars (allowed in cigar shops and allows for an economic hardship waiver).
  • Smoking restrictions are required in government workplaces, private workplaces, casinos/gaming establishments, retail stores and recreational/cultural facilities.
  • E-cigarettes (juuls, vapes) are included in the state’s definition of smoking.
  • For more information check out BreatheNH

Tobacco21 Federal Law

  • The minimum age of sale for tobacco products is 21.
  • The law penalizes retailers for selling tobacco products to youth, not those attempting to purchase, although many states and cities retain purchase, use, and possession (PUP) laws.
  • The law does not require that states pass laws to raise their sales age to 21, but it does require states to demonstrate that their retailers are complying with the law. If not, the state eventually risks losing some portion of their federal substance abuse grant funding.

Sources

Live Free and Breathe Lecture Series

The Live Free and Breathe Lecture Series brings discussion and awareness to the UNH campus surrounding nicotine, tobacco, and vaping. Check our Events page for information about future lectures.

Lecture I: Sara Kalkhoran, MD

"E-Cigarettes: Where There's Smoke, Is There Fire?" 

You can watch the lecture below. 

Lecture II: Cynthia Hallett, MPH

"Personal Freedoms & the Right to Clean Air" 

View a PDF of the presentation here.

More Information