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Addiction: A chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and abuse despite adverse consequences. It is associated with long-lasting changes in the brain.

Adrenal glands: Glands located above each kidney that secrete hormones, e.g., adrenaline.

Carcinogen: Any substance that causes cancer. 

Craving: A powerful, often uncontrollable desire for drugs.

Dopamine: A neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, motivation, and feelings of pleasure.

Emphysema: A lung disease in which tissue deterioration results in increased air retention and reduced exchange of gases. The result is difficulty breathing and shortness of breath.

Neurotransmitter: A chemical that acts as a messenger to carry signals or information from one nerve cell to another.

Nicotine: An alkaloid derived from the tobacco plant that is primarily responsible for smoking’s psychoactive and addictive effects.

Pharmacokinetics: The pattern of absorption, distribution, and excretion of a drug over time.

Tobacco: A plant widely cultivated for its leaves, which are used primarily for smoking; the N. tabacum species is the major source of tobacco products.

Withdrawal: A variety of symptoms that occur after chronic use of an addictive drug is reduced or stopped.

This page was last updated July 2012

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NIDA. (2012, July 1). Tobacco/Nicotine. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/tobacconicotine

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​Research Reports

This series of reports simplifies the science of research findings for the educated lay public, legislators, educational groups, and practitioners. The series reports on research findings of national interest.

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