Nicotine Headache

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If you’ve ever suffered from a nicotine headache you know that you want the unpleasant and painful symptoms to subside as quickly as possible. Sometimes described as “cluster” headaches, these headaches are brought on by excessive nicotine exposure. This may be directly from be smoking, it may come from second hand smoke or it may be a result of using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. Nicotine replacement medications often cause nicotine headaches when cigarette smoking does not. This is possibly due to the management of the nicotine delivery into the bodies system which is sometimes a higher dose than what was available from smoking.

No matter the source of the nicotine exposure, the cause of the headache may be nicotine poisoning. Nicotine also has a direct impact on the nervous system and is considered one of the most toxic natural substances. According to inchem.org just 30 to 60 milligrams, which is the amount of nicotine found in 6 cigarettes or a small cigar, can be deadly to an adult. The amount of nicotine found in just one cigarette is enough to make a young child very ill.

The goal for a smoker experiencing what they consider nicotine headaches should be to reduce the exposure to nicotine containing products. A report from Cleveland Clinic states that reducing the intake of nicotine to less than one-half pack a day reduced nicotine headaches by 50 percent. A child or an adult who does not smoke and is suddenly exposed to nicotine however, no matter how small a dose, should get emergency medical attention immediately. Because of the toxicity of nicotine, even a heavy smoker who experiences any changing symptoms including headache should contact their doctor immediately. Any changing symptoms could be a sign of a serious condition.

References:
http://my.clevelandclinic.org/healthy_living/smoking/hic_smoking_and_hea...
http://www.inchem.org/documents/pims/chemical/nicotine.htm#PartTitle:4. USES/CIRCUMSTANCES OF POISONING
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotine_poisoning#cite_note-INCHEM-0

Photo: CK-Wissen.de,Wikimedia. No endorsement implied. For license information visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en.


 
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