The Nicotine Buzz: High and Its Effects on Your Body

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by Jeffrey Buckley

Updated: February 26, 2017

nicotine buzz

The Nicotine Buzz: What is it?

Some of the immediate effects of the nicotine buzz are:

  • Calmness
  • Pleasurable sensations
  • Feeling relaxed and euphoric
  • More focus and energy

New smokers feel the nicotine buzz the most. People who have quit smoking for a while and then start again feel it hard as well. Anyone who smokes or takes nicotine feels the nicotine buzz even if they do not notice it.

The Nicotine Buzz: Long-Term Effects and the Chemistry behind It

There are strong feelings that come with the nicotine buzz. Here are some of the more subtle ways the nicotine buzz affects your body after you come down from the high:

  • It raises you heart rate and blood pressure
  • It makes more glucose in your body
  • It dulls your senses
  • Decreases your appetite
  • Drops your skin temperature

Here is the process that produces the nicotine buzz:

  • You take nicotine, either through smoking a cigarette, chewing tobacco or by inhaling nicotine vapor from the vape juice or e-liquid inside an e-cigarette.
  • The nicotine takes only a few seconds to get to your brain.
  • When it gets there, the nicotine attaches itself to things called acetylcholine receptors. These receptors control levels of dopamine in your body.
  • Dopamine is released into your body, that is the beginning of the nicotine buzz.
  • Serotonin is another pleasure causing chemical that gets released into your body by nicotine.

When the dopamine and serotonin levels go back down, and they do, you also go back down. You feel tired and without energy. Your body wants more of all those good feelings so you take some more nicotine and that is how addiction to nicotine begins.

Does nicotine addiction have any serious side effects? Yes, according to a study by the Indian Journal of Medical and Pediatric Oncology. It affects the health of the heart, kidneys, lungs and reproductive systems. There have been studies that show a possible link to cancer, though that needs more research. Besides the buzz, nicotine is absorbed and metabolized by the liver. Once metabolized, it leads to the formation of some carcinogens. Though much of it is excreted through sweating and urinating, there is an elevated risk of cancer because of this.

Chasing the Nicotine High

smokers buzz
Deviney Designs/Shutterstock

If you are a heavy smoker, the nicotine buzz is the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning. You can already feel your body craving nicotine. This is a part of the nicotine buzz. The pleasing calmness that washes over you when you take a hit of nicotine is the cure to the craving and anxiety that nicotine addiction causes in your body.  

Nicotine is both a stimulant and a sedative. It brings you up and then brings you down. If you are a regular smoker, the nicotine buzz is something you probably plan your day around. You probably have specific times during the day, when you know you will need a hit of nicotine:

  • Maybe with your morning coffee
  • Before you go to work
  • Right after lunch

Then there are the things you do not plan. Maybe you get some bad news and you start to feel nervous or anxious, the nicotine buzz will calm you down. Maybe you get into a fight or argument with someone and you need to relax, the nicotine buzz comes to the rescue.

The point is you can use the nicotine buzz is so many different ways. You do not care that smoking causes cancer or that it puts you at a higher risk for strokes or heart attacks. You do not care if your vape is the best vape or not. You just want to feel better because there is too much stress in your life. Of course, there are better ways to reduce stress, if a nicotine addiction is the route a person is taking, then it is best to not pick up a cigarette to get that balance. Vaping is not without risks, but there are science opinions that vaping might be far less dangerous than smoking. De-demonizing nicotine after decades of anti-tobacco campaigns is a bit of a challenge. And the pendulum seems to be swinging towards nicotine being a benign addiction, similar to caffeine, as long as it isn’t ingested in smoking form. Though, there is an ongoing debate about whether nicotine is indeed benign.

Wrapping Up

Sure, the nicotine buzz makes you feel better, but it puts your health at risk. Here are some ways to beat the craving for the nicotine buzz:

  • Breathing exercises. Taking deep breaths increases oxygen levels in your blood making you feel more at ease and relaxed.
  • Drinking water. The worst part of the nicotine buzz is that it becomes a habit so replace that habit with something else. Drinking water is an easy way to avoid the nicotine buzz. It is good for you and it helps you avoid smoking.
  • Exercise/Go for a walk. Maybe you need to work off all that nervous energy. Instead of reaching for your pack of cigarette go out and get some fresh air. Exercise, even a brisk walk, increases your blood flow.

Stress is unavoidable in life. How we deal with it is what is important. It may be more difficult to do than to just pick up a cigarette or vaporizer, but beating stress without nicotine is achievable with enough discipline. Even though it is still not thoroughly researched if vaping is much safer than cigarettes, it is still best to try to decrease nicotine in your life one way or another. If the use of vaporizers is to quit smoking, then eventually the goal should be to wean off of vaping at some point to completely quit nicotine.

Published: February 26, 2017
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Jeffrey Buckley

I was a smoker for over 25 years. In this time I also earned my medical degree with a specialization in addiction treatment and counseling. That period has led me to vaping, my interest started around 2011. I’m fighting the tide of hysteria and dis-information around vaping that emanates from various fronts legislative, cultural and scientific. Having scientific councils support, I’m happy to contribute my thoughts, articles, and expertise.


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0 comments on “The Nicotine Buzz: High and Its Effects on Your Body

  • Zack wright

    October 1, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    I absolutely know how bad it is for you but in all honesty I don’t think I could make it through my epilepsy these feelings I get from my epilepsy the sudden Rush’s from it the calmness from it sure does help

  • tommy

    September 23, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Nicotine is bad all by itself. The problem is it hardens your arteries and constrics your blood vessels. Over time this alone will give you hear disease and cardiovascular diseases.

  • Dan

    June 30, 2019 at 4:57 am

    yea some one in california killed themselves by drinking to much water

  • Ok

    May 13, 2019 at 5:32 am

    This was informative but could have done without all the obvious stuff about it being bad for health. People know, we also know coffee is bad for health, we don’t care.

  • James Scollick

    September 3, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    I’ve been amazed lately of how high the nicotine levels have gone in vapes like juul and others. The “buzz” impact certainly is felt. You should understand your body and how it reacts to vaping or any form of smoking.

  • tech

    December 22, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Nicotine on it’s own causes does no physical damage!

    • Jason

      January 1, 2018 at 1:10 am

      I would agree with you in general, but im not educated enough in it to know for sure, so i would argue with someone if the possible health risk was worth the effect circumstansually. Personally i have a lot of past id prefur not to disclose, but for me its worth the risk.

    • Sarah

      July 2, 2018 at 1:52 am

      Yes it does. It is actually poisonous and lethal. It also causes constriction of the blood vessels. Long term vascular effects of nicotine are documented. Nicotine is a powerful drug.
      If you have any doubts about nicotine having causing no damage on its own chew some nicotine gum really fast.

      • James

        July 22, 2018 at 7:19 am

        “chew some nicotine gum really fast” Said it like you came straight from a big pharmaceutical store. “Poisonous and lethal” lol any substance, even WATER is ‘poisonous and lethal’ at huge doses dumbass. It’s not like we’re gonna drink nicotine or anything like that. Try doing your research first before spewing out a bunch of crap that even you’re not sure about.

        • David A Thompson

          August 25, 2018 at 5:30 am

          She’s right. Do you happen to know how much liquid it would take to kill you or it’s absorption rate through skin? If not don’t deride the lady. Hell if you’re a heavy smoker like I was until recently, you’ve no doubt smoked a few too many cogs in a day and felt wretched. I vape salts now and am very careful to limit my exposure to the liquid and make sure my tanks doesn’t leak onto my skin or clothes. It only takes a couple drops to send you into a seizure factoring in body mass and tolerance. I love nicotine but I respect it’s very real dangers too.

      • Niklaus

        March 31, 2019 at 5:30 am

        I don’t know where you got this information from, but it’s false. Nicotine alone is not powerful, it’s only proven side effect is addiction, on the other hand, it has been proven to help with many mental illnesses and neurological disorders.

    • [email protected]

      August 25, 2018 at 5:24 am

      That’s not even close to true! Nicotine is quite poisonous in rather small quantities. It’s why you need to be careful when handling its liquid form. You can get severely ill or even die from too much and too much can be rather difficult to gouge. Please do yourself and your loved ones a favor and do some research when trying any chemical. I was a smoker for 18 years and am now vamping full time with the salts and I take precautions before filling my tanks to minimize exposure to the liquid.

    • Po

      May 1, 2019 at 5:30 pm

      Actually it does to ur lungs minor damage but if u take it in high dosages u will feel the effect

    • YouAreADumba$$

      September 21, 2019 at 4:33 am

      You are the most ignorate dumbass ive ever seen lmao