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Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline

Freephone: 0808 808 2234
Or text DAN to: 81066


Tobacco, baccy, cigarettes, ciggies, fags, bifters, rollies, snuff, snout.

What does Nicotine look like?

Dried & shredded leaves of the tobacco plant. Hand-rolled or commercially produced cigars and cigarettes. Occasionally prepared for chewing.

Cigarettes contain Nicotine

Scientific Names


Generic Name


Effects Of Nicotine

Desired Effects:

Reduced anxiety, relaxation.


Dizziness, nausea, increased pulse rate and blood pressure.



Tolerance, burn injuries from fires started accidentally.


Dependence, bronchitis, heart disease, damage to circulation, cancers (lungs, throat, tongue). Tobacco smoking in pregnancy can result in damage to the foetus and low birth weight. Fresh tobacco, processed tobacco, and tobacco smoke contain carcinogens (cancer causing agents). All cigarettes produce 'tar' that is inhaled into the lungs via smoke, but the brands differ in amounts of tar. In the 1950s it was discovered that the tar in tobacco smoke was associated with the increased risk of lung cancer. Carbon monoxide, the main poisonous gas in car exhausts, is present in all cigarette smoke. In addition to this 600 additives are authorised for use in tobacco products many of which can be extremely harmful to the human body and health. Recent estimates show that around 82,800 people in England are killed by smoking every year, accounting for one fifth of all UK deaths.

Reducing Harm

Please view our Reducing Harm page for more information.

How does Nicotine work?

Central nervous system Stimulant, neurotoxin.

Legal status of Nicotine

Since October 2007 it has been illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18 (an increase from 16) in England, Wales and Scotland. Products affected include cigarettes, cigars, tobacco for roll your own and Pipes as well as rolling papers.

How Is Nicotine Taken?

Smoked, occasionally chewed.


Pipes, rolling papers, matches/lighter.

Medical uses of Nicotine

Can be prescribed or bought as nicotine gum or patches used to ease Withdrawal during attempts to quit smoking.

Where does it come from?

Retail outlets, vending machines.

Helping services

There are quit smoking clinics in every area - you can call Help To Quit on 0800 085 2219. There are also a range of other complimentary medicines and treatments available to help people stop smoking. Most GP surgeries have smoking cessation clinics and nurses who specialise in supporting people to give up. All quit smoking clinics can provide prescribing nicotine replacement therapy gum, inhalers or patches, advice, support and counselling and a range of other support structures.

You can view a list of National Drug Agencies.

If you would like to talk about Nicotine problems then please call the DAN 24/7 Helpline on:

0808 808 2234
Last updated: 31 December 2012