Tobacco - a heads up
Rates of tobacco use- most commonly cigarettes - have gradually reduced over the last few decades but smoking still causes more harm and illness than almost every other drug in Victoria.
Tobacco comes from leaves of the tobacco plant and is most used mostly in cigarettes. Nicotine is tobacco’s active, addictive ingredient.
Tobacco can be bought and used legally by people over 18. Tobacco comes as cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, and wet and dry snuff. It’s usually smoked (cigarette or pipe), but sometimes chewed or sniffed. Using tobacco can give you a feeling of relaxation, but it can also give you reduced appetite, increased alertness, mild euphoria, dizziness, abdominal cramps, and even vomiting, especially if your not used to smoking. The effects are felt almost immediate and can last between 15 and 60 minutes when smoked.
It’s possible to have too much nicotine in one go. Combining nicotine patches with gum or cigarettes might mean you feel confused, have shallow breathing or even seizures. An ambulance should be called if any of these symptoms occur. It’s important to know that tobacco can contribute to serious long-term health consequences such as emphysema, heart attack, stroke and lung cancer.
If you use tobacco then you may want to try to:
- Reduce the number of cigarettes smoked daily.
- Use patches or gum to reduce smoking’s health risks (talk to a pharmacist or doctor)
- Smoke in open spaces to reduce second-hand smoke
- Contact Quit Victoria if you are thinking of quitting