There is no denying that cigarettes are harmful to your health; once you get past the nasty effects the smoke has on your body and the influence addiction has on your behaviour, you still have to contend with the cocktail of chemicals you inhale every time you take a puff. Now, whilst nicotine usually gets a bad rap as the main problem with cigarettes because of its addictive nature, there are lots of other toxins in tobacco, not to mention the tar and carbon monoxide produced when it’s smoked. So is nicotine as bad as it’s made out to be?
Well, the answer normally depends on what side of the fence you’re on; to smoke or not to smoke. Nicotine content is usually the argument behind attacks on cigarette alternatives like e cigarettes which are safer than their traditional smoky counterparts, but still provide ex-smokers with enough of a nicotine hit to keep them on the straight and narrow. So yes, smoked or smokeless, nicotine is a dangerously addictive substance. However, it is important to remember that whilst nicotine is present in cigarettes and used in e cigs, they aren’t the only places you’ll find nicotine.
Nicotine is actually present in some of our favourite healthy food, such as the six foods below:
10 grams of aubergine will result in the same effect as passive smoking. One aubergine contains around 100ng/g of nicotine which means eating 20lbs of aubergine would have the same effect as smoking one cigarette
With 53ng/g of nicotine, pureed tomatoes can cause the same effect as passive smoking; you would just need to consume 19.2 grams of the stuff
Eating 23.4 grams of green tomatoes would equal the effect of passive smoking because of the 42.8ng/g of nicotine they contain
The pulp of a potato contains more nicotine than the whole thing. The 15.3ng/g of nicotine means you would experience the same effects as passive smoking by eating 65.4 grams of potato pulp
There is 3.8ng/g of nicotine in cauliflower. So you would need to eat 263.4 grams of it to feel the same effects as 3 hours of passive smoking. Previous studies found levels to be higher but it has more recently been discovered that 59 and a half cauliflowers would produce the same effects as passive smoking upon consumption
Though cayenne pepper does not contain nicotine, the flavoursome spice releases the same hormones and has the same effect as nicotine, thus it acts as a brilliant remedy for cigarette cravings. The spice desensitizes the respiratory system to prevent cravings.
[Source: The Nicotine Content of Common Vegetables study (1993) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/nicotine-in-vegetables_n_1597087.html]
You may be surprised to learn that the six foods listed above all contain nicotine; the same addictive substance some condemn e cigs for. The levels of nicotine in these foods may not be equal to those in e cigarettes but the fact remains that nicotine is not restricted to the realm of smoking and vaping. It is present in healthy natural foods. Yet no one is trying to ban these foods – probably because they are safer than the junk food alternatives…sounds familiar…by