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Nicotine is a potent parasympathomimetic stimulant and an alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants. Nicotine acts as an agonist at most nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), except at two nicotinic receptor subunits (nAChRα9 and nAChRα10) where it acts as a receptor antagonist. Nicotine is found in the leaves of Nicotiana rustica, in amounts of 2–14%; in the tobacco plant, Nicotiana tabacum; in Duboisia hopwoodii; and in Asclepias syriaca.

Nicotine is the main addictive component in cigarettes and e-cigarettes alike. E-cigarettes are an alternative way of delivering nicotine to tobacco users without the thousands of additional chemicals that come from burning tobacco.

Nicotine itself is not carcinogenic and does not appear to have many (if any) serious health effects when taken away from it’s traditional delivery method of burning plants and inhaling the smoke. In fact, there is some evidence that nicotine may be beneficial for some users, but more research needs to be done before drawing this conclusion, just as more research should be done before drawing the conclusion that it is harmful based on the established effects of the other chemicals it’s historically been taken with.

In e-liquids, nicotine is measured either by percentage or by milligrams per milliliter.

In pure form, nicotine is a dangerous poison and should not be handled without proper PPE and procedural training. Never buy ‘pure’, ‘1000mg’, or ‘100%’ nicotine unless you know how to handle it and have the required equipment to handle and store it safely. If in doubt, don’t!

Currently located in Sydney, Australia, I have been vaping since 2009 and became active in the e-cigarette industry in late 2015. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of visiting over 700 shops in 6 countries.

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