May 24, 2023


What is Nicotine?

Whenever we hear the word Nicotine there is a whole raft of negative statements that follow with words like:

Addiction, Danger to health, It needs banning etc..

Nicotine has and will always be a controversial topic so let’s not hide away from that.

The big Tobacco companies have become the World Health Organisations No 1 enemy, allegedly a greater threat to humanity than anything else on the planet! However, we are dealing with some big opinions and it seems that throughout history all the rhetoric, from its early discovery by Columbus back in 1492, the source for nicotine, tobacco, has courted controversy and condemnation.

Tobacco, and the nicotine it provides, had been used by the Mayan Indians for thousands of years before Columbus came along. For the record they also introduced us to Potatoes, Maize and Cocoa, so these tribes had a profound impact on the world. “Huran Indians myth has it that in ancient times when the land was barren and people were starving, the Great Spirit sent forth a woman to save humanity.

As she travelled over the world, everywhere her left hand touched the soil, there grew corn. And when the world was rich and fertile she sat down and rested. When she arose, there grew Tobacco—” As the Spanish and British gradually colonised the Americas, Tobacco quickly became one of the most popular exports back to the continent.

In many ways it was probably one of the most important crops that secured the first British colony of Jamestown Virginia in North American. (that’s another story for later). Many people attribute Sir Walter Raleigh with the discovery of tobacco which was not the case, what he did do was to popularise the habit of smoking (or drinking as it was known back then) in the court of Elizabeth 1.

He was an early celebrity user that influenced others, just like the advertisers are still using celebrity endorsements today, you could call him an early day George Clooney. And so the use of nicotine spread and by the time James 1st succeeded Elizabeth it was a common practice, one not too popular with the new King.

Here is an early anti-tobacco rant from James 1st who in 1604 wrote this counterblast to tobacco, (in olde English of course.) “Have you not reason then to bee ashamed, and to forbeare this filthie noveltie, so basely grounded, so foolishly received and so grossely mistaken in the right use thereof? In your abuse thereof sinning against God, harming your selves both in persons and goods, and raking also thereby the markes and notes of vanitie upon you: by the custome thereof making your selves to be wondered at by all forraine civil Nations, and by all strangers that come among you, to be scorned and contemned.

A customer lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the Lungs, and in the blacke stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomelesse” So as we have discovered today the background to nicotine is a long and varied one, it has been consumed in many ways over the years and using it in an e cigarette is simply a new way for it to be consumed in the UK.

In part two of this blog we will discuss where the name comes from and the various ways nicotine has been consumed Until next time happy vaping!!!

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