Why Do I Get Dizzy When I Smoke?

Feeling dizzy when you smoke for the first time is not strange. In fact it is normal to have even other symptoms such as nausea.

In general, cigarettes contain a large amount of toxic substances that quickly enter our body, producing various harmful effects on it.

Cigarettes contain leaves of the tobacco plant. This is dried and fermented before being placed in them.

In addition to other harmful chemicals, tobacco carries nicotine, a substance that can cause a strong addiction. That is why there are so many smokers who have serious difficulties in quitting this habit.

Smoking tobacco is one of the main causes of lung cancer. Although it has also been linked to other health problems such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, coronary heart disease and stroke.

Why Do I Get Dizzy When I Smoke?

But if you are smoking for the first time or because you do not smoke every day, it is common to feel dizzy with cigarettes.

Interestingly, smokers can also experience dizziness in periods of abstinence or “mono” of tobacco. Although in the latter, dizziness can be more lasting.

Why Do I Get Dizzy When I Smoke?

In this article I explain how your body reacts to tobacco and why you get dizzy when you smoke, as well as ways to prevent this from happening.

Reasons why you get dizzy when you smoke

Nicotine

Nicotine is naturally present in the tobacco plant. It is a stimulating substance, that is, it increases the activity of some functions of the organism.

It is one of the most addictive drugs that exist today, coming to compare their addiction with the one that causes cocaine or heroin.

Nicotine is responsible for tobacco addiction, and is what causes most dizziness.

When smoked, this substance enters the bloodstream through the lining of the lungs. It takes to reach the brain between 7 and 10 seconds.

Once it enters the blood, nicotine immediately stimulates the adrenal glands. These glands consist of two small organs located just above the kidneys. They serve to produce hormones that maintain an adequate functioning of the body. For example, they mediate sexual development and responses to stress.

By stimulating these glands, they release epinephrine ( adrenaline ). This hormone is the same that we secrete when we prepare to give fight or flight responses.

When it enters the central nervous system, adrenaline increases blood pressure by narrowing blood vessels. In addition, it increases the respiratory and cardiac frequency.

Just as cocaine and heroin do, nicotine also increases the release of dopamine. This neurotransmitter stimulates the centers of the brain responsible for the sensation of pleasure and reward.

On the other hand, other chemicals present in tobacco smoke can further enhance the effects of nicotine in our brain. One of them seems to be acetaldehyde.

Another marked effect of nicotine is that it delays the release of insulin from the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for eliminating excess sugar in the blood and serves to maintain balanced levels of sugar in our body.

When the pancreas fails and does not release enough insulin, glucose (sugar) levels increase in the blood. This is what happens in some types of diabetes with very dangerous consequences for health.

Therefore, the first few times you smoke, nicotine prevents insulin from being released as it should. Which results in a feeling of lack of appetite, nausea, and of course, dizziness.

Dizziness may be due to the rapid increase in heart rate and breathing that comes from the low release of insulin.

Therefore, when a smoker leaves the snuff, an important symptom of withdrawal is the increase in appetite.

This is due to the hypoglycemia that the organism suffers when leaving the nicotine consumption when it has already adapted to it. In this case, the lowering of sugar levels also produces mild dizziness.

Stimulation of nicotinic receptors

In our body there are nicotine receptors. When we smoke for the first time, nicotine enters in large quantities and binds excessively to these receptors in a lasting manner.

That’s why you can feel a “petolazo” or “rush” after smoking, which leads to dizziness when you’re not used to it.

Carbon monoxide

Tobacco smoke also contains carbon monoxide. This substance, like nicotine, decreases blood oxygen levels. Producing as a consequence that our brain does not receive enough oxygen.

This is because the carbon monoxide molecules bind to the hemoglobin that circulates inside the red blood cells. Since they have more affinity with hemoglobin than oxygen. Therefore, once united, they do not separate easily.

The result is a hypoxia or reduction of oxygen in the blood that leads to dizziness, fatigue and even fainting.

These symptoms will depend on the amount of tobacco we have smoked in a specific period of time and how accustomed we are to smoking. As we breathe in oxygen again, the dizziness is disappearing.

While, the prolonged periods of dizziness that usually occur in the “monkey” phase, are mainly due to the effects of nicotine in our brain.

Effects on the lungs

Dizziness also comes from the overload of smoke in our lungs. These are filled with carbon and other particles that prevent oxygen from flowing freely through the bronchioles and blood.

Finally, the smoke causes us to feel weak, suffocated and dizzy. Since our brain is struggling to get the oxygen it needs.

This also occurs with high amounts of nicotine, although its half-life is very short and these effects do not remain long.

In addition, not only smoking cigarettes causes lack of oxygen. The same applies to other ways of smoking such as traditional pipes or water pipes (hookahs or hookahs).

The way of smoking

In dizziness also influences the way in which the person smokes. This means the amount of nicotine that enters the body in a certain period of time.

Nicotine is absorbed into the blood through the mucosa of the mouth and lungs, reaching the brain in a few seconds. If they give more frequent and deep puffs, the amount of nicotine that reaches the organism is greater.

How long do the dizziness caused by smoking last?

The symptoms produced by poisoning with smoke or nicotine depend on each person, their use of tobacco and the sensitivity of their organism. In some cases, people may suffer from nausea and vomiting.


In general, dizziness usually disappears quickly depending on the amount of tobacco that has been smoked. It usually disappears between a few minutes and a few hours.

Dizziness when smoking and genes

Apparently, genes have been found that are related to a wide variety of behaviors associated with smoking.

These genes mediate the development of nicotinic receptors in the neurons of our organism. In a study by Ehringer et al. (2011), relationships between the dizziness response to smoking and 226 SNPs ( Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms ) were found in the genes of neuronal nicotinic receptors.

SNPs are variations in DNA sequences that involve a single base in the genome sequence . These variations have to occur in at least 1% of the population to talk about a SNP. Since, if it is less than 1%, it would be considered a mutation.

The study sample consisted of 789 people dependent on nicotine and 811 people without this addiction. It was found that those who indicated that they experienced dizziness when smoking belonged in a significant way to the group of non-addicts.

Specifically, multiple SNPs in a region of the CHRNB3 gene (involved in the development of neuronal nicotinic receptors), were associated with the experience of dizziness when smoking the first cigarettes.

Which form of tobacco is less harmful?

Industrial cigarettes, rolling cigarettes and other forms of tobacco have a very variable nicotine and chemical content. So, perhaps not all produce the same dizziness response.

An industrial cigarette carries approximately between 0.50 and 0.90 grams of tobacco. It can thus contain between 13.79 and 22.68 milligrams of nicotine per gram of tobacco.

On the other hand, a cigar can include up to 21.5 grams of tobacco. Its nicotine content ranges between 6.3 and 15.6 milligrams per gram of tobacco. That is, between 5.9 and 335.2 per cigar.

Other tobacco products are also harmful and addictive, even if they do not produce the same feeling of dizziness.

For example, chewing tobacco cause addiction and mouth cancer. Pipes also increase the risk of lung, mouth, throat, larynx and esophagus cancer.

While the water pipes, hookahs or shishas, ​​contrary to what can be believed, produce effects as toxic as cigarette smoke.

Bidis cigarettes, of Indian origin, still have more nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide than traditional cigarettes. They are also associated with cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus and lung. As well as heart attacks.

The same goes for the Kreteks, some cigars made in Indonesia composed of tobacco and cloves.

Can you suffer an overdose of nicotine?

We must not forget that nicotine is a toxic substance, and although it is strange, it is possible to suffer an overdose.

This occurs when we suddenly take too much of a poisonous substance for our body. And it gives rise to harmful symptoms that can be serious and even lead to death.

However, nicotine has a short half-life and is eliminated quickly, so it is difficult for this overdose to occur.

Usually the few cases are observed in young children who accidentally ingest nicotine gum, liquid electronic cigarettes or manipulate nicotine patches to quit smoking.

They have also occurred in adults filling electronic cigarette cartridges without gloves, or smoking a lot in a short time if they are not used.

Symptoms of a nicotine overdose include trouble breathing, dizziness, fainting, headache, weakness, and a fast or slow heart rate.

Other symptoms are salivation, abdominal pain, and nausea. This happens because the body wants to get rid of toxic substances in some way, preparing the body to expel them.

If you ever see such symptoms in someone who has consumed nicotine or in yourself, it is best to stop drinking and seek medical attention.

In certain cases, a tube will be inserted in the medical center to perform a stomach lavage. They can also use activated charcoal to prevent the body from absorbing more nicotine.

What to do to eliminate dizziness?

Once you are suffering from dizziness from tobacco use, it is best to stay in the same position. If you are going to get up, do it carefully and do not be brusque so that your body adapts to changes in blood pressure.

On the other hand, you can try to breathe slowly and deeply to recover oxygen. Inhale as much air as you can and hold it for 5 seconds. Then expúlsalo slowly counting to seven.

Small, light exercises can also improve blood flow to the brain and reduce mild dizziness. For example, take a walk. Although if the dizziness is strong, it is best to stay in the same position and drink water slowly in abundance.

If you smoke and feel dizzy, your body is wanting to tell you that this substance is hurting you. The best thing is that you pay attention to your body and interrupt the consumption of tobacco immediately. You probably have no addiction yet, and leaving it will be very simple for you.

The substances contained in a cigarette

Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals that enter the bloodstream at high speed.

In fact, and apparently, more than 250 substances have been identified as harmful. It is known with certainty that 69 of them can cause cancer.

This affects anyone who sucks smoke, whether they are smokers or non-smokers. It seems that breathing tobacco smoke, even in small quantities, can also be harmful.

Also Read: How Long do The Effects of Ritalin last?

Some of the toxic products of tobacco are hydrogen cyanide, ammonia and carbon monoxide. On the other hand, substances that can cause cancer are:

– Arsenic.

– Acetaldehyde.

– Aromatic amines.

– Benzene.

– Toxic metals such as cadmium, beryllium or chromium.

– Ethylene oxide.

– Formaldehyde.

– Nickel

– Polonium 210, which is a radioactive chemical element.

– Vinyl chloride.

– Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons , etc.

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