The actual health benefits of nicotine are often ignored or even suppressed and never noticed. A majority of Americans believe that nicotine causes cancer, but it also an innovative treatment for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. And Yes! Nicotine might help unlock the mysteries of Schizophrenia. Surprisingly, nicotine is also a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

People do not realize that nicotine has been proven to enhance memory and other cognitive functions. Researchers recognize the positive effects of nicotine and are actively seeking new ways nicotine can help people live better lives. Some of those positive facts, along with the details, are described below:

1- Nicotine and Parkinson's disease:

Harnold Khan in 1996, an epidemiologist at the National Institutes of Health began research at health-insurance data on veterans who had served in the U.S military between 1917 and 1940. Surprisingly, he saw there was a higher mortality rate for smokers, who were suffering from numerous illnesses such as lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease etc.

Moreover, the shocking result was that non-smokers were three times as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than smokers. Harnold results were considered  anomalies because smokers were dying younger than their age due to Parkinson disease.

Role of Nicotine:

 Kessler and Diamonds investigation of Parkinson’s disease, confirmed that Khan’s conclusion was true. It soon became in view to neuroscientists that it was surely the nicotine molecule that was responsible for the prevention of Parkinson’s disease. Nicotine could regulate other receptor systems in the brain, especially the dopamine neurotransmitter. Dopamine plays a role in the human brain  it regulates attention, drug addiction, etc.

Nicotine was considered as a neuroprotective agent for Parkinson's disease. Moreover, nicotine patches are also available to treat with Parkinson's disease.

2- Nicotine for relief in Depression:

Nicotine also helps one to overcome depression. Nicotine alters cortical network and it’s activity of certain intrinsic networks in the brain to be less inward looking. Brain scans of people with high-functioning depression and show hyperactivity in regions of the brain. Depressed brains are often considered more “inward looking” than healthier ones, which is one reason why the condition tends to involve more quickly.


Smoking with nicotine to improve one’s mood has been a controversial and critical subject, but one study conducted in 2006 confirmed that nicotine led to a significant decrease in depression and a great improvement in symptoms of depression.

Observations have shown that those people who have depression are twice as likely to be smokers and are less likely to succeed in quitting smoking, feasibly due to these therapeutic effects of nicotine.

3- Controlling ADHD with Nicotine:

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that most often occurs in children, but can also occur  in adulthood. Symptoms of ADHD include:

  • having trouble concentrating or focusing
  • having difficulty staying organized
  • being forgetful about completing tasks
  • having difficulty sitting still

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most common behavioural disorder in the UK, affecting around 2-5% of children. It leads to problems with attention, restlessness and impulsiveness.

Health effects of nicotine

Nicotine Effect:

Studies have proven that nicotine can alleviate the symptoms of ADHD by increasing an individual’s alertness, reducing muscle activity and restlessness, calming the patient and elevating their mood. Of course, no one is suggesting children take up smoking or vaping, but some researchers are hoping to create better treatments which have same benefits to nicotine.

4- Nicotine’s Effect on Schizophrenia:

Schizophrenia is a serious mental health disorder which causes hallucinations, delusions and altered behaviour in patients. Almost 90 percent of people suffering from schizophrenia smoke cigarettes. That’s a smoking rate about six times higher in these patients than the general population.

How is Nicotine Helpful?

Studies have backed this up, suggesting that the ability of nicotine to raise dopamine levels in the brain reduces the negative symptoms of Schizophrenia as well as increase their capability to communicate with people and improve their concentration.

Other Benefit of nicotine:

Nicotine has been shown to improve task performance on patients with Schizophrenia. This has been done to nicotine’s ability to enhance working memory and selective attention.

5- Nicotine Enhance Memory:

Research has shown that nicotine enhances memory. In fact, it’s among the most widely recognized and well-known benefits of nicotine. In a typical nicotine/memory study.

  •  University of Surrey (U.K.) researchers gave 10 smokers and 10 non-smokers either nicotine gum or a placebo, and then had them complete short-term memory tasks at set points for four hours. The results suggest that nicotine enhanced memory reaction time performance. “It is suggested that nicotine facilitates the processing of stimulus information in short-term memory.”

Effect of nicotine on memory:

A recent study on humans concluded that nicotine enhanced prospective memory that is to remember things for the future.

6- Nicotine help you burn fats:

It’s long been accepted that nicotine acts as a weight suppressant. When smokers quit, they usually gain weight. But a recent study shows how nicotine affects metabolism to the body to burn certain kinds of fat cells through a process called thermogenesis. Thermogenic fat cells are activated to burn by stimulating a certain nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, the same receptor that regulates nicotine dependence in brain cells either naturally by the body with acetylcholine, or with nicotine, which mimics the effect of acetylcholine on the CHRNA2 receptor.

“This pathway is important from a basic research standpoint, but it also has relevance for metabolic and human health research,” said senior author Jun Wu, an assistant professor of molecular and integrative physiology at the University of Michigan Medical School. “The more we can narrow down a precise pathway for activating beige fat, the more likely we are to find an effective therapy for metabolic health that does not carry harmful side effects.”

A 2017 paper by scientists from New Zealand and the U.K. even suggested the idea that “vaping electronic cigarettes with nicotine and flavors could deliver similar appetite and weight control effects as smoking.”

7- Mental Functioning:

In addition to effects in Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's dementia, smoking may also affect mental performance in non-diseased individuals.

  •  Research conducted among smokers has shown that cigarette smoking (or nicotine administration) has several benefits, including modest improvements in vigilance and information processing, facilitation of some motor responses, and perhaps enhancement of memory . Also, smoking or nicotine clearly ameliorates the mild deterioration in mental functioning associated with nicotine withdrawal.
  • The effects of nicotine in non-smokers are not as clear. The use of smokers in much of the cognitive research has necessarily involved individuals with chronic nicotine exposure; this may well alter acute effects through tolerance or receptor changes, or through the distortions associated with nicotine withdrawal.
  • Nonetheless, there are certainly data suggesting benefits of nicotine in non-smokers with regard to performance and information processing. Consistent with these findings, experimental studies in animals have suggested that nicotine may improve learning and memory, although some investigations showed evidence of nicotine-associated impairments.

8- Nicotine Improves Reaction Time:

Multiple studies have shown that nicotine decreases reaction time when performing experimental tasks.

  • Researchers at the University of London’s Institute of Psychiatry tested 113 smokers, and found that smoking a cigarette “under naturalistic conditions improves the performance of the smoker on an IQ related task.”

In a similar experiment, scientists at the University of Auckland tested 29 subjects and found that nicotine reduced the time to make a decision, and that sham smoking (going through the motions of smoking with an unlit cigarette) increased decision time. The effect was seen whether the test subject was a normally heavy or light smoker.

9- Nicotine as a Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis:

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, similar to that of Crohn’s disease. But although they affect similar areas of the body, they react very differently to the effects of smoking, with symptoms becoming much more severe for those with Crohn’s disease but vastly improved with ulcerative colitis.

  • Ulcerative colitis is typically a disease of non-smokers and evidence suggests it is the anti-inflammatory properties of nicotine in tobacco smoke that could be the cause.
  • In clinical studies where transdermal nicotine was given to patients suffering from ulcerative colitis, significant improvements in the condition were observed.

Additionally, none of the subjects had recognizable withdrawal symptoms after six weeks of treatment with nicotine.

10- Nicotine Lessens Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome:

Many studies have shown that nicotine can reduce  severity and frequency and improved behaviours related to inattention in patients with Tourette’s. The decrease in these involuntary movements have been associated with nicotine’s ability to turn off certain nicotine receptors in the brain.

  • The author of one study concluded that “not only was the nicotine patch effective, but a much smaller dose of the medication haloperidol could be given”. There was also no evidence of nicotine withdrawal in any of the subjects.

Nicotine by itself may have the great future medical potential for treating and controlling numerous diseases and health ailments. It is proved to be beneficial in many diseases treatments. However, don’t take this as an excuse to increase your nicotine consumption, because there are still adverse side effects associated with nicotine, such as effects on the heart, it’s vasoconstrictor properties.