Information & Resources
San Diego Figure Skating Communications
Nicotine Use Affects Our Body
What are the Effects of Nicotine?
Nicotine is a psychoactive alkaloid that causes a response in specific parts of the brain. There are several chemical reactions that take place in the body because of nicotine - some of them are due to the activity of the compound on the brain, and others happen as the body attempts to rid itself of nicotine.
The first chemical reactions that take place at receptors in the nervous system. The body also recognizes nicotine as a toxin and attempts to remove it. This leads to a second series of reactions, in which nicotine is broken into smaller molecules.
The reaction in the brain occurs as the nicotine binds to a neuronal receptor causing neural excitation, or firing of the nerve, which produces the effects associated with nicotine, including mental stimulation.
Nicotine is a toxin and is metabolized in the liver. Liver enzymes break down most of the nicotine into another chemical called cotinine. The primary compound that the liver makes from cotinine is 3'-hydroxycotinine, which is a water-soluble compound that the kidney processes and is excreted as urine.
The body's reaction to nicotine tends to decrease as a result increased frequency of use and higher exposure levels. This process is called "desensitization" or "habituation," and the results are observable in the nervous system. When a nerve cell is repeatedly stimulated by the same compound, it tends to decrease its response to that compound. Thus the habitual nicotine use finds that, over time, it takes more and more nicotine to achieve the desired mental effect.Is it possible to use nicotine in moderation without it becoming addictive?
Smoking has no place in the world of amateur and professional sporting events because its continuous use causes lung problems. Parents and coaches should lead by example and firmly support a "zero" policy for this type of conduct that must extend from an athletes public life into their private life.
Even though smoking is legal in the USA and most other countries, there are laws limiting what age group can consume them and under what circumstances. It is advisable that young athletes are actively discouraged from starting to use ANY nicotine product.
Voluntary drug testing should be a policy that is used by schools and coaches in preparation for the mandatory drug testing that the International Olympic Committee and World Sporting Organization have had in place for decades.
An athlete who desires to become a winner should be aware that others in the sport and the general public, will hold them up as an example representative of their sport and country. It is important to be aware skaters selected for the USFSA world or Olympic teams understand they are perceived as ambassadors of the USA. People in other countries will form opinions about the USA based on the personal conduct and ethical choices they observe or see reported in the news about our athletes.
A relatively small percentage of college athletes who participate in NCAA sports will become professional sports athletes. Those that do earn a living as an owner of a sports team, coach, or play as a professional athlete, must understand that the public takes a dim view of negative images of athletes who are associated with marketing corporate products. A moral turpitude clause is usually part of all endorsement contracts.
The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:
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