If smoking had never been invented, what would nicotine addiction look like?

I’ll start off by saying that I detest smoking. The stink, the elevated risk of accidental house fires, the additional cleaning costs, the stink, the expense, the sheer ugliness. I’ve had to clean up after too many family members who were long-term smokers, and I’ve lost too many to smoking-related diseases.

But it occurs to me that most of my objections are to, specifically, smoking, not to nicotine addiction itself. I saw a news report after the Colorado marijuana legalization showing that pot was being made available in edible form as well as smokable. (Can drinkable or vapable be far behind?)

I’ve wondered why nicotine isn’t easily made into edible or drinkable forms as well, but my question isn’t really about that. I’m wondering, rather, how much of the bad effects of smoking tobacco are due to the smoking, rather than the nicotine? If my father had somehow consumed as much nicotine as he did in two packs of cigarettes a day, but by some other way than smoking it, what would the effects of the nicotine addiction be?

Tobacco was originally chewed. Chewing tobacco and snuff is still very popular because it can be used where smoking is prohibited.

Think smoking is disgusting? Try sitting in granddad’s car next to his spit can. Mine used a planters peanut can lined with paper towels.

Chewers and dippers get the same nicotine fix as smokers. They risk mouth and lip cancers.

Although cancer seems more rare for chewers. Grandad and granny both started before they were ten. Used the stuff for 65 years with no ill effects.

I’ve heard the newer snuff for young people today is flavored and causes more mouth problems. My granny used pure Garrett’s snuff. Nothing in it but tobacco. We found over a hundred of these brown snuff bottles in a trash pile behind their house.

What about snuff causes mouth cancer?

I watched this special on TV or a movie (I believe about drugs or psychedellics) which said that some ancient civilization used to put tobacco into their anuses to give the effect of smoking 100 cigarettes at once. Though, I don’t know if this was done in plant form, smoke form or some other form.

I believe that this was on the National Geographic Channel or the Discovery Channel, and they were talking about the Aztecs or ancient Peruviens.

There hasn’t been a whole lot of research done on nicotine – most of the existing research was done on smoking. With the advent of ecigs there lately have been some researchers looking at the effects of pure nicotine, and a lot of the results are pretty surprising. Here’s a starting point if you want to do some reading:


From the American Cancer Society: