Essay Example: Tobacco and Caffeine in the Chemistry of Everyday Life

Date:  2021-05-21 02:38:10
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Tobacco is a stimulant substance taken through chewing, smoking, sniffing or through administration. Tobacco is harvested from a tobacco plant where leaves are collected and taken through a process of curing. This substance belongs to a class of drugs called stimulants, and it contains nicotine as the main product that induces stimulation to the body (Gutzeit & Ludwig-Muller, 2014). Also, nitrate is a compound in the tobacco leaves (Gutzeit & Ludwig-Muller, 2014). Tobacco is used worldwide and legalized in many countries. Most of the tobacco is branded as cigarettes and Shisha.

Caffeine is a stimulant derived from beverages like coffee bean and tea leaves (Gutzeit & Ludwig-Muller, 2014). Caffeine has been grouped in the class of psychoactive drugs. It is consumed worldwide without regulations and it is readily accessible from the world market. Caffeine is associated with effects on the central nervous system. Through chemical analysis of these substances, scientists have discovered compounds that are constituted together and further analyzed the effects of consuming these substances. Following the chemical analysis and research on these substances, some diseases have been associated with their consumption as part of side effects. Nicotine and caffeine, therefore, as the major substances of concern have a variety of facts regarding their chemical composition and effects on the body.

Discussion

In the chemistry of everyday life, tobacco and caffeine being the legalized and most abundantly consumed substance, the fundamental focus of this report is what is contained in these substances, their effects and how the body uses these substance. Additionally, the chemistry of these substances is paramount in determining the effects on the body they have whether positive or negative.

Tobacco

Regarding tobacco, the substance of concern is nicotine. From the scientific field, nicotine has been found to have the greatest effect in the tobacco leaf (Gorrod & Jacob, 2009). Also, nicotine has been associated with addictive effects of tobacco. The chemical properties of nicotine include a density of 1.01 g/cm^3, molar mass of 162.23 g/mol and its chemical formula is C10H14N2(Gorrod & Jacob, 2009). There is approximately 400 compounds found in the tobacco leaf (Gorrod & Jacob, 2009). When tobacco is burned it changes from a solid state to a gaseous state. In the gas condition, there are components that can be obtained which include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen cyanide, sulfur compounds, ammonia, and volatile hydrocarbons (Gorrod & Jacob, 2009). The amount of nicotine in tobacco is approximately 5% (Gorrod & Jacob, 2009). To add on nicotine, which is the most abundant component in tobacco, it is an alkaloid soluble in water and other water-soluble salts (Seager & Slabaugh, 2014). When the moisture and nicotine are removed from the compound another compound referred to as tar is left (Seager & Slabaugh, 2014). Tar is a hydrocarbon and has been regarded as carcinogenic among tobacco compounds (Seager & Slabaugh, 2014). Some of the compounds found in the tobacco leaves affect the lungs after smoking by inhibiting the ciliary functions (Seager & Slabaugh, 2014). Tobacco, therefore, has been associated with lethal effects in the breathing system.

The effects of tobacco in mammals include stimulating the nervous system and other components of tobacco cause depression (Seager & Slabaugh, 2014). Some physiological activities that are affected by tobacco compounds like nicotine are increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, and stimulation of the nervous system (Seager & Slabaugh, 2014). The physiological activities are facilitated by the direct impact of this substance to the brain medulla and adrenal medulla (United States, 2010). The adrenal medulla releases epinephrine that increases the heartbeat, thus raising the blood pressure (United States, 2010).

Tobacco has also been associated with some chronic illnesses. According to the chemical analysis and scientific research, increase in the amount taken per day or hourly increase the percentage of nicotine and other substances in the body. Nicotine and hydrocarbons cause more lethal effects on the body when daily consumption is increased. Some researchers have done in-vitro investigations on the adverse effects of tobacco by using experimental animals, for instance mice (United States, 2010). Bronchitis is one of the chronic illnesses associated with tobacco. Other chronic diseases include arteriosclerotic disease, heart attack, aneurysm, and lung cancer (United States, 2010). According to scientific research, the probability of developing these illnesses depends on the amount of tobacco taken, the age of the smoker, intervals of smoking and the amount of nicotine and tar in the tobacco.

The chemistry of tobacco in the body ends after its excretion from the body. After getting into the body, tobacco is metabolized, and the major component which is nicotine has been studied and found to have many metabolites. Absorption takes place in the respiratory tract, mouth tissues, and skin (Seager & Slabaugh, 2014). Nicotine is then metabolized to yield cotinine and nicotine in the lungs, kidney and liver (Seager & Slabaugh, 2014). The kidney is the major excretory organ for nicotine and its byproducts. Following the chemical changes of nicotine, the half-life is about two hours in the body (Seager & Slabaugh, 2014). Another excretion organ is the breast where about 0.5 mg of nicotine is excreted through breast milk(Seager, &Slabaugh, 2014).

Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant, which has been used worldwide and a naturally occurring substance in beverages like coffee and tea. Compared to other psychoactive drugs, caffeine is the most consumed. Caffeine is found in a variety of plants, including coffee and tea (Gutzeit & Ludwig-Muller, 2014). The chemical properties of caffeine are, it is bitter in taste, an alkaloid, and the chemical properties resemble adenine and guanine (Gutzeit & Ludwig-Muller, 2014). Other chemical properties include, soluble in water at high temperatures, and its alkaline in nature (Gutzeit & Ludwig-Muller, 2014). Through chemical analysis and quantifying research, a higher dose of this substance has been associated with toxicity. The effects of this substance, when taken in excess, include insomnia, anxiety, and increased body performance(Gutzeit & Ludwig-Muller, 2014). Caffeine is a stimulant drug, although a food substance.

The chemistry of everyday life regarding caffeine is how it is utilized by the body. Caffeine in coffee or tea, when taken in drink, it is absorbed in the digestive system into the circulatory system and transported to the central nervous system (Taylor, 2012). In the CNS Caffeine is an inhibitor of adenosine by binding to the receptors of adenosine. Still for the chemical life of caffeine, in the body system, this substance must be metabolized and eliminated from the body. The half-life of caffeine is approximately five hours (Taylor, 2012). This substance is metabolized in the liver, where an essential enzyme is used. Through the action of cytochrome p450 oxidase in the liver, caffeine is broken down to paraxanthine, theobromine, and theophylline (Taylor, 2012). The metabolites before getting eliminated, they have effects on the normal body physiology like dilation of the blood vessels (Gutzeit & Ludwig-Muller, 2014). The metabolites are then eliminated through urine.

Conclusion

Regarding the chemistry of everyday life, tobacco and caffeine are substances that stimulate the normal body functions. These two substances are addictive and share some chemical properties. Tobacco can have a lethal effect on the users when compared to caffeine. The other point of concern is what happens when these substances are used together. When used together, it has been proven that tobacco use increases the clearance of caffeine from the body (Gutzeit, &Ludwig-Muller, 2014). In the chemistry of everyday life, tobacco and caffeine levels should be regulated to avoid the adverse effects and addiction.

References

Gorrod, J. W., & Jacob, P. (2009). Analytical determination of nicotine and related compounds

and their metabolites. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Gutzeit, H. O., &Ludwig-Muller, J. (2014). Plant natural products: Synthesis, biological

functions and practical applications. Weinheim: Wiley-blackwell.

Seager, S. L., &Slabaugh, M. R. (2014). Chemistry for today: General, organic, and

biochemistry.

Taylor, J. C. (2012). Advances in chemistry research: Vol. 14. New York: Nova Science

Publishers, Inc.

United States. (2010). How tobacco smoke causes disease: The biology and behavioral basis for

smoking-attributable disease: a report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S.

Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon

General.

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