How Bad Is Addiction
Nicotine addiction is dangerous because it increases the risk that a person can be a lifelong tobacco user. Young people are especially susceptible to nicotine addiction because their brains are still developing. Nicotine can rewire the brain to become addicted to other drugs.
Cigarettes are especially dangerous because they contain thousands of harmful chemicals. These chemicals can harm every organ in the body and many increase cancer risk.
Some studies claim e-cigarettes are more addictive, while others say they are less addictive. But e-cigarettes have the ability to deliver nicotine faster and in greater amounts to the brain. For example, high voltage e-cigarettes can heat the vape juice at higher temperatures, causing a greater hit of nicotine.
Nicotine addiction leads to more tobacco use, which can cause more health problems.
Complications of smoking include:
- Pregnancy complications
Tobacco Cessation Tools For The Family Physician
Ask and Act
The U.S. Public Health Service encourages use of the five As as a brief intervention for patients who smoke.16 The AAFP encourages its members and their practice teams to Ask all patients about tobacco use and then Act to help them quit. The AAFPs Ask and Act tobacco cessation program uses an evidence-based strategy based on USPHS recommendations. This easy-to-remember approach provides the opportunity for every member of a practice team to intervene at every visit. The implementation of team-based care offers a significant opportunity to improve the rate of interventions for tobacco use and nicotine dependence. For more information about tobacco cessation tools and interventions, visit www.askandact.org.
Electronic Health Records
Electronic health records allow for integration of evidence-based recommendations into the practice workflow. The AAFP encourages the use of EHRs that include the following:
- A template that prompts clinicians or their practice teams to collect information about tobacco and nicotine use, secondhand smoke exposure, current cessation interest, and past quit attempts
- Clinical decision support that assists clinicians and/or staff in screening for use, encouraging quitting, connecting patients and families to appropriate cessation resources, and advising them about the benefits of smoke-free environments
Tobacco Cessation and Telehealth
Payment and Covered Benefits
Common Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms Include:
As unpleasant as these withdrawal symptoms may be, its important to remember that they are only temporary. They will get better in a few weeks as the toxins are flushed from your body. In the meantime, let your friends and family know that you wont be your usual self and ask for their understanding.
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Organizational Commitments And Acknowledgments
The AAFP provides its members with tools and resources for education, advocacy, and patient care. These resources include toolkits, coding and payment information, and patient education, as well as current guidance and clinical recommendations to help you optimize care for patients struggling with tobacco and nicotine dependence.
The AAFP acknowledges that some religious practices involve the ceremonial use of tobacco. In AAFP policies and position papers, tobacco use exclusively refers to the commercial use of tobacco products. The AAFP has no direct association with organizations involved in the manufacture of tobacco products and urges its members to avoid such association.
The AAFP supports this position by prohibiting the use of tobacco products in all AAFP buildings, at all meetings sponsored by the AAFP, and by physicians and staff while representing the AAFP. The AAFP encourages its chapters to prohibit the use of tobacco products in their offices and at chapter-sponsored meetings. Finally, the AAFP encourages the use of smoke-free meeting and conference spaces whenever possible.
The AAFP acknowledges that due to the 21 U.S.C. § 387g provision of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the FDA is prohibited from requiring the reduction of nicotine yields of a tobacco product to zero.
Why Is Quitting So Hard
We all know the health risks of smoking, but that doesnt make it any easier to kick the habit. Whether youre an occasional teen smoker or a lifetime pack-a-day smoker, quitting can be really tough.
Smoking tobacco is both a physical addiction and a psychological habit. The nicotine from cigarettes provides a temporaryand addictivehigh. Eliminating that regular fix of nicotine causes your body to experience physical withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Because of nicotines feel good effect on the brain, you may turn to cigarettes as a quick and reliable way to boost your outlook, relieve stress, and unwind. Smoking can also be a way of coping with depression, anxiety, or even boredom. Quitting means finding different, healthier ways to cope with those feelings.
Smoking is also ingrained as a daily ritual. It may be an automatic response for you to smoke a cigarette with your morning coffee, while taking a break at work or school, or on your commute home at the end of a hectic day. Or maybe your friends, family, or colleagues smoke, and its become part of the way you relate with them.
To successfully stop smoking, youll need to address both the addiction and the habits and routines that go along with it. But it can be done. With the right support and quit plan, any smoker can kick the addictioneven if youve tried and failed multiple times before.
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Where To Get It And How To Use It
NRT can be bought from pharmacies and some shops. It’s also available on prescription from a doctor or NHS stop smoking service.
It’s available as:
- tablets, oral strips and lozenges
- nasal and mouth spray
Patches release nicotine slowly. Some are worn all the time and some should be taken off at night. Inhalators, gum and sprays act more quickly and may be better for helping with cravings.
There’s no evidence that any single type of NRT is more effective than another. But there is good evidence to show that using a combination of NRT is more effective than using a single product.
Often the best way to use NRT is to combine a patch with a faster acting form such as gum, inhalator or nasal spray.
Treatment with NRT usually lasts 8-12 weeks, before you gradually reduce the dose and eventually stop.
How Nicotine Addiction Works
The reason our mind acts in this way is because of the chemical dopamine. Responsible for stimulating feelings of pleasure and reward, dopamine levels increase as a result of nicotine entering the body.
Dopamine isn’t just released when we intake nicotine. Eating, drinking, or having sex all stimulate the release of dopamine. When dopamine is released, it travels to the dorsal striatum, where it links the activity to our brain’s ability to identify reward. Dopamine also goes to the amygdala. The amygdala helps our brains learn emotional responses. As such, pleasurable memories can be created when using nicotine, causing us to crave the stimulation that the brain knows will release the feel-good chemical dopamine.
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Nicotine Addiction: The Science Behind It Explained
Nicotine is classified as a stimulant, as it accelerates several processes in the human body, adding unhealthy levels of stress. Long-term smokers whove tried to quit know how difficult this task is. When you go for several hours or up to a day without a cigarette, youll feel an uncomfortable, intense craving that feels like an itch you absolutely have to scratch. Nicotine accounts for the physical aspect of addiction, while the habitual nature of smoking explains the psychological aspect of addiction.
Nicotine addiction depends on the presence of nicotine in tobacco products. Nicotine is a colorless or yellowish liquid, used as pesticides and tobacco stimulants. There is a high potential for abuse. High doses carry many risks, such as lung disease, brain damage, aging skin, coronary heart disease, and increased risk of stroke and stomach cancer. Nicotine has mood-altering compounds that provide a pleasing, temporary high that reinforces nicotine use. When you try to quit, you might attempt to use nicotine to reduce the severity of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, which drags you right back into the circle of addiction.
What Health Benefits Happen After Quitting Tobacco And Other Nicotine
Health benefits and repairs begin to happen almost immediately after quitting.
Health benefits after quitting include:
Minutes after quitting:
- Blood nicotine level drops to zero.
After several days:
- Blood carbon monoxide level equals someone who doesnt smoke.
After one to 12 months:
- Coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
After one to two years:
- Heart attack risk drops sharply.
After three to six years:
- Coronary heart disease risk is cut in half.
After five to 10 years:
- Risk of cancers of the mouth, throat and voice box decrease by 50%.
- Stroke risk decreases.
- Risks of cancers of the esophagus, kidney and bladder decrease.
After 10 to 15 years:
- Lung cancer risk drops by 50%.
After 15 years:
- Coronary heart disease drops close to someone who doesnt smoke.
After 20 years:
- Risks of cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box and pancreas drops close to someone who doesnt smoke.
- Cervical cancer decreased by 50%.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/25/2021.
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Questions To Ask Yourself
Take the time to think of what kind of smoker you are, which moments of your life call for a cigarette, and why. This will help you to identify which tips, techniques, or therapies may be most beneficial for you.
Are you a very heavy smoker ? Or are you more of a social smoker? Would a simple nicotine patch do the job?
Are there certain activities, places, or people you associate with smoking? Do you feel the need to smoke after every meal or whenever you break for coffee?
Do you reach for cigarettes when youre feeling stressed or down? Or is your cigarette smoking linked to other addictions, such as alcohol or gambling?
Start your stop smoking plan with START
S = Set a quit date.
Choose a date within the next two weeks, so you have enough time to prepare without losing your motivation to quit. If you mainly smoke at work, quit on the weekend, so you have a few days to adjust to the change.
T = Tell family, friends, and co-workers that you plan to quit.
Let your friends and family in on your plan to quit smoking and tell them you need their support and encouragement to stop. Look for a quit buddy who wants to stop smoking as well. You can help each other get through the rough times.
A = Anticipate and plan for the challenges youll face while quitting.
Most people who begin smoking again do so within the first three months. You can help yourself make it through by preparing ahead for common challenges, such as nicotine withdrawal and cigarette cravings.
Is The Nicotine In Tobacco The Only Reason Why People Become Addicted To Tobacco Products
Nicotine is an addictive chemical. It can be as addictive as other drugs including alcohol and cocaine. Although nicotine is the main addictive substance in tobacco products, its not the only one. Acetaldehyde is another chemical that reinforces nicotine dependence. Having chemicals in your body that affect your brain chemistry and cause addiction is only one part of the addiction puzzle. Other factors play a role in why some people become addicted to tobacco. These include:
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Nicotine Addiction Treatment To Help You Stop Smoking
Some individuals are able to just stop smoking. For others, studies have shown that pharmacological treatment combined with behavioral treatment, including psychological support and skills training to overcome high-risk situations, results in some of the highest long-term abstinence rates. Generally, rates of relapse for smoking cessation are highest in the first few weeks and months and diminish considerably after about 3 months.
Behavioral economic studies find that alternative rewards and reinforcers can reduce cigarette use. One study found that the greatest reductions in cigarette use were achieved when smoking cost was increased in combination with the presence of alternative recreational activities.
Treatment For Nicotine Addiction
Behavioral therapies are similar for nicotine dependence as they are for other drugs, but theyre typically performed on an outpatient basis and may include self-help materials, individual and group counseling, and support groups. While behavioral therapy is effective for treating tobacco dependence, using it together with medication-assisted treatment is more effective than using either treatment option alone.
Nicotine replacement therapies were the first medication-assisted treatments approved by the FDA for smoking cessation therapy. Currently, the FDA approves chewing gum, lozenges, transdermal patches, inhalers, and nasal sprays to deliver low doses of nicotine and relieve withdrawal symptoms while you try to quit. The FDA also approves non-nicotine prescription medications containing bupropion or varenicline to help people quit smoking.
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How To Quit Smoking Nicotine Addiction Treatment
Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN
Tobacco is the most abused drug in the US and the most widespread addiction people try to free themselves of. There are different treatments and methods available for those wondering how to quit smoking, each with different success rates depending on what plan suits the individual. Lets take a look at the benefits of quitting smoking, how to quit smoking ways, types of NRT, useful tips for quitting smoking, and how to find help for addiction.
The Smoking Cessation Pipeline
As discussed above, there is little doubt that currently marketed smoking cessation products increase the chance that committed smokers will stop smoking. However, they reportedly lack high levels of efficacy, show wide variation in success rates across studies, and are associated with adverse side effects. Consequently, there is a compelling need for more effective smoking cessation drugs. In an effort to fill this gap, a host of pharmaceutical companies and research institutions are addressing the huge potential for the development of novel smoking cessation products that interfere with nicotine signalling with significant clinical advantage. Most notably the programmed launch of nicotine vaccines is likely to satisfy some of this demand. After vaccines, monoamine type B inhibitors are the next class of therapy likely to be launched on the market. Conversely, the promising cannabinoid receptor 1 receptors have failed further development for smoking cessation therapy because of concerns regarding their safety profile.
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What Is Nicotine Withdrawal
Nicotine creates a chemical dependency so that the body develops a need for a certain level of nicotine at all times. Unless that level is maintained — by smoking or chewing tobacco — your body will begin to go through withdrawal. So, when you stop, your body goes through a very uncomfortable, but short-lived withdrawal process. This is why nicotine replacement is helpful for people trying to quit cigarettes — it reduces these unpleasant feelings.
Going through nicotine withdrawal can be tough. Because smoking affects so many parts of your body, nicotine withdrawal involves physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral symptoms, including irritability, insomnia, anxiety, and increased appetite.
Youâll have intense cravings for a cigarette. Youâll be angry, irritable, and restless. Youâll have headaches and a cough. Youâll be tired but wonât be able to sleep.
But hang in there! Most withdrawal symptoms peak 48 hours after you quit and subside over the next 3 to 4 weeks.
When it ends, the nicotine will be out of your system. Youâll be healthier than youâve been in a long time.
Before you quit, itâs wise to have a plan for getting through these withdrawals. Youâll have an easier time if youâre mentally prepared and have some strategies for how to deal with your symptoms.
How To Find Help With A Smoking Addiction
Quitting smoking is no easy task, but its certainly possible. It requires determination, medications that help you to deal with the physical and psychological components of nicotine addiction, a structured recovery plan, and a strong support system, which may be your family, friends, or nicotine anonymous. That is why the initial process is best not done at home. A drug rehabilitation program offers you the tools you need to successfully free yourself of the addiction and healthy information on how to avoid relapsing once you integrate yourself back into that real world. It may include medications, behavioral techniques, and support groups which will help successfully break free from smoking addiction and drastically improve your long-term health.
Hope Without Commitment
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What To Do If You Slip Or Relapse
Most people try to stop smoking several times before they kick the habit for good, so dont beat yourself up if you slip up and smoke a cigarette. Instead, turn the relapse into a rebound by learning from your mistake. Analyze what happened right before you started smoking again, identify the triggers or trouble spots you ran into, and make a new stop-smoking plan that eliminates them.
Its also important to emphasize the difference between a slip and a relapse. If you start smoking again, it doesnt mean that you cant get back on the wagon. You can choose to learn from the slip and let it motivate you to try harder or you can use it as an excuse to go back to your smoking habit. But the choice is yours. A slip doesnt have to turn into a full-blown relapse.
Youre not a failure if you slip up. It doesnt mean you cant quit for good.
Dont let a slip become a mudslide. Throw out the rest of the pack. Its important to get back on the non-smoking track as soon as possible.
Look back at your quit log and feel good about the time you went without smoking.
Find the trigger. Exactly what was it that made you smoke again? Decide how you will cope with that issue the next time it comes up.
Learn from your experience. What has been most helpful? What didnt work?
Are you using a medicine to help you quit? Call your doctor if you start smoking again. Some medicines cannot be used if youre smoking at the same time.