Why Is Smoking So Addictive
There are three essential mechanisms at play affecting the way people get addicted to cigarettes, and the combination makes for the most powerfully addictive legal substance on the market today.
The addiction process with tobacco products starts before you ever even try your first cigarette. Big Tobacco spends billions of dollars every year on their marketing campaigns, and their research has developed the best ways to reach consumers despite the tight restrictions placed upon them by the FDA.
Tobacco companies have notoriously targeted minors in their marketing tactics because the youth of today are the smokers of tomorrow. The companies have zero regard for the health impact that smoking has on people, they are just looking to expand their customer base as much as possible so that they can make as much money as possiblethe standard goal of almost any company.
The industry has gotten really good at reaching youth indirectly, by just integrating into their culture and this makes the advertising even more effective. The problem is that young brains are still developing, so adding an addictive substance like nicotine to a minors developmental process leads to an even stronger lifetime addiction. The younger you are when you try cigarettes, the more likely you are to become addicted.
Physical Addiction to Nicotine
Vaping Vs Regular Cigarettes
Weighing the pros and cons of vaping versus smoking is difficult to do. On the one hand, e-cigarettes likely do not produce 7,000 chemicalssome of which cause cancerwhen they are activated, like regular combustible cigarettes do. However, the aerosol from a vape device has not been proven safe. Studies have found that it contains lead and volatile organic compounds, some of which are linked to cancer. Researchers are still gathering data on the possible long-term health effects from vaping. Its notable that e-cigarettes have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as smoking cessation devices. However, e-cigarettes may be a better choice for adult smokers if they completely replace smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
But where nicotine levels are concerned, a newer and popular type of vape device, called a pod mod, outcompetes many other e-cigarette devices. The form of nicotine in these pods is estimated to be 2 to 10 times more concentrated than most free-base nicotine found in other vape liquids. A single pod from one vape manufacturer contains 0.7 mL of nicotine, which is about the same as 20 regular cigarettes.
Despite its extremely addictive nature, people can successfully quit using nicotine with personalized approaches, especially under the guidance of physicians who understand addiction.
Who Is Most Likely To Become Addicted
Anyone who starts using tobacco can become addicted to nicotine. Studies show that smoking is most likely to become a habit during the teen years. The younger you are when you begin to smoke, the more likely you are to become addicted to nicotine.
According to the 2014 Surgeon Generals Report , nearly 9 out of 10 adults who smoke started before age 18, and nearly all started by age 26. The report estimates that about 3 out of 4 high school students who smoke will become adults who smoke even if they intend to quit in a few years.
Recommended Reading: How To Tell If You Are Addicted
Ways To Resist Tobacco Cravings
If youre trying to quit smoking, congratulations! You have already taken the first step towards success.
Here are some ways you can successfully quit tobacco!
Its never too late to start with a new journey in life. Everything is possible and so is quitting tobacco. Its all about staying determined with a goal in mind. If you can stay mentally strong, nobody can stop you from being physically strong and decide what habits to adopt in life.
Go slow, be patient, every step counts.
If you do not consume tobacco, but know anyone who does, help them quit by sharing this blog with them! Your efforts count.
Stay healthy, stay fit.
Cultivation At Commercial Level:
Europeans then started cultivating it on the commercial basis. In the year 1530, they cultivated it in the colonized areas and exported it back to Europe. In that time smoking also got its popularity in the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Pipe became popular in that time when a large number of European colonists returned to their homeland from Virginia and introduced smoking of clay pipes in the English society as a fashion, which seduced many families to travel in Virginia and make money out of it. At the same time, other European countries like France and Spain also adopted the fashion of Pipes.
On the rise of 17th Century, the Tobacco selling started on a commercial basis. About 25,000 pounds of tobacco was being imported from Europe. However, in very next century this amount increased to about 38 million pounds.
Genetics Of Nicotine Addiction
Studies in twins have shown a high degree of heritability of cigarette smoking , including the level of dependence and the number of cigarettes smoked daily. These studies have also revealed the heritability of the particular symptoms that occur when a smoker stops smoking.
Numerous attempts have been made to identify genes underlying nicotine addiction. Such studies are problematic because multiple genes and environmental factors determine complex behavior, and the many different dependence phenotypes may have different genetic underpinnings. Candidate genes coding for nicotine-receptor subtypes, dopamine receptors and dopamine transporters, GABA receptors, opiate and cannabinoid receptors, and other types of receptors have been associated with different aspects of smoking behavior. Subsequent research, however, has not replicated many of the initial findings.
The Unique Attributes That Make Nicotine Cravings Persist
Nicotine, alcohol, heroin, or any drug of abuse works by hijacking the brains reward system, says Yale researcher Nii Addy, PhD, who specializes in the neurobiology of addiction. The reward system wasnt meant for drugsit evolved to interact with natural neurotransmitters already present in the body, like acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is used to activate muscles in our body. The reason nicotine fits into a receptor meant for acetylcholine is because the two have very similar shapes, biochemically speaking, Addy explains.
Once nicotine binds to that receptor, it sends a signal to the brain to release a well-known neurotransmitterdopaminewhich helps create a feel-good feeling. Dopamine is part of the brains feedback system that says whatever just happened felt good and trains the brain to repeat the action. But nicotine, unlike other drugs such as alcohol, quickly leaves the body once it is broken down by the liver. Once its gone, the brain craves nicotine again.
Read Also: How Do I Get Over My Sugar Addiction
How Can I Stop Using Nicotine
If you have tried to quit using tobacco before, dont get down about it. Kicking a nicotine habit is one of the hardest things to do. Luckily, there are many products and therapies that can help you.
A variety of Nicotine Replacement Therapy products, in the form of gums, patches, lozenges and sprays, can replace the nicotine that smokers crave. These products can also get rid of the physical withdrawal symptoms most people have when they try to quit.
Nicotine Effects And Abuse
Nicotine abuse is unique because the drugs intoxicating effects are less intense than most other substances. Although it is a Stimulant, Nicotine doesnt produce the high levels of energy or euphoria that drugs like Cocaine do. Nicotine does, however, stimulate adrenal glands, which causes a rise in blood pressure and respiration.
Most people pick up Nicotine products based on a cultural perception that use of the drug is cool. Studies have shown that teens who see actors smoking in movies are more likely to pick up the habit. Most people who use tobacco started in their teens.
Of those who smoke, 90% started by the age of 18.
– A Surgeon General’s Report in 2012
For those who started smoking at a young age, quitting later in life can be even harder.
You May Like: What Is The Medical Model Of Addiction
How Addictive Is Vaping Really
Doctors, psychologists, and other health professionals always recommend treating addiction with a multifaceted approach, but no one can argue with the fact that nicotine is addictive. So addictive, in fact, that the National Institutes of Health call it as addictive heroin and cocaine.
When a person inhales nicotine, it gets absorbed into the blood and starts affecting the brain in just 10 seconds. Nicotine disrupts the normal relationship between a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine and the receptors that acetylcholine attaches to. Without that interruption, ACh plays an important role in muscle contraction, memory, cognition and more.
When nicotine attaches to ACh receptors in place of ACh, it triggers a number of chemical reactions that result in temporary feel-good sensations. Those sensations include relaxation, alertness or focus, calmness and euphoria. But those sensations are short-lived, usually subsiding within minutes, because your body removes the substance so quickly — just two hours after ingesting nicotine, about half will already be gone.
No matter how you inhale nicotine — regular cigarette or e-cigarette — it’s still an addictive substance.
Nicotine’s pleasurable effects combined with its short half-life leave people feeling like they need another dose soon after the first one. This results in a vicious cycle of addiction.
Why Is It So Hard To Quit Tobacco
Stopping or cutting back on tobacco causes symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Withdrawal is both physical and mental. Physically, your body is reacting to the absence of nicotine. Mentally, you are faced with giving up a habit, which calls for a major change in behavior. Emotionally, you might feel like as if youve lost your best friend. Studies have shown that smokeless tobacco users have as much trouble giving up tobacco as people who want to quit smoking cigarettes.
People who have used tobacco regularly for a few weeks or longer will have withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop or greatly reduce the amount they use. Theres no danger in nicotine withdrawal, but the symptoms can be uncomfortable. They usually start within a few hours and peak about 2 to 3 days later when most of the nicotine and its by-products are out of the body. Withdrawal symptoms can last a few days to up to several weeks. They get better every day that a person stays tobacco-free.
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can include any of the following:
- Feelings of frustration, impatience, and anger
- Trouble sleeping, including trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and having bad dreams or even nightmares
- Trouble concentrating
Don’t Miss: Can You Get Addicted To Percocet
Recent Research Sheds New Light On Why Nicotine Is So Addictive
It’s not just rewarding to the brain by itself it also enhances and prolongs the pleasure we get from other activities
Although our society currently finds itself focused on the tragic epidemic of opioid overdoses, there remains no better example of the deadly power of addiction than nicotine. The measure of a drugs addictiveness is not how much pleasure it causes but how reinforcing it isthat is, how much it leads people to keep using it. Nicotine does not produce the kind of euphoria or impairment that many other drugs like opioids and marijuana do. People do not get high from smoking cigarettes or vaping. Yet nicotines powerful ability to reinforce its relatively mild rewards results in 480,000 deaths annually.
But research continues to provide new insights into the reinforcing effects of nicotine, and we now know that nicotines insidiousness as a reinforcer goes beyond its ability to promote smoking , extending to other non-nicotine drugs and even to non-drug rewards.
This secondary reinforcing effect may contribute to the difficulty smokers have when trying to quit. It is not simply that they crave nicotine and feel withdrawal symptoms in its absence. It is also that other activities are not as enjoyable or motivating to them in the absence of nicotine. This is valuable knowledge that may help us design new prevention strategies and smoking cessation treatments.
Why Do I Smoke Quiz
Its no secret that smoking or chewing tobacco is dangerous for your health. Many people try to quit and are successful. Still, many others try to quit and fail. That may be due to the addictive nature of smoking or chewing tobacco. These habits cause changes in your body and in the way you act. The changes in your body are caused by an addiction to nicotine. Thats the main ingredient in tobacco products. The changes in the way you act developed over time as you bought tobacco smoke products, lit them, and smoked them, or started using chewing tobacco. These changes have become habit.
When you have a tobacco habit, many things seem to go along with having a cigarette or a dip or chew. These might include having a cup of coffee or an alcoholic drink, being stressed or worried, talking on the phone, driving, socializing with friends, or wanting something to do with your hands or mouth.
You also may be facing pressures from friends who use tobacco products. Dont let anyone or anything convince you that its okay to smoke or chew. If you need help to say no, there are people who can help you. Talk to someone you can trust, like a teacher, a school counselor, or your family doctor.
Also Check: How To Get Relief From Drug Addiction
The Deadly Effects Of Tobacco Addiction
PRINT THIS PAGE
Addiction: A chronic disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and abuse and by long-lasting chemical and molecular changes in the brain.
Tobacco is one of the most heavily used addictive products in the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse . In 2004, 70.3 million people used tobacco at least once in the month before being interviewed. That is more than 25 percent of the U.S. population 12 and older.
Nicotine is the main ingredient in tobacco that causes addiction. Research shows that nicotine activates the parts of the brain that control feelings of pleasure. Nicotine works fast. Drug levels peak within 10 seconds of inhalation. Within a few minutes, the effects of nicotine disappear. To keep feeling good, a smoker takes another puff or lights another cigarette.
Smoking harms every organ in the body. Cigarette smoking accounts for about one-third of all cancer deaths, including those from lung cancer. In fact, cigarette smoking has been linked to about 90 percent of all lung cancer cases. Research shows that smoking increases the risk of heart disease. Smokers harm others as well as themselves through secondhand smoke.
Teens and Tobacco
Secondhand Smoke: A Real Danger
The Deadly Effects
Protecting Yourself and Others
Overcoming Tobacco Addiction
Quitting Has Immediate Health Benefits
Treating Withdrawal from Nicotine
Causes & Risk Factors
Anyone who smokes or uses other forms of tobacco is at risk of developing nicotine dependence. Various factors influence who is more likely to use tobacco and to develop nicotine dependence:
- Genetics: Heredity may determine how receptors in the brain respond to high doses of nicotine delivered by tobacco products.
- Family and friends: Children with parents who smoke are more likely to eventually take up smoking themselves. Children with friends who smoke are also more likely to try cigarettes.
- Age: The younger a person is when they start using tobacco, the greater the chance that they will continue to smoke and develop nicotine dependence as adults.
- Co-existing mental health problems: People with mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia, have much higher rates of tobacco use.
- Other substance use: People who use alcohol, cannabis and illegal drugs have much higher rates of tobacco use.
You May Like: How To Get Away From Addiction
Options For Quitting Smoking
Most people who smoke want to quit. They know that their habit is detrimental to their health, yet they cannot seem to stop lighting up. Some people try nicotine replacement therapies, which are highly effective but also very expensive. Tobacco alternatives are less expensive and give you the nicotine you crave, the ritual you enjoy, but nothing you dont want. These are a viable option if you are 21 or older and you are trying to quit smoking but struggling to give up the actual activity in addition to the nicotine.
Some people use reduction methods, cutting back gradually on the amount of nicotine they deliver to their bodies in order to diminish withdrawal effects. And counseling is an option that more and more people are using. Cognitive-behavioral counseling will help you kick the habit through a system of reinforcement you set up with a trained psychologist, and traditional therapies help you get to the bottom of issues that may be causing you to self-medicate with cigarettes.
Are There Other Chemicals That May Contribute To Tobacco Addiction
Research is showing that nicotine may not be the only ingredient in tobacco that affects its addictive potential.
Smoking is linked with a marked decrease in the levels of monoamine oxidase , an important enzyme that is responsible for the breakdown of dopamine, as well as a reduction in MAO binding sites in the brain.42 This change is likely caused by some as-yet-unidentified ingredient in tobacco smoke other than nicotine, because we know that nicotine itself does not dramatically alter MAO levels.Animal research suggests that MAO inhibition makes nicotine more reinforcing, but more studies are needed to determine whether MAO inhibition affects human tobacco dependence.42
Animal research has also shown that acetaldehyde, another chemical in tobacco smoke created by the burning of sugars added as sweeteners, dramatically increases the reinforcing properties of nicotine and may also contribute to tobacco addiction.43
Read Also: How To Stop Being Addicted To Love
A Vaping Addiction Is About More Than The Nicotine
Nicotine is addictive, yes. But there are other reasons why people become addicted to e-cigarettes, reasons that have to do with a person’s environment, social and family settings, mental health, coping mechanisms, and other factors.
“Cravings are both mental and physical,” Dr. Kevin Gilliland, Psy.D., executive director of Innovation360, wrote to CNET. He explains that we physically feel the desire to get nicotine and that, “Our brains are connecting the dots by seeing something and expecting a response . It’s what we call a habit.”
It all depends on what environments, people and physical actions and items a person has associated with e-cigarettes, but the end result is always the same, says Gilliland. Put yourself in a habitual situation, and you’ll crave the missing part of that situation. In this case, the missing piece is an e-cigarette.
Aside from actual physical settings, emotions are a huge driver in addiction . For example, if you associate ice cream with happiness and comfort, there’s a good chance you’ll use ice cream as a way to feel better when you’re down. The more you do that, the more you depend on ice cream to help your body release feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin.
The same concept goes for e-cigarettes. If e-cigarettes make you feel better when you feel sad, stressed or otherwise emotionally uncomfortable, and you use e-cigarettes as a coping mechanism, you’ll begin to turn to your e-cigarette whenever you feel those uncomfortable emotions.