The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines addiction as the “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal.”
You often hear that smoking is highly addictive. That once you puff you can’t stop. But in fact, the act of smoking itself is really not addictive. What is addictive is the nicotine found in cigarette smoke. It messes how your brain works and associate nicotine addiction to every act of smoking thus forming a habit.
But how can you tell that you’re experiencing chronic smoking addiction? Some of the common signs are as follows:
- You smoke 2 or more packs of cigarettes in a single day. It simply means that your nicotine addiction is on the advance stage. An average smoker would smoke 20 sticks of cigarettes a day. More than this number will qualify you as chronic smoker.
- You often leave work or what you’re doing to smoke or you smoke every after a few minutes. This uncontrollable craving to light a cigarette can be a sign that your addiction is severe. The faster you crave for a cigarette the more nicotine your body requires. This only means that your body requires higher dose of nicotine.
- You’ve been smoking for more than 5 years. You can get addicted to nicotine after smoking just a few cigarettes. If you’ve been smoking for more than 5 years already you have already turned smoking into a habit. You most likely smoke in the morning when you wake up or after having a cup of coffee, you smoke on office breaks, or every chance you have.
- You feel worried if the situation won’t allow you to smoke. This is a common sign for most regular and chronic smokers. This can mean that nicotine has already altered how their brain works that it always anticipate for the satisfaction of the daily dose of nicotine.
- You become uneasy if you can’t smoke. Once your daily dose of nicotine is not met, you start to feel depressed, irritable, unable to focus, feel anxious, restless, and you feel extreme craving for a cigarette. The uneasiness you feel together with the unexplained emotions are part of what is called withdrawal symptoms. The stronger these symptoms are that stronger your addiction is. But don’t worry if you decide to quit smoking now, these symptoms will wean off after a few weeks.
- You thought of quitting but failed to act on it or failed while trying. The more and the longer you smoker, the stronger your addiction is and the harder it is for you to quit. If you’re a chronic smoker, more likely, you’ll find it more difficult to quit and would have to try quitting several times before you can successfully quit. This may even require you to use combination of smoking cessation aids like nicotine replacement therapy and quit smoking drugs (Chantix). But make sure to seek the opinion of your doctor before using any product to help you quit smoking.
Whether you’re a regular or a chronic smoker, quitting can be very difficult. But it is important to remember that your addiction will continue to grow if you feed it. You stop it, you experience the withdrawal symptoms, they go away, and you’re fine. But it may not come this easy. Quitting smoking is a lifelong process. It requires strong resolve and good support from everyone around you. It is never too late to quit if you quit smoking now.