5 Questions People Ask About Tobacco and Health

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

Dr. Howell

Smoking is among the leading causes of death in the US. In fact it is the most preventable cause of death. But why is it that amidst the awareness campaign against smoking, millions of people still fall victims to this deadly habit? Below are 5 common questions people ask about tobacco and health that might help you understand why smoking might be more dangerous than what you think it is.

Is tobacco highly addictive?

Addiction is characterized by repeated or habitual seeking and use of a substance regardless of its harmful effects and undesirable consequences. Nicotine found in tobacco is an addictive substance. In fact, it is as addictive as heroin and cocaine. It creates a pleasant feeling every time you puff the cigarette, leaving you wanting more. It affects your brain and central nervous system which are responsible for the “feel good” sensation. It also gives you adrenaline shots enough to raise your blood pressure. However, these sensations brought by nicotine wear down after a few minutes. As a result, you experience withdrawal symptoms, which will only go away if you satisfy your daily dose of nicotine. But the problem is, the more you smoke the deeper your addiction gets, and the stronger the withdrawal symptoms become. This is the reason why some smokers end up smoking at least 2 packs of cigarettes a day.

What does nicotine do to my body?

If taken in large dosage, nicotine is a poisonous substance which can cause immediate death. But when taken in small amounts, it delivers pleasurable sensations.  Most smokers say that smoking makes them feel alert and awake. And for some, it makes them feel calm and relaxed.

Scientifically, smoking increases your heart beat, lowers your skin temperature, and reduces heart flow. It also increases your risk of cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer. Contrary to what most people think, nicotine does not directly causes cancer, it is actually the other chemicals found in tobacco smoke. But this doesn’t change the fact that nicotine harms your body.

How strong is nicotine addiction?

In the above paragraph we said that nicotine is as addictive as heroin and cocaine – to note, these drugs are two of the most addictive substance. Every year, around 70% of smokers wanted to quit, half of this number tried to actually quit, and from this group only 4 to 7 percent were successful. This can be attributed to the strong physical and psychological dependence of smokers to nicotine. They would often require external support and various treatments to successfully overcome their addiction to nicotine.


Why do people start smoking?

Among the common reasons are peer pressure, a smoking adult at home and tobacco company’s ads and campaign propaganda. Most smokers started to smoke when they were in their teens. Those teens with parents or friends who smoke are more likely to start smoking earlier in life than those who don’t. Some teens would simply want to try or they think that smoking would make them look “cool”.

Tobacco companies spend millions of dollars just to make their ads more appealing to teens and younger populations. Also price breaks and other promotions have a big impact.



Who are most likely to be addicted?

Anyone can be addicted to nicotine. Researches even show that smoking can easily form into a habit during teen years. The younger the smoker starts smoking the greater possibility that he or she becomes addicted to nicotine until later in life.

Smoking is very addictive and anyone who starts smoking either at a younger age or later in life can get easily addicted to nicotine. It takes only a single cigarette to start a lingering habit that can forever harm your health. The best way to avoid the habit of smoking is not to try at all. Smoking is blamed for the many preventable deaths in the US. Don’t let yourself fall victim.


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