Tobacco, Nicotine, and Addiction

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

The 3 Week Diet

Why people smoke?

If you ask a smoker why he/she smoke, you’ll often get fascinating answers. For instance, smoking help them relax or concentrate on a particular task. Still some would say it help them kill time or deal with boredom. But in the end of the day, it all boils to one thing – nicotine is addictive.
Portrait Of Female Yoga Hands At The BeachFurthermore, tobacco companies designed cigarettes to efficiently deliver nicotine. This means smokers can easily maintain the nicotine level in their blood by simply increasing or decreasing their cigarette consumption.


What is nicotine and why it is so addictive?

Nicotine is a potent compound naturally found in tobacco as its defense mechanism to insects. It is a poisonous chemical. Its molecular structure is similar to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. Acetylcholine is associated with your brain’s reward system. As soon as 10 seconds after your first puff, nicotine starts to impact your brain, causing a subtle high. The effects of nicotine in your brain depends on the dosage or amount of nicotine in your blood. It creates a pseudo positive effect such as increased concentration, and relaxation.

The effects of nicotine in your brain is complex. It influences and messes with your brains the way cocaine and amphetamines do. Aside from nicotine other addictive compounds are also found in cigarette like acetaldehyde, which increases the pleasurable properties of nicotine – making smoking more addictive.

Other Factors

Factors concerning the smoker’s response to nicotine is quite complicated as addiction itself. Only a fraction of smokers can tolerate smoking still remain not addicted to nicotine. Research suggests that your genes influence how addicted to smoking you become. Certain genetic profile makes it difficult for people to quit smoking, this very same profile makes them vulnerable to lung cancer. For instance research suggest that women find it more difficult to quit smoking than men. Also, people with darker skin have more difficulties quitting than with lighter ones.

Tobacco companies have long known the addictive properties of nicotine, but have chosen to deny it for some very obvious reasons – profit. In fact, they have been spending millions of dollars on researches how to make cigarettes more addictive and attractive to the public. They even invest in multi-million campaigns to encourage smoking among the youth – though they actually deny it.


Quitting Smoking is Easy

Most smokers would tell you that quitting smoking is hard. Maybe because they never really tried to give up smoking and that they have reservations. If you want to quit smoking for good, you need to first, accept the fact that smoking is addictive and harmful to your health, and second, that you need help.

Looking for a good support group is as important as finding the right smoking cessation aid to make your quit much easier. Your family and friends are two of the most important support groups that you can get. Tell them that you’re quitting and that you are seeking their help. You’ll find their company very helpful, especially during the first weeks of your quit.

You can also find over the counter and prescription drugs to help you deal with the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine. Talk to your doctor about your choices.



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