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How Addictive is Nicotine?

Nicotine is addictive, it’s one of the reasons why cigarette smokers find it so hard to quit the habit. Nicotine dependence beats all other kinds of substance dependence in America. People take to smoking for different reasons. Pressure from friends in the same age group, a relaxed family attitude to smoking, personal inclinations, trying to substitute poor social skills with smoking, and easy availability are factors that influence people into picking up the smoking habit.


While people may pick up smoking for different reasons, they will all face the same difficulties in trying to kick the habit. Once you abuse tobacco, it becomes difficult to give up the habit. Of the people who take to smoking as adolescents, eight out of ten are unable to ever quit the habit. Every week in America, nearly 35 million smokers try to quit smoking. Of these, nearly nine out of ten lapse back into the habit, some of them, within a week. Every second smoker, who suffers a heart attack, is unable to give up smoking even after receiving stern warnings from their physicians.

Cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris has gone on record on more than one occasion stating that they are in the business of selling nicotine. A memo from the now defunct company Brown and Williamson mentions that nicotine is nothing but poison.

Nicotine occurs naturally in tobacco. It enters our system when tobacco leaves are chewed, smoked, or snuffed. It enters the bloodstream via the mucous membranes of the lungs, nose, and mouth. From the blood, this chemical travels to the brain where it acts upon the neurological reward network that influences sensations of pleasure. It stimulates the release of dopamine, not unlike drugs such as cocaine, meth, and heroin. Nicotine affects respiration, increases pulse rate, as well as blood pressure.

Nicotine is insidiously dangerous because its effects, though intense, are short-lived. Users have to return to tobacco to experience the high again. This soon leads to physical dependence and addiction. To prevent withdrawal, users have to keep using tobacco. A small dose of nicotine, usually not more than 2 mg / cigarette, is sufficient to have people hooked on to the habit. These small doses of nicotine from one cigarette add up when you consider than smokers smoke anywhere between ten to sixty cigarettes in a day.

Nicotine addiction is characterized by physical dependence and psychological craving. The former results when smokers achieve a level of tolerance for the chemical, and then have to consume more nicotine to experience the high. Withdrawal is accompanied by uncomfortable symptoms. Psychological dependence, if anything, is more difficult to overcome than physical dependence. It is synonymous with full-blown addiction.

Psychological counseling, accompanied by medication to replace nicotine and to counter withdrawal, is the best way to give up nicotine. Counseling teaches addicts to remold their behavior, recognize triggers related to nicotine consumption and avoid those triggers.

If you need help to quit nicotine, then The Villa Treatment Center can help you win the struggle to break away from the nicotine habit. Our trained recovery experts can answer all your questions and set you on the path to recovery. Call us. 1-818-639-7160