Nicotine Addiction

Nicotine Addiction is Real

Researchers have found that nicotine acts on the same area of the brain as cocaine or heroin. If you smoke, consider this: after you finish a cigarette, your body immediately exhibits withdrawal symptoms, causing you to crave another cigarette. You must smoke another and another and another.

Does this sound familiar? Nicotine addiction is real. Changes in brain receptors caused by nicotine entice people to smoke more. Like other addictive drugs, nicotine causes unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Historically, nicotine addiction is the toughest addiction to try to break.

Nicotine has the dual ability to act as a sedative or a stimulant. Cigarettes are scientifically proven to create a sense of well-being, increase short-term memory, enhance clarity, keep anger in-check, alleviate minor depression and elevate mood.

A Day in the Life of a Smoker

Nicotine AddictionPeople who smoke hold a particular affection for their first cigarette each morning. That nicotine rush intensifies dopamine activity in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. In simple language, the first few cigarettes each day cause pleasing sensations.

As the day goes on, nicotine is not as “rewarding”, so that smokers keep trying to recreate pleasure by increasing the amount of cigarettes. The body has developed a tolerance and requires greater quantities of nicotine.

Perhaps you’ve heard a smoker remark something like, “smoking more now but enjoying it less”.

Nicotine Addiction Statistics

It is extremely easy for tweens or teens to get hooked on smoking. Young people’s first hit of nicotine causes about a 26% addiction rate; after 5-9 cigarettes, the probability factor rises to an estimated 44% addiction rate. Most kids, who start smoking, are on average 12-13 years old.

Smoking as few as six cigarettes can cause withdrawal symptoms if you try to quit. This means smoking less than 1/2 pack of cigarettes, puts you at risk for addiction.

The brain receptors undergo permanent changes as a result of smoking. Once you are addicted, the nicotine cravings will never leave you alone.

Researchers have found that during the process of quitting smoking, the average person has about six craving occurrences each day until the 5th day post-quitting. Occurrences will then start to decline. Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal typically last around two weeks.

However, approximately 80% of ex-smokers pick up the habit again if they lapse and smoke one cigarette.

Proving again, the only way to quit smoking is one day at a time!

Useful Resources:

Nicotine Addiction, Health Canada

Is Nicotine Addictive? National Institute on Drug Abuse

BBC Health

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