Addiction to Smoking

Addiction to smoking implies an individual’s irrepressible dependence on cigarettes to such a degree that an addict who relinquishes smoking is distressed by emotional, mental, or physical reactions that are serious in nature.

Every individual is aware of the fact that smoking is injurious to health as well as addictive, but few people fail to understand how dangerous and addictive it is.

Smoking is addictive simply due to the fact that nicotine, the drug present in tobacco, results in addiction. Nicotine penetrates the bloodstream through lungs when the smoke is drawn in and through the lining of the mouth (also referred to as buccal mucosa) when tobacco is chewed or orally snuffed. Nicotine is also taken in through the nose from nasal snuff, which was prevalent in the 18th century.

Psychoactive Drug

  • Nicotine is a psychoactive drug that has a stimulating impact on the electrical activity of the brain.
  • It also has soothing effects, particularly during stress, together with its influence on hormonal and other systems all through the body.
  • Although its subjective outcome are less impressive and apparent in contrast to certain other addictive drugs, smoking doses of nicotine triggers activation of pleasure centers in the brain such as the mesolimbic dopamine system, which may justify the contentment, and addictiveness of smoking.

Smokers become used to nicotine and can acquire higher doses without showing any bodily discomfort when they initially commenced smoking. The majority of the undesirable consequences of cigarette withdrawal is attributed to nicotine deficiency and is eased through nicotine substitution such as nicotine chewing gum or the nicotine patch.

Like other addictions, many people encounter problems while trying to quit smoking, and without proper assistance the majority of smokers are unsuccessful in spite of making several attempts. Even after discontinuing smoking in a successful manner for sometime, most fall back within 2 to 3 months. More disturbing possibly than the intensity of the addiction is the effortlessness with which it develops. Although teenagers begin to smoke for psychosocial causes, the nicotine’s effects quickly acquire domination.

Studies reveal that the use of tobacco generally commences in the early stages of adolescence, and those who start smoking at an early age are more prone to develop serious nicotine addiction in contrast to those who commence smoking at a later age. Every day numerous adolescents smoke their first cigarette and a significant proportion of them turn out to be habitual smokers.

Smoking can be termed as a physical addiction that generates a chain reaction in the body: Nicotine has an effect on receptors generally employed by one of the major neurotransmitters in the brain and nervous system or acetylcholine. Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers discharged by nerve cells in order to link with other cells by modifying their electrical activity.