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Posted by on Friday, October 9, 2009, 13:27
This news item was posted in Chemical Dependency category and has 2 Comments so far.

The most remarkable thing about nicotine is that it is by far the most addictive of all substances, tobacco company propaganda not with standing despite the fact that it does not produce a very dramatic high. The ration of users who become dependent is higher for nicotine that for any other substance, including heroine.

More then 95 percent of smokers ultimately become hooked on cigarettes, whereas fewer than 10 percent of drinkers become hooked on alcohol. The unpleasant nicotine withdrawal symptoms probably explain the high rates of relapse among those who attempt to quit smoking.

These begin within a few hours of nicotine deprivation and include intense cravings, anxiety, difficulty concentration, agitation, depressed mood, increase appetite etc. Although more than 80 percent of smokers want to kick the habit, only 5 percent are successful on their own. The use of nicotine patch raises success rates to 20 percent.

Nicotine addiction can develop with any of the tobacco vehicles, including cigarettes, pipes, cigars, shew, and snuff. The greatest danger in cigarette smoking  comes not from the nicotine, but from the dreadful health impact of the tars and gaseous waste products. The patch and nicotine chewing gum are also addictive, but much less likely to cause medical complications.

The severity of the dependence is related to the rapidity of absorption and the amount of the nicotine , with smoking being more addictive than the oral or transdermal modes of administration. Paradoxically, the attempt to lower nicotine content in cigarettes turns out to be counterproductive since it encourages people to smoke more cigarettes, inhale more deeply, smoke down to the butt, and cover the filter with their fingers, all of which increase the overall exposure to the more harmful tars.

The despicably deceptive  marketing promotions of the tobacco industry are by now legendary. Campaign have been targeted as teenagers, women who want to be slim, and minority groups. Fewer than half of all people have have ever smoked will eventually stop smoking.

Certain smoker characteristics are predictors of success in beating the habit. Those who have smoked many packs a day for many years experience more problems in stopping. People who smoke immediately after waking up in the morning, who smoke more in earlier part of the day, and those who cannot stop for even one day are particularly hard cases.

Six months after quitting smoking, half the people still report having a desire to smoke within the prior twenty four hours. This shows the remarkably powerful and endearingly addictive effects of nicotine.

Nicotine addiction is the most preventable of all the causes of serious public health problems. Smoking increases the risk of lung and mouth cancers, other lung diseases, heart disease, strokes, and ulcers. Smoking in pregnant women increases the risk of low birth weight and other fetal complications. Fortunately, widespread education about nicotine has been a great public health success story and the number of smokers in the United States and Canada has declined to about 30 percent of the adult population.

Treating the problem and using the new methods of treating nicotine addiction that are nor available may help reduce this proportion further. Reduced advertising and stricter controls on teenage use may also further prevention efforts. This is no time for complacency. Tobacco use is responsible for four hundred thousand deaths a year or the equivalent of four jumbo jets going down every day.

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2 Responses to “Nicotine”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ellen Hoenig Carlson and Cure Pages. Cure Pages said: Nicotine: The most remarkable thing about nicotine is that it is by far the most addictive of all substances […]

  2. […] Report on Smoking and Health summarized over 30,000 studies that implicated cigarette smoking and nicotine as a significant cause of early death and disability in the United […]

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