How Addictive Is Nicotine?

How Addictive Is Nicotine?

Cigarettes and Nicotine

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), nicotine is one of thousands of chemicals that make up tobacco products, such as smokeless, cigars, and cigarettes. It is one of the most used chemicals in the world, at least legally, as tobacco products are one of the most consumed substances. It is a naturally occurring chemical that acts as a stimulant in small doses.

The Use of Nicotine

According to the Mayo Clinic, tobacco products are the cause of nearly 90 percent of lung cancers that are diagnosed in the United States. Because of the sheer amount of nicotine that is used by tobacco consumers, the question is how addictive nicotine actually is, if at all.

The American Heart Association (AHA) states that because many people use tobacco products on a recurring basis, the brain and the body become reliant on the stimulus of the nicotine that naturally occurs in tobacco. The AHA research concerning nicotine and the body shows that the brain seeks to reproduce the elevation of mood and feelings of relaxation that come with nicotine. As with any other substance, nicotine can be addictive if used too much and is very difficult to quit.

Quitting Nicotine Use

Nicotine is one of the most difficult substances to quit. Like any other addiction, nicotine has a withdrawal period that may be difficult to deal with. It includes severe cravings that may be hard to ignore.

The Surgeon General of the United States issued a warning to consumers in 1989 that told people that the physical cravings and addictive properties of nicotine were similar to cocaine or heroin, which are well known as very dangerous and very hard to quit.

The AHA and the Mayo Clinic recommend slowly and gradually quitting the use of tobacco products because the long-term effects of the nicotine in the system combined with the tar and smoke inhalation can drastically reduce health and quality of life.

Substance Abuse Help

If you or someone you love is dealing with addiction, there is help available. Please call our toll-free helpline to speak with an admission coordinator who can help connect you with the treatment options that may be right for you and your situation. Lines are open 24 hours a day.