Nicotine and tobacco addiction

Tobacco and nicotine

Tobacco is a substance that is widely abused around the globe. It is highly addictive. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco is responsible for 6,000,000 deaths each year. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that tobacco causes 6 million deaths per year.

Nicotine is the most addictive substance in tobacco. When absorbed into the bloodstream or inhaled through cigarette smoke, it causes an adrenaline rush. Nicotine can also increase dopamine. It is often referred to as the “happy” brain chemical.

Dopamine stimulates an area of the mind associated with reward and pleasure. As with any drug, tobacco use over time can lead to physical and psychological dependence. The same is true for tobacco products that are not smokeless, like snuff or chewing tobacco.

About 70% of adult smokers in 2011 said that they would like to quit smoking.

What symptoms are associated with nicotine and tobacco addiction?

It is more difficult to conceal a tobacco addiction than any other addiction. It is because tobacco is easily available, legal, and can be consumed publicly.

Some people smoke occasionally or socially, while others are addicted. Addiction may occur if:

  • I can’t stop chewing or smoking despite trying to quit.
  • Has withdrawal symptoms (shaky hands, sweating, or irritability) when you try to stop smoking?
  • After a meal or after being away for a long time (such as if you went to a movie or sat in a meeting), it is necessary to smoke or chew.
  • Needs tobacco products to feel “normal”, or turns to them in times of stress.
  • Smoking or tobacco use is prohibited at certain events or activities.
  • Continues to smoke despite health issues

What are the treatments for nicotine and tobacco addiction?

Many treatments are available to treat tobacco addiction. This addiction can be difficult to control. Even after the nicotine cravings pass, many users find that smoking rituals can cause a relapse.

For those who are addicted to tobacco, there are many different options:

The patch

The patch is also known as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). The patch is a small sticker, similar to a bandage. It can be applied to your back or arm. The patch releases low levels of nicotine into the body. The patch gradually weans the body from nicotine.

Nicotine gum

Nicotine gum is another form of NRT that can be used by people who are addicted to smoking or chewing. It is not uncommon for people to want to chew something when they are trying to quit smoking. Gum also contains small amounts of nicotine that help you manage cravings.

Spray or inhaler

Inhalers and sprays containing nicotine can be used to deliver low doses without smoking. They are available over-the-counter and are easily accessible. Inhaling the spray sends nicotine to the lungs.


Some doctors prescribe medication to treat tobacco addiction. Some antidepressants and high blood pressure medications may help manage cravings. Varenicline, also known as Chantix, is a medication commonly prescribed. Bupropion (Wellbutrin) is prescribed by some doctors. It is an antidepressant used off-label to help smokers quit because it decreases their desire to smoke.

A drug is off-label when it’s used for another purpose than what the FDA has approved. A doctor can use the drug to treat patients for this purpose. The FDA only regulates drug testing and approval, not how doctors treat patients. Your doctor is free to prescribe drugs in any way they deem appropriate for you. Find out more about the use of drugs off-label.

Treatments based on psychological and behavioral therapies

Some people who smoke tobacco find success using methods like:

  • Hypnotherapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral Therapy
  • Neuro-linguistic programming

These methods can help users change their perceptions about addiction. These methods work by changing the feelings or behaviors that your brain has associated with smoking.

Combining methods is the best way to treat a tobacco addiction. Remember that what works well for one person may not work for someone else. Talk to your doctor about the treatments you might want to try.

What are the prospects for nicotine and tobacco addiction?

Treatment for tobacco addiction is possible. The addiction to tobacco is like other drug addictions in that it can never be cured. You will be dealing with it for the rest of your life.

Relapse rates are high for tobacco users. About 75% of people who have quit smoking will relapse in the first six months. It may be possible to prevent future relapses by extending the treatment period or changing your approach.

Researchers have also found that changing lifestyle habits can improve recovery chances. For example, avoid situations with other tobacco users and implement positive behaviors (such as exercising) when cravings begin.

Without treatment, a tobacco addiction can be fatal. Tobacco can cause:

  • Cancers of the throat, lungs, and mouth
  • Heart disease
  • Striking a chord with a friend
  • Chronic lung diseases, such as bronchitis and emphysema

These conditions can all be deadly. Smoking or using tobacco can reduce the risk of dying from these diseases. Stopping tobacco use even after the disease is diagnosed can help improve treatment.

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