Nicotine Facts

One of the most popularly known of nicotine facts is that it is addictive. The second most popularly known of nicotine facts is that is can be hazardous to your health, which can lead to death. Yet with this fact being known, approximately 62 million people in the United States age 12 and older (29% of the population), are currently cigarette smokers. This is based on a survey taken by the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. Nicotine is the factor in tobacco that makes it addictive. Tobacco is the most heavily used drug in the United States.

Effects of Smoke Vary

The effect it has on the smoker varies from person to person, but eventually leads to the same thing - health problems or death. When cigarette smokers inhale the smoke, the nicotine in the cigarette is absorbed in their blood. It immediately begins affecting the brain within 7 seconds. Nicotine offers the same reward system that recreational street drugs have, but at a lesser degree; this reward system being alertness, pleasure, enhanced mental performance, and addiction. When in the cardiovascular system, nicotine increases your heart rate and blood pressure. It can also cause blood flow restrictions. When smoking tobacco, the nicotine releases a hormone called epinephrine, which causes stimulation in the nervous system; the hormone is also responsible for the "kick".

When those addicted to cigarettes try to quit smoking, they experience similar symptoms of people quitting drugs - withdrawal. This can cause the withdrawer to become angry, anxious, depressed and can make the person have issues with concentration, increased appetite and cravings for the drug. After about three or four weeks, these symptoms would subside (except for hunger and the craving, which can stick around for months).

Addiction to nicotine is a chronic, relapsing disorder. To get treatment for this, it is required that the cigarette smoker to commit to stop smoking. Most smokers must attempt quitting several times before they permanently give up cigarettes. Some people have to go to therapy before they are able to completely quit the nicotine addiction caused by tobacco. Only ten percent of the people who quit without help successfully stop smoking cigarettes. Sometimes when people quit for months or years a time, stress overcomes then and they are driven right back to their old habit, thinking that the cigarette will sooth them.

Treatments for your Addiction

Treatments available for nicotine addiction include therapy, nicotine gum and patches. The gum and patches gives the smoker enough nicotine to beat the cravings and quit the habit of smoking to get rid of the craving. There is even an antidepressant medication called Zyban that has been approved by the FDA to help smokers quit. It is not yet understood what depression and nicotine addiction have in common for this drug to work. There is a paradox that buproprion (Zyban) helps cure the addiction in non-depressed smokers rather than smokers who are depressed.

It is known that nicotine is bad for your health, but for some reason, people are still picking up the habit. Many wish they could stop, but the strong addiction nicotine has keeps it from happening.