When people become addicted to a harmful substance, they have a compulsive need to seek out and use this substance, even though they are aware of the harm it causes. Virtually all tobacco products – cigarettes, cigars, pipes, as well as smokeless tobacco, lead to addiction. According to statistical data by the World Health Organization, nearly thirty-five million people around the world try to quit smoking each year.
Unlike some more serious and far deadlier addictions such as the heroine addiction, for instance, tobacco products do not kill the user directly. What kills the smoker is not as much the tobacco that he or she smokes as the diseases that the habit causes, such as cancer, heart-attack, or apoplexy.
It is actually the nicotine contained in tobacco which the smoker becomes addicted to. In fact, researchers have established that nicotine is far more addictive than crack, heroine, or cocaine. Each cigarette is a highly sophisticated device for supply of nicotine to the brain. It contains about 10 milligrams of nicotine, but only one or two milligrams are actually absorbed by the smoker. With time, the smoker’s organism starts seeking progressively higher supplies of the drug, and the addict starts to smoke more and more cigarettes each day. Because nicotine is a psychoactive drug, the substance activates the pleasure centers in the smoker’s brain, such as the mesolimbic dopamine system. This fact explains, to a great extent, the addictiveness of the habit.….READ MORE ON THE NEXT PAGE