Nicotine Addiction Blog Post

A cigarette contains over 4000 chemicals. Nicotine is only one substance. The toxicity of cigarette smoking is actually due to chemicals like tar, ammonia, carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, and benzopyrene.

Nicotine is highly addictive because it excites the neurons in the locus coeruleus region of the brain which makes people alert and excited. Nicotine also produces euphoria or a `high` since it stimulates the mesolimbic reward pathways in our brain.

Smoking cessation can cause profound physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms, like intense cravings for nicotine, irritability, anxiety, poor concentration, depression drowsiness, hunger, headaches, stomach upset, disturbed sleep, and weight gain  to name a few. Many see smoking as an opportunity to socialize, while others truly require it. In addition to the physiological addiction, there is a motor component. Many smokers find the hand to mouth ritual very difficult to give up.Smoking cessation is challenging because smokers have to deal with physical, psychological and social factors all at once. E-cigarettes can reduce the stress from
all three factors.

Professional counseling, non-pharmacologic therapies and pharmacologic therapies are available for smoking cessation. Counseling can be very costly. It ranges from $100 to $200 per hour/session. Also the resources of professional counseling may be limited. For non-pharmacologic therapies like hypnosis and acupuncture, there is no evidence for the efficacy.

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