Nicotine (Tobacco Addiction and Abuse)
- What is tobacco addiction?
- Is nicotine addictive?
- Is nicotine the only harmful part of tobacco?
- How is tobacco used?
- What are the common street names for cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and hookah smoking?
- How many teens smoke or use tobacco products?
- How does tobacco deliver its effects?
- What happens when someone uses tobacco for long periods of time?
- What are other adverse health effects of smoking and tobacco abuse?
- Smoking and pregnancy: What are the risks?
- How is tobacco addiction treated?
- What if a person wants to quit smoking or using tobacco?
What Is Tobacco Addiction?
When people are addicted, they have a compulsive need to seek out and use a substance, even when they understand the harm it can cause. Tobacco products -- cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco -- can all be addictive. Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you, and most people that do it want to quit. In fact, nearly 35 million people make a serious attempt to quit each year. Unfortunately, most who try to quit on their own relapse -- often within a week.
Is Nicotine Addictive?
Yes. It is actually the nicotine in tobacco that is addictive. Each cigarette contains about 10 milligrams of nicotine. Because the smoker inhales only some of the smoke from a cigarette, and not all of each puff is absorbed in the lungs, a smoker gets about 1 to 2 milligrams of the drug from each cigarette. Although that may not seem like much, it is enough to make someone addicted.
Is Nicotine the Only Harmful Part of Tobacco?
No. Nicotine is only one of more than 4,000 chemicals, many of which are poisonous, found in the smoke from tobacco products. Smokeless tobacco products also contain many toxins, as well as high levels of nicotine. Many of these other ingredients are things we would never consider putting in our bodies, like tar, carbon monoxide, acetaldehyde, and nitrosamines. Tar causes lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchial diseases. Carbon monoxide causes heart problems, which is one reason why smokers are at high risk for heart disease.
Next: How is tobacco used?
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