What is nicotine?
a) A green vegetable shaped like a cat
b) The addictive drug in cigarettes
c) A young person from the planet Nico in the Milky Way
The answer of course is 'b'. We hear a lot about how just one hit of heroin can get you hooked for life, but did you know that nicotine is just as addictive? And research shows that you do not need to smoke many cigarettes to become addicted to smoking - you could become addicted even if you smoke occasionally like at parties.
If you've experimented with smoking you may have felt dizzy, sick or almost coughed your lungs out of your mouth and thought ‘I don't know how anyone could enjoy this!' but some people get used to these effects.
When you smoke a cigarette, you draw the smoke (containing nicotine) into your lungs and from here it is absorbed into your bloodstream. Now your blood has an access-all-areas pass around your body and can really effectively deliver the nicotine to your brain. If you continue to smoke your brain learns to depend on that burst of nicotine, this is why it's so difficult to stop smoking. If the level of nicotine in your bloodstream drops, you will get a ‘craving' for another cigarette to top it back up.
Take the 'Addiction questionnaire' and find out if you're dependent on tobacco.
You may have heard someone say this before, or watched smokers get anxious or even angry if they can't have a smoke. Other people get really hungry or can't concentrate, this is because their body is trying to adjust to not having nicotine. These effects are why it's hard for people to stop or cut down on smoking.
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