Getting Addicted To Smoking Slowly But Surely!

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Nicotine primarily affects the mid-brain -- the part of the brain that controls moods and emotions. It produces pleasurable sensations but also causes anxiety and cravings when accustomed doses are withheld. A nicotine substitute such as a patch or chewing gum can help alleviate these negative feelings.

?Because of the immediate stimulation to the brain, smoking behavior is reinforced. When smokers try to quit, they have to overcome both the physical addiction to nicotine and the association they have made between smoking and the pleasurable sensations it produces.

Besides the physical addiction, there are also strong behavioral and social links to smoking. Certain situations (such as the end of a meal or going to a pub) become so associated with smoking that smokers reach for a cigarette without even thinking about it. Smokers may also crave cigarettes during times of stress. The fact remains, however, that some people become more addicted to nicotine than others. The reason for this may be genetic. It seems that some people metabolize nicotine more slowly than others and this makes them less likely to become addicted to the substance. There is a particular enzyme that is present in the liver which is responsible for breaking down nicotine. People who have a genetic defect related to the production of this enzyme are less likely to smoke, and if they do smoke, they smoke fewer cigarettes than people with the normal enzyme.
People who are addicted to smoking must take heart in the knowledge that it is possible to quit. Although some find it more difficult than others, there are many resources available to those who wish to give up the habit. If someone needs help to give up nicotine, they can have access to medical treatments and counselling. It is more than just the physical addiction to nicotine that they have to give up. All of the behavioural associations that have been developed over the years also need to be overcome.

As with any other addictive substance, the longer nicotine has been used the more difficult it is to give it up. Young adults who have only been smoking for a few years may find it easier to quit than a middle-aged person who has been smoking for 20 years. On the other hand, a middle-age smoker is more likely to be aware of the negative health effects of smoking and this may give him more motivation to break the habit.