Addiction is the phenomenon of extensive physiological dependence on anything, which includes alcohol, tobacco, drugs etc. Though cigarette smoking is an addiction, most of the smokers refuse to consider it as an addiction and label them as an addict. Smokers usually start smoking as a fun, then it forms a habit and later on it becomes a compulsive behavior. Studies suggest that around one third of the smokers light their first cigarette 30 minutes after getting up and 1/12 of smokers do this ritual within five minutes of waking up.
Cigarette addiction or tobacco addiction is caused mainly due to the presence of nicotine in it which behaves like a drug. The decrease in nicotine content lowers the addictive nature of cigarette, so the manufacturers are trying to make cigarette more 'irresistible' by increasing the nicotine content. The smoker usually increases the number of cigarettes they smoke over a period of time; if they smoked one cigarette a day as a beginner it would have increased to two to here packets a day, by a few year. This is because the body can increase tobacco tolerance, i.e., the amount of tobacco inhaled without causing any effect, so in a few years you would need more number of cigarettes to satisfy you.
Nicotine present in tobacco is psychoactive drugs and smokers are addicted to this substance rather than the cigarette itself. Within seconds of taking the first puff, nicotine is absorbed into the body and reaches the brain, where it binds to specific receptor producing the adrenalin hormone which is capable of giving a stimulating and calming effect. This may be the reason why far more number of cigarettes is smoked in a stressful condition. Minutes after finishing your cigarette, the effect wears off and the urge to smoke the next one take hold of you. Smoking is a sort of drug addiction where nicotine is the drug. Some cigarette contains menthol, which makes it more addictive. Menthol containing cigarette causes more health problems as its smoke contain elevated levels of carbon monoxide.
Smoking addiction can cause many health related and physiological issues. It causes diseases related to lung, heart, nasopharynx and also different types of cancer. It decreases the sexual capacity and disease tolerance. It also increases heart rate, blood pressure and causes mood swings. Alcohol and drugs are other addictives widely used. The effect of alcohol is dose dependant, the amount and frequency of ethanol intake is proportionate to its effect. Alcohol consumption is found to be associated with increased risk of different types of cancer, liver cirrhosis, brain damage, loose of function of the central nervous system.
The immune system of an alcoholic is found to be in a suppressed state, inviting different diseases. Drug addiction is caused due to the overuse of drugs or continuous use of illegal ones. The use of drugs like morphine, marijuana, heroin etc diminishes the body's ability to manufacture certain chemicals as the drug tends to replace them. Drug addiction can cause health problems like brain damage, problem in vision, liver disease and so on. Addiction to drugs can also bring about many behavioral changes like anger and depression.
Recovering from an addiction is always difficult; smoking offers no exception to this rule. It is indeed difficult to quit smoking for a long term smoker. After a few hours without tobacco, the body starts to show withdrawal syndrome, which are a group of symptoms including cough, dryness of mouth, irritability, urge to smoke. The person is more edgy and physically and emotionally imbalanced at this time and most quitters are compelled to take one more LAST puff.
The withdrawal syndrome sets in after the nicotine from the last cigarette wears off and the body has an urgent feel to replace it. While deciding to quit, one should be aware of trauma and urge they will have to conquer. Quitting can be made easy by the support provided by friends and family. Counseling and discussion group can also help a lot.
There are many quitting aids available in the market today like nicotine patch, nicotine gum, and chandix. Some herbs are also found to help smokers get out of their addiction. Long term smokers are more addicted and will require a lot of determination and self control to quit because during withdrawal period, your body and brain will persuade you to 'revitalize' it with nicotine.