What is smoking addiction?
Smoking addiction is a dependence on tobacco products caused by the drug Nicotine; when you are unable to stop using the substance even though it is doing you harm. Smoking is responsible for one in every five deaths in adults aged over 35 in England, while half of all smokers die prematurely due to a smoking-related disease.
Nicotine produces physical and mood altering effects in your brain that are temporarily pleasing, leading to dependence. Giving up smoking causes withdrawal symptoms such as irritability and anxiety, but also increases your chances of living a longer and healthier life.
While nicotine causes the addiction, other effects of tobacco result in smokers having a higher risk of developing heart disease, stroke, lung, oesophagus and mouth cancer, teeth and gum diseases and infertility. Smoking addiction is a chronic condition and one of the most preventable causes of premature deaths.
Using any amount of tobacco over a period of time, can lead to dependence. Symptoms for smoking addiction include;
- You cant stop smoking
- You habe experience withdrawal symptoms when you have tried to stop –strong cravings, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, difficult to concentrate, depressed mood, frustration, anger, increased hunger, insomnia, constipation and diarrhoea.
- You smoke despite associated health problems
- You give up social or recreational activities to smoke
- You smoke more than seven ciggarettes per day
- You smoke within 30 minutes of awakening
Smoking addiction comes about as people get addicted to nicotine, a chemical substance in tobacco that is addictive when delivered to the lungs by inhaling tobacco smoke. It increases the release of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters that regulate one’s mood and behavior, such as Dopamine, which improves one’s mood and activates feelings of pleasure. Further, there are physical and behavioural factors associated with smoking.
There are numerous factors that influence nicotine dependence;
The likelihood that you will start smoking and keep smoking may be partly inherited, genetic factors may influence how receptors on the surface of your brain's nerve cells respond to nicotine delivered by cigarettes.
Home and Peer influence
Children who grow up with parents who smoke and have friends who smoke are more likely to try cigarettes and become smokers.
Most people begin smoking during their childhood or teen years. The younger you are when you begin, the greater your chance of becoming a heavy smoker as an adult.
Depression or other mental illness
People who have depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other forms of mental illness are more likely to be smokers.
Depression or other mental illness
People who abuse alcohol and illegal drugs are more likely to smoke.
To diagnose a smoking addiction, your GP may ask questions to assess the extent of your dependence. He will want to know the number of cigarettes you might smoke in a day, how soon you feel the urge to smoke after awakening etc.
Knowing your degree of dependence will help determine an effective treatment plan for you. There are no tests to diagnose your addiction, it is usually self-apparent.
Most people who have been smoking for a long time, try repeatedly to stop and fail. You are more likely to stop if you have proper help and medication. We at ‘The Online Surgery’ can give you support and help to stop smoking, by prescribing safe and effective medication.
This medicine works by preventing nicotine from binding to receptors, which reduces the rewarding and reinforcing effects of smoking. Simultaneously it also gently stimulates your receptors like nicotine does to reduce bad moods and irritability that people feel when they stop.
It is recommended you take it for 12 weeks and if you manage to stop, you can continue it for a while longer to make sure you don't relapse.