Know What You Are Up Against

Know what you’re up against, and how to beat it

grey arrows
When you know what you’re up against, it makes it easier to win. So here’s everything you need to know about nicotine addiction.

Cigarette addiction has 2 elements:

How nicotine addiction works in the brain

Nicotine is the thing that makes cigarettes both pleasurable to smoke and addictive. It is a chemical that occurs naturally in the tobacco plant. When you inhale the smoke from a cigarette a large amount is drawn into your lungs and transferred to your blood – travelling to your brain within seconds. In the brain nicotine causes the release of chemicals that give you feelings of pleasure and relax you for a short period of time. It is the rapid delivery of nicotine to the brain that gives you a buzz or rush.

As you continue to smoke over a long period of time the brain changes and starts to expect nicotine. When you smoke, you inhale nicotine from cigarettes, and over time your brain actually grows new receptors that thrive on nicotine. When you quit smoking, your receptors no longer get the nicotine they need, and cry out for more – that's why you get cravings and withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability and restlessness, which can overwhelm your willpower.

A popular myth about smoking is that the nicotine in cigarettes is what causes cancer and other health risks. The truth is that aside from nicotine cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 other chemicals, including at least 50 that increase your risk of cancer.

This is one reason why nicotine can be used in nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in helping people quit smoking. In this type of treatment you replace the nicotine from cigarettes with Therapeutic Nicotine that's delivered in a different way, such as through Nicabate patches or lozenges.

It's a safer way to take nicotine because you are not inhaling all the other harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke at the same time. Therapeutic Nicotine helps reduce the temptation to smoke, making it easier for you to cut down or stop smoking cigarettes. Over time you gradually reduce the amount of NRT you are using until you are no longer smoking or using NRT.

 Factoid The Truth About Nicotine

The therapeutic nicotine in NRT helps you to manage cravings while you quit smoking, without being exposed to the many harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke.

The Anatomy of a Cigarette

It may be common knowledge that smoking is bad for a person's health, but the process of quitting smoking is rarely an easy one. Understanding the contents of the average cigarette and how these ingredients can impact health can deter a person from adopting the habit in the first place. Learning more about nicotine addiction provides smokers with more information on how to successfully quit a habit that risks their health in the future.

What's In a Cigarette?

The disturbing truth is that there are over 4,000 different chemicals in a cigarette. While some of these substances are not harmful to human health, the ingredients in cigarettes that do cause harm have a significant impact. Some of the most harmful ingredients found in cigarettes are listed below.

  • Tar is a sticky substance that has been found to coat the lungs. Smokers may have difficulty breathing due to a buildup of mucus in the lungs that is associated with tar. Particles of tar that reach the lungs can act as a carcinogen.
  • Nicotine is a substance that is naturally found in tobacco leaves. Nicotine is the substance that causes people to become addicted to smoking. Inhaling nicotine by smoking cigarettes triggers a chemical reaction in the brain.
  • Carbon monoxide is a gas that makes it difficult for the body to circulate oxygen. Exposure to carbon monoxide is potentially fatal, and people who smoke have up to 10 times as much carbon monoxide in their bloodstream as compared to people who do not smoke.

These are the three most dangerous substances found in cigarettes, but there are many other harmful chemicals contained in the average cigarette. Nail polish remover, mothballs, chemical cleaners, rocket fuel, disinfectants, metals and pesticides are all ingredients.