why do smokers find it hard to quit

Did you know that tobacco smoking is responsible for the deaths of approximately five million people each year, according to the World Health Organization? Despite educating people about the very serious health effects of smoking, approximately 22% of adults in the United States are smokers. Surveys have found that even though 80% of smokers would like to quit smoking, less than five percent are able to quit on their own due to the highly addictive properties of nicotine. Read more: So if smoking is so bad for you, why is it so hard to quit? Stopping smoking is difficult for several reasons:
Nicotine is Highly Addictive Nicotine stimulates pleasure centers in the brain and is highly addictive. When nicotine is discontinued, the smoker will experience physical withdrawal symptoms, making the person want to start smoking again to stop the withdrawal symptoms. Each person experiences withdrawal from nicotine addiction a little differently. See and Cough, chest tightness Sore tongue, gums Rewarding Psychological Aspects of Smoking The behavioral and social aspects of cigarette use are highly rewarding for the smoker. Smoking behavior becomes closely linked with daily activities and "cues" such as after a meal, when socializing with friends, when consuming alcohol, to "take a break", when under stress (to relax), when relaxing (to relax further), etc. The psychosocial-behavioral aspects of smoking can be just as challenging to overcome as the physical dependence. For more information: Genetic Predisposition As science advances, the effects of genetics have been found to influence a number of health issues that were thought to be the domain of behavior only (e. g. alcoholism, etc. ). Studies have established a substantial genetic contribution to smoking behavior (See the article for Ho et al. 2007 for a review).


It has also been found that genetics differentially influence the multiple aspects of smoking, such as the urge to start smoking, continuing on to become a "smoker", etc. This may explain why some people cannot stand smoking at all, some can smoke occasionally with a "take it or leave it" attitude, and others will become regular smokers. These factors explain why, even using behavioral approaches and anti-smoking medicine, the relapse rate for smoking is quite high. After quitting smoking, the first few weeks are usually the hardest. It usually takes at least eight to twelve weeks for an individual to start feeling more comfortable without smoking. The bottom line: Stopping smoking over the long term (e. g. becoming a true "non-smoker") is challenging but clearly worth the effort. References Barrett, S. P. Darredeau, C. (2012). The acute effects of nicotine on the subjective and behavioural responses to denicotinized tobacco in dependent male and female smokers. Behavioral Pharmacology, 23(3), 221в227. Bullen, C. , McRobbie, H. , Thornley, S. et al. (2010). Effect of an electronic nicotine delivery device (e cigarette) on desire to smoke and withdrawal, user preferences and nicotine delivery. Tobacco Control, 19, 98в103. В Corrigall, W. A. , Coen, K. M. Adamson, K. L. (1994). Self-administered nicotine activates the mesolimbic dopamine system through the ventral tegmental area. Brain Research, 653, 278в284. Dawkins, L. , Powell, J. H. , West, R. et al. (2007). A double-blind placebo controlled experimental study of nicotine. II: Effects on response inhibition and executive functioning. Psychopharmacology, 190, 457в467. В Dawkins, L. , Turner, J. , Hasna, S. Soar, K. (2012). The electronic-cigarette: effects on desire to smoke, withdrawal symptoms and cognition.


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The neural basis of drug craving: An incentive-sensitization theory of addiction. Brain Research Reviews, 18: 247в291. Roddy, E. (2004). Bupropion and other non-nicotine pharmacotherapies. British Medical Journal 328(7438), 509в511. В Rose, J. E. , Behm, F. M. , Westman, E. C. Johnson, M. (2000). Dissociating nicotine and nonnicotine components of cigarette smoking. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 67, 71в81. Rose, J. E. , Salley, A. , Behm, F. M. et al. (2010). Reinforcing effects of nicotine and non-nicotine components of cigarette smoke. Psychopharmacology, 210, 1в12. Siegel, M. (2011). The rest of the story: Tobacco news analysis and commentary. tinyurl. com/blgw643 Seigel, M. Cahn, Z. (2010). Evidence suggests e-cigs safer than cigarettes: Researchers claim. tinyurl. com/cb86sza Silagy, C. , Lancaster, T. Stead, L. et al. (2005). Nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation. The Cochrane Library, Issue 1. Chichester: Wiley. В Sorge, R. E. , Pierre, V. J. Clarke, P. B. S. (2009). Facilitation of intravenous nicotine self-administration in rats by a motivationally neutral sensory stimulus. Psychopharmacology, 207, 191в200. Vansickel, A. R. , Cobb, C. O. , Weaver, M. F. , Eissenberg, T. E. (2010). A clinical laboratory model for evaluating the acute effects of electronic вcigarettesв. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers Prevention, 19, 1945в1953. В Vansickel, A. R. Eissenberg, T. (2012). Electronic cigarettes: Effective nicotine delivery after acute administration. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, Feb 6, doi:10. 1093/ntr/ntr316 West, R. (2006). Theory of addiction. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. Wu. , P. , Wilson, K. , Dimoulas, P. Mills, EJ. (2006, 11 Dec). Effectiveness of smoking cessation therapies. BMC Public Health, 6, 300В

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