What is smoking?

Wikipedia describes smoking as a practice in which a substance, most commonly tobacco, is burned and the smoke tasted or inhaled. Smoking refers to the inhalation and exhalation of fumes from burning tobacco in cigars, cigarettes and pipes.


What is Smoking Addiction?

A smoking addiction means a person has formed an uncontrollable dependence on cigarettes to the point where stopping smoking would cause severe emotional, mental, or physical reactions.

Everyone knows that smoking is harmful and addictive, but few people realize just how risky and addictive it is.

Chances are that about one in three smokers who do not stop will eventually die because of their smoking. Some will die in their 40s, others will die later. On average, they will die 10 to 15 years earlier than they would have died from other causes.

Most smokers want to stop and do indeed try, but only one in three succeeds in stopping permanently before age 60. By this time, much harm may have been done to the body - some of it irreversible.

* Those who eventually quit smoking usually try to stop two or three times before they're successful.

* Only 2.5 percent of smokers successfully quit each year.

The reason why so many people fail to stop is because they are addicted. Being addicted does not mean that you cannot stop - only that it is likely to be difficult. Anyone can succeed if he or she goes about it in the right way.

How you stop - and, especially, when you stop - is a very personal matter. Only you know what you have to give up, and how the benefits of smoking can be weighed against the benefits of stopping. Harassment and pressure from others who do not understand is often unhelpful. You will only stop when you have made a firm decision. When you do make up your mind, however, you can succeed, regardless of how addicted you may be.

If you stop smoking before or during middle age (age 35 to 50), you will avoid about 90 percent of the lung cancer risk. If you are currently middle-aged, you are also more likely to succeed in quitting now than when you were younger.

Why Is Smoking Addictive?

Nicotine The substance found in tobacco that causes addiction. is the drug in tobacco that causes addiction. It is absorbed and enters the bloodstream, through the lungs when smoke is inhaled, and through the lining of the mouth (buccal mucosa) when tobacco is chewed or used as oral snuff or for non-inhaled pipe and cigar smoking. It is also absorbed through the nose from nasal snuff, which was popular in the 18th century.

Nicotine is a psychoactive drug with stimulant effects on the electrical activity of the brain. It also has calming effects, especially at times of stress, as well as effects on hormonal and other systems throughout the body. Although its subjective effects are less dramatic and obvious than those of some other addictive drugs, smoking doses of nicotine causes activation of "pleasure centers" in the brain (for example, the mesolimbic dopamine system), which may explain the pleasure, and addictiveness of smoking.

Smokers develop tolerance to nicotine and can take higher doses without feeling sick than when they first started smoking. Many of the unpleasant effects of cigarette withdrawal Symptoms that occur after stopping a drug. Smoking withdrawal may include anxiety, irritability, insomnia, dizziness, difficulty in concentrating, fatigue, depression, and constipation. are due to lack of nicotine and are reversed or alleviated by nicotine replacement (for example, nicotine chewing gum or the nicotine patch).

As with other addictions, it is difficult to give up smoking, and without help most smokers fail despite trying many times. Even after stopping successfully for a while, most relapse within 2 to 3 months. More alarming perhaps than the strength of the addiction is the ease with which it develops. Although teenagers often start smoking for psychosocial reasons, the effects of nicotine soon gain control.

Studies show that tobacco use usually begins in early adolescence, and those who begin smoking at an early age are more likely to develop severe nicotine addiction than those who start later. Each day, more than 4,800 adolescents smoke their first cigarette, and 42 percent of them go on to become regular smokers.