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Smoking Addiction

Smoking Addiction

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Definition

Nicotine addiction is dependence on nicotine. Being dependent means there is a physical change in how your body reacts to a substance. Your body will also have a reaction when you stop using the substance. Nicotine can be found in tobacco products such as cigarettes, snuff, chewing tobacco, cigars, or pipes.

Tobacco use is also associated with several serious health conditions, such as:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Cancer, like cancers of the larynx (voice box), oral cavity, throat, esophagus, lung, and colon
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • Stroke
  • Increased risk of stillbirth, infant death, low birth weight, miscarriage, premature delivery, or sudden infant death syndrome
  • Alcohol or drug use disorders
  • Depression, bipolar, anxiety, personality, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders
  • Shorter life span
  • Problems if you have surgery
Throat Cancer
Throat cancer
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Nicotine addition can be treated, often with a combination of therapies.

Causes

Nicotine acts on the brain’s chemistry. It creates feelings of pleasure. However, the effects go away within a few minutes. Users will need to continue using nicotine to keep the good feelings going. This cycle can lead to addiction.

Risk Factors

Anyone who uses nicotine products can become addicted to the substance.

The risk may increased with:

  • Family history or exposure to smoking
  • Exposure to smoking in movies
  • Depression
  • Victims of bullying

Symptoms

Symptoms develop when nicotine is not being used, also known as withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Irritability
  • Craving
  • Nervousness
  • Headache
  • Thinking and attention problems
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased appetite

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, medical, and smoking history. A physical exam will be done.

Breathing tests may also be done to see how well your lungs are working.

Your doctor may monitor your nicotine use by checking a cotinine level in your saliva or blood.

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment may involve 1 or more therapies. Options include:

Prevention

The best prevention is to never use tobacco products. Try to avoid places where people are smoking.

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