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What Do We Mean By Smoking Addiction?

What do we mean by Smoking Addiction?

Approximately one in four of the world's adult population smokes cigarettes. That's over 1.1 billion people. In the UK there are about 10 million smokers and in the US there are about 40 million. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 47 percent of men and 12 percent of women smoke.

More than 7,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing compounds, are found in tobacco smoke. Cigarettes contain small quantities of chemicals that are present in paint stripper, toilet cleaner, lighter fuel, mothballs, gas chambers, and rocket fuel. These include nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, and DDT. 

The only reason anybody smokes cigarettes is to obtain nicotine. That's because nicotine is highly addictive. It's one of nature's most addictive substances. The other chemicals in cigarettes have been added for 'technical reasons', to help the cigarette burn in the right way, to make the tobacco taste good, and to add to shelf-life. Two well-known poisons are arsenic and strychnine. Nicotine is more poisonous than both of them. The tar in tobacco smoke is the single most important health risk for lung cancer and other diseases.

Have you tried and failed to give up smoking? Most smokers have. At any moment around 70 percent of smokers would say that they would like to quit. In any given year, approximately 50 percent of all smokers will attempt to do so. Unfortunately, very few can actually succeed, less than 5 percent. Why? It's simple - they are addicted.

Addiction occurs when an individual loses control over their behaviour when an activity becomes compulsive. After you lose control, you are unable to contain the activity within reasonable bounds. The behaviour causes bad impacts on your life, health and well-being. You try to stop it, but when you do so, there are unpleasant physical or mental consequences known as the ‘withdrawal symptoms’ that begin to kick in, the craving, lack of concentration, unexplained grumpiness, and so on. 

Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal normally appear within 2 to 3 hours after your last smoke. People who smoked the most cigarettes or for the longest time generally suffer the worst withdrawal symptoms. When you're in withdrawal, you'll probably notice one or more of the following:

  • Craving for nicotine
  • Feeling nervous (anxiety)
  • Feeling low (depression)
  • Feeling tense, restless, or frustrated (stress)
  • Drowsiness and/or trouble sleeping
  • Bad dreams and nightmares
  • Headaches
  • Increased appetite
  • Problems concentrating