Nicotine and Cigarette Abuse Overview
In the United States, few substances have proven to be as addictive – or as deadly – as cigarettes. The data is clear: Cigarettes are highly addictive and cause a slew of physical and emotional health problems. Throughout their entire existence, they have led to the premature death of tens of millions of people. Thankfully, as awareness of the dangers presented by cigarettes has increased over time, their use has decreased, and cigarette use is now at one of the lowest points it has been in the modern era.
However, that doesn’t mean that the product isn’t still widely abused, particularly by certain demographics in society. Fortunately for people who are suffering from cigarette addiction there is reason to be hopeful, as there are many high-quality facilities like Zinnia Health that can provide help.
Can You Get Addicted To Cigarettes?
There is no question about it: Cigarettes are extremely addictive.
Cigarettes, e-cigarettes and other tobacco products are so addictive because they contain nicotine.
Nicotine is a product of the tobacco plant. Its consumption can cause the brain to crave more and more of the substance, although it is important to note that cigarette addiction works in different ways than addiction to other drugs.
Unlike other drugs, cigarette use is not so much associated with feelings of euphoria. Users of cigarettes have stated that cigarettes can help them suppress appetite, feel calmer, improve nerves and more, but these seem to be more secondary benefits of smoking cigarettes.
Instead, the nicotine in cigarettes seems to be primarily responsible for the addiction that cigarettes cause. Nicotine is delivered to your brain very quickly – sometimes in literal seconds. This is because cigarettes are either absorbed through the mouth or inhaled, causing nicotine’s addictive effects to be felt by the brain in mere seconds. As a result, smoking cigarettes can not only cause immediate cravings but can result in those cravings being immediately satisfied. This furthers a cycle of addiction.
Furthermore, cigarette addiction can grow over time. Tolerance effects are not quite as strong with cigarettes and nicotine as they are with other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, but they are still powerful. Studies have shown that, over time, people who smoke cigarettes tend to increase the number of cigarettes that they smoke.
A final contributing factor to cigarette addiction is peer pressure or social cues. Many people smoke or engage in the abuse of other tobacco products – like dipping – because their peer group or family does so. This is particularly common for teenagers or sports players for whom tobacco use may be widely prevalent and studies have also found that having a family member who uses cigarettes can make someone else more likely to use those cigarettes.
What Are Cigarettes?
Cigarettes are essentially nicotine delivery packages. There are numerous physical parts of commercially sold cigarettes. These include:
- The filter, which is placed in an individual’s mouth for purposes of inhaling the tobacco smoke
- The tobacco and chemical additives, which are placed inside of the cigarette
- Rolling paper/paper wrapping, which is what holds the cigarette together
Cigarettes are typically made in a factor, although making hand-made cigarettes are certainly possible and is often done.
The primary product of all cigarettes is tobacco and it is the tobacco that contains nicotine. However, these are by no means the only substances that are found in cigarettes. Cigarettes contain up to 7,000 additional products, many of which can be uniquely dangerous or addictive in and of themselves.
Cigarettes are also not the only means of delivering nicotine to someone, and other products can have particularly deadly results. For example, many individuals will “dip” tobacco. This means that they will take tobacco and keep it in their mouth. Unfortunately, in many ways, dropping tobacco can be as deadly as cigarettes and has been tied to very high rates of mouth or tongue cancer.
How Are Cigarettes Consumed or Used?
The use of cigarettes is largely well known: Individuals will take a cigarette and light up one end of it. They will then inhale the smoke through the filter, allowing the tobacco, nicotine, and thousands of other substances to enter their lungs. Users will then exhale many of the products, but not after a large percentage of what they have inhaled is absorbed into the body. This may satisfy nicotine cravings, but it will also result in a person inhaling many, many harmful chemicals.
Some people will also make their own cigarettes, using tobacco they have obtained or their own. This is then done with rolling paper. It is important to note that homemade cigarettes can be even more deadly than manufactured ones, as they lack filters and other industrial checks that can at least prevent some of the worst harms of cigarette smoke.
Other tobacco products work similarly, although the specifics of the delivery method may change. E-cigarettes use a battery or other power method to heat a cartridge that has been loaded with a variety of harmful chemicals – including nicotine. This creates a cloud of smoke or steam that can be inhaled and then exhaled, thus enabling a user to get their “fix” of these highly dangerous chemicals.
Smokeless or chewing tobacco may satisfy a person’s craving for nicotine, but presents an array of problems in and of itself. A user will create a “dip,” which is essentially a chunk of tobacco, that will lay inside of their mouth for a certain period – usually less than an hour. That dip will then be discarded. This dip can also be chewed or absorbed in another way.
What Are the Risks and Causes of Cigarette Abuse?
In terms of causes, a variety of factors have been tied to someone starting to smoke cigarettes. Chief among them are availability and social factors. Some cultures are far more accepting of cigarettes than others. Cigarettes have also been known to be more popular among certain minority communities, like the LGBTQIA community. Rates of smoking among these populations are much higher than it is amongst the general population and this helps to explain why there have been so many public health efforts designed to steer people away from cigarettes.
People are also more likely to smoke if they have a family member that smokes, as this can normalize the idea of cigarettes. The same theory applies to people smoking if members of their peer group and friends smoke. An individual is also more likely to begin smoking before the age of 18. Generally, if someone does not start smoking before 18, they are not likely to start smoking.
As noted below, the health risks of cigarette smoking are massive. In addition to a slew of physical and emotional challenges, people who smoke cigarettes are more likely to suffer from an array of societal harms. For example, people who smoke will likely waste tens of thousands of dollars throughout their lifetime on the purchase of cigarettes. They are also more likely to pay more for health and life insurance. Individuals who smoke tend to limit their social, career and travel opportunities, as engaging in many of these areas while smoking can be extremely difficult.
As you can see, the risks of cigarette abuse are long and extensive. Cigarette addiction in can be a deadly disease, but those with this addiction are in luck, as there are excellent therapeutic options to help them overcome their addiction. One such example is Zinnia Health, which offers an array of treatment programs that can people overcome their addiction to any number of substances, including cigarettes. Call us at + 1 (855) 430-9439 to get started.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Cigarette Abuse?
There are many signs of cigarette abuse. Unlike other drugs, cigarette abuse is not associated with a complete cessation of normal activities. People who are addicted to cigarettes will still be able to function in society and may lead perfectly normal lives. However, a cigarette addiction will unquestionably have a negative and noticeable impact on their life.
Physical symptoms of cigarette abuse include yellowing teeth or fingernails, constantly smelling like cigarettes, breathing problems and more. Individuals who are addicted to cigarettes may also experience increasing cravings for cigarettes over time, causing them to consume more and more of the product.
Individuals who are addicted to cigarettes may fail to realize just how addicted they are and how much of their lives do become centered around consuming cigarettes. When they are unable to smoke, they may become anxious or irritable. When they feel the need to calm down or celebrate an occasion, they may turn to cigarettes to do so. They may even experience anxiety attacks or depression because of their addiction, but particularly if they are aware of just how deadly cigarettes can be – and yet, they may still be unable to stop consuming cigarettes.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Cigarette Abuse?
Perhaps the greatest harm caused by cigarettes is their very significant long-term effects. The evidence is clear and overwhelming: Cigarettes are extremely deadly. Even as their use approaches some of the lowest points in the modern era, cigarettes are believed to be responsible for killing tens of thousands of Americans every year.
The most well-known and researched risk of cigarette abuse is cancer. Cigarettes are known to cause all types of cancer by damaging the fragile tissues and cells of our bodies. Lung cancer is the most prominent cancer caused by cigarettes, but by no means the only one, as studies have found that cigarettes and tobacco abuse can also cause cancer of the mouth, throat, tongue, liver, pancreas, stomach and much, much more.
Cigarettes are also responsible for an array of breathing difficulties, including asthma and COPD. They suppress the functioning of a person’s immune system, making someone more likely to get sick and more likely to suffer from a variety of autoimmune disorders. This, in turn, makes someone’s immune system far less likely to function and far more likely to turn against the sufferer.
Of course, there are more than just serious physical issues to be aware of when it comes to cigarette abuse. Other studies have found direct connections between cigarette use and other addictions. For example, one study found that individuals who smoked were more likely to have an addiction to other substances, such as alcohol or drugs. Indeed, it seems that an addiction to cigarettes may go hand-in-hand with addiction to other substances and this is why it is so important that people who are addicted to one substance seek treatment for any addiction.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Cigarette Withdrawal?
Stopping cigarette smoking can be an exceptionally difficult thing to do and the withdrawal symptoms are often so severe that an individual will end their cessation habits and return to smoking.
The signs and symptoms of cigarette withdrawal include the following:
- Developing major mood swings, anxiety or depression. Irritability is also a very common symptom.
- Cigarettes have long been noted to be an appetite suppressant and individuals who quit smoking will often abruptly gain weight.
- Shakes and tremors.
- Overwhelming craving to return to cigarette smoking.
- Feeling jumpy, restless or easily agitated.
- Sleeping trouble: Someone who stops smoking is likely to have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
The above symptoms can be extraordinarily difficult to manage and this is why it is so important for individuals who are trying to stop smoking that they consult with addiction or cigarette professionals to help them quit. The odds of someone quitting cold turkey, on their own, are somewhat long. Thankfully, with professional guidance and assistance, the odds of quitting dramatically improve.
What Are Treatment Options for Cigarette Abuse?
Thankfully, when it comes to treatment options to help someone break the cycle of addiction to cigarettes, there are many options.
Ample addiction options exist that are outpatient. This means that people can visit a therapist and return to their regular lives. Unlike addiction to substances like alcohol or drugs, a person who is smoking – and only smoking – will not present a clear and present danger to themselves or others. As such, in-patient therapy for cigarette addiction is not utilized.
Counseling is a critical component of any effort to quit smoking. This occurs in many ways. First, a professional counselor can help a person identify the issues that led them to start smoking in the first place, as well as worth the psychological mechanisms that lead them to turn to cigarettes and find comfort. Working with a trained therapist, an individual can also find ways to manage and reduce cravings, as well as find alternative outlets or energy and anxiety that would previously be ameliorated via cigarettes.
Fortunately, the past few decades have also seen the advent of additional techniques that can help someone physically manage their craving. Nicorette gum and other related step-down products have proven to be very useful to individuals who are looking to quit, as they can help users satisfy their nicotine cravings and slowly ramp down on their use. There are also prescription medications available, such as Zyban and Chantix, that can help people manage cravings and ultimately wean themselves off of cigarettes. Indeed, the combination of medication and therapy has largely been viewed as the “gold standard” within the medical community for helping people to manage their cravings and ultimately quit cigarettes.
Lastly, alternative approaches – such as hypnosis, meditation, or yoga – have been increasingly utilized to help people better manage their mood and anxiety, particularly while they are attempting to quit smoking. While these methods cannot take the place of more traditional therapy, they are widely viewed as excellent supplements.
How Zinnia Health Can Help
Cigarette abuse and addiction are real and deadly. However, can also be overcome.
If you or a loved one is addicted to cigarettes and looking for ways to overcome this addiction and stop smoking, you are in luck, as many facilities have developed outpatient treatment programs that can help people stop smoking.
One such example is the array of services offered by Zinnia Health. Staffed with excellent professionals that have decades of experience, Zinnia Health can help individuals fight and ultimately defeat their cigarette addiction. If you are interested in learning more about Zinnia Health, contact us today by calling + 1 (855) 430-9439.