Research has shown that the second most heavily used drug in the United State is nicotine. Yes, nicotine is a drug, as it is high addictive. Nicotine, found in all tobacco products, is a highly addictive drug that acts in the brain and throughout the body. There are many different types of tobacco products, including:
- Light Cigarettes
- Menthol cigarettes
- Cigars and pipes
- Bidis and Kreteks (Clove Cigarettes)
- Chewing tobacco
- Dissolvable products, including lozenges, orbs, sticks, and strips
Affects of Tobacco
When you use tobacco products, nicotine is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream, and then into your brain. Your brain them releases adrenaline, one of the the bodies neurochemicals, which creates a sensation of pleasure and energy.
Of course, these sensations often fade quite quickly, making you feel tired and down. You may find yourself craving those feelings again, which eventually leads to addiction. Nicotine is a drug that you can build up a tolerance too, meaning that over time the more you use, the less you’ll feel. Eventually, you’ll need a lot more to feel the effects.
Quitting Tobacco Products
So what happens when I try to quit using tobacco products? Quitting tobacco use is a step in the right direction for healthy living. The challenge is it is so addictive, when you stop or try to cut back, you experience withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Nicotine cravings
- Sleep disturbance
- Cognitive deficits
- Attention deficits
So why should you quit using tobacco products? Well, here are a few reasons:
- Bad breath
- Smelly clothes and hair
- Yellow teeth and nails/fingers
- Tiring easily during exercise
- Fast heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Damage to your immune system
- Poor sexual performance
- Weakening of tendons and ligaments
- Second hand smoke risk to those around you
- Tobacco products are expensive
- Increased risk for heart disease, cancers, stomach ulcers, breathing problems, and more
Just like combating any types of addictions, it is best to have the support of your family and friends. Talk to a doctor about ways to quit smoking, including different types of medications that may help. Many people use a patch or chewing gum in place of pills.
The cravings will be hard to beat and ignore. Don’t get down if you fall back in to smoking again. Aside from the addictive nature of nicotine, there are also behavioral addictions you must overcome, such as the feeling of holding a cigarette, the smell of tobacco, etc. Quitting is going to be a long and hard journey, but it will be worth it in the end. Within 3 months of quitting, your risk for heart attacks decrease as your lung functions improve. Quit today.