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Nicotine addiction and quitting smoking

The presence of tobacco dates back at least 8,000 years in the world’s history.  Throughout time, this plant was central to religious ceremonies, thought to have healing powers, delivered as gifts, traded for goods, and smoked by many.  As early as the mid 1700s tobacco was formally manufactured and distributed in the form of cigarettes.  Interestingly doctors were featured in promotional cigarette ads in the 1930s.  However, the ill effects of tobacco were identified long before this and Massachusetts state law banned smoking in public in 1632.

Nicotine is a stimulant and a very addictive substance contained in tobacco.  It is extremely easy to become addicted to nicotine.  With repeated exposure to the chemical, the brain’s nicotinic receptors crave more and drive the need to smoke at higher levels.  Nicotine is well known for its pleasurable physiological and psychological side effects.  These pleasurable side effects result in addiction to the substance and make it difficult to quit smoking, even when an individual is highly motivated to stop.  Tobacco companies have complicated this addiction by adding numerous other addictive chemicals that strengthen the difficulty in quitting, making cigarettes the most common form of chemical dependency in this country.

Use of cigarettes in the United States (U.S.) has dropped considerably since an all-time consumption high of 640 billion cigarettes in 1981.  Currently the U.S. consumption is about half that volume but smoking remains the leading cause of preventable illnesses and death in this country; attributing....

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