Cigarette Addiction Everyone knows that cigarettes are bad for you. Since the mid-1960’s, the popularity of cigarettes has declined by half. Even so, millions of Americans – as many as 45 million or 20 percent of the country – still smoke cigarettes. More accurately, they have a nicotine addiction. Despite everything we now know about how cigarettes affect a person’s health, thousands of new people begin smoking each year. While the message is reinforced in schools, public health campaigns, hospitals, and just about everywhere, it’s still important to continue to remind people: Cigarettes kill.
The Disease of Addiction
In relatively recent years, we’ve also learned that addiction is a disease; it’s a medical condition and a mental illness. There are physical differences in the brain of someone with the disease of addiction as compared to one without, and so far it cannot be cured. Nicotine addiction should be discussed in the framework of addiction as a disease. Nicotine causes your body and brain to release adrenaline and dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that gives us feeling of pleasure and reward. Nicotine actually changes your brain chemistry in such a significant way that it won’t take long before a casual smoker is experiencing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
How are Cigarettes Bad for You?
Even though nicotine can be as addictive as drugs like heroin, hardly anyone would argue that cigarette smoking has more negative consequences than shooting up. However, the danger is still severe. In the long-term, smoking cigarettes can lead to many forms of cancer, emphysema, heart and lung diseases, deterioration of eyesight, sexual dysfunction, weakened bones, and more. Cigarette smoking causes more preventable deaths than anything else.
Cigarette Smoking in Recovery
Cigarette smoking is even more prevalent in recovering addicts and alcoholics than in the general population; approximately 85 percent of people in recovery smoke cigarettes. Many started smoking cigarettes long before they quit doing drugs or drinking alcohol, and people in recovery often consider cigarette smoking to be the least of their addiction worries. There are many other viewpoints among people in recovery regarding cigarette smoking. Some people believe that you’re not truly in recovery if you’re still addicted to nicotine. Some people think that smoking cigarettes is just a “crutch.” Some people think that without their cigarettes, it’d be a lot harder for them to stay sober.
Beating Nicotine Addiction
Each year, only 5 percent of smokers successfully quit smoking. The vast majority of people who try to quit smoking will start again in 6-12 months. For most people who quit, it takes two, three, or more attempts. Among people with the disease of addiction, there are few detox, rehab, or treatment centers that require them to quit smoking cigarettes, too. There isn’t a significant push for addicts and alcoholics to quit smoking. Drug or alcohol addiction resources rarely address the seriousness of nicotine addiction, even though most of the tactics that apply to quitting drugs or alcohol and sustaining recovery can apply to cigarette smoking, too. What are your thoughts on cigarette smoking in recovery?