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The Scientific Reasons behind Why Nicotine is Tough to Quit

Understanding the human brain helps in understanding how addiction works. As far as cigarettes are concerned, they contain the substance known as nicotine that is a derivative of the tobacco plant. Not a lot of people know that nicotine is a substance that more deadly than our worst feared poisons namely arsenic, rattlesnake venom and even strychnine. Nicotine affects the brain function by taking control of dopamine – which is the brain’s major motivation neurotransmitter. Dopamine pathways in our brain indicate our survival needs from food and water to reproduction and socializing.

Nicotine has the chemical ability to take a hold of this dopamine and make the human body think that it needs nicotine in order to survive. This is why all experts consider nicotine dependency in the same context as alcohol or drug dependency of any kind. Not only does nicotine affect brain function but it also is very tough to quit because the altered functions do not easily go back to the way they were supposed to be. This is why quitting smoking is not easy to do and might require a lot of support and treatment. A lot of people ask the question: How come some of the people they know do smoking ‘socially’ and are able to leave it at any point?

The answer to that lies in one word: Genetics. About ten percent of the population has the kind of genes that do not allow them to be hooked to nicotine. But the rest of the populace can get severely hooked to smoking, without having the mental ability to correct it. To those ninety percent of the people, even that one drag of a cigarette can turn them into addicts and they will not be able to quit. This is why tobacco companies are being made to publish proper warnings on the cigarette boxes that warn people against the ‘addictive’ capabilities of nicotine.



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