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Nicotine Addiction is Almost Immediate

February 19th, 2008 · No Comments

cigarettes unsmokedThis is an amazing research report about nicotine addiction I discovered.

Research has revealed that the nicotine from one cigarette is enough to saturate the nicotine receptors in the human brain. "Laboratory experiments confirm that nicotine alters the structure and function of the brain within a day of the very first dose. In humans, nicotine-induced alterations in the brain can trigger addiction with the first cigarette," commented Joseph R. DiFranza, MD, professor of family medicine & community health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and leader of the research team. "Nobody expects to get addicted from smoking one cigarette." Many smokers struggle for a lifetime trying to overcome nicotine addiction.

Symptoms of nicotine addiction can appear when youth are smoking as little as one cigarette per month. At first, one cigarette will relieve the craving produced by nicotine withdrawal for weeks, but as tolerance to nicotine builds, the smoker finds that he or she must smoke ever more frequently to cope with withdrawal.

According to DiFranza, the addiction-related changes in the brain caused by nicotine are permanent and remain years after a smoker has quit. This explains why one cigarette can trigger an immediate relapse in an ex-smoker. It also explains why an ex-smoker who relapses after many years of abstinence cannot keep the craving away by smoking one cigarette per month. Unlike the newly addicted novice smoker, a newly relapsed smoker must smoke several cigarettes each day to cope with the craving.

Remember, one dose of nicotine affects brain function long after the nicotine is gone from the body so the best thing is to not even get started smoking. 

More info: Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/161/7/704

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Tags: Smoking - Nicotine Addiction

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