Why are cigarettes addicting 2

Smoking makes you happy - immediately. Seven to eight seconds after taking a puff on the cigarette, the inhaled nicotine arrives in the brain and unfolds a whole range of pleasant effects. For example, it increases attention and sharpens concentration. Smokers have learned: a cigarette can change the state of mind immediately. It can calm you down when you are tense, but also stimulate you when you lack energy. And because the nicotine quickly gets into the bloodstream via the lungs, the reward effect takes effect immediately.

Why is nicotine addictive?

If you smoke regularly, the body gets used to the reward effect. Additional docking points for nicotine are created in the central nervous system. For heavy smokers, the effects of a cigarette wear off in less than half an hour. What follows is the urge to light the next one. If there is no nicotine intake, withdrawal symptoms threaten. The frustration tolerance decreases, anger, aggressiveness, fear and a bad mood spread, one becomes distracted and restless, sleeps poorly and eats more.

On the one hand, smoking is addictive because the nicotine works so directly. On the other hand, because the cigarette in the hand is linked to certain situations, activities or key stimuli through classic conditioning effects. Stress at work is reflexively smoked away. The feeling of happiness of a tipsy night out just wants to come with a cigarette.

The addictive potential of nicotine is comparable to amphetamines, cocaine or morphine. You don't have to smoke a lot to become addicted. Less than six cigarettes a day can be too many.

Not all people are equally at risk of addiction. First of all, how quickly the body breaks down nicotine plays a role. The sooner the effect of the cigarette wears off, the sooner the desire to refill it comes. It is also crucial how strongly a person responds to the nicotine effect. A depressed person, whose mood rises noticeably when smoking, has a higher risk of becoming addicted to nicotine than someone who is already happy and balanced.

Smokers underestimate both their physical and psychological dependence on cigarettes. It is estimated that around a third of smokers are very physically dependent. These people need a cigarette in the first half hour after getting up in the morning and smoke at least one pack a day.

But even those whose nervous system does not yet react to nicotine deficiency can already be dependent. His body can easily survive hours or days without nicotine intake. But in certain situations - the classic break during work or a sociable beer with friends - you can't go without a cigarette. Overcoming this learned behavior is particularly difficult.