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Depending on where you live, you might see people use it daily or watch it on your screens. Nicotine forms a part of the main ingredients used for cigarettes and cigars. It is a psychoactive drug, but it is among the most cancerous substances in the world. Unfortunately, not many know this, and they simply don’t care for those who do know it. Considering the large number of people who smoke in the UK and that about 8 million people die annually due to smoking, we must understand what Nicotine is and how addictive it can be.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with Nicotine Addiction and you are not sure what to do, kindly call 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor will be on the phone to assist you.

What is Nicotine?

Nicotine is one of the fundamental reasons why many individuals are unable to quit smoking. Its addictive nature keeps individuals smoking cigars and cigarettes. Although they know it is pretty harmful to their health, they often simply cannot help it.

Nicotine, as we know, is a toxic colourless or yellowish oily liquid that contains nitrogen and is gotten from the tobacco plant. In small doses, it might not be so harmful as it acts as a stimulant. However, in large amounts, it can block the action of the autonomic nerve and skeletal muscle cells.

Nicotine found in cigars and cigarettes is usually from the tobacco plant. However, other plants in the nightshade family produce nicotine; the nightshade family includes plants like red peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant.

From as far back as the 1600s, when it arrived in Europe, there have been disagreements and divided opinions on the importance and benefits of nicotine. Some argue that it is medicinal, whereas some have argued that it is toxic and addictive. The harmful effects of Nicotine were established in the 20th and 21st centuries, where experts agreed that it was could cause dependency on it. Also, it was established that smoking could be linked to heart disease and lung cancer.

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Is Nicotine Addictive?

Fun fact, experts consider giving up nicotine to be just as difficult as giving up heroin, and that’s saying something! Nicotine is usually introduced into the body by chewing or snorting tobacco products. However, most people around the world are exposed to nicotine through smoking.

When an individual smokes, the cigarette produces smoke which is inhaled before being exhaled. The smoke enters the lungs whenever the smoke is inhaled, where the nicotine is quickly absorbed into the blood and delivered to the brain. Although the effects on the brain soon dissipate, the associated feelings of reward it produces are still significant enough that the individual might want to continue to have them. Nicotine has also been shown to temporary boost brain function when it comes to attention and memory. This serves as a reason why many individuals use it. However, long-term smoking leads to a higher risk of having Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.

The main reason most smokers keep going back to tobacco or cigarettes is because of the addictive properties of nicotine. Studies have shown that many smokers would love to quit smoking yet are unable to. Only 6% of smokers are genuinely able to quit smoking permanently within a full year. It is estimated that there are at least 1 billion tobacco smokers worldwide and that many of those who try to stop the act fall right back into it.

Biologically, nicotine affects the brain’s reward centres by causing a surge of dopamine and endorphins, which induces brief euphoria when nicotine is used. Although the feeling of being “high” does not last as long as other psychoactive drugs, it is still significant enough that repeated exposure to it alters the brain, which affects learning, stress and self-control. The repeated exposure also reinforces the drug’s recurrent consumption, which results in addiction; there are likely to be withdrawals symptoms if the individual stays away from the drug for too long. In addition, the presence of the withdrawal symptoms makes it difficult for the person to stop.

It’s rare for an individual to quit smoking in a single attempt or on their own. Like many other addictions, multiple attempts may be required and the guidance of a professional or rehab facility.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with Nicotine Addiction and you are not sure what to do, kindly call 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor will be on the phone to assist you.

What Are the Signs of Nicotine Addiction?

Sometimes all it takes is a fifteen-minute exposure to nicotine to trigger a lifelong addiction to the drug. Wondering if you or someone you know is addicted to nicotine? Look out for these signs:

Giving up social activities to smoke: This is probably one of the most apparent symptoms of nicotine addiction. The individual does not mind missing social activities or avoiding social places where they are unable to smoke.

Inability to stop smoking: This is where many resolutions have been made to stop smoking, yet the individual always finds him or herself at the mercy of the cigarette. This will continue even when the person has developed health problems due to smoking.

Smoking within minutes of waking up: The individual has to smoke or get his nicotine fix some few minutes after waking up. Not doing so could render the individual irritable. This is a sure sign that the individual has a nicotine addiction.

Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when away from nicotine: This is probably the most obvious sign of addiction to nicotine. The individual can have both physical and psychological symptoms whenever they are unable to satisfy their cravings. The symptoms could include constipation or diarrhoea, increased hunger, intense cravings, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, depression, frustration, and even difficulty concentrating.

Possible Health Effects of Nicotine Addiction

Nicotine addiction will cause an individual to smoke more cigarettes, especially since cigarettes are the significant ways individuals get exposed to nicotine and continue to use it. It does, however, have some health adverse health implications on individual smoking. These include:

Lung Cancer and Lung Disease: This is probably the most popular effect of smoking that many individuals around the globe know. Smokers rank first for lung cancer deaths and fair much worse than everyone else for lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Diabetes: Smokers stand a higher chance of developing type two diabetes because due to increased insulin resistance. The presence of nicotine in the body causes it to produce less insulin which causes a slight increase in glucose, essentially blood sugar. Therefore, nicotine addiction, which causes an individual to smoke a lot more, puts the individual at a higher risk of diabetes.

Heart and Circulatory System Complications: Smoking also puts smokers at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, which in most cases can prove fatal. This includes an increased risk of stroke, heart attacks and possibly heart failure.

Tooth and Gum Disease: Smokers are not known for their healthy teeth. They are more likely to develop inflammation of their gums coupled with gum infections that can destroy the periodontitis, which is the support system of the gum.

Other Types of Cancer: Aside from lung cancer, smokers are at a high risk of many types of cancer. Smokers account for 30% of all cancer-related deaths in the world. This includes cancer of the throat, mouth, larynx, bladder, kidney and cervix. The smoker is also at risk for certain types of leukaemia.

Aside from these conditions, the individual is likely to develop eye problems such as cataracts or even lose their eyesight. Smoking also increases the risk of infertility in women and impotence in men. Smoking whilst pregnant will also put the baby at risk, resulting in either having a preterm delivery, giving birth to lightweight babies or having a stillbirth.  The smoker is also at an increased risk of respiratory infections such as colds and the flu.

Treatment for Nicotine Addiction

When it comes to treating nicotine addiction, just like most other substance addictions, it involves a combination of medical and psychological assistance. Experts will have to be concerned since nicotine affects the brain and comes with withdrawal symptoms.

Individuals who have been smoking for a short time will quit with a bit of therapy. However, individuals who have done it for much longer times will require medication as well.


Behavioural counselling or therapy forms a significant part of smoke cessation. Depending on the severity, it can take at least four sessions to eight sessions. Some approaches include

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: This helps individuals identify the various circumstances, situations or other stimuli that trigger the smoking behaviour and then teach them to control or prevent them. It involves the correction of thoughts which is then translated into behaviour.

Mindfulness: This treatment involves helping the individual learn to increase their awareness of sensations, thoughts and cravings that may lead to a relapse and a disassociation from those thoughts. In addition, it helps them attend to negative thoughts, emotions and stressful situations that will typically lead to them relapse without doing so.

Telephone support hotlines have also been found to help smokers and web-based services and social media support. These tend to have the highest success for individuals who have recently started smoking or women who are pregnant. Therapies work best for women who are pregnant than pharmacotherapies or therapies that involve the use of medicine.


Individuals who have used nicotine for years or have smoked much longer will need a combination of drugs and therapy. Different drugs are used for this purpose. They include:

Chantix: This medication inhibits nicotine receptors in the brain, which lessens the withdrawal symptoms that will be present from staying away from nicotine. It also reduces the rewards that come with it should the individual smoke during treatment.

Bupropion: This is an antidepressant that reduces cravings as well as withdrawal symptoms. It inhibits the reuptake as well as stimulating the release of brain chemicals such as norepinephrine and dopamine. It is not recommended for individuals that experience seizures, have had a severe head injury bipolar or have eating disorders. It can also cause insomnia.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy: This introduces small amounts of nicotine into the individual’s body to help them deal with withdrawal symptoms. It can come in the form of a gum, lozenge, patch, inhaler and nasal spray. The inhaler and nasal spray must, however, be taken under prescription. All others can be gotten over the counter.

However, it is recommended that all of these are taken under the advice of your physician or doctor. If you or anyone you know is struggling with Nicotine Addiction and you are not sure what to do, kindly call 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor will be on the phone to assist you.


Nicotine is quite dangerous and should be regarded as such.  Its addictive nature keeps individuals smoking cigars and cigarettes. Although they know it is pretty harmful to their health, they often simply cannot help it.

The best way to prevent Nicotine addiction or dependency is to avoid being exposed to it in the first place. However, if you have already been exposed to it and need help to overcome the addiction, kindly call 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor will be on the phone to assist you.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, it is possible! You would have to, however, employ the help of a professional. You can talk to your physician about your challenge. You can also call us on 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor will be on the phone to assist you.
No, you can’t. At this point, it is not just about your health but the health of your baby as well. Your baby could end up with lifelong complications because of your decision to keep smoking. Therefore, we will not recommend it. Speak to your physician about this. You can also call us on 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor will be on the phone to assist you.

We will not recommend it! Quitting in the middle of treatment could cause a relapse, leaving you in a worse state than when you began. Kindly see your doctor or therapist.  You can also call us on 0203 955 7700, and an experienced advisor will be on the phone to assist you.

If you have a cigarette within the first one hour of waking up, then you probably are. If you smoke up to ten cigarettes or more in a day, it is a clear sign that you have an addiction. Kindly talk to your physician or doctor about it.

About Author

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.

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