Why Is Nicotine So Addictive?


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Gigi Roberts, Staff Writer

Growing up with a mother who was highly addicted to nicotine, I could never understand why she couldn’t quit. Smoke after smoke. She lit one in the car, parking lot, outside of the airport or outside the restaurant. She just couldn’t quit. As a kid it drove me nuts. I used to hide her packs of cigarettes from her but all that did was make her mad and crave her addiction for nicotine even more.

It wasn’t until I, myself tried nicotine. I finally understood why my mom couldn’t stop and why she had given up on quitting. Yes, I’m only 17 but I made the choice to try vaping because it seemed to be what every teen at my school seemed to be doing. Might not be a good reason for me to start but I was definitely influenced by my peers. But I’ve been vaping for over a year now and to be honest I hate it. I think it’s a loser lifestyle, so then why can’t I stop blowing those big clouds of vape? Well, because I’m addicted to nicotine, just like my mom.

Why is nicotine so addictive and why is it so hard to quit? Only 4-7 % of people who attempt to quit smoking are able to do it cold turkey. Now the reason for this is because nicotine crosses the blood-brain barrier within 10 seconds after it is inhaled. When nicotine reaches the brain, it triggers dopamine to be released. Smokers feel pleasure and calm, and their withdrawal symptoms lessen. Unfortunately, after dopamine depletes, these symptoms return and with it, the urge to smoke. When trying to quit, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, depression, anxiety and difficulty concentrating often leads smokers back to cigarettes.

The bottom line is: don’t use  nicotine. It’s not worth it and it’s a bad habit. Once you start you won’t be able to stop. It’s highly addicting, has many health risks including cancer and heart problems. All though the chance of you actually getting cancer and heart problems just from nicotine is rare. Nicotine itself might not be as harmful to your body as cigarettes as it contains much more chemicals, but if you start with vaping it can lead to cigarettes and I personally hate cigarettes, I think they’re gross. But that is a risk of getting addicted to nicotine.