The science of why it is so difficult to quit smoking is crystal clear: nicotine is addicted – allegedly as an addiction like cocaine or heroin.
However, each adult can walk into the drug store and buy a package of cigarettes without any questions.
"From a scientific point of view, nicotine is so hard or harder to give up heroin, but people do not recognize it," said Dr. Neil Benowitz, a nicotine researcher at the University of California, San Francisco.
Smoking is the world's leading cause of death. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.1 billion people worldwide. And more and more, they join the ranks continuously. Every day in the United States, more than 3,200 adolescents aged 18 and younger smoke their first cigarette, while the other 2 100 adolescents and young adults move from smoking occasionally to have a daily habit.
In 1964, the famous American surgeon's general report "Smoking and Health" linked smoking with cancer. Two decades later in 1988, another lieutenant of the surgeon of the general report on nicotine addiction, which nicotine became dependent on the use of cocaine or heroin.
"Every drug abuse, including nicotine, releases dopamine, which makes it pleasant to use," said Dr. Benowitz. "And when you stop smoking, you have a lack of dopamine release that causes dysphoria: feel anxious or depressed."
Nikotin also acts as a stimulant, Dr. Benowitz. "It helps people focus and if they do not have cigarettes, they have trouble concentrating."
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) intends to introduce new rules that would reduce the level of nicotine in tobacco products to "minimal addiction" or "inconvenience". It is not clear when the FDA will make a new decision.
Dr Benowitz said he was "cautiously optimistic" that the FDA would force tobacco companies to keep their cigarettes free from addiction. "If they did, I think this would be the end of the epidemic of cigarettes," he said.
In the meantime, they are discussing increasingly popular electronic cigarettes that are marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes do not contain as many toxic chemicals as smoke from regular cigarettes. However, most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, and some supply dangerous chemicals, such as formaldehyde.
Critics of e-cigarettes complain that designers market them to young people by selling them in various flavors that are child-friendly, from pizza to cookies and cream.
"We still need a lot of studies on all these chemicals," said Dr. Benowitz. "E-cigarettes can present some of the harm that we do not yet know."
Many people find that they can not stop smoking themselves. Dr Benowitz said that nicotine patches, nicotine gum, and smoking-release products are all proven ways to increase human chances of abandonment. Support groups and delivery lines can also help.
Gary A Giovino, a nicotine researcher at the State University of New York in Buffalo, said it was helpful because the drug, people who really want to quit smoking, are also ready to change their lifestyle.
"People need to focus on behavioral change … they need the right skills and knowledge and social support. They need a plan," said Giovina, a professor and president of the health and health department at his school, who quit smoking 40 years ago.
Giovino said that good nutrition can be an important factor in helping people. He hopes to launch a study to examine whether there are correlations between the amount of vitamin D smokers and their ability to quit smoking. He said that he also wanted researchers to investigate whether the plant diet, vitamin B, and hydration affected the nicotine dependence.
Giovina advises people to touch the connection between the mind and the body and try yoga technique and deep breathing to help them stop. "After a meal, instead of taking long breaths on a cigarette (the smoker could) try a long, deep breath and breathe out without 7,000 chemicals," he said.
It is also important for those who have decided to stop preparing for how difficult it will be, said Giovina.
"There is this real driving with a car that does not feel good and is irritable and has longing," he said. "The first few days can be very intense, then they can be leveled off and come back again. But if you do not leave a cigarette for a long time, more brain goes through the process of neural adjustment, the more you recover, the ride calms down."
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