Cigarettes are a highly addictive substance with health consequences for users. Many people ask why smokers continue to spend money on something which is detrimental for health and might even shorten the lifespan by over a decade. It helps to understand the addictive properties of nicotine and the justifications for why people continue to smoke cigarettes.


Addictive Substances

A cigarette contains thousands of chemicals, some of which cause cancer. Nicotine is of the most highly addictive substances and is found in cigarettes. A single cigarette contains between 8-20 milligrams of nicotine, enough to kill a person if injected directly into the bloodstream. The body, as it turns out, only absorbs around 10% of the nicotine in a cigarette which protects it from ‘nicotine poisoning,’ Nicotine addiction happens when the drug reaches the brain 10 seconds after inhaling smoke from a cigarette. The brain takes in the dose of nicotine which increases the dopamine level and produces a high. Over time, nicotine intake desensitizes nicotine receptors which results in physical dependence or tolerance to the effects of nicotine. Withdrawal begins almost right away after a cigarette stops being smoked as nicotine leaves the body and dopamine levels fall.


Tobacco Companies

The subconscious mind is quite powerful and marketing images are presented to people on a minute by minute basis everyday with the advent of social media. Even back in the day, messages about smoking appeared on radio, television and inside newspaper or magazine advertisements touting the great effects of smoking a cigarette. Movie stars who were ‘cool’ and with the ‘in crowd’ smoked and it was seen as a status symbol. Young people are bombarded by messages about smoking to relieve stress, make friends and be cool.



Some of the myths include the myth it helps relax and bring down stress. Stress will be there regardless, smoking cigarettes is actually an added stressor. Smoking does not relieve boredom but merely distracts a person from dealing with the issues at hand. Concentration is another reason but withdrawal from nicotine is a distraction that won’t allow the smoker to be satiated until more nicotine is found. Another reason people give for continuing to smoke is the social aspect which it is not, rather, it is a solitary activity people may do in a group but it does not increase one’s social life. Nicotine also does not promote weight loss, which is another myth and reason to keep smoking (to keep from gaining weight if smoking is stopped).

While people give many reasons to keep smoking, there are many more reasons to quit. The mental and psychological reasons are challenging but possible to overcome with the right support and help. The staff at Hired Power are available to assist you and answer questions you have on smoking cessation programs.

Contact our Huntington Beach office today at 800.585.5816 for more information.