Nicotine is a stimulant drug which, depending on the mental and physical state of the smoker, can influence the way in which a particular cigarette will affect psychological perceptions.
Nicotine is addictive because it releases dopamine into the smokers body. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain which is associate with feelings of pleasure.
Conversely, medical research has shown that nicotine, over sustained periods of usage, can depress the ability of the brain to experience pleasure. As a result smokers require greater amounts of the drug to achieve the same ‘high’.
Difficulty In Quitting
Nicotine is a very powerful drug. This is shown in the relatively low success rates in quitting smoking and the reluctance of many smokers to quit even after undergoing surgery for smoking related illnesses.
Around 20% of those who use smoking cessation products manage to quit smoking for as long as a year. This figure reduces to around 3% for those who attempt to quit using willpower alone.
Most smokers take several attempts to quit before they finally succeed.
Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms
Most smokers will suffer nicotine withdrawal symptoms after they quit smoking. These can include a craving for nicotine, anxiety, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, irritability, decreased heart rate, difficulty concentrating and an increased appetite or weight gain.