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Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. It kills approximately 440,000 Americans each year with one in every five U.S. deaths the result of smoking. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, causes many diseases and compromises smokers’ health in general.

Nicotine, a major component of tobacco, is the primary reason that tobacco is addictive. Nicotine is commonly consumed as a recreational drug for its stimulant effects. Recreational nicotine products include chewing tobacco, cigars, cigarettes, e-cigarettes and snuff.

Exposure to high doses of nicotine, such as those found in some insecticide sprays, can be extremely toxic as well, causing vomiting, tremors, convulsions and death. In fact, one drop of pure nicotine can kill a person. Nicotine poisoning has been reported from accidental ingestion of insecticides by adults andingestion of tobacco products by children and pets. Death usually results in a few minutes from respiratory failure caused by paralysis.

Are e-cigarettes safe?

Vaping is like smoking only instead of inhaling smoke filled with cancer-causing toxins to get your nicotine hit, you inhale vapor through an e-cigarette, a battery-powered device that converts liquid nicotine into a vapor. While they’re probably less toxic than cigarettes, vaping still delivers highly addictive nicotine into your lungs.

Unlike smoking, you can vape most anytime, anywhere, allowing you to constantly inhale nicotine. Our bodies quickly adapt to want more and more, and if you’re using a vape with a lot of nicotine in it, you could quickly find yourself inhaling the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day. Like conventional cigarettes, electronic cigarettes may function as a “gateway drug” that can prime the brain to be more receptive to harder drugs. The increasingly popular devices deliver nicotine directly without burning tobacco, thus removing the danger to the lungs and to the heart. However, researchers have found that e-cigarettes have the same physiological effects on the brain and may pose the same risk of addiction to other drugs as regular cigarettes, especially in adolescence, a critical period of brain development.

“Nicotine clearly acts as a gateway drug on the brain, and this effect is likely to occur whether the exposure comes from smoking cigarettes, passive tobacco smoke or e-cigarettes,” the researchers wrote.

Smoking and mental health

In young smokers, the behavior appears to be strongly associated with increased risk for a variety of mental disorders. In some cases—such as with conduct disorders and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder—these disorders may precede the onset of smoking, while in others—such as with substance abuse—the disorders may emerge later in life.

Among adults, the rate of major depressive episodes is highest in nicotine–dependent individuals. Adult tobacco use also increases risk for the later development of anxiety disorders. But the most extensive co-occurring disorders overlap is likely the one that exists between smoking and schizophrenia, since, in clinical samples, the rate of smoking in patients with schizophrenia has ranged as high as 90 percent.

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There is clear evidence of high rates of psychiatric dual diagnosis, including other substance abuse, among adolescents and adults who smoke. For example, it has been estimated that individuals with psychiatric disorders purchase approximately 44 percent of all cigarettes sold in the United States.

In addition, studies have shown that as many as 80 percent of alcoholics smoke regularly and that a majority of them will die of smoking-related, rather than alcohol-related, disease. The rate of smoking in patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, major depression and other mental illnesses is two to four times higher than in the general population; and among people with schizophrenia, smoking rates as high as 90 percent have been reported.

Smoking and pregnancy

In the United States, it is estimated that about 16 percent of pregnant women smoke during their pregnancies. Carbon monoxide and nicotine from tobacco smoke may interfere with the oxygen supply to the fetus and nicotine collects in fetal blood, amniotic fluid and breast milk. Combined, these factors can have severe consequences for the fetuses and infants of smoking mothers. Smoking during pregnancy results in more than 1,000 infant deaths annually.

In addition, smoking more than one pack a day during pregnancy nearly doubles the risk that the affected child will become addicted to tobacco if that child starts smoking.

Extensive research has shown that treatments for tobacco addiction do work. Although some smokers can quit without help, many individuals need assistance with quitting. This is particularly important because smoking cessation can have immediate health benefits. For example, within 24 hours of quitting, blood pressure and chances of heart attack decrease.

Long-term benefits of smoking cessation include decreased risk of stroke, lung and other cancers and coronary heart disease. For example, a 35-year-old man who quits smoking will, on average, increase his life expectancy by 5 years.

Nicotine is one of the hardest substances to kick. Are you a regular smoker who is addicted to nicotine? If the answer is yes, the caring addiction specialists at recoveryas.com are here to help you conquer that addiction or any other substance addiction that has taken over your life or the life of someone you love.

Call 1 (877) 968-6283 toll free today to begin your path to living a drug-free life. We will never charge you for our services.