Many smokers have made the decision to quit smoking with electronic cigarettes.
But how effective are e-cigs in helping a smoker quit? In order to understand how using electronic cigarettes can be part of a stop smoking program, you need to first understand the smoking and nicotine addiction.
It's important to note that electronic cigarettes have not been classified by the manufacturers or the FDA as a smoking cessation tool. What you read here is how other smokers have incorporated e-cigs as part of their overall personal plans to break free of cigarettes and nicotine.
Many smokers will tell you that there are two things they had to overcome when quitting smoking. The physical addiction of nicotine, and the psychological dependence or habit of the act of smoking.
You will likely face the same hurdles when you decide to stop smoking. So, it's important that we talk about both.
Nicotine is addicting
The chemical qualities of nicotine are well known. In low concentrations, it's a stimulant and is the main factor responsible for the dependence-forming properties of tobacco smoking.
It is thought that increased levels of dopamine in the reward circuits of the brain are responsible for the euphoria and relaxation and eventual addiction caused by nicotine consumption. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotine
Nicotine addiction, then, works like this:
- Nicotine causes dopamine to be released in the brain. The result is feelings of pleasure. As you inhale more, the feelings of pleasure increase.
- Over time, it takes more nicotine to reach the same level of pleasure, so you smoke more. As you smoke more, your tolerance goes up, and it takes even more nicotine to reach the same levels of euphoria.
- If you stop taking the nicotine your brain wants, not only is the sense of pleasure gone, it gets replaced by bad feelings. You'll start feeling desperate cravings that can only be satisfied by giving the brain want it wants, more nicotine.
Nicotine addiction is a desperate cycle that fuels itself over time. Going cold-turkey and stopping the nicotine consumption in a bold effort usually does not work because the body and brain fight back.
The only way to stop the cravings is to give the brain what it wants, nicotine.
These nicotine cravings are what is physically addicting about cigarettes and nicotine. The body is used to getting something and you take it away. Naturally, the brain protests!
The medical terms you will hear when reading about the physical addiction of cigarettes and nicotine usually called physiological dependence, include:
- Withdrawal symptoms
Many smokers use e-cigs to reverse these physiological dependencies. By selecting the nicotine level and decreasing the amount over time, you may be able to change your dependence level, control the withdrawal symptoms, and decrease your tolerance levels.
Interestingly enough, nicotine is considered a stimulant and a relaxant. Smokers seem to inherently know that if they take short, quick puffs they will get more of a stimulant effect. If they take long, controlled drags, they will get more of a relaxing effect.
Think about the times you actually enjoy smoking. When you are hanging with friends, after a hectic day, after some stressful event, and as the joke goes, after an intimate encounter.
These are all times that you will need to break the social and psychological habits of smoking typically called Psychological dependence and Sociocultural Factors leading to a nicotine and cigarette habit.
Many smokers continue to smoke for a number of psychological reasons such as stimulation, tension reduction, habit, and pleasurable relaxation. There are also Sociocultural Factors such as social activity, daily rituals, and cultural practices.
Many smokers have to give up these social and daily rituals because they provoke the habitual nature of smoking. E-cigarette smokers, however, can still partake in the rituals becasue the e-cig looks like a cigarette, feels like a cigarette, and satisfies those "muscle memory" actions.
And, because you can decrease your nicotine levels with e-cigarettes, you'll have more control.
Hopefully this quick discussion will help you understand what cigarette and nicotine addiction is all about.
Total Views: 424 | Approx word count : 732 | 09/15/2011
Discover more about cigarette dependence
and learn more about
by reading this article. You are sure to find what you are looking for about nicotine habit