What is tobacco addiction?
Nicotine addiction is a disease that affects a tobacco user physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The two characteristics of an addiction are compulsive use of a substance and continued use despite adverse consequences. Many tobacco users report their inability to stop use regardless of adverse consequences, including the risk of fatality due to a tobacco related disease or illness.
* From Nicotine Anonymous
Nicotine, a chemical found in all tobacco products, is the single most addictive substance in common use. It has been stated that nicotine is far more addictive than heroin or cocaine, for many reasons.
Do I have a problem with tobacco?
Not all tobacco users are addicts. Some users never experience withdraw symptoms when use is decreased. Nicotine Anonymous offers the following questions to anyone who may have a nicotine addiction. These questions are provided to help the individual decide if he or she is addicted to nicotine and wants to stop using tobacco. Take the Tobacco Addiction Assessment Tool.
Another way to assess addiction to nicotine is to determine whether you experience withdraw or unpleasant symptoms when not using tobacco. These symptoms can include:
• Increased appetite
How can I encourage someone to quit using tobacco?
Family and friends often believe they encourage others to quit using tobacco by citing numerous reasons why they should quit. For most tobacco users, the suggestion of quitting typically does not offer the motivation to quit. In fact, most who do quit using do so because they found the motivation on their own. The best thing you can do is to offer support and encouragement if and when they decide to quit. If they are not ready to quit, let them know that you will support them whenever they are ready.
As a friend or family member of a nicotine addict, it is important to educate yourself on tobacco products, nicotine addiction, and second hand smoke. For many tobacco users, quitting takes multiple attempts and relapses before kicking the habit for good. The more you understand about tobacco addiction, the more supportive you can be. Understanding how addictive nicotine can be will also be helpful if and when a smoker relapses.
How can I quit using tobacco?
The first step to quit using tobacco is to become informed of the various ways to quit, while also exploring all the benefits of quitting. Once your research has been completed, devise a quit plan that is suited for you and your individual needs. Every tobacco user is different, and unfortunately there is no magic cure to quit. Quitting may take numerous attempts, but the better prepared you are, the more successful your quit attempt will be.
A tobacco user has the absolute best chances of quitting when combing nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) with a quit smoking program. Quit attempts can also be made with Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), cessation or quit tobacco programs, prescribed prescription medication, and even alternative methods including gradual withdraw, cold turkey, acupuncture, hypnosis, etc.
Where can I get help quitting?
Reading Health Systems
Tobacco Free Wellness Center
Phone (484) 628-9055
Quit Smoking Program
Latinos for Healthy Communities
Phone (610) 685-9840
Quit Smoking Program
American Cancer Society (Berks)
Phone (888) 227-5445
Quit Smoking Support
Contact your family physician or health care provider
American Cancer Society
American Lung Association
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
Centers For Disease Control
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Ready to Quit
A Strategic Plan for a Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program in PA (2012 – 2017)