Tobacco Addiction

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Tobacco addiction is a disease that affects a person who uses tobacco physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The two characteristics of addiction are the 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 health issue, like heart disease.
* 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 have a tobacco use disorder. Some users never experience withdrawal symptoms when use is decreased. Nicotine Anonymous offers the following questions to anyone who may have a problem with nicotine. These questions are provided to help the individual decide if he or she has a tobacco use disorder and wants to stop using tobacco. Take the Tobacco Addiction Assessment.

Another way to assess nicotine dependence is to determine whether you experience withdraw or unpleasant symptoms when not using tobacco. These symptoms can include:

  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Increased appetite

JUULing & Vaping

Vaping and JUULing have reached epidemic levels among young people who often think e-cigarettes are safer to use than traditional cigarettes. But these devices commonly contain high levels of the drug nicotine, which can set up young users for a lifetime of addiction. Download the Berks County, PA Vaping Toolkit for fact sheets and local data, as well as tips and resources for parents, educators and healthcare professionals. This toolkit was adapted from the original version made by our friends in Montgomery County.

How can I encourage someone to quit using tobacco?

Family and friends often believe they encourage others to quit by citing numerous reasons why they should quit.  For most 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 users, quitting takes multiple attempts and relapses before kicking the habit for good.  The more you understand about this 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 quitting is to become informed of the various ways to quit, while also exploring all the benefits. 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 smoking cessation program.

Where can I get help to quit?

The Council on Chemical Abuse is your local support. We offer Tobacco Cessation Classes at multiple locations in Berks County.


  • 1 (800) Quit Now (784 -8669)
  • (800) ACS-2345
  • (877) 440-QUIT

Internet Resources

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