National Drug Facts Week : Nicotine vs. Heroin

Which is more addictive, heroin or nicotine?

Day 3 Nicotine Web Pic

The truth is that both are equally addictive. Research has shown that nicotine is just as addictive as heroin. The progression of addiction is the same for nicotine as it would be for heroin, or cocaine, or alcohol. The user starts with maybe just one cigarette a day, then it goes to two, then three, before they know it they are smoking a half pack a day, or more. The user’s tolerance rises, requiring more nicotine to get the same “feel good” effect, and also more nicotine to avoid the withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine is found in any tobacco product including cigarettes, cigars and chew tobacco. Most fluid used for electronic cigarettes also includes nicotine and each bottle varies in the amount.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says nicotine dependence is the most common form of chemical dependence in the United States. Withdrawal from nicotine dependence on nicotine can cause symptoms similar to withdrawal from other drugs, including irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, restlessness, and increased appetite. These symptoms may begin within a few hours after the last cigarette, quickly driving people back to tobacco use. Symptoms peak within the first few days of smoking cessation and usually subside within a few weeks. For some people, however, symptoms may persist for months.

Read more about nicotine addiction and dependence HERE from the CDC and another article about tobacco/nicotine from NIDA HERE.

Interested in quitting tobacco and nicotine use? Or have a loved one who wants to quit? Learn more about our FREE Tobacco/Nicotine Cessation classes HERE.

Stay connected with what the Council is doing for 2015 National Drug Facts Week.

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