Addiction is a disorder that affects the health of many Americans. To add, this disorder continues to contribute to the number of deaths within the country. And seeing how it involves many people, some citizens may already consider a variety of addictions as a norm.
There are many addictions around the USA. Through time, these numbers continue to increase. For instance, there are over 14.4 million individuals are known to be alcoholics. Another study shows that 11.8 million individuals are yet using marijuana as an interest.
Furthermore, this article would not talk about liquor nor marijuana addiction. Rather, this article will give more emphasis on the most common cause of addiction in America.
What is The Number One Addiction in America?
There are a variety of known addictions within the state. You may think that substances like marijuana, or alcohol may come to the topmost addictive substance. Indeed, both are a part of the top addictive substance in America, having alcohol in second and marijuana in third. As addictive as these substances may be, there is still another addiction common within the US. And it is smoking.
Tobacco use is one of the most used and is the most common addiction in America. Statistically, over 34.2 million people around USA smoke. Some are for the reason that it gives the most affordable, most legal, and easy to get addictive substance around the state. Likewise, chronic smokers are most likely to develop the worst effects and symptoms among all other addictions in America.
Often, smokers underestimate the effects of chronic smoking compared to other addictive substances. To add, many smokers may still prefer to smoke, even if they know about the harmful effects of cigarettes.
As we continue, let us first know how and why tobacco smoking causes addiction.
The Addictive Property of Tobacco Smoking
In a 2015 survey, almost 70% of US smokers gave an initiative in quitting this habit. Although there were over half of them that made the attempt, only about 10% successfully managed to quit smoking in the past year of 2018.
There is always an addictive property that urges people to want for more of a substance. In the case of our smokers, nicotine is the primary addictive substance found in almost all, but not exclusive, on cigarettes.
Like how other addictive drugs affect the brain, nicotine also gives a short surge in dopamine production. This results in a pleasurable effect due to the flood of dopamine in the brain.
There is an average of 6 to 13mg of nicotine present in domestic cigarettes. To add, it only needs 10 seconds of inhalation of nicotine for it to reach a peak into the bloodstream.
Smoking: Withdrawal Symptoms
With the habitual use of cigarettes, there is a high possibility of the development of nicotine addiction. This is induced by the physiological and psychological dependence on nicotine, as like other addictive drugs.
Being dependent on nicotine, withdrawal symptoms may persist upon quitting its use. For instance, withdrawal from smoking may trigger the following symptoms:
- Sleeping problems
- Increase appetite
- Mental and Attention deficits.
Symptoms may persist as early as a few hours following the last tobacco intake. Thus, this drives many to continue to smoke.
Consequences of Smoking
In America, there are over 16 million diseased cases caused by smoking. Some of the related chronic illnesses are the following:
1. Lung Cancer
It is commonly known that smoking is one of the leading causes of lung cancer. People who smoke have a 15% to 30% increase in developing lung cancer.
As the smoke enters the lungs, it damages the cell lining the lungs. To add, smoke is full of carcinogens that cause mutations upon the cell it damages. This results in cancer cells developing and spread throughout the lung tissue.
Smoking does not only limit to causing lung cancer. In fact, it gives an increased risk of cancer development to different systems in the body such as:
- Digestive system – mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, colon, Liver, Pancreas, and Rectum
- Respiratory system – Larynx, Trachea, Bronchus
- Excretory system – Kidney. Renal pelvis, Urinary Bladder
- Circulatory system – Acute myeloid leukemia
According to a study, smoking increases the chances of a person developing a stroke. To add, it also increases the chances of an individual dying of stroke when engaged in smoking.
As smoke enters the lungs, its chemicals then reach the bloodstream. One example of these chemicals is carbon monoxide. This chemical rapidly replaces oxygen in the blood. Therefore, this result for the blood to reduce oxygen, which is essential for many cells in the body.
To add, the nicotine brought by cigarette smoking causes the heart to beat faster and raises the body’s blood pressure. Combining these two and many more factors cause a higher risk of developing stroke when smoking.
It is a well-known fact that smoking increases the chances of an individual developing type 2 diabetes. According to the CDC, smoking gives a 30-40% increase in the chances of developing diabetes than those who do not smoke. To add, a diabetic will have a harder time managing this condition when engaged in smoking than to nonsmokers.
5. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
COPD is a group of disorders characterized by air pathway blockage and leads to difficulty in breathing. In addition, this condition may also include emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
These diseases can be caused by a variety of other factors. However, it may be usually caused by cigarette smoking.
Whether you may already have this condition, smoking may aggravate the condition and may cause worse breathing problems and even death.
Unlike any other addiction, tobacco or cigarette smoking is the easiest to obtain. Although it may give pleasurable effects to the body, this substance has a high chance of getting a person addicted.
Whether or not you may consider yourself addicted to smoking, you should always consider the long-term consequences when engaged in smoking. Over a period of time, there can be cases that may not make like easier due to chronic smoking. However, like any other addiction, smoking can be prevented and treated.
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