Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How Can Smoking Be Addicted?

Smoking is closely linked to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Each year, smoking kills about 5 million people and among them, female smokers and smokers in developing countries are the most vulnerable group.

When you ask smokers this question: "How did you addicted to smoking?" Most likely, he or she just cannot give you a definite answer because he or she simply could not remember how the habit was formed. However, a recent New Zealand study showed that smoking just one cigarette could simply cause tobacco addiction in some people.

The medical researchers asked 96,000 youngsters aged between 14 and 15 to fill in questionnaires, issued via schools between 2002 and 2004, about whether they smoked and whether they felt the need to continue smoking. They published their findings on February 20, 2008 in the Elsevier Journal of Addictive Behaviours.

Questions such as 'Do you ever have strong cravings to smoke?", 'Do you smoke now because it is hard to quit?', and 'Did you find it hard to concentrate because you couldn't smoke?' were included in the questionnaires to calibrate any dependence on tobacco.

As expected, youngsters who smoked frequently replied that they felt the urge to continue smoking. What the researchers found surprising was that those infrequent smokers also reported a carving. It was found that 46 percent of those smoked less than one cigarette a month had diminished control over the urge to smoke. Among teenagers who found difficulty to repress an urge to smoke, 10 percent and 25 percent had the impulse within 2 days and one month of smoking their first cigarette respectively.

The responses from the study confirmed previous research showing addiction rises as more cigarettes are smoked, and it starts after the first cigarette. Smoking one cigarette can simply prompt a loss of autonomy, as suggested by the researchers.

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