Most of the smokers started when they were teenagers. Those who have friends and/or parents who smoke are more likely to start smoking than those who do not. Some teens say they "just wanted to try it," or they thought it was "cool" to smoke.
Tobacco advertising, price breaks and other promotions for its products have a major impact on our society. The tobacco industry spends billions of dollars every year to create and market ads that show smoking to be exciting, glamorous and safe. The use of tobacco is also shown in video games, online and on TV. And the films showing smokers are another big influence. Studies have shown that young people who see smoking in movies are more likely to start smoking.
Newer influences on tobacco use are e-cigarettes and other high-tech, fashionable electronic vaping devices. Often seen as harmless and easier to get and use than traditional tobacco products, these devices are a great way for new users to learn how to inhale and become addicted to nicotine that can prepare them for smoking.
Nicotine is the main addictive substance used in cigarettes and other forms of tobacco. Nicotine is a drug that affects many parts of your body , including the brain. Over time, your body and brain will get used to having nicotine in them. Approximately 80–90 percent of people who smoke regularly are addicted to nicotine.
Nicotine will reach your brain within 10 seconds of entering your body. It causes the brain to release adrenaline, and it creates a buzz of pleasure and energy. The buzz quickly fades away, though. Then you might feel tired or a little down — and you might want that buzz again.
Your body can build up a high tolerance to nicotine, so you'll need to smoke more cigarettes to get the same buzz. This up and down cycle is going to happen over and over. That's exactly what leads to addiction.
Smoking can be linked to other day-to-day activities — such as watching TV, talking on the phone, hanging out with friends, going to certain places, or taking a break to relax. Smoking becomes part of a pattern or a routine.
But you can get some help to stop the routine. In-person counseling or talking to a counselor over the phone can teach you how to break the link between smoking and your daily activities. Ask for help in creating new patterns.
Many people smoke because it's a way they've learned to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, negative moods, and daily stress. Without smoking, there are ways to deal with emotions. Counseling can teach you how to cope, and it can also help to get support from loved ones.
About 2 out of 3 smokers say they want to quit and about half try to quit every year, but few succeed without help. This is because not only do smokers become physically dependent on nicotine. There is also a strong emotional (psychological) dependence. Nicotine affects the behavior, mood, and emotions of the smoker. If a smoker uses tobacco to help manage unpleasant feelings and emotions, it may become a problem for some when they try to quit. Smokers may also link smoking with social activities and many other activities. All of these factors make smoking a difficult habit to break.
In fact, it may be harder to quit smoking than to stop using cocaine or heroin. In 2012, researchers reviewed 28 different studies of people who were trying to stop using the substance they were addicted to. They found that about 18 percent had been able to quit drinking, and more than 40 percent had been able to quit opioids or cocaine, but only 8 percent had been able to quit smoking.
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