167832 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Nicotine Addiction

    (Tobacco Use Disorder; Smoking Addiction)

    Definition

    Nictotine addiction is when a person becomes dependent on nicotine. Being dependent means there is a physical change in how your body reacts to a substance. Your body will also have a reaction when you stop using the substance.
    Nicotine can be found in tobacco products such as cigarettes, snuff, chewing tobacco, cigars, or pipes. Tobacco use is also associated with several serious health conditions, such as:
    Throat Cancer
    Throat cancer
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
    Nicotine addition can be treated, often with a combination of treatments.

    Causes

    Nicotine acts on the brain's chemistry. It creates feelings of pleasure. However, the effects go away within a few minutes. Users will need to continue using nicotine to keep the good feelings going. This cycle can lead to addiction.

    Risk Factors

    Anyone who uses nicotine products can become addicted to the substance.

    Symptoms

    Symptoms develop when nicotine is not being used, also known as withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal include:
    • Irritability
    • Craving
    • Nervousness
    • Headache
    • Thinking and attention problems
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Increased appetite

    Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, medical and smoking history. A physical exam will be done.
    Breathing tests may also be done to see how well your lungs are working.

    Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment may involve one or more therapies. Options include:

    Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

    NRT relieves withdrawal symptoms. NRT products:
    • Nicotine gum
    • Lozenges
    • Nasal sprays
    • Patches
    • Inhalers
    The chance of abusing these products is low since NRT does not create "feel good" feelings.
    NRT may help you to:
    • Avoid smoking
    • Reduce the amount of tobacco you use
    • Quit and stay smoke-free

    Behavioral Therapy

    Behavioral therapies include:
    • Counseling
    • Group behavior therapy
    • Telephone quit lines, cell phone programs, and text messaging programs
    • Internet and computer-based programs
    • Self-help classes and manuals
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy

    Medication

    Some antidepressants and nicotine partial agonists may help you quit. Other medications may help ease withdrawal symptoms or block the effects of nicotine if you start smoking again.

    Prevention

    The best prevention is to never use tobacco products. Try to avoid places where people are smoking.

    RESOURCES

    American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org

    American Lung AssociationFreedom From Smoking http://www.ffsonline.org

    SmokefreeTelephone: 1-800-QUITNOW http://www.smokefree.gov

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca

    The Lung Association http://www.lung.ca

    References

    Kenfield SA, Stampfer MJ, Rosner BA, Colditz GA. Smoking and smoking cessation in relation to mortality in women. JAMA. 2008;299:2037-2047.

    Questions about smoking, tobacco, and health. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/002974-pdf.pdf. Updated January 17, 2013. Accessed March 11, 2013.

    Tobacco addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. Available at: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/tobacco-addiction. Updated July 12, 2012. Accessed March 11, 2013..

    Tobacco use disorder. PEMSoft at EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated February 19, 2013. Accessed March 11, 2013.

    2/27/2007 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Etter JF, Stapleton JA. Nicotine replacement therapy for long-term smoking cessation: a meta-analysis. Tob Control. 2006;280-285.

    9/24/2007 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: LF Stead, T Lancaster. Interventions to reduce harm from continued tobacco use [review]. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2007;3.

    3/25/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Parkes G, Greenhalgh T, Griffin M, Dent R. Effect on smoking quit rate of telling patients their lung age: the Step2quit randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2008;336:598-600.

    10/14/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Shiffman S, Ferguson SG. Nicotine patch therapy prior to quitting smoking: a meta-analysis. Addiction. 2008;103:557-563.

    12/16/2008 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Eisenberg MJ, Filion KB, Yavin D, et al. Pharmacotherapies for smoking cessation: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. CMAJ . 2008;179:135-144.

    2/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Cochran CJ, Gallicchio L, Miller SR, Zacur H, Flaws JA. Cigarette smoking, androgen levels, and hot flushes in midlife women. Obstet Gynecol. 2008;112:1037-1044.

    2/17/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Stead LF, Lancaster T. Group behaviour therapy programmes for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(1):CD001007.

    7/6/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Myung SK, McDonnell DD, Kazinets G, Seo HG, Moskowitz JM. Effects of Web- and computer-based smoking cessation programs: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169:929-937.

    7/21/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Lancaster T, Stead L. Self-help interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(2):CD001118.

    11/13/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Piper ME, Smith SS, Schlam TR, et al. A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial of 5 smoking cessation pharmacotherapies. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66(11):1253-1262.

    12/21/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Whittaker R, Borland R, Bullen C, et al. Mobile phone-based interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(4):CD006611.

    11/30/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Rusanen M, Kivipelto M, Quesenberry CP Jr, Zhou J, Whitmer RA. Heavy smoking in midlife and long-term risk of alzheimer disease and vascular dementia. Arch Intern Med. 2010 Oct 25. [Epub ahead of print]

    4/29/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.

    6/24/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Leonardi-Bee J, Britton J, Venn A. Secondhand smoke and adverse fetal outcomes in nonsmoking pregnant women: a meta-analysis. Pediatrics. 2011;127(4):734-741.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.