Smoking and Nicotine Addiction

Smoking is a habit forming and in many instances very hard to stop once started. As the world around grows and increases in knowledge it is becoming more evident that smoking is dangerous not just to the smoker, but the people around them as well. There are many reasons that one may start the habit of smoking but are unaware of just how much the body becomes dependent on it in regard to feeling normal. Like any other habit forming drug the body and mind see the nicotine in cigarettes as a need rather than a want.

Understanding the Addiction

To understand addiction one must first understand the brains primary motivation neurotransmitter, dopamine. The dopamine pathways that make up the brain serve as a built-in- teacher or memory (Polito, 2012). This certain function triggers a feeling of desire or sensation when wanting the required action to takes place (Polito, 2012). In a sense the dopamine pathways are testing the body to see if it will give into the urges. Once an individual loses control and gives into the urge the dopamine is stimulated, and the desire is satisfied.

According to Polito (2012) “The brain records how wanting was satisfied in the most durable, high-definition memory the mind may be capable of generating. It does so by hard-wiring dopamine pathway neuro-transmissions into our conscious memory banks (the prefrontal cortex – the lobe above our eyes), where each is linked to the event that satisfied dopamine pathway wanting, hunger and yearning” (pg. 1). With this known information there are those individuals who are referred to as “chippers” (Polito, 2012, pg. 1). This means that a person in this situation is a social smoker and the brain does not maintain the desires or craving for nicotine.

The more often the habit is repeated, the more controlling the dopamine becomes. Nicotine provides much heightened receptor activity and activates cholinergic neurons in different areas of brain (Meeker-O’Connell, 2001). This in return stimulates an increase in the release of acetylcholine, stimulation of cholinergic neurons, and the release of glutamatean (Meeker-O’Connell, 2001). The acetylcholine neurotransmitter is responsible for the brain’s role of learning and memory. The function of energy level, heart rate, and breathing is controlled by this certain neurotransmitter.

Cholinergic neurons encourage the release of dopamine in the “reward pathways” of the brain and these particular pathways reinforce survival behavior (Meeker-O’Connell, 2001). The neurons formed around this part of the brain act as an encourager to continue this behavior because they release a feeling of satisfaction through the body. Glutamatean involves connecting sets of neurons together to enhance memory and create strong connections to the nicotine. When smoking memory is created or embedded in the brain as providing a good feeling. This makes a person desire to smoke more irresistible based on the feeling he or she receives from it.

The Results of Nicotine Use The nicotine found in cigarettes acts both as a stimulant and depressant when concerning brain function. Nicotine is meant to increase an individual’s heart rate and closely resembles that of a caffeine effect. The satisfaction from the nicotine provides the body with a burst of energy and a feeling of good. On the other hand depression and fatigue set in when an individual does not keep up with the nicotine demand that the body has become addicted to. The body craves the nicotine and must have it to functioning properly.

Mineur and Picciotto (2010) state that “Estimates of the prevalence of nicotine dependence in patients with major depression range from 50% to 60%, compared with ? 25% in the general population” (pg. 1). Some time ago Janowsky and colleagues came up with a hypothesis theory that linked smoking a depression with one another. They hypothesized that too much acetylcholine might lead to depressive state in individuals (Mineur & Picciotto, 2010). They further insisted that “Individual depression is associated with hyperactivation of the cholinergic system and decreased activity of the noradrenergic” (Janowsky, Davis, El-Yousef, & Sekerke, 1972).

Hereditary Factors in Nicotine Dependency There may be many factors that play into one’s addiction when concerning nicotine dependency. There are some studies that show heredity to be a contributing factor, but the majority do not agree with the statement. Some studies state that heredity has not been found to be the cause of smoking in individuals because there is no single “smoking gene” within the body (The Associate Press, 2001). Therefore, nicotine addiction is the same within everyone and no certain gene is associated with who will and who will not become dependent on it.

This is just one thought, and according to Science Daily (1999) “New research has found that a certain gene can make the difference as to whether or not someone will start smoking and then become addicted to the nicotine” (pg. 1). In two different studies researchers identified that individuals carry a certain version of the dopamine transport gene called the SLCA6A3-9 (American Psychological Association, 1999). Those who carry this certain gene are less likely to start smoking and more likely to quit easily if started. Environmental Factors in Nicotine Use Environmental influences play a part in the reasoning behind smoking and its increasing trend.

One may start smoking because he or she wants to fit in with friends or like many others start because they grew up around smoking. Statistics have found that in the United States nicotine addiction is more associated with younger age individuals, lower income households, less educated, and disadvantaged neighborhood environments (Bergen & Caporaso, 1999). The solicitation and advertisement for tobacco products has increased over the years making it hard to overlook.

The topic of tobacco is viewed through social media where it is seen and responded to quickly not considering the negative effect it has on the adolescent population. According to Cunningham (2013) in 2008 “The American Heart Association estimated 24. 8 million men and 21. 1 million women, 23. 1 percent and 18. 3 percent of the total population, respectively, were smokers” (pg. 1). More than five million people per year will die from a tobacco-related illnesses, such as lung disease, heart disease, and cancer (World Health Organization, 2013).

Smoking has become an increasingly deadly habit that not only harms the smoker but also the individuals around them. Some report that nicotine addiction and its strength is in fact, related to hereditary whereas others decline the theory. Whether genes support how strong or weak one’s addiction is, smoking is a hard habit to stop. Like many other substances the withdraw of nicotine can lead to things, such as depression, altered moods, anxiety, and headaches. In any instance smoking can be stopped given the right environment and mental state. References American Psychological Association. (1999).

Researchers Find Genetic Connection To Cigarette Smoking. Retrieved from: http://legacy. library. ucsf. edu/tid/suq11c00 Bergen, A. W and Caporaso, N. (1999). Cigarette Smoking JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst 91(16): 1365-1375 doi:10. 1093/jnci/91. 16. 1365 Retrieved from: http://jnci. oxfordjournals. org/citmgr? gca=jnci;91/16/1365 Cunningham, M. (2013). 10 Reasons People Start Smoking. Discovery Fit and Health. Retrieved from: http://health. howstuffworks. com/wellness/smoking-cessation/10-reasons people-start-smoking. htm Janowsky, D. S. , Davis, J. M. , El-Yousef, K. M. , Sekerke, J. H. , (1972).

A CHOLINERGIC-ADRENERGIC HYPOTHESIS OF MANIA AND DEPRESSION, The Lancet, Volume 300, Issue 7778, 23 September 1972, Pages 632-635, ISSN 0140-6736, 10. 1016/S0140-6736(72)93021-8. Retrieved from: University Campus Meeker-O’Connell, A. (2001). “How Nicotine Works”. Retrieved from: http://www. howstuffworks. com/nicotine. htm References Polio, J. R. (2012). What is nicotine addiction? Retrieved from: http://whyquit. com/whyquit/linksaaddiction. html Science Daily. (1999). Researchers Find Genetic Connection to Cigarette Smoking. Retrieved from: http://www. sciencedaily. com­ /releases/1999/01/990126081714. htm The, A.

P. (2001). U-M study checks ties to heredity, smoking. The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved from University Campus: http://search. proquest. com/docview/285278131? accountid Yann S. Mineur, Marina R. Picciotto, Nicotine receptors and depression: revisiting and revising the cholinergic hypothesis, Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, Volume 31, Issue 12, December 2010, Pages 580-586, ISSN 0165-6147, 10. 1016/j. tips. 2010. 09. 004. Retrieved from: University Campus World Health Organization. (2013). Why tobacco is a public health priority. Retrieved from: http://www. who. int/tobacco/health_priority/en/index. html