Are you a nicotine junkie?


12:49 PM - Dec 10, 2008 #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library

Junkie, burn-out, addict,
drug abuser, drunk,
alcoholic, smoke-a-holic

Some people would argue that smoke-a-holic is just a cute euphemism which should not be compared to what they consider degrading syndromes. Contrary to this belief, nicotine addiction can be equally as strong and deadly as any of these other conditions. In fact, if you total the number of people who die yearly of all these other conditions combined, they would not add up to the number of premature deaths attributed to cigarette smoking.

Until recent times, the idea of nicotine being a physiologically addictive substance was controversial in the world-wide medical community. For a drug to be considered addictive, it must meet certain criteria. First, it must be capable of inducing physical withdrawal upon cessation. Nicotine abstinence syndrome is a well documented, established fact.

Second, tolerance to the drug usually develops. Increasingly larger doses become necessary to achieve the same desired effects. Smokers experience this phenomenon as their cigarette consumption gradually increases from what probably was sporadic occasional use to a required daily consumption of one or more packs.

The third criterion is that an addictive substance becomes a totally consuming necessity to its user, usually resulting in what is considered by a society as anti-social behavior. Many have argued that cigarette smoking fails to fulfill this requirement. True, most smokers do not resort to deviant behaviors to maintain their dependency, but this is because most smokers do manage to easily obtain the full complement of cigarettes they need to satisfy the addiction. When smokers are deprived of easy accessibility to cigarettes, the situation is totally different.

During World War II, in concentration camps in Germany, prisoners were not given enough food to fulfill minimum caloric nutritional requirements. They were literally starving to death. A common practice among smoking prisoners was to trade away their scarce supplies of life sustaining food for cigarettes. Even today, in underdeveloped countries, such as Bangladesh, parents with starving children barter away essential food for cigarettes. This is not normal behavior.

During the "stop smoking clinics" I conduct, numerous participants admit to going through ashtrays, garbage cans and, if necessary, gutters looking for butts which may still have a salvageable value of a few puffs when their own supplies are depleted due to carelessness or unforeseen circumstances. To them, it is sick to think that they ever performed such a grotesque act, but many realize that if they were currently smoking and again caught in a similar predicament, they would be fully capable of repeating the repulsive incident.

Nicotine is a drug. It is addictive. And if you let it, it can be a killer. Consider this when you get the urge for a cigarette. One puff can and most often will reinforce the addiction. Don't take that chance. Remember - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!


© Joel Spitzer 1982, 2008
Page last updated by Joel Spitzer on August 24, 2003

Last edited by FreedomNicotine on 5:49 PM - Feb 15, 2009, edited 6 times in total.

Joined: 2:04 PM - Nov 13, 2008

3:07 PM - Dec 29, 2013 #2

Are you a nicotine junkie?

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Video explains why so many smokers have trouble accepting the premise that they are fighting a drug addiction. Cigarettes were originally not classified as an addictive drug because they seemed to not fit the standard criteria set for addiction. The fact is, they met the criteria but because of their cheapness and ubiquitious availability, experts did not recognize the lengths people would go to smoke them.

Related videos:

Were you addicted?
You smoke because you are a smokeaholic
Nicotine addiction
Nicotine is nicotine is nicotine
Oral tobacco usage and addiction
Cigars and relapsing
I can't quit because I am addicted
The law of addiction
Addiction: The surgeon general says...
Criteria of addiction (covers same information as this new video)

Related articles:

"Was I addicted?"
You smoke because you're a smokeaholic


Edited post on July 17, 2014 to include new video and related materials.
Last edited by Joel Spitzer on 5:13 PM - Jul 17, 2014, edited 3 times in total.


3:38 PM - Dec 30, 2013 #3

Absolutely no one held a loaded gun to my head a said smoke that cigarette, and oh by the way do it for 35 years or I pull the triger. I did it to myself. You can call it what you want, it doesn't change a thing. To me smoking is an addiction, nicotine is a drug, and prolonged smoking only increases my chance of getting some form of cancer from the addiction. Checking my 401K online everyday is a habbit, it doesn't meet any of the given criteria. Smoking does, at least I believe so.