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Mark Benson – If natural nicotine is not addictive, what keeps tobacco smokers coming back?
The subject of nicotine addiction is something which has been very closely associated with the growing popularity of the electronic cigarette industry and has given many politicians and regulators an entry point into the discussion. The chances are that the vast majority of people reading this article will automatically assume that nicotine is highly addictive (on many websites it is quoted as the most addictive substance known to man) but is this really the case?
There have been a number of medical trials over the years which have attempted to define “nicotine addiction” and why for example people become addicted to tobacco cigarettes but not to smoke cessation products such as nicotine patches. Once you take a step back and look at the situation it starts to prompt questions, if nicotine is so addictive why do people not become addicted to nicotine patches?
What are the 4000+ toxins in a traditional tobacco cigarette?
While the figure of “4000+ toxins” is often quoted by those looking at the tobacco cigarette industry you may find it surprising to learn that many of these 4000 toxins have yet to be identified although researchers know they are there. These are the unknown elements which many experts believe are the real reason for large scale addiction to tobacco cigarettes with some experts quoting “nicotine crack” in their medical reports.
The term “nicotine crack” is a very eye-catching and a very controversial term although many believe that the array of chemicals mixed with natural nicotine increase the chances of addiction. Back in 2009 medical trials were conducted by Peter Killeen, professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University which asked the question, is nicotine addictive?
Professor Peter Killeen believes that nicotine addiction in tobacco cigarettes is a direct result of adding natural nicotine with the array of chemicals which are present in the modern day tobacco cigarette. The nicotine itself releases dopamine which affects emotion and movement while other chemicals present regulate dopamine levels. In the words of the professor, “When you put together something that directly releases dopamine and another thing that helps the brain clean up excess dopamine, you’ve got a one-two punch.” resulting in his hypothesis that “It’s a combination of nicotine with some of these other chemicals that causes the powerful addiction.”.
This is just one of many trials carried out over the last few years into nicotine addiction in its natural form resulting in the belief by many people that chemicals present in tobacco cigarettes enhance this addiction. It was also interesting to learn that many researchers and scientists describe nicotine in its natural form as no more addictive than caffeine which is a common element of everyday life.
Where does the truth lie?
While there is no doubt that the ongoing controversy surrounding electronic cigarettes will continue for many years to come it has opened up something of a can of worms for governments and regulators around the world. The Internet offers an information highway where trials and studies can be relayed in an instant when in years gone by they may well have been muted by the international media.
When you sit back and begin to ask yourself very simple questions such as, why do those using nicotine patches not become addicted? Why are there an additional 4000+ toxins in your everyday tobacco cigarette? It does prompt more questions to be asked and it does make the situation more confusing.
Hopefully the fact that more and more people are now asking questions will prompt the most transparent and open debate about tobacco cigarettes, nicotine addiction and electronic cigarettes in living history? We can only hope…………………
Mark Benson is a contributing author for Spinfuel eMagazine. His continuing columns will bring a level headed approach to the dynamics involved in realizing a positive future for the e-cigarette industry. For more information on electronic cigarettes and the various products available please visit the OKCigs website