The Risks of Addiction
New Scientific Data Shows Again Why Teens Should Avoid Tobacco
by Nuchee Vang, age 12
For those who smoke, quitting can be hard. Many try to stop before smoking becomes a bad habit.
Quitting is difficult because nicotine, an ingredient in cigarettes, can lead to addiction. According to one recent study, U.S. tobacco companies have increased nicotine levels in their products. Experts say there is an average of 11 percent more nicotine in every puff.
It is easy to get addicted to cigarettes. In a four year study of 1,264 adolescents, of those who got addicted, one out of ten showed signs within the first two days of inhaling. Even some smokers who have only smoked a few cigarettes had withdrawal symptoms when deprived of nicotine.
If addicted, there are medications and vaccines that can help. Varenicline is a vaccine that helps block nicotine receptors, decreasing the urge to smoke. And NicVax, (currently in clinical trials) would push the immune system to make antibodies that keep nicotine from getting to the brain.
Quitting smoking has a lot of health benefits. After just one year of quitting cigarettes, the risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half. And after 10 years of not smoking cigarettes, the risk of lung cancer drops by half.
[Sources: National Geographic; Scientific American]