Nicotine Myth Busted - Nicotine does not cause adiction IMO
This is information I have discovered by over a year and a half of research into cigarettes, nicotine and addiction.
There is a Nicotine Addiction Myth floating around that says Nicotine is the active ingredient in tobacco that keeps you addicted to smoking cigarettes.
Everyone believes and likes to repeat it. This is a LIE.
The truth is the effects of nicotine are only a very small part of what causes you to be addicted to cigarette smoking.
Scientifically, Nicotine by itself is only a mild central system stimulant similar to caffeine and has very mild addictive properties also much like caffeine. Nicotine is also a vascular constrictor, also like caffeine.
If it were for nicotine alone, no one would be addicted to smoking cigarettes. Do you see people chronically addicted to drinking coffee where they must have many cups a day to keep chasing the buzz? Of course not. There are some chain coffee drinkers but this is largely by choice, not by strong caffeine addiction. It's the same way with nicotine in tobacco.
So why then are we addicted to smoking cigarettes?
Many users of tobacco products that are natural or use a pure form of nicotine without the smoke, do not suffer from nicotine addiction. These are users of electronic cigarettes, Swedish snus, and locally farm grown natural tobacco.
How can this be?
Big tobacco processed cigarette smoke contains over 4000 chemicals. 69 of these chemicals are known to the state of California to cause cancer. Nicotine is Not one of these chemicals. The scientific community has not even identified all of these 4000 chemicals nor can they tell you what effect they have on the human body !!
People who switch from Big Tobacco cigarette smoking to a more natural form of tobacco as mentioned above will tell you, they do feel the nicotine effect But there is something missing. This feeling of something missing is what people addicted to smoking crave and are really addicted to. It is also what causes many quit smoking programs that use alternative smoking substances to fail.
People simply are obviously addicted to something else in the cigarette smoke than nicotine alone.
You may have experienced this yourself trying to quit smoking using the Nicotine Parches, Gums, Lozenges etc. Those products all have very low success rates.
Why? They don't satisfy the smokers appetite for the cigarette smoke they are meant to replace.
If it isn't Nicotine that has a strong hold on the smoker then, what is it?
Frankly, we don't know the whole story yet. We do know that the Big Tobacco Industry uses 599 extra added chemicals in the processing of tobacco. Chemicals that have way stronger addictive properties than nicotine in it's natural form.
We also know that the Big Tobacco Industry uses Ammonia to create a free based non natural form of nicotine to make the mildly addictive nicotine, much, much stronger. Think of this like nicotine crack.
Nicotine in it's natural form also does not kill from smoking cigarettes, much like no one ever dies from drinking coffee.
Nicotine does not cause cancer, does not cause heart disease, does not cause lung disease. Experts say nicotine in it's natural form have only about the same health risks associated with it's use as coffee drinkers.
Why then has Nicotine gotten such a bad rap?
There are two reasons. 1) Most every study you see that says nicotine is bad for you is a study on cigarette smoke. They do not separate the nicotine and the smoke.
Those studies are all flawed. It's the smoke that causes illness and death. Smoke itself is full of deadly carcinogens - it doesn't need nicotine to make you ill and eventually kill you.
2) Since knowledge of the Big Tobacco Industry had withheld studies on the harmful effects of nicotine (the free based crack like nicotine they created in the lab)found it's way to the public, they have been vigilant to keep any other studies of the other 4000 chemicals found in cigarette smoke well hidden from public view.
Many now believe it is some of these 4000 chemicals in conjunction with the free based form of nicotine that creates a chemical cocktail that has very strong addictive properties.
Nicotine is taking the blame for something it hasn't done. Public perception, the media and lack of study and understanding the issues are what continues to allow this lie to propagate. Nicotine alone in it's pure or natural form is not responsible for cigarette smoking addiction nor is it a killer. The truth can be found when you look at these issues in the proper context as a whole.
Clearly more hard core scientific research into these issues needs to be studied in an unbiased controlled manner. Sadly, this has not been done yet by the scientific community.
Thank you for reading my post.
All I have is anecdotal evidence from a sample of one: me.
When I started vaping, I had absolutely no withdrawal symptoms from my 40-year cigarette addiction. Chemically, the only thing that cigs and vaping have in common is the nicotine. Therefore, I would conclude that I was/am addicted to nicotine. But cigs and vaping share other other behavioral aspects, of course. And that's what made is so easy for me.
Clearly, people vary a lot in their response to stopping smoking. But to claim that nicotine is not addictive is stretching it, IMHO.
I don't think I'm stretching anything at all. I even sited the scientists contention that nicotine can be mildly addictive. On the contrary, what I debunk is the notion that nicotine is " The main active ingredient, in tobacco smoke that is responsible for addiction".
Originally Posted by John1952
I believe this is clearly false and has not been proven as a truth or a fact that can be backed up by the observable evidence.
You say you had no withdrawal symptoms. Have you tried going for any long period of time without an e-cig and did you find yourself climbing the walls like you did when you smoked? If you tried this and didn't climb the walls this shows that the addiction's pull is not there like it was with cigarette smoking. This is many peoples experience.
Yes, vaping I believe helped lessen the withdrawals so much so, that many people don't experience them, but I believe the body detoxed from the chemicals in tobacco smoke that were the most addictive. This is why many people find it so easy to cut down their nicotine intake with e-cigs. ( so easy in fact they could never do that with cigarettes) The nicotine we have in e-cigs by itself, simply doesn't have strong addictive properties, showing it must be something more causing addiction than nicotine alone.
Last edited by John Phoenix; 04-18-2012 at 04:24 AM.
I think it is the tinfoil in the packages.
I think nicotine is very mildly addictive. It's the millions of habitual cues that are the problem. With other drugs, you take them in fairly limited environments. Maybe you stand at the kitchen counter to take a pain pill or maybe you slip into a crack house to smoke or maybe you use X at a rave. All those drugs are much more addictive than nicotine but you aren't really doing them all the time. With analogs, you smoke when you get up, when you read, drive, or take a break, after you eat, before you go to a non-smoking venue, etc.
When I started to break myself of the habit (Carr's book was very helpful), I was surprised at how little bothered I was by not smoking. Thinking about not smoking and fearing the process was much, much worse than doing it. Vaping got me started but I don't need it now and I dropped down to zero nic very quickly - like in a week.
If nicotine was the real culprit, I couldn't have done it that fast.
We've all been terrorized and brainwashed by the government, the drug companies, the cig companies, the health care people, and our friends. They tell us smoking is just as bad of an addiction as ...... but I'm here to say that no puking, shaking, or sweating is involved with stopping cigs or nic.
I cannot say with any scientific authority that what has been presented by the OP is or is not correct. However, let me tell my story and you can take from it what you will.
I started smoking with a pipe and some organically grown pipe tobacco which had natural cherry and vanilla flavoring added during the curing process. I smoked 1 maybe 2 servings a day and occasionally went without for a day or two depending on where i was and finances (the tobacco was really expensive.) After a year, due to finances, I switched to a national (big tobacco) brand, and realized before long I was smoking 4 - 5 servings a day. Eventually, within a year of the switch, I swapped to cigarettes mostly to get my fix faster and again for financial reasons. I smoked around a pack a day for 7 more years of whatever brand I could afford at the time. If I was at a party or otherwise drinking I could easily turn that 1 pack into 2 - 2.5. For those 7 years I felt like crap, almost always. If I wasnt smoking I was down, not clinically depressed down, but not 100% either. But when I got the chance to smoke, i felt better... for a while... After those 7 years I switched to American Spirit branded cigs, which are organically grown with no additives. At first i felt something was missing. I was down, but I had a carton of the things so I was damned well gonna smoke them. By the end of that carton, I no longer felt down. In fact I was great the majority of the time and I found that the amount I smoked went down. I dropped down to half to 3/4 of a pack a day depending on what I was doing without any intention what so ever. Then after 2 more years, I heard about vaping and decided to make the switch. I felt something was missing when i switched, but not nearly as much as when I switched to American Spirit from other cigs. Within 3 days I no longer had this feeling, and have been vaping happily ever since. That was almost 3 years ago now, and I find myself easily able to go a day or more without vaping with no withdrawal effects. I have also been able to greatly reduce my nic intake. I went from using 24mg in my first few months of vaping to 10mg. I could easily go lower, but i enjoy the throat hit at the 10mg mark.
This is just my story, take it for what you will. However, i am inclined to agree with several points from the OP. Nicotine is certainly mildly addictive, but only mildly. No more than caffeine surely. There are studies that show that BT uses many different additives in the tobacco for various reasons: to preserve, to flavor, to allow the paper to go out if its not toked on, etc. Some of those are surely adding to the addiction factor. Whether by design or by coincidence, I cannot concretely say as I didnt order them to be put in there. But I do not personally believe in coincidence. Happy Vaping!
Great read and very informative piece John Phoenix!
While anything (substance, activity, ect...) can become physically or psychologically addictive to a person for whatever reason, I concur that there are definitely physically addicting substances being added to processed tobacco.
It's all comes down to desire for profit before human well being unfortunately. And no doubt if the big tobacco companies become involved in the vape industry guess what will be in the juice...
Best course of action is to at least familiarize yourself with DIY pertaining to both juice and hardware IMO. It may come in handy someday...
Nicotine is definitely mildly addictive, but I tend to agree with OP that my addiction was much worse when I was on cigs. I started out vaping 18-24 mg like a madwoman breaking away from cigs, but soon naturally transitioned to 6-12 mg, and now can go long periods of time without vaping without going crazy. I still vape heavily, but it seems like it is more because I WANT to (I love vaping), not because I have to.
I sometimes switch to 0 nic, but keep coming back to 6-12 because the throat hit is better with some nicotine. Plus the stimulant effect on my brain seems to clear my head.
But I don't get "nic fits" like I did when I was smoking. There was something else in those cigs that made my cravings worse than they are now.
It's mostly in the mind. For those who love vaping and are happy with it - great!
For those who are looking at vaping as a way for quitting - it's easier than you think. You don't have to spend months stepping down if you don't want to. In fact, that's just expensive and kind of tortuous. Step it down fast and you'll be surprised at how easy it is.
It's the fear that nothing will be the same or as good that's eating at you. Everything you enjoyed before is still enjoyable. At the worst, you may have to tell people, "I need a break" if you have been using cig breaks to distance yourself from unwanted communication. Just walk away from them for 15 minutes.
You'll be fine.
I think the nicotine-crack produced by the chemical reaction of ammonia and combustion is absolutely as addictive as they say. Natural nicotine? I'm not so sure. Also, something to think about, when you stop smoking analogs, your body has to detox from all the nasty chemicals and garbage cigs put into it. Detox feels bloody awful. Continuing to smoke avoids the detox. I think that's one of the reasons that smokers feel so "down" when they try and quit, or have to go without. I don't think it's entirely due to the nicotine; I think it's also the nature of the detox process. Whether a smoker realizes it or not, I truly believe that avoiding the very unpleasant process of eliminating those chemicals and toxins plays a big part of addiction.