Nicotine is highly addictive

Today, President Barack Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.  The new legislation will put cigarettes under the control of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and will allow regulation of the manufacturing and marketing of tobacco products.  The bill is expected to make it harder for minors to start smoking.

Before signing the bill at a White House ceremony, Obama said:

Almost 90 percent of all smokers began at or before their 18th birthday.  I know — I was one of these teenagers, and so I know how difficult it can be to break this habit when it’s been with you for a long time.

President Obama has unsuccessfully fought against tobacco addiction.  His wife Michelle has asked him repeatedly to quit, but he has not been able to do it completely.  Obama has tried to quit smoking by chewing Nicorette Gum which contains nicotine.

Although nicotine is highly addictive, there are many social situations and daily rituals that establish Pavlovian reflexes and strengthen the urge to smoke.  Put a cup of coffee in front of a smoker, and immediately they reach for their cigarettes.  The nicotine addiction can be eliminated by gradually decreasing the daily dose, but the psychological factors that make it hard to quit require a radical restructuring of the smoker’s social life.

Learn about the psychological reasons for smoking