Smoking an Insecticide
As all smokers know, quitting is extremely hard and nicotine, the addictive agent present in tobacco, keeps smokers coming back for more. The tobacco companies would like you to think otherwise, but do not be fooled, regardless of what they may say in congressional hearings. Tobacco companies are well aware that cigarettes are nicotine delivery systems and cigarettes are purposely designed for efficient nicotine release. Smokers are addicts and will continue to smoke to ensure that their preferred nicotine levels are maintained. Nicotine is the tobacco plants way of protecting itself from insect predation; it is in fact an insecticide and is very poisonous indeed. Unfortunately for humans nicotine has a very similar chemical structure to the molecule, acetylcholine. This chemical is an important neurotransmitter and has substantial effects on our pleasure and reward pathways.
If the smoker decides to quit, and stops smoking for any length of time, the hard reality of nicotine withdrawal starts to kick in. The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, and especially nicotine cravings, are a powerful motivator for the smoker to keep lighting up. Once the smoker quits, it takes about three days for nicotine and its metabolites to leave the body. It is often stated, by the health experts, who really should know better, that nicotine withdrawal reaches a peak during this time and that it quickly tapers off after this reliably briefly period. Unfortunately it does not quite work like that- just ask any smoker who has tried to quit. This sort of advice is often counter productive as it imprints the wrong impression in the mind of the smoker about the true nature of nicotine addiction. During these first few days the quitter is fired up with the merit of quitting and they may actually be denied that the cravings will disappear at the end of day three. But nicotine cravings do not go away on day three and for most the cravings will continue, with varying intensity, for quite a while.
It's Hard to Give up Smoking, ask any Smoker
Quitter beware, it is a hard road battling nicotine addiction. Most quitters can not accept and relapse to the guilty, but happy state, of the smoker. The problem of course is with the health experts; very few of them have ever smoked and inevitably have no idea of what it is like to be addicted to nicotine.
A Blessed Transition
Nicotine addiction is not to be taken lightly and for the ex-smoker to make the transition to a true non-smoker is an astonishing feat and should be applauded accordingly. Be wary, few ex-smokers are truly free from their addiction. There are many, who after an extended period of abstinence, relapse after what they thought would be just one last cigarette. To quit smoking and to remain smoke free is a state, that once achieved, is a truly a blessed goal.