Tobacco - A Smoking Gun

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A Smoking Gun According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, more deaths are caused each year by tobacco use then by all deaths combined from HIV, alcohol abuse, illegal drug use, car accidents, suicides, and murder. In fact, cigarette smoking causes one of every five deaths in the United States every year. Why then would a person choose to continue an activity that can hurt or even kill them? There are probably numerous reasons for this behavior, but I believe people continue to smoke cigarettes because they are addictive; they cause psychological dependency; and they provide an “emotional high”. Initially, smokers are drawn to the nicotine in tobacco. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance that stimulates the areas of the brain that produce feelings of pleasure and gratification. Scientists have found that nicotine increases the levels of a neurotransmitter called dopamine. It is believed that this change in dopamine plays a huge role in all addictions including powerful drugs like cocaine and heroin. Amazingly, scientists have found that cigarettes are even more addictive then cocaine, heroin, and alcohol. This would account for one of the reasons that smokers have a hard time quitting. Consequently, as high as seventy percent of people who quit smoking eventually start again. This statistic speaks volumes as to the power that nicotine holds over the smoker. In addition, smoking can cause psychological dependency. Many people say they smoke because it helps them relax ,deal with stress, or calm their anger. They use cigarettes to help them through bad times. It almost becomes a crutch they use to hold themselves together. As a result, smokers often feel more confident after having a cigarette and more ready to face the world. They start to depend on smoking as a way to help their minds focus, which allows them to think more clearly. A
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