Similar to other addictions, smoking addiction is a complicated process driven by a number of biological, psychological, and social factors. The following are some major factors that contribute to smokers’ addiction and difficulty quitting:
Addiction to Nicotine: Tobacco products include nicotine, a highly addictive chemical. When nicotine is breathed, it quickly reaches the brain and causes the release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters that are linked to reward and pleasure. Addiction develops as a result of the brain’s gradual dependence on nicotine to keep these neurotransmitters at a specific level.
Neurochemical Changes: Long-term nicotine use alters the reward systems and neuronal networks in the brain. Since the brain gets hardwired to equate smoking with pleasure and stress reduction, these changes make quitting smoking difficult.