Monday, January 26, 2009

Smokers more highly addicted to nicotine than ever before

Reuters HealthDay reported on October 28, 2008 on research to be presented at an upcoming annual meeting of the American College of Chest Surgeons that smokers seem more addicted to nicotine than ever before. Here is a snippet from the article:

Almost 75 percent of current smokers trying to kick the habit are now highly nicotine-dependent, which is a 15-year high, a new study finds.

In fact, nicotine dependence has risen 12 percent from 1989 to 2006, and the number of highly nicotine-dependent people has gone up 32 percent, according to research expected to be presented Tuesday at the American College of Chest Physicians annual meeting, in Philadelphia.

Nicotine dependence can vary from smoker to smoker, experts noted.

"My clinical perception has been that over the last five years, patients that I am seeing require much more intensive treatment because tobacco dependence is more severe," said lead researcher Dr. David P. Sachs, from the Palo Alto Center for Pulmonary Disease Prevention in California.

Studies have shown that the more nicotine-dependent an individual is, the less effective standard treatment will be, Sachs said. "These people will suffer severe nicotine withdrawal symptoms, and they will be more likely to relapse back to cigarette use," he explained.

85% of people who struggle with alcohol and other substances are also addicted to nicotine. Usually these folks are more heavily addicted than smokers without these problems. Treating people with substance abuse problems for nicotine addiction is very challenging and GCASA staff are increasinly getting better at it.

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