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Matt Bennett

Period: 6
3/3/15
Nicotine Addiction

According to News Medical, nearly thirty-two percent of all Americans


have become dependent on nicotine substances. Cigarettes, chewing
tobacco, and vaporizers are common drugs that contain nicotine. For many,
as little as a one-time use may cause an addiction. This is due to the highly
addictive substance known as nicotine. Tobacco companies rely on addiction
to support their revenue and incomes and have even shadily raised the
nicotine content in their products (Rachel Zimmerman, Massachusetts
Department of Public Health). By passing a regulation on the amount of
nicotine and other harmful and addictive substances in products produced by
tobacco companies, many people will be given an opportunity to more easily
rid themselves of the harmful and ensnaring addictions.
Tobacco has become the leading, preventable cause of death, with a
rising five million per year (Centers for Disease Control - CDC). Focusing on
smoking for the moment, a cigarette addiction not only causes harm to the
user but to everyone surrounding them. About 41,000 deaths are caused by
secondhand smoke annually (CDC). The CDC also says that well over half of
the tobacco users want to quit but many cant because theyve simply
become physically and emotionally addicted to the extremely harmful

substance found in cigarettes known as Nicotine. Nicotine is directly linked


to releasing dopamine, the pleasure and reward neurotransmitter, in the
brain and is what is primarily responsible for the addiction (National Institute
on Drug Abuse - NIDA for teens). Nicotine isnt the cause of death. Nicotine
is the substance that ensnares its victims, allowing the harmful chemicals
and substances produced in tobacco to slowly kill its consumers. The
National Institute on Drug Abuse provides information that says, ninety
percent of lung cancer patients, and one-third of all cancer cases are caused
by cigarette users. In addition to lung cancer, smoking and tobacco are
linked to lung disease, leukemia, heart disease (which is the leading cause of
death), and many other harmful diseases.
A study from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the
University of Massachusetts Medical School shows that over the years,
tobacco companies have slowly increased their nicotine content. This rise is
likely due to companies trying to trap more victims into more intense
addictions as an effort to gain more profits from their consumers.
There are plenty of ad campaigns on the market with a great purpose
of attempting to prevent smoking and tobacco use as well as bringing those
already ensnared into quitting. These ads do an amazing job of scaring teens
and even adults into never laying a finger on tobacco, the problem is with
those who are already addicted. Most people with addictions know that they
are doing harm to their bodies but an ad just isnt enough to help someone
with a powerful enough addiction. Ad campaigns designed to prevent

smoking and tobacco should continue, but a better solution is needed to help
those already addicted.
Tobacco Free Kids states that the U.S. gave the Food and Drug
Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products. Their current
solution was to print nine different warning labels on all cigarette packages.
The warnings go as follows:
Cigarettes are addictive, Cigarettes harm your children, Cigarettes
cause fatal lung disease, Cigarettes cause cancer, Cigarettes cause
stroke and heart disease, Smoking during pregnancy can harm your
baby, Smoking can kill you, Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in
nonsmokers, and Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to
your health (Food and Drug Administration).
With the power of regulating tobacco products, it seems as if the FDA hasnt
put much effort into making a change in these harmful products. When
someone buys a pack of cigarettes they are going to be more focused on
fulfilling this demon of addiction rather than worrying about the warning
labels. Yes, these labels provide informative warnings but they arent even
close to being a solution to solving addiction. More than just a general
warning is needed to catch a consumers attention and actually drive them
to attempt quitting.
Tobacco Free Kids shows that Tobacco tax increases are one of the
most effective ways to reduce smoking and other tobacco use, especially
among kids (Tobacco Free Kids). Raising the amount of money people must

pay to purchase tobacco products is very effective, but those with addictions
will still continue to pay the higher price in order to fulfill their needs.
This solution is also another great way in preventing those that may be
interested in tobacco products but doesnt provide much help to the people
who are trapped within their own addictions. A solution to help the suffering
individuals is desperately needed.
If the Food and Drug Administration could better harness the power
they have in regulation of tobacco products, millions of people could
potentially be saved. If a regulation was passed to force tobacco companies
to lower their nicotine content to a far smaller dose, many consumers would
have a much easier time quitting the use of these harmful products. The CDC
provides information that says 3,200 Americans smoke a cigarette for their
first time each day and this is only accounting for those under the age of
eighteen. If companies were required to lower their nicotine content, these
3,200 new American youths and adults alike, would have a much better
chance of avoiding the harmful and deadly tobacco addictions.
Not only would this be helping to prevent nicotine addictions but it would
decrease the severity of addictions in those who are looking for a way out. In
comparison to the solutions already in action today, regulating a maximum
content of nicotine in tobacco products would primarily focus on helping
those who have already become addicted. Solutions listed before are very
effective in the prevention of tobacco use and turning away those possibly
interested in the products, but doesnt really help those already addicted.

People are succumbing to their addictions every single day and they need a
way out. They need help escaping their many health and financial problems
associated with tobacco. Nicotine is the true enemy here, and if the primary
focus is placed where it needs be, endless amounts of trapped victims will
find their way to safety.
This highly addictive substance nicotine, is without a doubt destroying
millions of lives by the day. People are spending large sums of money to
feed their selfish addictions and others are dying because they fail to find a
way to quit. If nicotine content could only be lowered by just half of what it
is now, I believe that the suffering caused by these addictions will drop
greatly in number and many Americans will have a better chance at escaping
the very substance that is controlling their lives. This is a problem that
cannot be overlooked; more and more people are dying every single day. The
longer we wait, more and more will become intensely addicted, and more
and more people will die because of the nearly impossible task of leaving
behind the very substance they know is slowly killing them.

Works Cited

Boonn, Ann. "RAISING CIGARETTE TAXES REDUCES SMOKING." RAISING


CIGARETTE TAXES REDUCES SMOKING, ESPECIALLY AMONG KIDS (AND
THE CIGARETTE COMPANIES KNOW IT) (n.d.): n. pag.

Tobaccofreekids.org. Tobacco Free Kids, 11 Oct. 2012. Web. 3 Mar.


2015.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Current Cigarette Smoking
Among Adults in the United States." Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 Jan. 2015.
Web. 3 Mar. 2015.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Fast Facts." Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24
Apr. 2014. Web. 3 Mar. 2015.
Land, Thomas, PhD, Lois Keithly, PhD, Lili Chen, MS, Kevin Kane, MS, Mark
Paskowsky, MS, Doris Cullin, MA, Rashelle B. Hayes, PhD, and Wenjun
Li, PhD. "Nicotine & Tobacco Research." Recent Increases in Efficiency
in Cigarette Nicotine Delivery: Implications for Tobacco Control.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 13 Jan. 2014. Web. 03
Mar. 2015.
News Medical. "32% of Americans Nicotine Dependent." News-Medical.net.
News Medical, 28 Oct. 2008. Web. 03 Mar. 2015.
NIDA for Teens. "Graphic Warning Labels - Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids."
Graphic Warning Labels - Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. National
Institute on Drug Abuse, -. Web. 3 Mar. 2015.
Zimmerman, Rachel. "Cigarette Study: Increased Nicotine Yield May Make
Quitting Even Harder." CommonHealth RSS. Common Health, 14 Jan.
2014. Web. 03 Mar. 2015.

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