Inconformity with a recently published survey, each fourth adult person in Great Britain is a regular smoker, despite all the health hazards linked to smoking. Well, scientists say that is a huge victory for public health, because the smoking rates were two times higher when tobacco products on the peak popularity in the middle of 20th century. In addition, 70 percent of current smokers want to get rid of their puffing habit, however, the rest 30 percent of smokers said they could not or did not want to give up. Why? Because there is a number of factors encouraging them to keep smoking.
When scientists speak about addictions, they mean two types of addictions. The fist type of addiction is developed by nicotine itself, being a chemical substance, less harmful than nicotine, but still dangerous to health. The second type is triggered by the way the nicotine is delivered and where it goes. During the delivery directly to the brain, nicotine stimulates brain receptors that start producing dopamine, a hormone that makes humans feel pleasure and joy. When the effect ceases, smokers experience the need to have another cigarette in order to surmount depression, stress, agitation and other negative feelings.
Psychologist Robert Smith admits that nicotine’s antidepressant properties can be applied to change the mood. He says many of his patients try self-medication, using nicotine to overcome nervousness.
According to Prof. Smith, the depression among smokers grows with the spread of various smoking bans, as people feel isolated and oppressed. So, they smoke even more than before the bans. Moreover, the bans and restrictions could become a sort of a red rag for a bull, provoking a wish to flout the rules and behave badly to demonstrate their rebellious sprit and uniqueness.
Prof. Smith says it became a sort of fashionable trend among smokers community to consider themselves as an offended minority when the government began implementing anti-smoking laws. The popular tobacco-lobbying group FOREST (Freedom Organization for the Right to Enjoy Smoking) supports this feeling by their slogan: “I smoke because I am not a coward”.
We will have several small but beloved everyday habits, without which we do not imagine our habitual life. Some of us, like reading newspapers during breakfast, others prefer having a cup of coffee as soon as they wake up. Smoking can also be one of these everyday habits. So, smokers do not imagine their life without lighting a cigarette each time they chart with friends, drink their coffee or read their morning newspapers. The habit is much stronger than a simple addiction to a substance.
Hollywood box-office movies, advertisements, and other means used by tobacco industry, succeeded in persuading people that cigarettes are stylish and glamorous, and by smoking, people can become one step closer to the luxury lifestyle of the celebrities. Such image is a real temptation, especially for young people who want to look like their favorite celebrities.
Another thing is the desire to be slim. Despite all the efforts by public health organizations, women keep smoking, as it proven to help manage weight and restrain the appetite. Weight gain is one of the major causes to keep lighting up for many women.
The social environment and way of life are among primary factors of smoking. The majority types of deprivation appear to increase the strength of nicotine addiction. In conformity with reports, the highest smoking rates are recorded among those from unprivileged families and neighborhoods. The great part of prisoners light up regularly, as well as low-income people, single mothers and people with mental disorders.
Former Public Health Minister, John Reid raised a stir by saying that cigarettes were the only pleasure affordable to poor people.