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Old 05-02-2012, 11:42 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Upstate SC
Posts: 605
Is nicotine potentially addictive to some people but not others?

I know that quitting smoking is notoriously difficult, I grew up around people who smoke cigarettes practically all day every day and I've seen a whole lot of failed attempts at quitting. So I know the stuff is nasty.

Back in middle school I was an idiot and took it up just to be cool. I smoked a lot, almost a pack a day for a period of months. It never did anything for me good or bad, so of course I eventually wised up and never touched them again. In all this time I never experienced a desire to smoke, I just never felt that itch at all, luckily in retrospect because it's a habit I'd hate to have.

Later in my adult life I did discover I have something of a predisposition to addiction and I've developed and struggled with a few. So I'm just really curious why one of the most addictive drugs never got its hooks into me when it had plenty of opportunity to.

Does anyone else have a similar experience? Is it possible to be immune to nicotine's addictive effects? For smokers, how many cigarettes did it take before you got hooked?
Old 05-02-2012, 12:07 PM
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 18,119
I know a lot of "recreational" smokers, people who only smoke when they drink, or who might smoke only in a situation where others are smoking (self-defense), so it must affect people differently.

I've read and believe the nicotine addiction is fairly mild. Most smokers don't wake in the night to smoke, or have really uncomfortable withdrawal when they can't smoke, like on planes, in hospital, etc.

I can easily go several hours without smoking, but when I'm in my smoking "place" (the basement, at the computer, with a big glass of Pepsi on ice), I'll chain-smoke. For me, it's a situational habit. I'll smoke in my car if I'm alone but not if someone's with me.

You were lucky, dodging that bullet.
Old 05-02-2012, 12:13 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: WY
Posts: 2,438
Yes, nicotine definitely affects people differently. I know a lot of people who can have one when they're at a party or social situation, but really don't crave it otherwise. I'm not one of them - cigs are like potato chips, I can't have just one. Quitting had to be all or nothing for me.
Old 05-02-2012, 12:35 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 18,476
When I was young, I worked hard at getting addicted-cigars, cigarettes, cheroots, pipes. I never tried chewing tobacco or snuff.
Then, one day, I stopped-I had no cravings for tobacco-never used again.
Its like NFL football-watched it for years, never got it.
Old 05-02-2012, 12:55 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Falls Church, Va.
Posts: 13,239
I've heard it explained that addiction can have both a physical and a psychological component. Something that is physically addictive (like nicotine) can make anyone feel miserable when they quit after they've been using it regularly. If you're not someone who's psychologically susceptible to addiction, however, you won't feel the same compulsion to pick it back up and start smoking again. Conversely, if you're psychologically susceptible to addiction, you can develop an addiction to things that are not physically addictive, such as marijuana, gambling, or shopping.

I'm sure this is grossly oversimplified, and I welcome correction from anyone who knows better.
Old 05-02-2012, 12:58 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 10,103
It varies between people. I'm a smoker and it's just not possible for me to stay quit--I've tried and succeeded, but stress always drives me back to the pack. On the other hand, when I read stories about how people descend into alcoholism, it's totally alien and foreign to me. I'm no stranger to drinking, I've had quite a lot over the years. I even had a few brown-out nights in college. But I pulled off straight As while partying on the weekends, and never let it interfere with my life. I didn't have trouble "letting go" of booze, at any point... alcohol just wasn't a problem for me. Nowadays I'm not even tempted to drink anymore (last one I had was a couple months ago, and I haven't gotten drunk in a couple years), although I still smoke a pack a day.

Different strokes I guess.

Last edited by Rachellelogram; 05-02-2012 at 01:00 PM.

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