Smoking: An Addiction in its Own Right

We occasionally forget how powerful nicotine addiction is, and that many people who abuse other substances are also addicted to nicotine. Cigarette.jpgSmoking is in the news lately, as cigarette companies sue to protest the coming regulations requiring that graphic results of smoking be placed on tobacco packaging.

Last month there was some good news and bad news about a vaccine that held promise for helping smokers stop. First the good news: the fact that experts conducted a clinical trial of a vaccine for smokers. Now the bad news: the drug didn’t work.

We know that alcohol wreaks havoc on the body and the brain. About.com tells us that heroin can have several ill effects on the body, from heart and liver disease, to pulmonary problems, among others. Smoking has its own host of evils, according to the Centers for Disease Control, including risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, obstructive lung disease, and cancer. And no one can deny how addictive it is. But people can and do stop, whether with help or not.

Petros Levounis, Director of the Addiction Institute at St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital in NYC, recommends that substance abusers attending the hospital’s treatment program work on stopping smoking at the same time they’re  in rehab for substance abuse. In our book, “Sober Siblings: How to Help Your Alcoholic Brother and Not Lose Yourself”,  Dr. Levounis said that most people think it’s harder to stop that way, but they find that it’s actually not.

This was a company’s first stab at an anti-nicotine vaccine. Let’s hope it’s not the last.

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