Is Nicotine the #1 Gateway to Illicit Drug Use?

Woman lights up 5 cigarettesEven with mass health warnings making their way onto the very labels of the products, cigarette smoking is a habit that many refuse to give up.

Did you know that nicotine addiction could be acting as a gateway to the use of illicit drugs? The National Institutes for Health found that over 90% of cocaine users admit to smoking cigarettes in between the ages of 18 and 24.

Since this study was conducted, testing has been done to find the underlying cause for the connection. Nonetheless, this habit may be attributed to the increased desire to try cocaine and a heightened experience while on the illicit drug.

Many who have become victims to the habit find that every possible solution has only left them returning to the nicotine stick. Rather than allowing nicotine addiction to take over, get proactive and find some strategies to help kick the habit.

Tips for Quitting Nicotine Addiction

  • To successfully quit cigarettes, a person must WANT to quit. Far too many people try to quit knowing it is bad for them, but that reasoning alone does not create a desire to quit. Thinking about the harm it causes to a family or the increased risk of lung cancer may help ignore temptations.
  • Quitting cigarettes doesn’t have to be cold turkey. This strategy typically yields negative results and quitting cold turkey without using therapy, medication, or a strong support system, puts a person into the 95% percent category of individuals who end up relapsing.
  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy is the most successful way to quit the habit. However, it is also important not to become addicted to the replacement. Whether it’s nicotine gum, patches, or an e-cigarette, do not become dependent upon the replacement.
  • Prescription Medication can help. If cravings are overwhelming and it’s impossible to resist temptations, try asking your doctor for prescription medication that can assist. These medications may be able to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings all in one.
  • Rely on a support system for help. Tell friends and family about quitting and show them the projected timeline for weaning off of cigarettes. They can provide encouragement to continue the scheduled timeline.
  • Manage Stressors. If the laundry piling up causes stress to reach for a cigarette, make sure the laundry is done in advance. Reducing other stress in life will help with being successful at quitting nicotine.
  • Reward Yourself. It isn’t easy quitting, but little steps such as going a day or even a week without taking a puff deserve some kind of reward. Maybe not a pair of expensive dress shoes, but a new pair of running shoes to test out those fresh lungs might be in order.


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