The usual explanation for why smoking produces dependence focuses on the effects of nicotine on dopamine and other neurobiological explanations. This review offers four somewhat different explanations: (1) nicotine can offer several psychopharmacological benefits at the age when such benefits are especially needed; (2) cigarettes provide for a rapid, frequent, reliable and easy-to-obtain reward; (3) nicotine is not intoxicating, allowing chronic intake; and (4) the long duration of the nicotine withdrawal syndrome effectively undermines cessation. This article reviews the evidence for the above views and the tobacco control activities these views suggest.
- substance use disorder
- substance withdrawal
- tobacco use disorder
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