Smokers Today Tend to Suffer from Severe Nicotine Addiction

According to a new study conducted in the US, people today seem to be more addicted to nicotine as compared to two decades ago and found it much harder to quit smoking, including requiring more intensive and individualized treatment.

Dr. David P. Sachs, the lead author of the study and other colleagues from the Palo Alto Centre for Pulmonary Disease Prevention, California and the St. Helena Hospital, Napa, California found severe nicotine addiction had gone up 12% between 1989 and 2006 and the percentage of smokers classified as highly nicotine dependent, as much as 32%.

The study analysed pre-treatment severity of nicotine dependence of participants in three studies conducted between 1989 and 2006 i.e. Nicotine Patch Study (NPS) - 220 participants, Bupropion SR Study (BSRS) – 206 participants and St. Helena Hospital Centre for a Smoke-Free Life (CSFL) – 206 participants.

Researchers measured nicotine dependence using the Fagerström Tolerance Questionnaire and found, while nicotine dependence was 6.65% in 1989, it went up to 7.0 in 1994 and 7.44 in 2006, with the proportion of highly nicotine-dependent people rising from 55.5% to 73% over the period of the study.

Researchers have not reached any conclusion, as to why nicotine dependence has increased so much in the last 15-years.  However, they did find less nicotine dependent smokers found it easier and had successfully quit smoking.  To conclude, Dr. Sachs says highly nicotine dependent people need intensive and individualized treatment to ensure nicotine withdrawal symptoms are and remain suppressed.

The biggest cause of preventable deaths in the USA, more than 400,000 people die each year as a result of this deadly habit, including 40,000 people who die annually because of cancers, respiratory infections and asthma, conditions they develop from inhaling second hand smoke.