Addiction is a powerful thing. We deal with it all the time at our center for alcohol and drug rehabilitation in Raleigh NC. It is difficult to fight cravings and urges to use your drug of choice. While some drugs can provide a longer sustained high, cigarettes, more specifically nicotine, provide only a short high that leaves your body craving more. These cravings lead you to chase the buzz, again and again, needing more and more to achieve that same feeling.
This is the cycle of addiction and why more than 36.5 million adults in the United States smoke cigarettes and more than 9 million adults vape or use e-cigarettes every day.
It's no secret that an addiction to tobacco causes long-term health concerns. For decades the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has offered free addiction recovery information, and the Food and Drug Administration has imposed strict regulations on traditional cigarettes as well as e-cigarettes, pipe tobacco, cigars and hookah tobacco. These laws and services have been aimed at an American public who know the dangers of tobacco use and still continue to use this dangerous and highly addictive drug.
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States every year according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While the use of tobacco is trending downwards, in part because of the introduction of vaping, 15 percent of the U.S. population continues to smoke cigarettes. The introduction of e-cigarettes and vapes has begun to cut into the number of consumers who use traditional tobacco products significantly. A 2014 CDC survey found that almost half of current smokers had tried an e-cigarette and about 15 percent of current cigarette smokers had switched to e-cigarettes or vapes.
Why the trend towards e-cigarettes and vaping? A 2015 study by Public Health England revealed some surprising truths about these products. The study found that e-cigarettes and vaping are 95 percent safer than smoking. While using these products is not 100 percent safe, the chemicals that are present pose a limited danger. While vaping has gained harsh criticism for the fluid used to vape containing formaldehyde, there is no evidence that users of e-cigarettes or vapes are exposed to harmful amounts of aldehydes when they use these e-liquids.
This information comes to light as North Carolina lawmakers lobby to raise the age to buy tobacco, e-cigarette and vape products to 21. Traditional cigarette use has continued to fall among high school students, down to nearly 9 percent in 2015. However, the use of e-cigarettes and vapes has skyrocketed from just 1.7 percent in 2011 to almost 17 percent in 2015. The hope of lawmakers is that raising the age to 21 will keep people who haven't started smoking by the age of 18 tobacco free. The Institutes of Medicine report that increasing the legal age to 21 will make the likelihood of these products being socially available to high school students less likely. An additional report stated that raising the age limit to 19 would bring a 3 percent drop in underage usage, while raising the minimum age to 21 saw a 12 percent drop. A minimum age requirement of 25 would bring a 16 percent decrease. If someone in your family is battling substance abuse of any kind, make the call to Legacy Freedom. Our outpatient alcohol and drug rehabilitation in Raleigh NC really helps your family.
North Carolina lawmakers are fighting strong opposition in a state where tobacco has deep roots in society and the economy. However, lawmakers believe that the knowledge about the health risks and the addictive nature of nicotine will help make their case for them. The plan to raise the minimum age has a three-year roll-out period, beginning in January of 2018. Active-duty members of the military would be exempt from the higher age requirements. However, the military has already begun to crack down on the acceptance of tobacco use among its members.
Funding the school programs and public health education about the dangers of traditional tobacco products like cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars, and hookahs will come from a newly filed bill, HB 276 which contains $17 million dollars every year for these programs. These health initiatives will also provide education on the dangers of e-cigarettes and vapes. Prevention programs would be implemented with public health groups, non-profits, church-based tobacco prevention programs and public schools. A small portion of the budget will be used to study whether these changes and the proposed minimum age increase have any effectiveness on the number of people who use traditional or e-forms of tobacco.
The growing concerns about tobacco use come as researchers learn more about how tobacco and more specifically nicotine affect the user's brain. Much like heroin or cocaine, nicotine reacts with the chemicals in the brain. Nicotine attaches to the dopamine in the brain and increases the levels that are present. Dopamine helps our brain create the sensation of pleasure or reward. Nicotine also sends the central nervous system into overdrive. By stimulating the adrenal glands, nicotine increases the body's production of epinephrine. The central nervous system is stimulated by epinephrine and sends the body's breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure up. This contributes to the buzz that tobacco users feel when they use.
Tobacco users are at an increased risk for life-threatening illnesses and diseases. Cancer, leukemia, stroke, heart attacks and emphysema are all commonly associated with smoking. Risk of chronic lung conditions like bronchitis or pneumonia are also increased in those who smoke. Smokeless tobacco users are at an increased risk of mouth and throat cancers. Babies born to mothers who smoke are at risk for low birth weight, premature birth, and increased probability of behavior and learning problems. Mothers who smoke while pregnant are at a higher risk for miscarriage or a stillborn birth.
Exposure to second-hand smoke also poses serious health risks for both children and adults who are exposed to it. North Carolina lawmakers have already passed bills which have taken a tough stance on limiting the public's exposure to secondhand smoke. As recently as March of 2017, the list of public places that are smoke-free has grown to include state correctional facilities, childcare facilities, all hotels, bars, and restaurants. It also allows state funded colleges to implement their own strict policies about tobacco use on campus and at school events.
For those who want to end their dependency on tobacco, there are numerous options. The development of smoking cessation prescription drugs as well as over the counter stop smoking aids have helped thousands of people quit. Research shows that behavior modification therapy is the best tool for stopping tobacco use and remaining tobacco free. Choosing to use a support group or see a therapist for support while you make the transition away from smoking and tobacco use increases your likelihood of success.
Drug Rehabilitation in Raleigh NC That You Can Trust
If you want a second chance at having the life you deserve in 2017, but are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call us today. Legacy of Raleigh NC has programs that are tailored to your needs. You won’t find a more comprehensive rehab program in North Carolina. We want to help you overcome your addiction so that you can begin to live a happier, more fulfilling life. When you call, you will speak with an admissions counselor ready to answer any questions you may have about our affordable alcohol and drug rehabilitation in Raleigh NC. We hope to hear from you soon.