Something that I have never been able to understand is why people choose to smoke cigarettes. I did not grow up with parents who smoke cigarettes, but my older sister has smoked since she was a very young teen and so have other, more distant, members of my family. I used to get angry with my sister because I am aware of the negative effects of smoking cigarettes, and I could not understand her motivation for continuing to smoke, especially now that she has children. However, after taking this course, and looking more into it, I now realize just how truly addicting nicotine really is. Reading the PowerPoint slide on nicotine and seeing that it induces relaxation and enhances a person's mood, makes me see things from a different point of view. I can see how someone who is overly stressed and anxious may fall victim to the power of nicotine. I have also become aware, through my own research, of the horrible withdrawal symptoms people may experience when they try and quit smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when people try and quit smoking for any length of time, they can experience insomnia, irritability, deep depression, uncontrollable anger, restlessness, and even a slowed heart rate. Not to mention, it can also affect a person's weight because of the increased feelings of hunger. Needless to say, it is not as easy to quit smoking as I had originally thought. I assumed that the knowledge of how harmful smoking is would be enough to make a person quit the habit, but I now understand that nicotine is a highly addictive and powerful drug that has control over the brain and influences people's decisions. Below is an article that suggests certain ways people may be able to overcome their nicotine cravings, and I found it to be very insightful.
Managing Withdrawal. (2021, July 23). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/guide/withdrawal.html