Addiction to nicotine does not happen quickly, after using tobacco once or twice; it develops over time. Most smokers go through a series of steps from experimentation to regular use on their way to becoming addicted. Generally, rates of relapse for smoking cessation are highest in the first few weeks and months and lessen considerably after about three months. Nicotine replacement products are the most common form of treatment, as they provide nicotine without smoking. This helps to lessen the body’s craving for nicotine and to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Replacement products come in several forms including gum, a patch, nasal spray or an inhaler. Nicotine gum, patch and lozenges can be bought over-the-counter. The nasal spray and inhaler (brand name Nicotrol) require a doctor’s prescription.
According to the National Health Service (NHS), UK, about one quarter of the adult population of the UK smokes (20 million people). 25% of British men and 23% of British women smoke. Smoking is the biggest cause of illness and death in the UK, causing 114,000 smokers to die annually. The NHS adds that approximately 70% of smokers would like to stop, but most think they are not able to. About half of all British smokers eventually manage to stop.Nicotine is as addictive as heroin and cocaine, and it has the paradoxical effects of being a stimulant and a depressant. Girls and women are more likely to smoke to control their weight than males are, and they tend to gain more weight after quitting smoking. Female smokers also derive greater subjective pleasurable effects from nicotine than males who smoke.