Magazine article USA TODAY

Nicotine Addiction Reaches 15-Year High

Magazine article USA TODAY

Nicotine Addiction Reaches 15-Year High

Article excerpt

Nicotine dependence has reached a 15-year high, with nearly 75% of people currently seeking tobacco-dependence treatment categorized as highly nicotine dependent. Re search from the American College of Chest Physicians, Northbrook, Ill., reports that nicotine dependence severity has increased 12%, while the proportion of people classified as highly nicotine dependent has jumped 32%.

The study's lead author, David P. Sachs, of the Palo Alto (Calif.) Center for Pulmonary Disease Prevention, was not surprised by the findings. "After treating tobacco-dependent patients for the last 25 years and conducting many tobacco dependence clinical treatment trials, I began to see a shift in severity of physical nicotine dependence"

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Although Sachs and his team identified a definite increase in tobacco dependence, the reason for this in crease remains unclear. "Previous studies suggest that individuals who have less severe nicotine dependence have already been successful at quitting smoking, which leaves a larger percentage of patients who are highly nicotine dependent among the greater tobacco-using community" Smokers who are highly addicted to nicotine may not even realize they are addicted, but see their tobacco use as a "bad habit" and, consequently, never attempt smoking cessation or try to quit on their own. …

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