How can I tell if I'm addicted and what does it take to become addicted?
The World Health Organization uses these guidelines to diagnose nicotine dependence:
ICD-10 copyright (c) 1992 by World Health Organization.
Internet Mental Health (www.mentalhealth.com) copyright (c) 1995-1996 by Phillip W. Long, M.D.
A definite diagnosis of dependence should usually be made only if three or more of the following have been experienced or exhibited at some time during the previous year:
According to studies, addiction can be instituted very easily:
- a strong desire or sense of compulsion to take tobacco;
- difficulties in controlling tobacco-taking behaviour in terms of its onset, termination, or levels of use;
- a physiological withdrawal state when tobacco use has ceased or been reduced, as evidenced by: the characteristic withdrawal; syndrome for tobacco; or use of the same (or a closely related) substance with the intention of relieving or avoiding withdrawal symptoms;
- evidence of tolerance, such that increased doses of tobacco are required in order to achieve effects originally produced by lower doses;
- progressive neglect of alternative pleasures or interests because of tobacco use, increased amount of time necessary to obtain or take the substance or to recover from its effects;
- persisting with tobacco use despite clear evidence of overtly harmful consequences, such as depressive mood states consequent to periods of heavy substance use, or drug-related impairment of cognitive functioning; efforts should be made to determine that the user was actually, or could be expected to be, aware of the nature and extent of the harm.
"The Nicotine Addiction Trap: A 40-year sentence for four cigarettes" can be found in British Journal of Addiction 1990 (85), 293-300, M.A.H. Russell.)
What this study boils down to is statistics that point to this conclusion: Addiction is likely to occur in 3 out of 4 smokers, who will still be smoking 40 years later, after smoking 4 cigarettes no further than 1 week apart, up to 100 cigarettes, at which addictive "need" has occurred--that is, need occurs between 4 and 100 smoked.
The first four cigarettes break down the typical physical revulsion and physically prepare the stage for addiction to occur.(There apparently some-very, very small number-- who are seemingly addiction resistant, probably to anything) So it is NOT how long one smokes--it's a matter of numbers, a matter of "hits" when the invisible line is crossed, and 100 cigarettes are the maximum number needed, and incredibly, as few as four.
One can see how valuable this knowledge was to Tobacco when their own behavioral scientists discovered this--we know from the Viking Project Sixteen in Canada of 16-year olds, that the criteria for the teen participating in this study was that they smoke at least 4 cigs a day. So between these studies, we can see it happens fast, and giving free samples is all but a guarantee of the sought-after and desired addiction, and the younger the better.