Nicotine addiction


Nicotine addiction involves significant physiological and cognitive impacts, making quitting particularly challenging. Here are key points discussed by and experts on the :

  1. Nicotine's Effects:

    • Nicotine is a robust cognitive enhancer that increases alertness, attention, and mood.
    • However, it also relaxes skeletal muscles, which can be detrimental to physical performance but ideal for cognitive tasks [1].
  2. Health Risks:

    • Long-term nicotine use, through smoking or vaping, drastically increases the risk of cancers, heart attacks, strokes, and cognitive decline.
    • Nicotine can severely disrupt vascular and endothelial cell function, leading to brain dysfunction and memory impairment [2].
  3. Teen Nicotine Addiction:

    • Treating nicotine addiction in teenagers is particularly challenging due to the absence of FDA-approved treatments for those under 18.
    • Strategies include using nicotine patches (off-label), combined with gums and lozenges, to gradually reduce intake and manage withdrawal [3].

      Nicotine's Effects

      Andrew explains how nicotine can increase cognitive ability and why it's not ideal for physical performance. Nicotine increases alertness, attention, and mood while relaxing skeletal muscles, making it an excellent tool for mental work. However, it's not recommended for physical endeavors as it can slow reaction time and muscle activation.

      Huberman Lab

      Nicotine’s Effects on the Brain & Body & How to Quit Smoking or Vaping | Huberman Lab Podcast #90
  4. Cessation Challenges and Methods:

    • Quitting cold turkey has a very low success rate due to severe withdrawal symptoms, including a dramatic drop in mood and cognitive performance.
    • Effective approaches include using bupropion, nicotine replacement therapies, and behavioral strategies such as hypnosis and exercise to manage dopamine levels during withdrawal [4] [5].
  5. Addiction and Personal Responsibility:

    • Nicotine addiction activates the brain's reward pathway similarly to other addictive substances, complicating cessation efforts and challenging the notion of personal responsibility in addiction recovery [6].
  6. Placebo Effects:

    • Beliefs about nicotine intake can significantly influence cognitive performance, highlighting the powerful effect of expectations on brain function [7].

Understanding these facets can aid in addressing nicotine addiction more effectively and support those striving to quit.