Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Tobacco Addiction

  • Tobacco contains nicotine, which is a powerful and highly addictive substance.
  • Smoking delivers nicotine to the brain very rapidly and effectively, bringing on the rapid onset and maintenance of addiction.
  • Nicotine dependence consists of both physical and behavioural components.
  • Tobacco use triggers the release of dopamine – a chemical in the brain that is associated with feelings of pleasure (relief of withdrawal symptoms).
  • Persons who smoke need greater and greater amounts of nicotine to achieve the same levels of satisfaction.
  • Further smoking alleviates the withdrawal symptoms that set in as soon as the effects of nicotine wear off.
Addiction and Mental Health
Integrating Smoking Cessation into Daily Nursing Practice
Background Information