CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Nicotine is the chemical in tobacco that keeps you smoking. Nicotine is very addictive. It increases the release of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which help regulate mood and behavior. One of these neurotransmitters is dopamine, which makes you feel good. Getting that dopamine boost is part of the addiction process.
Nicotine dependence, also referred to as tobacco dependence, involves behavioral as well as physical factors. Behaviors and cues that you may associate with smoking include:
- Certain times of the day, such as with morning coffee or during breaks at work
- After a meal
- Drinking alcohol
- Certain places or friends
- Talking on the phone
- Stressful situations or when you're feeling down
- The smell of a burning cigarette
- Driving your car
To overcome your dependence on tobacco, you need to deal with the behaviors and routines that you associate with smoking.
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