ERIC Number: ED372332
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992
Reference Count: N/A
Facts on Nicotine and Tobacco. Clearinghouse Fact Sheet.
Nicotine, the most abused drug in the United States, is the psychoactive drug in tobacco. It exerts diverse, often subtle effects on the central nervous system and can stimulate or relax, or do both simultaneously. Tolerance to this drug develops easily and addiction is common among people with other drug problems, especially alcoholism. Most tobacco use begins in childhood or early adolescence and is due to a number of factors, such as peer pressure, adolescent rebellion, marketing, and easy availability. Nicotine is the most widely promoted drug in the country. Tobacco directly causes one in every six deaths in this country and can lead to heart disease, cancer, respiratory problems, and other maladies. Stopping tobacco use has both immediate and long-term health benefits for the user and his or her family. Although many people stop smoking without formal assistance, that does not mean that quitting is easy. Many quit by relying on informal networks of support among friends and relatives, by restructuring their environment, or by drawing on lessons learned during prior unsuccessful attempts at quitting. Sometimes, all that is required to quit are a few pointers and some simple advice from a health professional. Steps that offer a reasonable chance of bringing the tobacco epidemic under control include: (1) deal with tobacco as part of the overall drug problem; (2) increase excise taxes; (3) countermarket tobacco products with pro-health messages; and (4) require indoor air spaces used by nonsmokers to be free of tobacco smoke pollution. (RJM)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Rutgers, The State Univ., Piscataway, NJ. Center of Alcohol Studies.