Welcome to the parents section of "smoke's no joke". We aim to arm you with all the information you need to tackle family smoking issues.


Nicotine and addiction

Nicotine is a drug which enters the body via cigarette smoke and is as addictive as 'Class A' drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

Nicotine takes effect on the brain within 10 seconds of inhaling cigarette smoke.

The addictive effect of nicotine is linked to the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain associated with pleasure. Recent research has shown that over time, smokers can become less receptive to sensations of pleasure and need more and more cigarettes to achieve the same levels of satisfaction compared to when they first started smoking.

It is the addiction to nicotine that makes it hard for people to stop smoking. It is estimated that around 70% of smokers want to give up cigarettes, yet the actual quit rate is much lower.


A person who stops smoking will experience withdrawal symptoms as their body adjusts to life without nicotine. Typical physical symptoms can include strong cravings, irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, disturbed sleep, decreased heart rate and weight gain.

For more information please refer to the Smoking and Stress section

For more information please refer to the Quit Smoking section

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