Health & Medical Mental Health

How to Assess Nicotine Dependence

    • 1). If you don't smoke every day, assess how often you do smoke. Some people smoke when they're out with friends or drinking socially. A person who smokes on occasion may think that he doesn't have an addiction to nicotine. However, if you are unable to keep from smoking a cigarette or cigar when you're out with friends, it may indicate dependence on nicotine.

    • 2). Pay attention to how soon you smoke after waking up in the morning. Whether it is within five minutes or an hour before you light the first cigarette can determine whether you'll be able to quit on your own or will need help from a medical professional.

    • 3). Determine your ability to maintain control of cravings when you are in places that you can't smoke such as restaurants, churches or airports. If someone is looking around for a place to "sneak out" and smoke, and can't wait until he leaves that area, his level of dependence is obviously stronger than if he can calmly wait and stop thinking about a cigarette until he is in an area that allows smoking.

    • 4). Track how many cigarettes you smoke in a day (or how much snuff, pipes or cigars). Someone who smokes as few as four cigarettes a day probably still has a nicotine addiction, but may be able to quit more easily than the person who smokes 20 or more per day.

    • 5). When you are sick with the flu or other respiratory illness, and you still cannot help but smoke even if it aggravates the illness, you can determine that you have a strong nicotine addiction. A dependence is something that is difficult or impossible to control, even when you know that it is detrimental to your health.

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