How to Assess Nicotine Dependence
Like any other addiction, nicotine dependence is characterized by the need to use tobacco products even though they may be causing you harm.
While the effects of nicotine are temporarily pleasing, they can cause serious and sometimes fatal health conditions. Stopping use after an addiction has already developed, however, can cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms - which usually lead to a quick relapse.
Inability to stop
The hallmark sign of nicotine dependence is that you can't stop smoking, despite repeated efforts to try. You continue to be unsuccessful in quitting the habit.
If you're addicted to nicotine, you may also experience the health problems associated with it, like chronic coughing, heart palpitations, sweating, yellowing fingernails or headaches.
Another strong indicator of nicotine dependence is experiencing withdrawal symptoms after you've attempted to quit. Minimizing or stopping use altogether can cause mood and physical problems, like anxiety, frustration, increased hunger, constipation, insomnia or depression.
If you find yourself giving up certain social activities in order to smoke or avoiding situations in which you can't use tobacco, you might have a dependence issue.
If you think you might have a nicotine dependence problem, it's important to seek out a smoking cessation program in your area. Speak with your doctor about resources that might be available to you. Experts agree that you're more likely to be successful in quitting if you follow a comprehensive treatment plan.
Source: Mayo Clinic