Conspiracy theory warning: a huge chunk of the following text will sound a lot like conspiracy theory and is based on the author’s subjective observations of reality.
Nicotine is not a drug in the traditional sense of getting high and forgetting our troubles for a while. Nicotine is a neurotoxin that inhibits and degrades the performance of the nervous system. At lower doses nicotine acts to stimulate the nervous system, and at higher doses nicotine acts to inhibit the nervous system. It is the simulation and degradation of the nervous system that is so compelling about smoking, when we simulate the nervous system we feel alive and when degrade our nervous system we are able to numb our emotional pain. The body is distracted by the nicotine high and withdrawal cycle to notice from any existential pain, for a while. Pain doesn’t hurt as much when our nerves are numb. Nicotine has been used as a pesticide to protect crops from insects and was stopped being used because it is harmful to mammals, mammals like humans, cows and cats. Heroin, in comparison to nicotine, does no harm to our bodies because it is a muscle relaxant. Heroin is illegal, nicotine is fully legal and is even marketed to us on a daily basis.
We won’t see much TV ads for cigarettes, still we see ads and commercial for Nicotine Replacement Products (NRP) throughout the commercial space. NRPs are basically nicotine in a different package. Did the evil tobacco corporations come up with an ingenious plan to remind us of smoking with the NRP ads? Are NRP ads just subliminal message to remind us of smoking? Does watching an NRP commercial remind us of smoking? The movie stars are not dumb enough to smoke in movies because of the pressure from anti-smoking groups, unless they are paid enough money that is, or the role demands that they smoke. Nicotine is marketed to us through the most effective marketing system known to man, other people doing it. We see other people smoke and so we smoke. Monkey see monkey do. Like many of us, we chose the wrong addiction, the addiction that rots our lungs and sucks the very life force out of our bodies. This doesn’t happen with the first cigarette, it happens over time and once we notice the effects, it is often too late. We copy the behaviour of others around us, and unlike animals, we humans are unique in that we copy behaviors that are harmful to us. No other animal does that. We don’t see a craw copy another crow plucking its own feathers out. We will see a crow copy another crow in flying high and dropping nuts onto the concrete road to crack them open to get to the sweet kernel. We see people smoke, and we ourselves engage in obsessive compulsive smoking, chain smoking. We rarely see anyone obsessive-compulsively helping old ladies cross the street. Addiction is just another form of obsessive compulsive behaviour. obsessive compulsive behaviour is is the result over the inability to manage overwhelming emotions. The progression of the smoking habit goes from casual to slightly compulsive, to fully compulsive and finally becomes full circle obsessive compulsive. How come some people don’t get hooked on smoking? Smokers are often jealous of non-smokers for not smoking and willfully ignore any bad traits those non-smoker might exhibit. The likelihood of a behaviour becoming addictive is related to the amount of emotional baggage we carry around, the more painful emotions we carry and deny, the more likely we are to slip into the pitfall of addictive behaviour, obsessive compulsive flight from painful emotions.