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"Hopelessly addicted smoker" is a redundant phrase, bordering on sheer meaninglessness. While there are indeed people who can "recreationally" smoke tobacco on a very limited basis, they are rare. In fact, I would go as far as to say that there is a probably a stronger percentage of heroin users that are able to maintain a pattern of use without addiction versus tobacco smokers.

The reasons are many. For one, smoking can deliver drugs faster to the brain than intravenous / intramuscular / subcutaneous injection or intranasal inhalation (snorting). This is why crack cocaine is more addictive than pure cocaine hydrochloride, even though crack is about 66% baking soda by weight. This instant gratification easily and quickly leads to a habitual use pattern. The fact that nicotine is physically addictive compounds the problem, leading most people on the path to addiction within a day or two of regular smoking. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it causes blood vessels to constrict throughout the body, including within the brain. When one becomes physically accustomed to this pattern of constriction, the absense of nicotine can lead to pounding migraine-like headaches. It is no cooincidence that many anti-migraine drugs merely work by constricting blood vessels in order to stop the constant throbbing within the head. This may also be why caffeine (when it's not the trigger of the migraine) can sometimes alleviate migraine symptoms, as it raises the pulse and thus affects the blood vessels throughout the body as well. Once a smoker is truly addicted, they associate the act of smoking with alleviating stress and negativity in general. Also, the first cigarette of the day comes with an endorphin rush, endorphins being the endogenous "opiates" that make us feel good to be alive.

I think one would be hard-pressed to find a smoker who isn't addicted, and who isn't completely aware of the fact that their habit is destructive, deadly, and costly. Everyone knows that smoking is "bad" and "stupid" and "pointless" and "expensive," but once you've been hooked (most smokers start before 18), it's very hard to shake the addiction. The problem is that the the pattern usually begins so early that there is no way to rationally say to yourself "smoking is wrong, so I'll stop." Most people make the idiotic decision to smoke during a time of their life when they really don't have the capacity to make life-altering decisions. You have to have the sheer will to want to quit. No amount of education about the horrors of smoking is going to have an effect.

There is nothing that can annoy a smoker more than being asked "Don't you know that's bad for you?" Of course we do. Shut the fuck up, already! It's an addiction! Of course we know it's bad! So what do are we supposed to say? "Yes. I want cancer. Yes. I want emphysema. I'll say whatever it is you want in order to get you to shut the fuck up and let me finish my cigarette in peace."

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