"Is smoking cigarettes really addictive?"

Tobacco CEOs testifying before House CommitteeIs smoking addictive? Is the sun hot? As obvious as the answers to these questions seem to be, for many years, tobacco companies have denied their products were addictive. As recently as 1994, the heads of the nation's seven largest tobacco companies testified before Congress that they did not believe nicotine, a primary ingredient in their products, was addictive. Surprisingly enough, this sentiment was even felt amongst many lifelong smokers who claimed they were not addicted; rather, they "chose" to keep smoking.

Medical and scientific research has proven what for a long time has been common knowledge among the smoking public: nicotine---thus, cigarette smoke--is physically (and psychologically) addictive. This hardly comes as a surprise to cigarette manufacturers. As early as 1963, legal counsel for Brown and Williamson, the third largest tobacco producer, admitted "Nicotine is addictive and we are, then, in the business of selling nicotine, an addictive drug effective in the release of stress mechanisms." According to some physicians and medical researchers, nicotine can be as addictive as heroin, cocaine and alcohol.

Every day, the tobacco industry spends millions of dollars in marketing, promotions and advertisements for their products. With so much money, time and effort (and nicotine) put forth by the tobacco companies to keep their customers smoking and to turn "new recruits" into perpetual offenders, it is no wonder that so many people (an estimated 47 million adults in the United States, alone) remain hooked on a habit of killing themselves. Indeed, according to research done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than 400,000 addicted smokers die each year as a direct result of their smoking habit. Worse than this statistic is the fact that each day, 3,000 children under the age of 18 become addicted to cigarettes.

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