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Nicotine is an extremely addictive drug that is consumed by millions of people throughout the world via cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco as well as other forms. Nicotine has a number of associated dangers including death and the development of certain cancers, particularly cancers of the mouth and lungs. The vast majority, roughly 90%, of individuals diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States are smokers or victims of secondhand smoking.
Though chewing tobacco and smoking cigarettes, which both contain nicotine, is illegal for individuals under the age of 18 (U.S.), many young person's smoke or chew tobacco. Nicotine is a drug used by those in all age groups, from young to old. Two of the biggest dangers associated with adolescent and teenage nicotine use are that the younger a person starts, the higher the risk of continued use into adulthood and also earlier incidences of cancer development. If a person has been smoking since they were 12, they may develop cancer much earlier then someone who starts smoking at age 30.
Besides cancer there are other health risks related to nicotine consumption, including bronchial disorders, emphysema and cardiovascular disease. Women that smoke while they are pregnant, have higher incidences of miscarriage and their babies are at risk of being born underweight. Secondhand smoke is dangerous as well. People who live with individuals that are smokers are also at risk of developing various cancers, especially lung cancer. Respiratory diseases are also a risk.
A nicotine addiction can be very powerful. It is a very hard addiction to overcome. Individuals who smoke cigarettes, pipes, cigars or who chew tobacco, often find it very difficult to stop doing so. There are many different products on the market designed to help individuals stop smoking. Patches, special gum, anti-depressants such as Zyban and special systems are all available for those looking to quit smoking. The effectiveness of these is debated, though many people try them. Often times, they are not able to help individuals stop smoking. This is not to say that they do not work because it is likely that they do for some people. However, nicotine addiction is not easily cured even with the use of over-the-counter anti-smoking aids.