The way nicotine hooks us is terrifying

Nicotine is the natural, highly-addictive substance in tobacco, and it takes as little as seven seconds to reach your brain after you inhale a drag from a cigarette or other device, according to the World Health Organisation.

The key effect on the brain that all abused drugs, including nicotine, appear to have in common is their ability to dramatically raise the activity of feel-good chemical signalers deep in our brain’s reward system.

As a result, using nicotine or other addictive drugs doesn’t just make us feel euphoric — it also makes us want to use again.

The producers at the infographics site Column Five recently made this graphic to show how quickly and easily our bodies can become primed to use nicotine.

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