lhsi writes "A recent publication on the British Medical Journal finds that stopping smoking improves mental health: "Change in mental health after smoking cessation: systematic review and meta-analysis" (CC BY-NC 3.0).
A lot of smokers claim that smoking has mental health benefits; reducing depression and anxiety, and for relaxation and relieving stress. However the study suggests this is likely mis-attributing the ability of cigarettes to abolish nicotine withdrawal as a beneficial effect on mental health. The study notes that some health professionals are reluctant to recommend stopping smoking as a way to help mental health problems due to the fear that it might make things worse, but this study suggests that it actually would help.
The main conclusion of the study:
Smoking cessation is associated with reduced depression, anxiety, and stress and improved positive mood and quality of life compared with continuing to smoke. The effect size seems as large for those with psychiatric disorders as those without. The effect sizes are equal or larger than those of antidepressant treatment for mood and anxiety disorders."
There is no such thing as "gambling addiction".
Different people use words differently. I'm pretty sure that statement is highly debatable. I recall various science reports of chemical effects of gambling on the brain. I don't believe it requires chemical ingestion to stimulate chemical processes in the brain.
Some people _define_ addiction as something which you would be willing to sell your firstborn child for to not go without. Those people are zealots and do more harm IMO to the discussion than benefit. Life is not that black and white. There are levels of addiction, and levels of habituation, and levels of psychological and physiological withdrawel symtoms.
You are free to discuss the issue as you wish (as am I). I just think you are innapropriately turning it into a black/white issue with statements such as "Niccotine is like any other addictive drug -- once you're an addict, you're an addict for life.". What is your scientific test that you can perform on a person to determine if they are an addict? And this- "But smoke one single cigarette and you'll be back to a pack a day in less than a week.". I guess you are defining your scientific addiction test as this latter, but must the subject have a firstborn and an island where the price of that carton of cigarretes is their firstborn to make your determination? Or do you have an alternate blood test available? MRI brainscan? I'm just saying the world involves a lot more shades of gray than I think you give it credit for. And when you speak about addiction in such black and white terms, I think many people who have legitimate issues they may be trying to self-educate about will tune out anything else educational you have to say.
Different people use words differently.
Indeed, and they've been bending the word "addiction" for quite some time, even in medical circles. That's a bad thing IMO, as addiction is physical and habituation is mental (or was, the distinction isn't really being looked at closely any more). I see that Wikipedia makes the distinction with only the nomenclature changed; now, habituation is called addiction and addiction is called "Physiological dependence".
As to "once an addict, always an addict" there are usually exceptions to any rule, but those in the field of addiction will all tell you that. They do have tests to determine whether or not one is an addict. I'm not in the field, but I do know those who are.