Stop Smoking

Nicotine Addiction

Last Door has been nicotine free since 1997 and is a pioneer in the smoking cessation movement. At Last Door nicotine abstinence goes beyond not smoking on the property – residents and staff stop smoking entirely.

DOWNLOAD our Nicotine Free Smoking Cessation Works Presentation by clicking here presented at the Issues of Substance Conference in Vancouver.

What causes nicotine addiction? Nicotine is an addictive drug. It causes changes in the brain that make people want to use it more and more. In addition, addictive drugs cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. The good feelings that result when an addictive drug is present — and the bad feelings when it’s absent.

  • Cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are addicting.
  • Nicotine is the drug that causes addiction.
  • Pharmacologic and behavioural characteristics that determine tobacco addiction are similar to those that determine addiction to drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

What else does nicotine do to the body?
When a person smokes a cigarette, the body responds immediately to the chemical nicotine in the smoke. Nicotine causes a short-term increase in blood pressure, heart rate and the flow of blood from the heart. It also causes the arteries to narrow. The smoke includes carbon monoxide, which reduces the amount of oxygen the blood can carry. This, combined with the nicotine effects, creates an imbalance between the demand for oxygen by the cells and the amount of oxygen the blood can supply.

How does nicotine in cigarettes increase the risk of heart attack?
Cigarette smoking may increase the risk of developing hardening of the arteries and heart attacks in several ways. First, carbon monoxide may damage the inner walls of the arteries, encouraging fatty buildups in them. Over time, this causes the vessels to narrow and harden. Nicotine may also contribute to this process. Smoking also causes several changes in the blood that make clots — and heart attack — more likely.

What are the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal?

  • irritability
  • impatience
  • hostility
  • anxiety
  • depressed mood
  • difficulty concentrating
  • restlessness
  • decreased heart rate
  • increased appetite or weight gain

How long does nicotine stay in the body?
From 85–90 percent of nicotine in the blood is metabolized by the liver and excreted from the kidney rapidly. The estimated half-life for nicotine in the blood is two hours. However, smoking represents a multiple dosing situation with considerable accumulation during smoking. Therefore, it can be expected that blood nicotine would persist at significant levels for six to eight hours after smoking stopped.

Video Transcription

Josh: My addiction got really bad. I was starting to have seizures like on a regular basis and I was only twenty five. I was just, I really realized I didn’t wanna die and so I called my mom and I hit my, what you’d call bottom, and I was like I’m done. My mom was like, okay, you need to go to treatment. So, I looked on the internet and I found a few different websites and the Door was one of them and it turned out to be the first one I called and it took me about a month to get in. They didn’t tell me it was a non-smoking program. So I came here and I did a walk around and went to light a cigarette and the counselor was like “Oh hey, you can’t do that.” And I was like, “Oh, okay I’ll just go on the street and light it.” And he replied “No you can’t smoke while you’re here.” And I still didn’t understand what he was talking about, I still thought he meant like, I had to literally go for a walk to smoke if I was going to be here. And he was like “No we don’t allow you guys to smoke if you’re gonna be here, you gotta quit smoking.” So I turned around and walked to my mom’s truck and was like, “no this place isn’t for me.” I had the idea that I can’t quit smoking drugs and cigarettes at the same time. One or the other. My mom wouldn’t let me get in the truck, she was like, “no you’re staying here.” So, you know, they let me have one more smoke and you know I was pretty reluctant but I stayed. And the best thing I ever did was to get my life back and quit using drugs and change my life and just to throw smoking in the mix and like, I never would have quiet otherwise. I never would have. I am forever grateful for that. Here, you have so much support around and if nobody is doing it then you’re not going to be thinking about it. People are out there playing hockey, or going paintballing, or going camping, or things that they do here, you’re not going to be thinking about oh I want to go for a smoke with that guy. Quitting smoking here definitely worked for me, I haven’t smoked in almost four years like I said and it’s just been great. I’m getting my health back and I feel healthy, like my lungs I can take a deep breath and it’s been amazing. I would recommend it for anyone. It’s really the only place I would recommend if you need to go to treatment.