HOW SMOKERS GET HOOKED

TAKE A PUFF OF TOBACCO, AND A BLAST OF 4,000 CHEMICALS fills your lungs, blood and brain. The smoke delivers a strong hit--about 2 mg in each cigarette--of nicotine, a compound the U.S. Surgeon General in 1988 deemed an addictive drug. But is nicotine alone what hooks people on tobacco? Apparently not. According to a new report, smoking may exert yet another powerfully addictive influence, one that enhances the effect of nicotine in what a leading researcher calls a "diabolical synergism."

In the new research, published in the journal Nature, scientists ran brain scans on smokers and abstainers and found that...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!