My partner has been smoking since he was in high school and he is 27 now. He has been smoking about two packs a day and is trying to stop. This weekend he has cut down on the amount he smokes. Last night, both he and I had trouble staying asleep. I was wondering if his smoking has been affecting me too? And what side effects would I have for just being around him when he smokes?
— Secondhand Smoker
I commend your partner on trying to quit smoking, not only for his health, but also for yours. Nicotine (the main drug component in tobacco) dependence is a serious problem, and according to Medline Plus, it has a potential for addiction similar to alcohol, cocaine, and morphine. Dependence on nicotine means that a person cannot stop using tobacco products, despite the products causing them likely harm. According to the Mayo Clinic, nicotine produces physical and mood-altering effects in your brain that are temporarily pleasing. These effects typically make you want to continue using tobacco and can lead to dependence. However, stopping tobacco can lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, which it sounds like your partner is experiencing. To learn more about nicotine withdrawal symptoms and the issues surrounding secondhand smoke, keep reading!