Re-Learn Addiction

How Nicotine Addiction Works

So you’ve learned a few things about Re-learning Habit.  And you’ve made it through the first part of re-learning life without cigarettes — how to deal with all of the habits you connect with lighting up. But smoking is more than just a series of “bad habits."  It's a physical addiction.

So let’s talk about re-learning what you know about addiction. Few people realize how the nicotine in cigarettes actually changes their brain. Dr. Richard Hurt from Mayo Clinic’s Nicotine Dependence Center is a leading expert in the field of smoking cessation. In the videos below, Dr. Hurt explains the physical nature of addiction to cigarettes and just how powerful it can be. He’ll also tell you how medication can DOUBLE your chances of quitting smoking and help you pick the right one for you. Lots of people say they don’t want to use medication to quit smoking, because they think it’s something they should do on their own with just their willpower. Or they’ve tried a medication before and don’t think it worked. If you’re one of those people, all we can say is trust us on this. Just hear what Dr. Hurt has to say and then make up your mind.

See full video transcript


Bupropion, also known as Zyban or Wellbutrin, is a non-nicotine medication that helps smokers to stop smoking. It's isn't a nicotine replacement product like the gum or the patch, but it does have an effect on the smoker's brain receptors through a chemical associated with the pleasure of smoking. A prescription for Bupropion is needed.

Varenicline, also known as Chantix, is another nicotine medication. Remember those receptors in the brain waiting for that fix of nicotine? This medication acts like nicotine and it fools the receptors into thinking you've already had your dose of nicotine. Again, you'll need a prescription for this medication.

Video: Quit Smoking Aids: Non-nicotine Medication

You also may want to try one of two non-nicotine quit smoking medications in addition to a nicotine replacement therapy. One is called bupropion (brand name: Zyban®). It has an effect on the nicotine receptors in your brain through a chemical associated with the pleasure of smoking cigarettes. The other is called varenicline (brand name: Chantix™). This medication acts like nicotine and fools the receptors in the brain into believing they’ve already had their dose of nicotine. Prescriptions are needed for both medications. Check out Dr. Hurt’s advice in the video to the right.

*Food & Drug Administration Warning

The Food & Drug Administration has warned that both bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix) have been associated with serious adverse effects, including hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts or actions. The risks that are known to be associated with smoking must be balanced against the small, but real risk of these serious adverse effects. People who are taking either bupropion or varenicline and experience any serious and unusual changes in mood or behavior or who feel like hurting themselves or someone else should stop taking the medicine and call their healthcare professional right away. Bupropion, varenicline and nicotine replacement medications are also not recommended for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding without consulting their doctor. Ask your doctor if one of these medications is right for you. As always, read and follow label directions. Also keep in mind that new medications are being developed all the time to help people stop smoking. Ask your doctor if anything new is available.

Can't see the video? Don't stress! Dr. Hurt videos are available to view on the desktop site.

We're glad you're back. How've you been?

If you're ready to become an ex-smoker, we're ready to help you re-learn life without cigarettes.

Get started

Not sure if you're ready to quit? Not sure if EX is right for you?

Sign up to learn more about the free EX Plan.

Please provide a valid email address
Your email is already registered for updates. Click here if you're ready to register for the EX Plan.