The Vice-Like Grip of The Cigarette

Cigarettes are a fully-engineered product: they are not simply tobacco leaves chopped up and rolled in a paper tube. They have been carefully crafted to be as efficient, or as addictive, as possible - according to your point of view. There are several ingredients in tobacco that have the potential for dependence:

  • Nicotine potentiated by other compounds
  • Other alkaloids such as nornicotine, anabasine, anatabine, myosmine
  • WTAs acting synergistically with nicotine
  • Added chemicals such as ammonia that increase the effect of nicotine

Note that the compounds believed to actually create the dependence on nicotine in the first place are the MAOIs. The theory is that they create a persistent change in brain chemistry when supplied in tobacco smoke along with nicotine.

Then we must add the compounds created by burning, which are not present in the tobacco. Even carbon monoxide may have a role here, and so these products of pyrolysis have to be added to the potential list for the chemical dependency aspect (the behavioural aspect is well replicated by the physical similarity of the ecig and its routines).

So to recap:
Many people who are dependent on cigarettes seem to be dependent on the nicotine. Nicotine dependency is caused by concurrent delivery of nicotine potentiated by MAOIs, especially in tobacco smoke, and one or more WTAs may also have a role in the potentiation required to create nicotine dependency (as it cannot occur outside of delivery in tobacco: it is impossible to create nicotine dependency in clinical trials with human never-smokers) [1]. 
But: some people are obviously dependent on something other than nicotine, if they still have cravings even when supplied with as much nicotine as possible and using a cigarette replica (since any nicotine dependency and all psychological dependencies are clearly satisfied). Most of these persons have their chemical dependency issue resolved by consuming Snus (Swedish oral tobacco) in addition, or by use of WTA e-liquid.

For these people, it is better to accept the low risks of Snus or WTAs in addition to regular ecigs and e-liquid, than to continue to smoke [2].

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