This post starts the way many recent others have:
A recent article in Scientific American discussed addictions, mainly the one with nicotine. The article offers an interesting yet highly contestable theory to explain what it is that we get ourselves addicted to with nicotine and what happens when we quit and the withdrawal symptoms kick in. Very interesting yet very much open to debate.
Certain observations reported in the article are not as open to debate, simply because they have been repeatedly observed: it seems as though our nervous system gets rewired pretty quickly in response to nicotine, much quicker than anyone imagined. It doesn't take months of years of smoking packs of cigarettes to become hooked; it seems as though it takes between two to four cigarettes for the nervous systems and the brain to become addicted enough so the would be smoker already has withdrawal symptoms. That's all it takes for new constructions in the brain to identify themselves to modern lab equipment, for a start.
Scary, isn't it?
I find this scares me the most from my new vantage point of a parent. What hope do we, parents, have here when it comes to raising healthy kids? Show me a child that will never try a cigarette and I'll show you a tale of fantasy. None of us has much of a hope in the face of the advertising monster that is the cigarette industry when it comes to stopping our children from trying them out, yet all it takes is for them to try them just a few times and they will always yearn for them, to one extent or another.
It's a losing game, one of many, and it clearly demonstrates how impossible it is to be a truly great parent. The odds are against us from the start.