"Now we could argue until Ves' moon turns blue about what 'addiction' is,"
"but that's not the focus here. Let's say for now that addiction manifests as a need, desire, or willingness to smoke on a regular basis."
"I say that once the initiate feels the nicotine rush once or twice, they're hooked."
Is is just the nicotine? Or is it the whole experience, of which nicotine just happens to play one part?
I think that there are many with a DS SF, many of whom are non-smokers, who just love, love, love to think about smokers as slaves to their cigarettes.
I also think that there are many people in the Anti-Smoking Community who just love, love, love to use the "nicotine is the most addictive substance in the universe" meme to pursue prohibition. (Hence, I believe, the DS SF interest in this, BTW... )
And I also think that there are many smokers who just love, love, love to rationalize their continuing to smoke by saying that "they just can't help it...it's the nicotine, and it's the evil cigarette makers who manipulate their products to make it impossible for me to quit," thus conveniently side-stepping responsibility for their own actions.
In my opinion, the words "addiction" and "hooked" have been used in conjunction with smoking so long and so often that they've become reflexive to our thinking about it. But I also believe that these are conceptual dead ends that illuminate nothing of the real reasons why people become interested in smoking, work to condition their lungs and bodies into being able to do it with social poise, and why people continue to smoke.
Again, I believe that the physiological response to nicotine is actually something like 1% of the equation, and how we respond to the whole experience of smoking, and especially, of how we respond to and think about it with respect to social contexts, is the most interesting part, and is 99% of the equation.
So, to revisit your premise Nat, I think that we'd be better served to consider the initiation to smoking in terms of Dark Sensual Pleasure, Identity Shift, and Social Significance...all of which are infinitely more profound and interesting things than acquiring a tolerance for a simple plant alkaloid, which is unfortunately the baggage that words like "addiction" and "hooked" are saddled with.