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Quitting Tobacco

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posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 04:06 AM
After going through the rant of a smoker whining about not being able to smoke in public places and reading through the various opinions and experiences of forum members I got the idea to make this thread.

I worked as a "Tobacco Cessation Counselor" for many years and helped hundreds of people quit tobacco.

So I thought I'd make this thread and add some of my experience on the topic, and perhaps help someone.

Firstly tobacco causes a lot of problems. If I remember over 90% of tobacco users are smokers. Chew is not a big a problem, but is not overlooked.

There is no such thing as safe nicotine. Nicotine causes high-blood pressure and heart disease. And cigarette are made with over 4,000 different chemicals, and 69 of them at least, are known to cause cancer. (sourceJ)

These chemicals have been meticulously designed over years of research by tobacco companies to get you more addicted to nicotine.

How does it work? Firstly nicotine once it reaches the brain triggers the release of dopamine. A normal brain knows when to release this neurotransmitter naturally, but a brain that gets used to nicotine needs the nicotine to trigger the its release, and thus nicotine addiction. Nicotine addiction is probably one of the hardest to break, even stronger than a lot of hard-core drugs like heroine.

The cigarette is designed in every step to be a perfect nicotine administrator to the system. You inhale the smoke and it fills your lungs, it penetrates the lung walls reaching your blood system and is carried to the brain. The way it is designed it slowly erodes your lung lining thus making the nicotine penetrate them faster and reach your brain faster.

Cigarettes are purposefully designed in away to deliver the nicotine to your brain as fast a possible, and are deliberately designed to erode your lungs, slowly killing you over time.

Knowing how it works is important in quitting. Knowledge always helps.

So here are just some ideas and tips when trying to quit.

Usually you want to set a quit date when you are ready. Make it for a couple of weeks to a month out. Now studies and statistics show that those who quit cold turkey are more likely not going to fall back to smoking every again. But it is also the hardest way to quit. So if you can go cold turkey. Great! Most people can't though.

You are facing a very serious addiction. And in addition to the addiction, of the worst there is, a physical addiction, most people have developed habits. So it is a two-fold challenge, breaking the habit, which can be hard in and of itself, on top of the physical addiction.

As you near your quit date start to change your patterns, and look for triggers. A trigger can be anything, getting up in the morning, getting a cup of coffee and a smoke. Driving to work, stopping at a certain stop light, lighting up. When going out to eat, getting a beer, lighting up. Literally it can be anything. Getting frustrated, taking a smoke.

Then as you reach your quit date start to change those patterns. If you get up and smoke first thing, for example, try to delay the smoking. Do something else first, make your bed, take a shower, wash the dishes, make breakfast, take a quick walk. And every day slowly try and purposefully plan things to delay the smoking longer and longer.

And also start to cut down over the next couple of weeks. You smoke 20 cigarettes a day? Smoke 19. The next day, smoke 18. Make it harder for you to smoke. You smoke in the car? Put the pack in your trunk. So you can't just reach for them.

Then let your friends/workmates/family aware of your quit attempt. Prepare family members for your quitting so they will be supportive and understanding. Withdrawal is very real and can cause you to become very irritable to be around for awhile.

As the date approaches hopefully you have cut down drastically what you're used to smoking, and changed your habits and patterns. During your quitting process avoid all triggers as much as possible. If you are used to drinking coffee and smoking, forgo drinking coffee for the next few weeks. Even changing driving patterns. If you're used to smoking at a certain spot in the car, take a different route.

Find association with people who are non smokers. Try to avoid smokers at work, and outside as well while you are quitting. If during a break you're used to smoking, try taking a walk perhaps with a co-worker that is a nonsmoker. Etc.

As the day approaches start to clear out all smoking paraphernalia, ash trays, lighters, matches, etc. On the quit date have them completely removed from your hose and your life.

Now it is important to note that withdrawal lasts usually 2-4 weeks, and the first three to four days are the worst. If you can get past the first few days you will probably make it to the end.

Do things while you are quitting that will replace the nicotine "high" you are used to. One simple and wonderful thing is simply taking a brisk walk or jog, or bicycle riding, or any exercise for that matter. Exercise triggers the release of endorphines in your brain, that have a similar effect as that of dopamine. It will calm you down when you are really irritable or nervous.

And also realize that cravings last a short time. When the craving happens, if you can control it for a few minutes it will go away.

If you have a relapse. Do not beat yourself up. Realize that quitting nicotine is one of the hardest addictions to break. It is NOT EASY for most people. Instead of looking at your failure, look at all of your progress and commend yourself for it. Also, plan things to do to reward yourself as you reach your goals. And find hobbies or things to do that will keep you busy during times that you know you are going to really struggle.

After a month off cigarettes your brain will realize it is not getting nicotine anymore and over that period it will begin to react normally again, until finally it will be releasing dopamine just like it always used to normally. And you will have won the addiction.

The mental craving of a smoke whoever, not the physical one, the mental one can take much much longer to break. And there are people, even decades after smoking will still have mental triggers that will make them crave a smoke. So it is possible that will never go away.

There are tobacco cessation aides that are available such as the patch and nicotine gum. These are short-term solutions to getting a fix from the nicotine, but some people just end up using these instead of smoking/chew. Remember that nicotine is still bad for you and causes high-blood pressure and heart disease. So if you decide to use them keep that in mind.

And finally there are tobacco cessation services that are available free of charge, like the one I used to work at. Where they would help you through the whole process, and some even provide free cessation aides such as the nicotine patch etc. I am sure you can search the internet to find one in your state if there is a service available for your state. I don't think all states have such services, but I know many do.

This is a very basic, but probably good start. There are plenty of in-depth guide I'm sure you could find just by a quick google search.
edit on 16-3-2016 by JarofRice because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 04:18 AM
a reply to: JarofRice

I would say go cold turkey.

It's got to be hard for you to learn a lesson.

I'm a few weeks in now. It's not easy but life isn't. I just thank God I didn't take up heroin.

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 04:23 AM

originally posted by: and14263
a reply to: JarofRice

I would say go cold turkey.

It's got to be hard for you to learn a lesson.

I'm a few weeks in now. It's not easy but life isn't. I just thank God I didn't take up heroin.

I'm glad for you!

And yes, I agree that cold turkey is probably the best way to quit. It's also the hardest. Taking a month or two quitting is also not a bad way to do it. And it is also found to be the most effective method to help the most people quit.

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 04:24 AM
a reply to: and14263


GO camping with ppl that don't smoke... give it a week...


its never easy... but if you WANT to quit...

You will

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 04:41 AM
Why is there so much noise about this lately? I have spotted noise about quitting smoking in several different places over the last few days. More often than I normally would see it in a month. That can't be coincidence. I'm assuming it must be a social media fart? That might explain why I don't get it. I don't do the usual Facebork and Twitty thing.

Cold ham works better than cold turkey.
edit on 16-3-2016 by BrianFlanders because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 04:50 AM
a reply to: BrianFlanders

I don't know. I don't live in the United States any more. I've moved to Mexico been here almost 6 years. And there are no programs like the one I was in Denver. It was in one of the most renowned hospitals dedicated to lung problems. National Jewish Medical and Research Center.

Why the big fuss? Maybe it has to do with more laws being passed against big tobacco. But again, I really don't pay attentino to the media in the United States, aside from major news stories.

But I can tell you while I have had several jobs over the years, and now am self-employed, out of the ones I had where I worked in the Stats, working there was probably the most satisfying and enjoyable. I really enjoyed helping people. And they were grateful. We didn't find them. They found us. So they were looking for help, and I never had a bad conversation with a person.
If I did, I don't remember it.

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 05:04 AM
a reply to: JarofRice

I was smoker for 27 years. I had multiple failed attempts at quitting. I didn't want my growing kids to be around it, nor did I want to cause myself health problems that could debilitate or kill me. Had my last cigarette and took up running February 2013. I have not had a single drag since that day. I run about 15-35 miles a week depending on time of year, weather, etc. I could not have stopped without the running.

It took my body at least six months to get through the physical withdrawal and expell the crud from my lungs. It was not until well after a year that I actually had a day that I did not crave a cigarette. I stil crave them, but I go sometimes a few days in a row in between now.

I now have withdrawals, both physical and mental, if I am unable to run for more than a few days. Beer helps with this.
edit on 16-3-2016 by KEACHI because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 05:12 AM
a reply to: KEACHI

Wow. That's a nice story. It is interesting about your physical withdrawal after so long. Something is not right there. I don't know why that would still be going on after so long a time. I've never dealt with someone after so long a time that their brain didn't adjust after usually a month or so. Of course I obviously don't know everything. What the explanation for it is though, I don't know. Maybe someone else may have some insight?

Your stating you smoked for so many years reminds me, that out of the thousands of people I personally talked with over the years, I only met a handful of people that started smoking after getting into adulthood. It seemed to me 99% of the people I talked with started the practice in their childhood. And by the time they were adults they were addicted, and almost everyone I talked to did not WANT to smoke.

And the average it takes for a person to quit for good if I remember was around 3 or 4 attempts. That is NOT uncommon at all.

It should also reassure people trying to quit for their first time, how hard it really is. And it is normal to have to try repeatedly before you succeed.

edit on 16-3-2016 by JarofRice because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 05:18 AM
You cant go cold turkey, this is an addiction of epic proportion and the problem society faces is with people failing to agknowledge how serious this addiction is. you face withdrawals not just from nicotine but from your body detoxing from the poisons it has been made to suffer from. it is as bad as ice or heroin, only it is legal and the government makes the money from its distribution.
i smoked 16mg rollie tobacco for a number of years and before that smoked tailor made cigarettes from around 15 y/o. i had quit and returned a number of times in the past until my early 30's and i just couldnt quit.
i tried a drug called champix but that was a bit trippy, the break through for me came last year when a work colleague asked me to try an E-cigarette, he noticed i was smoking more and more and offered me one to use on the drive home , that night and back to work in the morning.
I was blown away, i could see this as my stepping stone out, i ordered my pack and put in two weeks holiday.
as the E-cigarette has medical grade nicotine i didnt withdraw from nicotine but the chemical detox was horrible, my sweat stank i was weak, my joints ached and i had constant head aches. but i didnt feel like a cigarette because i had the E-cigarette to use. i just drank plenty of water and electrolytes, this phase lasted around a week.
after this it was easy, i just used the E-cigarette like a normal cigarette and slowly my use subsided, as i cant smoke on site where i am at, after two months of using the E-cigarette and being completely weened from tobacco, i sold my pack to my friend for the $100- i paid for it.
So that was my journey, and my advice to anyone who wants to give up e-cigarettes are the way out, i dont care what anyone says, i cant even stand the smell of a tobacco cigarette now, it makes me gag, and i used to be one of the biggest advocates for smokers until i made it out to the other side.
E-cigarettes are the only choice. saved my life.
edit on 16-3-2016 by PLAYERONE01 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 05:26 AM
a reply to: PLAYERONE01

So many good stories. I unfortunately gave counseling during a time before the e-cigarettes existed, so have no training or understanding about them. I've been out of the field for awhile. But it's good to hear your experience with them.

I wonder if champix is similar to Wellbutrion. They probably are. They are used as anti-depressants I believe. I wasn't a Doctor so could not proscribe them. But did give advice on those using them. They also mess around with the neurotransmitters in the brain and like you said, did creepy stuff. It was not uncommon to have people telling me they got suicidal thoughts while using it. I didn't like the drug at all because of that, and other weird things.

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 05:38 AM
a reply to: JarofRice
yes i remember the doc telling me they were a psych drug and i might experience some "strange" things like lucid dream states or feelings.
I wasnt really happy with that considering the type of high level security i was doing at that time, mostly they made me extremely moody and i was half way through the course when i was driving along the highway and experienced one of these psych breaks or lucid states. all i could hear were formula one cars screaming past and gear changing, allthough every car looked normal i could hear the high pitched scream and the gear change and blurs as they went past.
ever tried parking a formula one car in a break down lane while your shaking in terror.
i think it lasted about 30 seconds but felt like forever, and yeah through those pills in the bin.

edit on 16-3-2016 by PLAYERONE01 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 05:47 AM
a reply to: PLAYERONE01

Freaky. I just realized which drug that was. It's Chantix. lol, I don't know why I put champtix. I had some weird experiences with a drug, when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia (to help me with sleeping) that made me forget completely what I had done before I went to sleep. Complete amnesia. It was horrible. I only realized what happened when my kid would tell me we had done things the previous night, like watch a certain movie, when I knew for certain we hadn't watched it yet. I think it was called Ambient. And when I would be playing video games I could see them in 3D, even though I didn't have a 3D TV. It was weird. I stopped taking them.

To this day my sleep patterns still aren't the same since I have gotten this illness.

Oh, and on your comment about the government getting money from the distribution of tobacco. That is true, but also soo much money is put into the health-care system to care for those who are sick and dying from smoking, it is unbelievable. Literally.

Our program was funded by the money the government fined the big tobacco companies back in the 90's, billions of dollars were given to 48 of the 50 states if I believe. And many states used some of that money to fund the Cessation services we provided. Some used that money for completely unrelated things.

And although the United States has really clamped down on Tobacco companies, they are thriving more than ever, because they have taken their death product overseas, where there are billions of more people. China is a good example of this. They have lobbied their way into China which have basically no restrictions on its use and sell billions of more dollars there than they ever did in the states.

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 05:56 AM
I puffed nicotrol for a year, but haven't had a cig in 6+ years

I still have cravings though

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 06:10 AM
a reply to: JarofRice

Sorry for the confusion, I should have been more clear, I was stating, tongue in cheek, about now having addiction to running and suffering withdrawals when I can not go running. Thanks for the thread.

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 06:10 AM
I was on chantix. I had completely quit as of Feb 18th of this year. Everything was great, no cravings, just a little irritable. I did gain weight ( more than I wanted), but thats ok, weight can be lost. Till March 10th ( last week) I had a bombshell dropped on me, and I bought a pack of smokes. I chain smoked the whole pack within 2 hours and bought another one. Then bought 2 more on Saturday the 12th. I have one pack left, unopened. I will NOT be opening it. I will be throwing it away and hoping that my husband can deal with me.

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 06:19 AM

originally posted by: Squirlli
I was on chantix. I had completely quit as of Feb 18th of this year. Everything was great, no cravings, just a little irritable. I did gain weight ( more than I wanted), but thats ok, weight can be lost. Till March 10th ( last week) I had a bombshell dropped on me, and I bought a pack of smokes. I chain smoked the whole pack within 2 hours and bought another one. Then bought 2 more on Saturday the 12th. I have one pack left, unopened. I will NOT be opening it. I will be throwing it away and hoping that my husband can deal with me.

Sorry to hear about it. And it is very important to communicate with your husband, so he understands what you are going through when you quit.

I've learned that. Not everyone understands what a person goes through when they are breaking an addiction:

'Honey, I don't want to be this way, but please understand what I am going through quitting smoking. You may not enjoy my behavior, but please understand why I am acting the way I am. It's part of withdrawal. If I am cranky or irritable, please be understanding and patient with me, and realize what I am going through. Instead of barking back, or fighting with me, please be my support and help me through this.'

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 07:34 AM
Well, you are partially right OP. But more of the addiction comes from B-carbolines than from nicotine. A lot of people who quit actually take meds based on nicotine like chemistry after a while.

Nicotine is an antidote for both alcohol and caffeine if you have problems breaking them down. That is why some people, but not all, smoke when they have coffee or go drinking. If you can't break down the methyl or ethyl properly, nicotinic acid can help which is what smoking creates as it is absorbed.

They picked on the wrong chemical in tobacco before, now the truth is coming out. The problems are in the tar, notice that there is not much bad being said about the vaping nicotine. That is because many medicines use similar chemistry.

This whole thing is way more complicated than I care to get into because if you build up too much niacin in reserves it can trigger off problems in some people too which can lead to too much nitrous oxide forming at the wrong time leading to problems in nonsmokers having problems of a different kind. But when a person smokes over a dozen cigarettes a day, the bad always outdoes any good. You need to find the proper solution to the problems that made you start smoking in the first place.

A lot of people who quit smoking also quit coffee to balance it but replacing the coffee with sugary beverages is also no good. You trade one bad thing for another. Some turn to running and wear out their knees and hips and need them replaced. I know a few people who did that. Some start eating more sweets and breads to get the opiate buzz and then wind up with diabetes. Nicotine does actually stimulate the acetylcholine sensors but also lowers production of acetylcholine which can get you addicted. Acetylcholine being high is implicated in cancer though. Nicotine does not actually cause cancer they have found but other elements of the smoke do lead to increased susceptibility of lung cancer in half of the people. Smoking too much can cause cancer also , because it causes undermethylation to occur and this is because methyl is turned to ammonia by nicotinic acid and not enough is available for proper methylation.

Smoking is bad for a person but actually the nicotine is not always the reason why. It can be, but not always. I would rather stay neutral on this subject.

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 01:32 PM
a reply to: JarofRice

I quite Copenhagen, cold turkey one night on the way to a Christmas party about 13yrs ago. I had a brand new can, took a big pinch (purposely swallowed part of it) and tossed the can in the trash- quit clod turkey-

I have not craved it since- I do however have dreams about falling down and starting again; it is really quite frighting.

Such a nasty habit; I had to take a picture of my self (not literally) and assess myself. It was not hard once I committed

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 07:30 PM
Reading this has made me want to quit smoking, a little.

I still think it's not that bad when not overdone.

Drinking wine compulsively will destroy the liver, eating sugar compulsively will destroy teeth, & c. but the occasional pastry and social boozing aren't too far removed from the rolling up and making use of fire in a lung heating way once in a whim.

There's something about smoking, or nobody cool would do it.
Even before the moving pictures, cool kids did it.
Those chemical addicting additives aren't fair play, but in the end personal responsibility should be a higher priority than whining about KFC/tacoburger being yummy. They're called chains for a reason.

Tobacco on the other hand tastes like sh!t and I couldn't recommend it.
Makes me think of soda: if thirst lights up and there really actually isn't anything else to drink, okay.
But I think someone is doing this on purpose because water is to soda what fields are to tobacco fields.

The cause for the push of tobacco: people breed too much and old people are less efficient slaves.
Best way to advertise it seems semi-prohibition, coupled with wide availability.
Armies and prisons will provide free tobacco under the table.
Also public schools.

posted on Mar, 16 2016 @ 08:36 PM
My quit date is in 6 days and I'm kind of scared. I'm going to do it but I find myself with a lot of anxiety leading up to the big day.

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