11:55 PM - Feb 06, 2009 #31

Nicotine Addiction 101

Restoring volume control
Last edited by SalGold on 3:02 AM - Feb 21, 2009, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 7:22 PM - Nov 11, 2008

1:42 AM - Jan 25, 2011 #32

I spent an hour or so today talking with a three pack-a-day smoker who once met an ex-user who told him that he succeeded by cutting down the number of cigarettes he smoked by one each week, until getting down to just one, where he remained for a number of months.  He informed me that this was what he'd been doing since last year and that he was now down to just 17 cigarettes per day.  Taking his sweet time about things, I could see in his face the addict's dream of being able to smoke just once daily and staying there for a long long time.

The smoker looked to be in his late 50s and Joel's gradual withdrawal article immediately came to mind.  Repeatedly, it was as if he wanted me to acknowledge that he'd accomplished some great task while still sucking down 17 cigarettes a day.  Normally I would not have done anything to discourage a quitting attempt, regardless of the method.  But this smoker had not yet quit.  And under his one per week withdrawal plan, he planned on smoking for months to come.  I weighed the pros and cons and after arriving home the first thing I did was send him a copy of this article.

I don't know if the person who shared this idea with him was friend or foe but do know that within 72 hours he could reside inside a nicotine free body, and have reached peak withdrawal.  I also know that so long as all nicotine remains on the outside that it is impossible to relapse and he gets a 100% guarantee of success.   

The primary message I tried to leave him with was the Law of Addiction, that just one puff and up to half of his brain's dopamine pathway receptors would quickly become occupied by nicotine, that while likely that he would walk away from relapse feeling like he'd gotten away with it, that he would soon discover his brain wanting for more.  I felt he was showing interest in getting serious after our time together but take comfort in the fact that he now knows how to break free.  There was always only one rule ... none today!

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,

John (Gold x11) 

Joined: 2:04 PM - Nov 13, 2008

2:15 AM - Jan 25, 2011 #33

Another related issue here is covered in the article When Smoking Was a Choice Addiction. The section talking about under-smoking. There are lots of smokers today who smoke less than they used to, and basically, less than their body is requiring to feel comfortable by staving off withdrawal The reason for their under-smoking pattern is usually caused by smoking regulations or restrictions placed on them by their workplaces, family and friends. Some of them rarely get the opportunity to face the over-smoking dilemma, again because of these restrictions. A person who has cut themselves back though to a bare-minimum is likely feeling a constant level of discomfort, and yet, probably doesn't realize just how bad they are feeling. They just get used to feeling bad. 

The other thread that may relate to this is "I feel 100% better since I quit smoking!". I will attach that post below too. A person who has smoked a minimal amount for an appreciable time period before quitting is likely to be an individual who will be amazed at how much better he or she may feel once administration is totally stopped and withdrawal ends.

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]When Smoking Was a Choice Addiction[/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]It was cheap, well under 50 cents a pack. It was readily available. You could smoke it any where, any time you wanted. It was respectable. Your friends did it, your relatives did it, your co-workers did it, your boss did it, your doctor even did it. There was no social stigma attached, to the contrary, you were viewed as sophisticated, smart, tough, enlightened, or even healthy and robust as you deeply sucked in drag after drag. You never felt threatened by it-as far as you knew, it was safe. You never felt withdrawal, you seldom felt nicotine poisoning. When you could smoke any time you want, you were able to balance nicotine at optimal levels never facing extremes. Without facing extremes, you never recognized the consequences associated with using an addictive substance. You smoked because you liked it. For a while you knew you could take it or leave it.[/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]But in 1964 things started to change. It was then the first Surgeon General's report was released. For the first time, the public was made aware about the early known dangers of smoking. The link to lung cancer was firmly established and the risks of heart disease were becoming apparent. Those who actually read the report and understood the implications of the early studies were the first to begin to stop smoking. Among the first groups of people to reduce smoking among their ranks were physicians and dentists. As more time passed and hundreds and then thousands of studies were reported, the link between smoking and premature death was becoming firmly established. Greater numbers of nonmedical professionals were joining the ranks of ex-smokers. All of a sudden, the act of smoking was not viewed as an intelligent behavior. Smokers were not shunned, but they were no longer admired for their smoking behaviors.[/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Many American were attempting to quit but could not. For the first time, they were beginning to realize they were no longer smoking by choice. They were now hooked. They knew for medical reasons they should quit, but without understanding how to treat addiction they did not know how to stop. While they may not have been happy about this realization, they still felt comfortable smoking (unless they had developed crippling effects). After all, they could still smoke at the regular intervals necessary to avoid the consequences of nicotine withdrawal syndrome. They were now drug addicts.[/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]But nicotine addiction still had major advantages over any other addiction. Sure, it literally killed more people than all other addictions combined, including alcohol and heroin. But it was still legal, accessible, and relatively socially acceptable. These are important attributes for a drug of addiction. For, even though the long-term effects are lethal, the immediate short term effects are relatively comfortable, if not down right pleasurable. What other drug could you self administer 40 plus times a day getting the little pharmacological fixes with each and every hit that a smoker gets from every puff? Smokers still didn't face the chronic withdrawal syndromes other addicts faced from being unable to deliver ever larger amounts of a substance required by the increasing tolerance associated with addiction.[/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]The biggest slam to effect the smoker was the danger associated with second hand smoke. Nonsmokers, who make up the majority of the population, were becoming intolerant. Work places, homes of friends and families, public meeting places and even the smoker's own home were becoming smoke free. No longer could the smoker deliver the ever increasing needed fixes necessary to avert nicotine withdrawal. Now the smoker is either oversmoking or undersmoking all day long. He oversmokes so he can get as much nicotine as can possibly be tolerated to get him through multiple hours before he can get to his next fix. He undersmokes for numerous hours when he is restrained by no-smoking rules and regulations. Chronic withdrawal or chronic poisoning is the norm experienced by today's smokers.[/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]So, today, the smoker does not only have to worry about the slow crippling effects of smoking or the long-term lethal effects. He or she must be concerned about the day to day drudgery experienced by maintaining an addiction which is socially unacceptable and, hence, not allowed for many hours every day. Smokers today are suffering from oversmoking and undersmoking. They are scorned by many. They should be pitied by all and envied by none. The memories from the hey day of smoking are a fantasy in today's reality. The reality of smoking is a tortured life and a slow death. Don't get trapped in life of addiction - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF![/font]


[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]"I feel 100% better since I quit smoking!"[/font]


"Not smoking makes me feel great!" Often you will hear an ex-smoker excitedly express this statement when first quitting cigarettes. What is amazing is when you think back to the days when the very same smoker would blatantly proclaim that his smoking never caused him any difficulty. He functioned perfectly normal for someone his age. It is impossible for any smoker to accurately judge just how much impairment his smoking is causing. Not until he stops will he actually recognize the full degree of improvements possible by quitting smoking.

The statement that not smoking makes the ex-smoker feel great is very misleading. Not smoking doesn't make people feel great. It actually only makes them feel normal. If a person who never smoked a day in his life decides one morning not to have a cigarette, he will not feel any better or worse than the morning before. But if a person wakes up every day and smokes a cigarette, followed by 20, 40, 60 or more before going back to bed, he will feel the effects of nicotine dependence. He never feels normal. His life consists of a chronic withdrawal state, only alleviated by lighting one cigarette every 20 to 30 minutes.

While smoking at these intervals keeps the suffering of withdrawal down to a minimum, it does so at a cost. It impairs his breathing, circulation, elevates his carbon monoxide levels, wipes out his cilia, robs him of his strength and endurance, and greatly increases his risks of deadly diseases like cancer. All this will cost him hundreds of dollars a year, make him appear socially ostracized, and even viewed by family and friends as weak or unintelligent. It is no wonder that once he quits smoking he feels so much better. But it is important for the ex-smoker to realize that he feels so much better because smoking made him feel so bad.

For once a smoker quits, he often forgets just how rotten life was as a smoker. He forgets the bad cigarettes, the cough, the aches and pains, the dirty looks, the inconveniences, and most importantly, the addiction. He forgets what life was truly like as a smoker. Unfortunately, he doesn't forget everything. One thought often remains, lingering for years and even decades--the thought of the best cigarette he ever smoked. It may be a cigarette he smoked 20 years earlier, but it is the one he remembers above all others. Without keeping an accurate perspective of what life was really like with cigarettes, the thought of the best cigarette often leads to an attempt to recapture the bliss by taking a puff. What follows is an unexpected and worse, an unwanted relapse to a full-fledge addiction.

To stay off cigarettes, some people look at smoking in an artificially negative light. They think of the worst condition smoking may or may not really cause them. Don't look at cigarettes this way. But on the same note, don't look at cigarettes in an artificially positive light either. Don't think of smoking as being inhaling one or two delightful cigarettes a day just when you feel like it. You couldn't do that before and you will never do it that way again. Rather, look at smoking as it actually was. It was expensive, inconvenient, and sociably unacceptable on a daily basis. It controlled you totally. It was costing you your health and had the full potential of one day costing your life. See cigarettes for what they were. If you remember your life as a smoker it will be easy to NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!