Friday, November 10, 2006

Kissing is more fun

This coming Thursday is the 16th of November. It also happens to be the America Cancer Society's Great American Smoke Out. You must truly want to quit to be sucessful. For this reason, you might not necessarily want to use that specific date to quit. However it certainly is a great day to start thinking about when you DO want to quit.

Just about six years ago I gave up cigarettes. It was, without a doubt, one of the best decisions that I have ever made in my life.

One Friday in February of 2001 I bought a pack of my usual brand … Dunhill (Blue). I thought about opening it that night, but for some reason I did not. When I woke up the next morning, I decided that I would never open it. To this day it sits in my bedroom, unopened and sealed, as a constant reminder.

Here are some things I can tell you:

- For a few days you will crawl the walls, but you must power through it.

- For up to six months I would have these dreams that I had cheated and smoked a cigarette. I would wake up thinking, “Well I screwed up … I might as well have another.” Since I had that unopened and SEALED pack in my bedroom, I was able to discern that it was only a dream. My own mind was trying to trick me back into the habit. That is fucked up.

- In about a year, you will stop reaching for one and you will be in the clear. You will most likely never look back.

The ACS gives you these milestones:

-20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drops.

-12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

-2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.

-1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.

-1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's.

-5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.

-10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker's. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decreases.

-15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker's.

You can calculate the cost of your smoking habit HERE.

If you want a few more reasons to quit, keep this in mind.

* The tobacco industry has hired one lobbyist for every two members of Congress. The major cigarette manufacturers spent well over $40 million in lobbying fees last year alone. With a few exceptions, the Republican behavior on tobacco legislation has historically been pathetic.

* It was the Republican Party that defeated the McCain tobacco bill in the Senate and that prevented the Hansen bill from even being discussed in the House.

*Republicans say that they are against drugs, but tobacco contains a dangerous addictive drug, perhaps the most addictive of them all, and one that is also a gateway drug to all the others.

* Republicans claim to be pro-life. Tobacco causes spontaneous abortion, prematurity, and low birth weight.

* Republicans are, of course, pro-family. And yet nearly half a million families are disrupted every year by a tobacco-related death alone. And moreover, many times that number are disrupted by tobacco-related illness and disabilities.

So … take that cigarette out of your mouth … and put a lobbyist or two on the unemployment line.


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Blogger grumpygirl said...

good post, lots of great info and facts.


some things that aren't even mentioned by the american lung association that a successful quitter should know:

--if you have depression, talk to your doctor before quitting. nicotine works as an antidepressant, and the withdrawal can be especially hard. extra meds might help at this time.

--many doctors will tell you that if you're depressed and in a depresssive episode or in the middle of a huge amount of stress or sadness (death of a family member, etc), that you should put off quitting for a few weeks till you're ready to give it full-focus. sad but true, cigs help, chemically, if you're in a bad place. be sure you're in a good place before quitting.

--drink a TON of water and lots of fruit, veggies and fiber. your body's been running on nicotine as it's fuel for a long time, and it needs a replacement or you could feel really lousy (and constipated).

9:25 AM  
Blogger the fourth person said...

My mom died from cigarette caused lung cancer that metastasized to her brain. Given the blood supply to and from the lung it most readily spreads to other areas. Hers was a horrible, long, dehumanizing, frightening death for herself and for her family. It is Excruciating to know that it was most likely preventable. Yes, some people get lung cancer who never smoke but it is NOTHING in comparison to smokers.
I quit a two pack a day habit in the 80s. I also quit meth, heroin, and a plethora of other booze and pills and powders. tobacco is right up there in "addictiveness"
BUT it can be done. Quitting takes practice. you only fail when you fail to continue trying. It took me five solid tries before I had had enough. Just enough to keep from picking up that one cig. when you are dying to have "just one" just have to have had enough.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Kenneth said...

Escaping any addiction is powerfully complex and difficult. One is using one's mind to choose to re-wire one's brain.

Once you've escaped addiction, you're a soul transformed.

8:04 PM  

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