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A stoner's guide to quitting nicotine

Discussion in 'Fitness, Health & Nutrition' started by Freedom, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. #1 Freedom, Jun 11, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2009
    My nicotine stained background: I am a 30 year old woman. I smoked 25+ cigs per day, plus 5 or so spliffs with added baccy for about 15 years. To say I had a love affair with cigarettes is an understatement.

    I am by no means a smug ex-smoker. I am a non-smoker who finally got to a stage where I knew if I had any real respect for my health, I should at least try and quit.

    Yes, I still smoke bud. :D

    I quit cigs one year and four months ago and I haven’t looked back, I also quit on my first attempt. If someone had told me two years ago that I would be a non smoker now, I would have laughed. Quitting seemed absolutely out of my reach and I was even too scared to try, for fear of failing. I had absolutely accepted the fact that I would be a smoker forever.

    I really wanna share some stuff I’ve picked up along the way in the hope that it might help someone else. My opinions are just that, please remember that life experience varies from person to person, what worked for me might not necessarily work for you, but if it does – Coolies. :)

    You may also find it really easy to quit with no added help, I hear some people do, but I wasn’t one of them and was grateful for all the help I could get, this guide is for those of you who feel you could use the extra help. If you found it easy, please feel free to share your methods and experiences, maybe you’ll inspire somebody.
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  2. #2 Freedom, Jun 11, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2009
    Part 1 - Do you actually want to quit?

    It sounds stupid, but have you actually considered why you want to quit? Think about why you started, was it because you thought it made you look cool? Did you want to fit in with particular friends? Do the things that made you start smoking, apply to your life now?

    I thought about giving up for years before I even attempted it, I just never really felt ‘ready' to give it a go.

    Often it takes a trigger of some sort to kick our asses in to gear. A health shock or a particularly bad cough, maybe you nearly hacked up a lung this morning or you just worked out what it costs you per month to smoke what you do. For me, it was having the levels of Carbon Monoxide in my lungs measured.

    The Carbon Monoxide test:
    In the UK you can do this test at any NHS stop smoking clinic or at most Tesco pharmacies for free. To buy the machine itself is over £100. It digitally measures CO from a long breath.
    The NHS use a chart ranging from 1-20. Anything from 1-6 is a non smoker…6-9, light smoker etc etc, you get the idea. My first reading was 36 :eek: and the woman in the pharmacy gasped with surprise. I wanted to try giving up there and then, but I made myself set a ‘quit date' and practically forced myself to smoke cigs I didn't really want in the lead up to it.

    Only when you are serious about giving it a try must you proceed. Jumping in feet first and falling at the first hurdle is too easy and could set you up to fail again in the future. I was adamant that I would succeed first time. Firstly, because I'm a competitive person and when everyone kept telling me “you won't succeed first time” I wanted to prove them wrong and secondly, because I couldn't bear the thought of putting myself through the experience more than once. To this day, this is the mindset I am most grateful for. This doesn't mean that if you don't succeed first time, you won't. Just that it will save you some time and heartache if you can and it helps spur you on in the process.

    You will know when you are ready because you will almost be looking forward to the challenge.

  3. Part 2 – Preparing your brain.

    Experts claim that giving your brain a chance to prepare for such a great change in your life gives you a much better chance of success. You can see why, our brains are very mechanical organs that have a tendency to try and protect us from sudden change. Trust me, you need your conscious and subconscious mind on board for the task ahead!

    With that in mind, do not attempt to quit on a whim. Plan a quit day in the future and enjoy a right royal smoke all the way up to the night before your quit day. This gives your mind a chance to ‘say goodbye'. Do not underestimate the feelings that quitting nicotine can give you. Experts claim that nicotine is as, if not more addictive than heroin. Losing it from your life exposes you to a form of mourning.

    Try to break and change habits before the big day. That cigarette after a meal is unbeatable. Do yourself a favour and in the week leading up to quit day, make yourself wait longer and longer after you eat before you smoke. This will get your brain used to the fact that it can't expect nicotine after food. Equally, if your habit is sparking up when you make a phone call, ban smoking on the phone and wait until your call is finished.

    Do enrole in the NHS stop smoking scheme if you re in the UK or the equivalent if it's available in your country. I had access to free nicotine replacement in various forms and a weekly session with a counselor, who also took my CO test. They are non patronizing and don't berate you if you fuck up, they just guide you in the right direction.

    Put a diary on your wall that you can mark off each day as you go. These small moments of achievement become pretty significant a few days in.

    Go to bed the night before remembering that you are doing this for you and no one is making you do it, you want control of your life BACK from nicotine and you are going to take it. There are many, many benefits to giving up this terrible drug and you have them all to look forward to. :hello:

  4. Part 3 – Quit day.

    You must prepare for quit day. The night before, you must take time to place air fresheners all over the house and in the car. Make sure you have clean clothes available that do not smell of cigs. Make sure before you go to bed that there is not a cigarette to be found within a half mile radius of you!! Get rid of ashtrays and lighters. Write a list of reasons of why you are quitting and leave it somewhere where you can read it as soon as you wake up and are craving that first cig of the day. Try to eat something, fruit is good and drink still drinks from bottles with ‘nipple' tops, it satisfies the oral fixation to a certain extent. Have a crossword or some sort of puzzle handy and make yourself do it. By the time you've attempted half of it you will already have successfully got through the first craving.

    Cravings only last a few minutes. Watch the clock if you have to, but know that it will subside in no longer than 5-8 mins, sometimes less.

    Try to enjoy the fact that your house and car smell better. Just do whatever you have to do to get through that first day, it is the hardest but it's over pretty quickly and then your over the worst.

    I was very apprehensive about day1. I hadn't gone a whole day without a cig in over fifteen years. The morning was hard and saw me sat in the corner looking decidedly foetal, but each hour that passed became easier. I ate a lot of seeds, berries, gum, smoothies etc and tried to enjoy the fact that finally I was going to have a proper diet rather than living on black coffee and cigarettes. :rolleyes:
  5. #5 Freedom, Jun 11, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2009
    Part 4- Which methods to use.

    You probably already have a pretty good idea of the myriad of products available to help you quit. Different things work for different people so I can only share with you what I learned as a user or tryer of most of them!

    Nicotine patches: - I used these for 6 weeks. You start with a big dose and move down. Generally they just pissed me off. They left sticky shit all over my arm. Quite possibly relying heavily on the placebo effect. I can't say they didn't work either :p, although once or twice I took them off earlier than I was supposed to and it made no noticable difference.

    Nicotine gum: - I expect I owe quite a lot to the gum. I had never tried it before and was surprised a how much like having a cig it was. Come quit day I was heavily armed with the stuff and the strong one at that. In my first week I was getting through 12 or so pieces a day! It became like having a treat and I even had one after a meal to replace that inevitable craving.
    The down side of the gum is that it is addictive itself and I gave myself a mouth ulcer where I kept biting my lip in the same place when I got over excited with it! Mouth ulcers fyi, are also an inevitable side effect to quitting nicotine.

    In reality, weining myself off the gum was way easier than I thought it would be. My advice is to use it if you need to, but it's not candy! Use it sparingly and try to recognize when you don't need it anymore. If you are still eating a lot of it after three weeks, see you doctor for advice. Or PM me, I bet I can put you off it with one quick sentence. ;)

    Hypnotherapy: - I know some people swear by it, but I have now been “hypnotized” twice in my life and both times just seemed like an expensive sleep. I wouldn't bother with it again. Nothing that happened for my £80 was anything that one of my friends couldn't have done. However, some people seem more receptive to it, if you can afford it, give it a go for funsies! Whatever keeps you occupied!

    Drugs!:yummy:;) : - In terms of alternative sources of nicotine, you can also get lozenges which melt on your tongue and inhalators which give you the hand to mouth action. There are also drugs available such as Zyban… talk to your doctor if you want to try these, my knowledge of them is limited.

    I strongly recommend keeping a diary if you decide to try and quit, it occupies your hands, organizes your thoughts and keeps you out of denial.

    Once you've made it through your first day or two, take a moment to appreciate the advantages. Whilst you probably find yourself thinking endlessly about cigarettes, keep in mind that it will pass, it's just your addiction trying to reel you back in. Already your breathing and pulse rates have returned to a normal level. Your taste and smell are beginning to improve as is your circulation. It was a revelation to me when heat returned to my hands and feet, they'd been cold for so long from poor circulation that I think they'd gone numb!
    Get an empty bottle and shove £10 in it, cos you've probably saved that already. Write ‘cash not ash' on your bottle and watch the cash add up. You'll have to smash the bottle to get your money, but we'll come back to that. Try to leave it be for now and think about all the lovely bud you'll be able to buy with it soon. ;)
    Have you noticed that you and your breath don't smell of stale cig? Nice huh? J

    That's it for now folks….
    There is more to come, but I think I'll wait and see if a single person reads this before I continue, :p:eek: :bolt:
    Thanks for reading, I hope it helps someone. Next chapter is "What to expect as a non smoker."

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  6. I'm glad I never sunk into the realms of nicotine, it's proven that it is much worse for your lungs compared to pot, especially when it comes to cancer. I knew people that have and still do smoke nicotine but I'd never touch it, tbh I don't see the point. Ganja all the way :)
  7. *nod* I think like me, most smokers start smoking nicotine in their teenage years. I don't know anyone who started smoking as an adult, because by then we are much better equipped with life experience to make better decisions!

    The way I see it, one bad decision in your teenage years can leave you completely dependant on this drug for years to come. I think awareness is greater now, so new generations aren't getting started on nicotine in the same way, which is great.

    Indeed man, indeed. :D Thanks for looking. :)
  8. Please! Write more, i know people who may be able to benefit from this a lot, some very close peopel at that. I know people who are hooked should try and get all the help they can. Luckily i never found it to be that cool. I stopped before i got addicted, i knew of its dangers at age 13 and vowed to not smoek another cigarette ever.
  9. Thanks for the feedback dude. I've had some private feedback too, so I will write more. :)

    If any smokers are reading this and thinking, "I really should give up, but let's face it, I know I'm not gonna :rolleyes:" then fear not, I've been in that mindset too and it doesn't mean you never will. If all this guide does is start you thinking about giving up....then trust me, that is the very important, first stage. :)

    More soon. :wave:
  10. #10 Freedom, Jun 15, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2009
    Part 5 – Your first week as a non smoker and what you can expect to happen to your body and mind!

    Remember, every cell in your body is changing. Each cig you’ve smoked has topped up the 4000 chemicals which each cig gives you. Now you’re giving it the chance, your body has to work really hard to get rid of each and every one of these chemicals. As you lose each one, your body will send messages to your brain to tell you that you are losing something that you need. This is your addiction and must be ignored, clearly you don’t need the likes of arsenic and various metals in your system, but you’ve absorbed them for so long that your brain thinks you need them as much as oxygen. Think of it in terms of retraining your brain.

    Here’s some landmark moments to work towards:

    20 minutes after giving up
    Your blood pressure and your pulse rate return to normal. Therefore, from the minute you give up, your chances of heart attack are reduced.

    8 hours after giving up
    The carbon monoxide levels in your blood are halved.

    Energy levels start to improve as more oxygen and less carbon monoxide is moving through your lungs.

    24 hours after giving up
    Carbon monoxide has now completely gone from your system.

    From now on, all exercise will be easier, breathing during exercise will not be as difficult and you will find yourself able to do more.

    48 hours after giving up
    Your ability to taste and smell has improved greatly.
    Nicotine has now completely gone from your system. Naturally your brain is going to resist this loss. The 48 hour mark is a difficult one, losing this most addictive substance sends your self preservation skills into overdrive! These moments require will power. Try to remember why you are feeling like this and why you are doing it.

    Your subconscious mind doesn’t necessarily want you to give up nicotine, it is telling you that you like it, need it and aren’t coping without it. All evidence is to the contrary though, you are getting through it and you’re already through the hardest part!

    Remember, if you quit quitting now, you’ll have to go through this all again at some point in the future. You may as well put up with a few shitty days now and then never have to go through all this again.

    2-21 weeks after giving up
    Circulation has improved greatly.

    Poor circulation can result in many things, including cuts/sores taking a long time to heal, cramps, cold limbs etc

    After 1 year
    Your risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.

    After 10 years
    Your risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker

    After 15 years
    Your risk of a heart attack is the same as someone who has never smoked.

    So you don’t have to wait long to see the benefits, however you can see how long it will take for your body to recover completely, so do you really want to prolong the agony? Quit now and you can make a huge difference to your life.

    Okay, I admit it’s not an entirely rosy process. :rolleyes::p

    You are going to experience a number of things that aren’t entirely pleasant, I am not going to hide these truths from you, because they were kept from me and that made me angry. If you are aware, then you can be prepared. :) It should also be said that you may not experience many side effects at all, it is dependent on the severity of your habit.

    You can expect mouth ulcers, itchy skin, headaches, insomnia…. Not tempting huh? I never said it was easy. What you must remember is that it is not impossible and that nothing in life that is worth having, comes easy.:cool:

    After a couple of weeks when you start to lose various chemicals from your body, your body will eliminate these in different ways.

    I remember expecting to have wonderful skin almost straight away :rolleyes:(For as long as I smoked, my skin was terrible) but it just got worse! My skin was erupting with acne!! :( This lasted for a few weeks.

    At 8 weeks, (they say this is when arsenic leaves your body) just when you are thinking, ‘I could well be over my addiction’ your body craves the arsenic and can take you completely by surprise, be ready for it.

    I vividly remember yearning for somebody to tell me how long I would feel shit for, when would I start feeling all these amazing benefits? Of course, no one can give you a definitive answer, we are all different. The science of the process explains a certain amount, but you are learning to live your life in a completely new way, you have lost what was a permanent extension to your hand and everyone reacts differently to this.
    I can tell you how long it took me, a professional smoker, to truly feel better. Between 2-3 months I got to a stage where I knew I wouldn’t fall off the wagon, the deed was done for sure, all I had to do now was learn to live with it. What followed was, a good two-three months of depression which I did NOT see coming and it totally floored me. For the first couple of months I had been spurred on by the encouragement of my friends and family, it had been somewhat of a novelty which had now worn thin and I just missed my cigs. I got very low and seriously questioned whether or not life was worth it without cigs!! I know how irrational that sounds now, but at the time, that feeling was very real. This period saw my toughest times, but keeping in mind what I have shared with you here got me through it.

    Now use the cost calculator to work out how much you’ve saved so far. Make sure you have put all savings in your bottle, it should be looking pretty tempting to break into by now. ;)

    Coming up next, the all important benefits. :hello:

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  11. Hey Freedom, I am not a smoker but I like this guide very much! It is applicable to other addictions as well.

    My question would be, you said you stick to the green, (me too:hello:) but how did this work with quitting? Did you smoke herb throughout the process of quitting? Did you smoke more/less than normal?

    For me, when I try to quit my other addictions, I end up smoking a lot more weed, which is not necessarily a bad thing considering the other addiction I'm giving up. Just curious as to how this affects others beside myself.

    Oh, and congrats for quitting after that long! That is a HUGE accomplishment you should be proud of.
  12. awesome guide and congrats on quitting
  13. #13 Freedom, Jun 20, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2010

    Hey dude! Thanks for looking! :)
    I'm glad you brought up the bud smoking process during the quitting nicotine process! Now is as good a time as any to share my experience and I have some real points of interest regarding that too.

    I have always smoked my bud in a tobacco joint (with the exception of the odd bong for funsies). I knew I was having my CO measured the day after my quit day and I really didn't wanna fuck this up, so I went completely cold turkey for the first 48 hours, no bud, no baccy. I went in for my CO test and my reading was 3! :hello: This just spurred me on more, but I was starting to miss bud. Yeah, already. :rolleyes:

    I figured if I smoked bongs, then I might have a good chance that the CO was reduced in the water and that it wouldn't affect my reading, so after a few days I started smoking off bongs.

    Here's the interesting bit:
    After a week of smoking bongs, I went back to get my CO levels tested. They were still at the same level as a non smoker. I figured that this was awesome news, that in fact the water does take out a lot of the harmful chemicals that you take on through smoking anything!
    BUT. My high wasn't the same and I started to wonder if the water was removing some of the THC as well. :( Bongs just weren't cutting the mustard, so now I smoke pure bud spliffs! :smoking: No nasty nicotine and the spliffs last me way longer but get me as high as ever.
    I did miss the rush that nicotine gave me with a spliff before, but you must bear in mind, it's that rush that is part of what you are trying to give up with nicotine. :)

    To this day I still smoke pure bud spliffs and I can't believe there was ever any other way! :cool:

    It's fair to say that my consumption has gone up a small amount, but with what I save on not buying cigs, and the fact that I grow, means I can cover this. Like you say, definitely the lesser of two evils and you will see that you still benefit from all the cool stuff even though you still smoke bud. :)

    Thank you and thank you. :)

    Thank you both for looking, next part coming soon. :cool:
  14. I'd give you some of my purple rep for this but it wont let me. Groovy thread Freedom and well done.
  15. Lol, thanks man, you just know I love that purple rep.

    Is it purple or is it gray? :hide: :laughing:
  16. This was a great guide and I enjoyed reading it.Ive been smoking cigs for only a short while just for something to else to smoke when I dont have bud,but I'm quitting no doubt.This is something I don't want to get myself into.Thanks
  17. any tips for the insomnia? its really been hurting my progress. i dont wanna take sleeping pills everynight and become unable to sleep without them (happened to me before).
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  18. Thanks man. :) There are way better things to smoke. ;) I'm glad you've made that decision, just ask if you need any help. :wave:

    Yeah it's tough man. Are you exercising? How long have you been off the nicotine now?

    If you feel able, use your days to be as active as possible, you'll start to enjoy your increasing levels of fitness quite quickly. If you're no good at making yourself exercise, I suggest a big day out to knacker yourself. :p Try a theme park, or go swimming with some friends or take a bunch of hippy friends for a walk in the woods and get high as high things. Fresh air (preferably sea air or country/rural air) and exercise are your friends. Caffeine and junk food are not. Neither is replacing one drug with another.

    Don't go to bed before you feel ready and try to come to terms with the fact that you may end up not needing as much sleep as you did when you smoked. You can survive on less than 8 hours a night :p in fact, a new study shows that people who get 6 hours sleep per night live longer than those getting 8 hours.

    A year after quitting, I sleep a coupla hours less than I used to, but better than I ever have. :)

    Remember this is temporary and it is just a symptom, not an excuse for your brain to let you give up trying. You're doing great man, believe it or not you are becoming a non smoker, don't resist it.

    Oh and smoke some primo quality indica, preferably something that was harvested late and has been well cured. Night night sleepy stoner. :wave:
  19. i havent stopped completely. ive cut down from 20 to only 10ish a day. i also try to go biking on trails in the woods everyday. im also on my feet a lot at work. at the end of the day i feel tired and ready for bed but when i lie down i just cannot fall asleep. sometimes ill lay in bed for an hr or 2 then give up and go out for a cig and a bowl and then i usually fall asleep within the next hr.
  20. Hey man. :wave: I'm sorry to hear about your sleeping troubles but I gotta tell ya, your insomnia is not caused by nicotine withdrawal. I suggest you talk to your doctor about the possible causes for it. :)

    GL man.

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