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An addict’s road to recovery causes pain and anguish along the way. Just the simple realisation that the addiction is no longer their friend rather the complete opposite is very disappointing feeling. The reality is that you must overcome your trials and in accomplishing this become accountable for your recovery in your daily life.

Recovery is a lot about being accountable. Accountability for everything that happened in your life of active addiction, accountability for what you think, feel and act. Being accountable is a choice. If you make this important choice and hold yourself accountable for where your life ended up as well as holding yourself accountable for your recovery progress then you have taken a gigantic step towards securing your recovery goals.

Not only will you be able to continue on the road to recovery carrying a lot less extra baggage around you, but you would have realised that your addiction did you no favours.  In fact, it did more harm than good, to you and to those around you. For that reason alone, you need to be accountable for yourself, and the consequences cause to self and others, because of your addiction.  Only you can accept this responsibility, no one else can do that for you.

Use the following procedures as a guide to help you become accountable. The procedure involves the following: 

Stop Playing the Blame Game

 “I am accountable for my life and actions”- repeat this phrase in your mind and aloud several times every day. This is very essential because many people in recovery tend to blame others for their mishaps and failures, when in truth they failed themselves. Reality is they are responsible for and accountable for their thoughts, actions, attitudes, emotions and behaviour.  When playing the “blame game” many may go back in the past and blame their mother or father for not setting them a ‘good’ example, while others point fingers at their friends. However, what they fail to realise is that every person has the power to make their own decisions and choices. When they realise that any choice made in the past whether good or bad was their decision, alone, indicates accountability.

I Am Accountable For My Concepts of My Addiction

You can look at the addiction as something positive to learn from and never to return or constantly anger yourself for having the addiction. It is possible to have a positive outlook and overcome the challenge. Try laughing in the face of a problem rather than feeling overwhelmed by it.

I Am Accountable For My Way Forward

You can choose to look back, reminisce and fall again or you can try to move forward. The laughter in the previous stage will help lead the way for this current stage. Set goals that you always wanted to achieve but were unable to because of your addiction.  Perhaps your goal is to finish college, get married, or work in your favourite firm. As you walking ahead in your recovery journey, keep your head straight; in other words, keep focused on the goal, and don’t allow yourself to be diverted from your primary goals. 

I Am My Own Motivator

You have to push yourself to overcome the addiction. While you push though remember to reward yourself. For every week you overcome the addiction treat yourself. Maybe it is your favorite ice-cream, movie, game and more. Then again, if you failed for the week, make a note of it and encourage yourself to do better the next week.

I Will Not Pity Myself

The easiest thing to do is feel sorry for ‘you’ and wallow in self-pity along with its friends, guilt and shame. Many people in recovery from their addiction reach this stage along the way, and then decide to turn back. But, you’re not to give-up. To avoid falling into the feeling sorry for yourself trap, it is all right to be firm with yourself and constantly remind yourself of your primary goal. Become your own coach and train yourself to remain focused, committed and determined to succeed in your recovery goals.

I Will Take Care of My Health And Well-Being  

You need to be mindful how your addiction destroyed your body, mind and emotions.  And make a ongoing decision that,

“I will not harm myself…I will take care of my health- and well being. I will eat nutritional food, drink at least 8 glasses of water each day, and engage in some form of physical exercises and organise a exercise regime, which includes stretching of my body, every day.”


Myths About Addiction

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 31, 2013
  1. Addicts are bad, crazy, or stupid.
  Evolving research is demonstrating that addicts are not bad people who need to get good, crazy people who need to get sane, or stupid people who need education. Addicts have a brain disease that goes beyond their use of drugs.
  2. Addiction is a willpower problem.
  This is an old belief, probably based upon wanting to blame addicts for using drugs to excess. This myth is reinforced by the observation that most treatments for alcoholism and addiction are behavioral (talk) therapies, which are perceived to build self-control. But addiction occurs in an area of the brain called the mesolimbic dopamine system that is not under conscious control.
  3. Addicts should be punished, not treated, for using drugs.
  Science is demonstrating that addicts have a brain disease that causes them to have impaired control over their use of drugs. Addicts need treatment for their neurochemically driven brain pathology.
  4. People addicted to one drug are addicted to all drugs.
  While this sometimes occurs, most people who are dependent on a drug may be dependent on one or two drugs, but not all. This is probably due to how each drug "matches up" with the person's brain chemistry.
  5. Addicts cannot be treated with medications.
  Actually, addicts are medically detoxified in hospitals, when appropriate, all the time. But can they be treated with medications after detox? New pharmacotherapies (medicines) are being developed to help patients who have already become abstinent to further curb their craving for addicting drugs. These medications reduce the chances of relapse and enhance the effectiveness of existing behavioral (talk) therapies.
  6. Addiction is treated behaviorally, so it must be a behavioral problem.
  New brain scan studies are showing that behavioral treatments (i.e., psychotherapy) and medications work similarly in changing brain function. So addiction is a brain disease that can be treated by changing brain function, through several types of treatments.
  7. Alcoholics can stop drinking simply by attending AA meetings, so they can't have a brain disease.
  The key word here is "simply." For most people, AA is a tough, lifelong working of the Twelve Steps. On the basis of research, we know that this support system of people with a common experience is one of the active ingredients of recovery in AA. AA doesn't work for everyone, even for many people who truly want to stop drinking.
  Holding yourself accountable and beating yourself up are two very different things!
  Learn more at
  Support doesn't mean blame and shame!

From my Inbox to You

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 30, 2013
  USPSTF: Screen High-Risk Smokers for Lung Cancer
  Annual low-dose CT lung cancer screening got the thumbs-up from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) for adults ages 55 through 79 who have a 30 pack-year history of smoking or who have quit in the past 15 years.
  That strategy garnered a grade B in draft recommendations released today and is expected to pave the way for reimbursement from Medicare and private insurance.
  Other screening modalities, such as chest x-ray and sputum cytology, were not recommended.
  "This is a huge step. This is going to save lots of lives. I get choked up because it really will make a tremendous difference, more than anything else for cancer, for all cancers combined," said Claudia Henschke, PhD, MD, a radiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and a long-time lung CT screening advocate.
  The task force had originally recommended against lung cancer screening (grade D) when reviewed in 1996, and then concluded there was insufficient evidence either way when reviewed again in 2004.
  The National Lung Screening Trial, stopped early in 2010, was the first to show a mortality benefit from lung cancer screening.
  "It's been more than 20 years since we started and more than 14 years since we really knew it would give this great benefit," she told MedPage Today. "It took that additional time to get enough convincing evidence from other people."
  Her group's earlier International Early Lung Cancer Action Project (I-ELCAP) study had suggested that treating the early stage cancers predominantly picked up by CT improved outcomes but was controversial both for misreporting key data and failure to disclose tobacco company funding and royalties for the imaging technology to Henschke and a co-author.
  The systematic review supporting the new draft recommendations, published simultaneously online in the Annals of Internal Medicine, used the evidence from that study only in calculation of CT's predictive value for various sized nodules.
  Screening Criteria
  Other organizations have also been recommending CT screening for lung cancer, although they have not been unanimous on the criteria for doing so.
  Guidelines from the American Cancer Society and the American College of Chest Physicians favored screening patients using the National Lung Screening Trial criteria of smokers ages 55 to 74 with at least a 30 pack-year history of smoking or those who have quit in the prior 15 years.
  The National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines extended that to individuals as young as 50 or those with a 20 pack-year history of smoking if they had additional risk factors, such as occupational exposure to carcinogens like asbestos.
  The USPSTF diverged from all three with its recommendation to stop screening once an individual reaches age 80.
  The reason for the change: the National Lung Screening Trial enrolled individuals up to age 74 but then continued to screen them for several years and because the modeling suggested 55 through 79 as offering the best balance of benefit and risk, Virginia A. Moyer, MD, MPH, chair of the USPSTF, told MedPage Today.
  Henschke predicted that the guidelines would expand to a broader age range with a lower pack-year smoking history threshold for screening as further research develops.
  The trial enrollment criteria were picked to maximize the number of cancers found for appropriate statistical power.
  "I don't think it was ever envisioned that that would be the only group who benefits from it," she explained, adding that "the person who falls outside of these criteria really has to talk to his physician and discuss the risks and benefits of screening."
  However, "caution should be used in recommending screening to patients with significant comorbidity, particularly those who are toward the upper end of the screening age range," the task force wrote.
  Expected Benefits
  The systematic review commissioned by the USPSTF found "adequate evidence" of benefit for otherwise healthy persons.
  The National Lung Cancer Screening Trial showed a 20% lung cancer mortality reduction and nearly 7% all-cause mortality reduction with low-dose CT screening, with a number needed to screen to prevent one lung cancer death of 320 and 219 to save one life overall.
  The review compared that with numbers needed to screen or to invite to screen for other common screening tests:
  For mammography, one breast cancer death prevented over 11 to 20 years per 1,905 women ages 40 to 49, or 1,339 in those ages 50 to 59, or 377 in women ages 60 to 69
  For flexible sigmoidoscopy, one colon cancer death prevented per 871 screenings
  The other three studies included in the review did not supported a significant mortality advantage to lung cancer screening.
  But those small European studies "were underpowered and of insufficient duration to evaluate screening effectiveness," Linda L. Humphrey, MD, MPH, of the Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues wrote in the review.
  In practical terms, the USPSTF recommendations will likely mean a big uptick in actual screening rates.
  Primary care physicians largely have not been recommending CT lung cancer screening, which few insurance companies cover, commented Dan Raz, MD, surgical director of lung Cancer and thoracic oncology at City of Hope in Duarte, Calif.
  The out-of-pocket cost, ranging from $50 to $400, can be a "huge barrier for people," he told MedPage Today.
  Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are required to cover any screening service that is given an A or B rating by the USPSTF without any copay or deductible, Therese Bevers, MD, director of the MD Anderson Cancer Prevention Center in Houston, explained in an interview.
  That shift should provide more opportunity for cure by catching tumors at an early stage, rather than metastatic at presentation as most patients do now, Raz added.
  Risk of Harm
  However, the USPSTF warned about the downside of CT's expertise in detecting small nodules: the high rate of recall and biopsy of lung nodules that turn out to be benign.
  On their first screening, 9% to 51% of patients had an abnormal scan, which fell to 4% to 42% on subsequent scans.
  Most were cleared with further imaging but the 94% false positive rate meant extra radiation exposure and anxiety as well as cost.
  Overdiagnosis is a concern, as an estimated 10% to 12% of the screen-detected cancer cases wouldn't have been detected in the patient's lifetime otherwise, based on the modeling studies commissioned by the USPSTF.
  Its review also warned about false reassurance due to the false negative rate of up to 20%.
  The trialists have been careful in setting up how to manage abnormal scans, and that same care needs to be continued in community practice, Edward Kim, MD, chair of solid tumor oncology at Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte, N.C., noted in an interview.
  "We really have to be diligent in how we set up these parameters and which we look at; was it a positive or was it a negative?" he told MedPage Today.
  "The responsibility lies in the hands of pulmonologists, oncologists, and thoracic surgeons to make prudent decisions on how to investigate these lesions, and make sure not to subject patients with benign entities that are detected on the CT scan to undergo invasive procedures," agreed Zab Mosenifar, MD, a pulmonologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
  The size threshold for lung nodules used in the National Lung Screening Trial (4 mm) may have been too small, based on more recent research, Raz noted.
  "As time goes on, we're going to have more and more research about how to select patients in a smarter way, and how to identify who is a positive and who is a negative in a smarter way so that we can reduce the risk and really maximize the benefit of lung cancer screening," he said. "So I think this is really just the beginning."
  Another area of concern is that the trials suggested no impact of screening on encouraging smokers to quit or cut down on tobacco use.
  "Screening is absolutely not a substitute for stopping smoking," Moyer emphasized.

Eating Humble Pie!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 30, 2013
  Some people have been amazed that I blogged  "Help" to face a craving for a sickerette when I have been a big advocate for more than 3 years of NOPE! And I still AM! But I am a Nicotine Addict and will always be one and yes, I had a runaway memory of smoking having relieved distress! What did we do when things went very wrong in our lives? Like so many other times and situations in our lives, we reached for a sickerette! My Brain Map told me that that's what you do! 
  Do you ever still say to yourself, "but I don't drink or use drugs or play Anthony Wiener!" I know I have! I would think/hope that maybe after X amount of time I could stop recovery and "get back to normal living!" Well, guess what? This is normal living for a Nicotine Addict! We must always not just say but live NOPE and NEF! We are no different from the 6 Month quitter in that respect! Complacency is the biggest quit killer and TODAY is the most important day of MY recovery!
  The same things we tell folks over and over we also have to live! I visualized getting into the car, driving to the gas station, say the "magic words", taking that one sickerette out of the pack, taking my newly bought BIC and lighting up! That's where my fantasy stopped of course! The whole purpose of our Addictive Voice is to get that one nEXt fix! He doesn't have to worry about the ones that follow because he (being US) knows the Law of Addiction better than we do! 
  "Administration of a drug to an addict will cause
  re-establishment of chemical dependence
  upon the addictive substance."
  Actually, my Addictive Mind didn't want me to think about what comes nEXt because that wouldn't have achieved his goal! The Addictive Mind works from the limbic system,  the same brain circuits as do behaviors linked to survival, such as eating, bonding and sex. It felt like a survival need! 
  What comes nEXt is that sickerette doesn't even taste good! I cough my lungs out on the very first puff, I start wheezing, I choke (maybe even vomit), I put the da&% thing out and the shame and guilt hit!
   Finally, a bit too late, the Cerebral Cortex takes control of my thought processes. The cerebral cortex is the part of the brain that says, "Wait a minute! Let me think about the consequences of this decision.  A whole new set of voices turns on in my head, the Loser Radio Station! You might not have heard it but I have: "You blew it! You always blow it! You're worthless! You screw everything up! yada yada yada...." Not EXactly helpful at this point! 
  But it gets even worse! My nEXt thought is how do I tell my Wife? Oh MY GOD! She'll be sooo disappointed, ashamed, disgusted.... Maybe I can just lie to her - omission of the truth in this case is a lie! It's my secret! And my Son??? The Son who quit 4 Months after me because of my EXample? How can I tell him! What will my Friends say? They'll think I'm stupid beyond belief! Oh shucks! How do I come here and tell my BecomeanEX Family and Friends? I'll be a Newbie again! There goes 1200 + quit days!  They already know that I'm a serial relapser - now they'll never believe anything I say! Darn! Darn! Darn! [Or maybe I can just pretend it didn't happen?]
  And I'm at the relapse crossroads - Do I lie and try to keep it a secret or do I fess up? Both options have serious consequences! Do I continue to feed my "now awakened" cravings or do I secretly cold turkey using willpower? How many times have I said that willpower can never work yet that's the new plan!  I may spin all kinds of stories about how it was only one puff! But right when I need support (after all I'm a Newbie again) that's when I'm least likely  to seek it! 
  The Good News is that I followed my new Brain Map - the map that we've drummed into each other Month after Month after Month!   If you even suspect that you need help - BLOG HELP! Don't wait! Don't hesitate! Don't even thnk about it! Just DO IT! The consequences are a whole lot less than the alternative! I still have 1228 Smoke FREE Days! I just had to eat some humble pie! A much better decision!

Quoting from

The Law of Addiction 

"Administration of a drug to an addict will cause

re-establishment of chemical dependence

upon the addictive substance."

Smokers are often furious with me because they believe I caused them to go back to smoking.  Why do they think this?  Well, I have this nasty habit of making a really big deal any time a clinic participant takes one puff or maybe just a few cigarettes.  The smoker feels I am so persuasive in my arguments that he has no choice but to have a full-fledged relapse.  In his opinion, I forced him back to the lifetime dependency which will impair his health and may eventually cost him his life.  He is convinced that if I had not made such a major issue out of the incident, he would just have smoked that one time and would never have done it again.  How can I sleep each night knowing what I have done?

I sleep quite well, thank you.  For, you see, I am not responsible for these people's relapses to cigarettes.  They can take full credit for becoming smokers again.  They relapsed because they broke the one major law of nicotine addiction - they took a puff.  This is not my law.  I am not setting myself up to be judge, jury, and executioner.  The law of physiological addiction states that administration of a drug to an addict will cause reestablishment of the dependence on that substance.  I didn't write that law.  I don't execute that law.  My job is much simpler than that.  All I do is interpret the law.  This means, by taking a puff, the smoker either goes back to full-fledged smoking or goes through the withdrawal process associated with quitting.  Most don't opt for the withdrawal.

Every clinic has a number of participants who have quit in the past for one year or longer.  In fact, I had one clinic participant who had stopped for a period of 24 years before he relapsed.  He never heard that such a law existed, that even after 24 years, the ex-smoker is not totally freed from his imprisonment of addiction.  He didn't understand that the day he tossed his "last" cigarette, he was placed "on probation" for the rest of his life.  But ignorance of the law is not excusable - not the way the laws of a physiological nature are written.  By the American standards of justice, this seems to be cruel and unusual punishment.  But this is the way things are.

Maybe instead of going to a smoking clinic, a recently relapsed person should contact his attorney to plead his case of why he should be able to have an occasional cigarette when he desires.  Maybe he can cheat just once, get a sympathetic jury, be judged innocent, and walk out of the courtroom a free and independent person.  Surely, in pleading his case before twelve impartial people, he will probably have no problem convincing them that he is innocent of any wrongdoing.  And, as he happily walks out of court a free and independent person, he will probably have an uncontrollable urge and then light a cigarette.

Don't look for loopholes in the law of addiction.  You will be convicting yourself back to smoking.  While it may seem harsh and unfair, to many, smoking is a crime punishable by death.  Don't try to cheat the system - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!


  Good Morning, Fellow EXers and Planners!
  Today there is a lot of news to share with you but I don't want you to miss the forrest for the trees! Did you know that
   - Breathing in second-hand smoke for just 30 minutes can damage your heart.
  - An hour a day in a room with a smoker is nearly a hundred times more likely to cause lung cancer in a non-smoker than 20 years spent in a building containing asbestos.
  -  Cotinine levels of non-smoking 15-year-olds were five times higher and that of the seven-year-olds were four times higher if their mother smoked ten or more cigarettes a day, compared with the children of non-smoking mothers. [Yes! I know! You only smoke outside or when the kids aren't around, etc.... Third hand smoke gets into their system through sitting on your lap, giving you a hug or a kiss, touching your hair or clothes, being in the same room with you....]
  -  Support from your partners is helpful to smokers who wish to stop and it increases your chances of success, provided that you have developed skills of your own that help you to abstain. 
  - The personality trait that distinguishes smokers from nonsmokers is their relative inability to delay satisfaction and respect long-term considerations (like their health). In other words: it’s their poor self-control.
  There's a little bit here for everybody from pet owners to penny pinchers! So take what you like and leave the rest - to be helpful is my only goal! And have an EXcellent Smoke FREE Week!
  Medical Help to Quit Smoking
  Nicotine patch and gum used together yield higher quit rates
  What to do, what to avoid to give up smoking for good
  Using Hypnosis to Help You Quit Smoking
  Electronic Cigarettes -- Let's Think Before We Inhale
  Contrasting perspectives on e-cigarettes from smoking cessation experts
  Smokers who try e-cigarettes to quit are younger and more motivated to quit, study finds
  Anti-Tobacco Nonprofit Reviews Ad Business
  Slowest of suicides
  Washington’s uninsured smokers get only one quit-line call now
  How to Quit Smoking Tips: Planning for Success
  Plot plan to quit
  Smoking Cessation Two by Two
  Smoking cessation program at Porter offers new ways to quit
  He bet he could quit smoking – and didn’t want to lose big
  Ability to Quit Smoking Linked to Higher Wages
  Man convinces friend to lead a smoke-free life
  Tobacco Firm Pursues 'Safer' Cigarette
  Mint-flavored, but more addictive
  Smoking: The menthol debate misses the point
  Tobacco and the lobbyists
  World’s largest tobacco firm Philip Morris 'tracked MPs' views on packaging'
  Stop Smoking Support Program Enrollments Increase Dramatically at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
  Column: Freedom, responsibility can curb 'secondhand' health costs
  Cigarette taxes make people quit
  Why Are So Many Smokers Still Smoking?
  Why Smokers Still Smoke
  Fresh and Fit: Four types of smokers
  Warning for Women: Tobacco is Trouble
  Wi-Fi enabled tooth sensor tracks your eating and smoking habits
  Health care costs resulting from cigarette smoking are considerably higher than previously assumed
  Does smoking make you a bad parent?
  Pediatricians asking parents about tobacco use
  Passive smoking danger
  Still fighting against secondhand smoke
  Second-Hand Smoke and Your Pet
  A second-hand lesson in dealing with a smoking neighbor
  Secondhand Smoke is More Damaging for Teen Girls than Boys
  Cotinine Levels In 7-Year-Olds Are 4 Times Higher If Their Mother Smoked: Study
  Greenbelt secondhand smoke case ends, but leaves door open to similar litigation
    Perceptions about the harm of secondhand smoke exposure among U.S. Middle and high school students: findings from the 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey
  Basically, by moving from one part of the brain to another; by changing where one thinks. Addictive thoughts are stimulated by emotional triggers - anxiety, sadness, anger, fear, etc...even joy, elation, playfulness,...Emotions originate in the Limbic System. When a person is “trying to talk” to or from an emotional reaction, they are in their Limbic System — the “reactionary” part of the brain, not the “thinking” part of the brain — the Cerebral Cortex. If a person can recognize the emotion and stop themselves from giving in to their immediate reaction, they have the chance to change where they think. They have the chance to move into their Cerebral Cortex — to use the neural networks responsible for reasoned response. Behaviors based on thinking are far more effective than those based on reacting.
  Reacting = behavior without thinking. Reactions originate in the Limbic System.
  Responding = behavior preceded by thinking. Responses originate in the Cerebral Cortex.
  Reduce Inner Conflict By Changing Where You Think
  So how do you change where you think? I like to keep the visual of a “Fork In The Road” in mind for doing this. Picture yourself at that fork, when “Bam!” you are slammed by an emotion. But  you are at a fork — you have a choice — shall you take your typical right (your reaction) or push yourself to take that new left (respond instead)? Consider these suggestions:
  1. Stop yourself as soon as you are aware of that surge of anxious, sad, angry or scared feelings.
  - Some folks wear a rubber band on their wrist, which they immediately snap when those feelings of anxiety arise, in order to jar their thinking – to move it from the Limbic System to the Cerebral Cortex.
  - Instead of a rubber band, some use a word like HALT or THINK or STOP or a phrase or slogan. [N.O.P.E. comes to mind! - Thomas]
  - Some use Cognitive Restructuring Techniques.
  - Some use slogans or sayings – taping them on their car dash, bathroom mirror or desk top – as a reminder of an overall behavior they want to change.
  2. Change the dial on self-talk radio. Have you ever had these kinds of one-sided conversations with yourself?: “There you go, again.” “You’re so stupid.” “Why’d you say that?” “I should have finished that and would have if I wasn’t so disorganized.” Now, ask yourself, “Would you ever talk to a friend like that?” Of course not. It is important to stop being so hard on yourself. When you change the channel on self-talk radio, you can begin to see your many great qualities and in time accept that you are a person with feelings who deserves self-respect and the respect of others.
  3. Banish absolutes – all good / all bad, all right / all wrong. Generally people and situations are not all good nor all bad, all right nor all wrong. When you banish absolutes, you can love yourself with your brain [where all thought originates] and accept that at your core, you are a good person with a brain disease or an addiction problem – a disease or condition that has caused chemical and structural changes in your brain, thereby changing much of your thinking and many of your behaviors.
  So when you are next facing that fork in the road, try and give yourself a moment to think. For when you are thinking, you won’t have to take that automatic right, you just may push yourself to take the left, instead. And if you go left, you have a chance to step away from the conflict.

Just for Today!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 27, 2013

Just for today, I, Thomas, pledge to not smoke even so much as one little puff! I pledge to Protect my Quit above all else! I will respect myself enough to honor this pledge for the next 24 hours NO MATTER WHAT! N.O.P.E.! 

When your thoughts and feelings aren't helpful - turn to your Values! I value Addiction FREE Living! Thus, I will decide to live Addiction FREE no matter what my thoughts and feelings! 

That will give me the time I need to get my thoughts in the right place!

  Understand brain maps and you can learn how to change a habit, change your life. Now that’s a bold, somewhat bizarre statement. Nonetheless, it holds the key to the power each of us can wield over the health of our brain and therefore the quality of our life. Here is a very basic explanation.
  How Brain Maps Are Formed
  1.  The brain controls everything we think, feel, say and do. It does this through neural networks – basically, neurons (cells) talking to one another in the brain and to and from other neurons throughout the body through the central nervous system. Neurons in the brain are also called brain cells.
  2.  The way our brain cells connect to one another (in other words, form neural networks) is what determines what we think, feel, say and do. By the same token, the thoughts, behaviors we’ve adopted, our environment, genetics, outside influences and the like all influence this pattern of connection. In other words, it influences which neurons are firing; which neurons are receiving and which networks are being formed. Neurotransmitters, neurons, receptors and synapses are keys to the brain’s communication system – its neural networks.
  3.  To help the brain be more efficient, the neural networks that are being repeatedly activated (meaning used at the same time, such as those used for driving a car or typing on a computer or texting on a cell phone) or those we instinctually use (such as those used for breathing or heartbeat) become those that are strengthened (wrapped in a myelin sheath is the term) to form a brain map for an activity. In his book, The Brain That Changes Itself, Dr. Norman Doidge describes this concept by quoting an expression, “Neurons that fire together wire together” to form embedded brain maps for that which we think, feel, say and do.
  Why Brain Maps Are So Important
  Brain maps are what allow us to get through the day with efficiency. If we had to think through all the body parts that go into brushing our teeth, for example, this one activity would take quite some time to complete. With an embedded brain map, it takes on a “life of its own,” so to speak. It just happens. It becomes a habit.
  By the same token, to switch hands and brush our teeth with our non-dominant hand would also take some time. We’d likely have to put the toothpaste in our bedroom in order to jar our thoughts to move away from the embedded brain map long enough to remind ourselves, “that’s right, I’m switching hands” – and thereby wiring a new brain map.
  Thus, if a person’s brain is injured – by a traumatic brain injury or PTSD or substance abuse or addiction or chronic exposure to secondhand drinking, as examples, wherever the injury or change occurs will be the neural networks impacted. Meaning – a person’s behaviors governed by brain maps in that area of the brain will change.
  How to Change a Brain Map
  It is not easy to be sure. It will depend on how long the map has been in use, how many other maps it connects with, your conscious awareness of the map(s) and your untiring dedication to doing whatever it will take to change the map(s). [Think the toothbrush example given above.]
  1.  Understand how your brain map went together – see the above.
  2.  Appreciate the importance of cues. Cues are a sound, sight, touch, smell, memory  – the “something” that triggers the start of the map in the very first place. It could be the time of day, a person, a place, a song, stress….
  3.  Do the key things you can do immediately to restore or bolster brain health – yes – the things I cite next are now scientifically understood to change the “infrastructure” of the brain. Neurotransmitters, for example, are made of amino acids, vitamins and minerals – thus eating a nutritiously healthy diet improves the health of one’s neurotransmitters. These things include: nutrition, aerobic exercise, sleep, and mindfulness.
  4.  Remember you’re changing an embedded brain map – rewiring your brain. This takes unfailing dedication and a commitment to try something else if what you’ve tried did not work. It also takes practicing the new behavior (habit) in order to embed the new brain map. 
   How does this apply to me, Thomas, today on Day 1225? Well, as I found out the hard way, some of the old brain maps are still hardwired and I need to find them, address them and build a new brain map! 
   Instead of self-isolation, guilt, and forging through with willpower...
   I need to come here and share! I need to humbly ask for Help! I need to stop the addictive thoughts sooner and focus on the PRIZE! FREEDOM! 
   I see it in the light of Day! Now I can begin the long steady work of getting the New Map stronger than the old map - time to get to work!


Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 26, 2013
  Suffering from anxiety, sorrow, or pain.
  sorrowful - afflicted
  I have been very distressed! But like stress, with distress smoking is not the solution! In the last 3 weeks I have certainly been tempted! Yes, at 3 Years, 4 Months, 6 Days it has taken everything I've learned at BecomeanEX to keep me from smoking! Yes. even though, maybe   especially because I have COPD and smoking would be an act of suicide, I have come soooo close to walking into a gas station and saying "those magic words!" And yet, nothing that I would like to change would be changed for the better! And much that I've fought so hard for would be lost! 
  Addiction sure is a strange creature! I am an addict and my distress comes from my best friend's relapse into addiction - not sickerettes - alcohol! But it's really much the same! He's killing himself for his "best friend!" He's lying and deceiving himself about his brain dis-ease! He's fooling himself with Addictive phrases - "just one won't hurt!," "I can quit whenever I want!," "At least I'm not addicted to XXX!" - ladadadadada.....
  So how does my crazy Addictive Mind feed off of his relapse? "Well, if he can do it, why can't I?," "Misery loves company!," "What are friends for, anyway?," "At least I'm not addicted to alcohol!," "I deserve a smoke! I would feel so much better!" LIES, LIES, LIES!!!! - just shut up already!
  Remember that fundamental question? Since smoking is not an option, what can I do instead? What I have chosen to do has not worked! I chose to blow up my addiction support base! I chose to hide my feelings from my Wife! I chose to just use willpower to somehow forge my way through because after all, I'm still an addict and when my dis-eased brain has been stimulated it will follow the old brain maps and repeat the same old mistakes that never did and never will work! "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and EXpecting a different result!" Now, replace the word insanity with Addiction!
  It's time to stop spinning my wheels! It's time to put to use the knowledge that I have gained here over the last 3 + years! I'm here as a supplicant - please help me! Please be for me that freedom loving voice that is at the moment drowned out by the addictive voice! Please tell me all the things I probably already know but honestly, can't think of a single one of them! Please help me to not just understand but to believe that if my friend wants to drink himself into an early grave there is absolutely nothing whatsoever I can say or do to change that! I need you to be the voice of quititude because, frankly, I've lost mine completely! The only thing I haven't lost is my quit! So far....


Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 19, 2013

Goodbye to all my Family and Friends but the time has come for me to move out permanently! This is not a Blogcation - it's a resignation! I've been nothing but respectful and yet, ADMIN wishes to demote me! Well, be satisfied ADMIN! You demoted me right out of here! Best wishes to ALL!

Image shows how tobacco smoke affects the whole body

Nicotine is an addictive stimulant found in cigarettes and other forms of tobacco. Tobacco smoke increases a user's risk of cancer, emphysema, bronchial disorders, and cardiovascular disease. The mortality rate associated with tobacco addiction is staggering. Tobacco use killed approximately 100 million people during the 20th century and, if current smoking trends continue, the cumulative death toll for this century has been projected to reach 1 billion.

New Frontiers in Tobacco Research

If so many smokers want to quit, why are few able to do so successfully? To address this question, scientists are increasingly focusing on the powerful role of genetics in addiction. Twin studies indicate that approximately 40–70 percent of a person’s risk of becoming addicted to nicotine depends on his or her genes. Although complex diseases like addiction involve large numbers of genes interacting with a wide variety of environmental factors, the contribution of a particular gene can be substantial.

Genetic variants associated with nicotine metabolism, for example, have been shown to influence how people smoke. Slow metabolizers smoke fewer cigarettes per day and have a higher likelihood of quitting, and that there is greater abstinence among individuals receiving nicotine patch therapy. A recent NIDA-funded study identified a variant in the gene for a nicotinic receptor subunit that doubled the risk for nicotine addiction among smokers. A subsequent study found that this gene variant also increased susceptibility to the severe health consequences of smoking, including lung cancer and peripheral arterial disease. NIDA is currently supporting large-scale genome-wide association studies to uncover additional genetic risk factors in order to better understand tobacco addiction and its adverse effects on health.

In addition to predicting an individual’s risk for nicotine addiction, genetic markers can also help predict whether medications (like bupropion) will effectively help a smoker quit. This takes root in the emerging field of pharmacogenomics, which investigates how genes influence a patient’s response to drugs and medications. In the future, genetic screening could help clinicians select treatments, adjust dosages, and avoid or minimize adverse reactions, tailoring smoking cessation therapies to an individual’s unique genetic inheritance.



The day you quit smoking is an extraordinary personal event that you are likely to remember and cherish! But the true meaning of your quit is the day to day process - the decision you make today, the decision you'll make tomorrow, each event that adds to the continuation of the process which is a new way of living! Living Life ADDICTION FREE! That's what this is all about! You are choosing to live life abundantly, believing in yourself, seeing that you deserve to be Happy and Healthy! You are making a life affirming decision that you know will affect not just yourself but will send a clear and unmistakeable message to your loved ones - I care enough not only about you but about myself to care for myself, knowing that caring for myself is primary to caring for you, the people I love! Self esteem! Self worth! Integrity! This is Abundant Living! This is what it means to be the person that my Creator intends for me to be! My name is Thomas and what you see is what you get - a fella who values his own life enough to decide to be ADDICTION FREE! I want to be honest with you but more importantly I will be honest with myself! That's impossible under the smoke cloud! Know thyself! To thy own self be TRUE! Make each event of Today a part of the larger process of valuing yourself because yes, YOU ARE WORTH IT!


I, like so many "old goats" butted heads with the ADMIN attitude, so I wanted to address all beginners who participate in the Blogs whether writing or commenting or lurking! 

We are a diverse group of people.  The strength, resilience, and richness of BecomeanEX are based on the diversity of it members (all spammers EXcluded, of course!) Everyone is equal in worth, and is entitled to the same privileges and opportunities. Each of us has our own unique background and talents.We all contribute  different experiences, lifestyles, backgrounds, perspectives, and ideas. A diverse Community:

*recognizes and values talent.

*eliminates barriers and ensures that all members are treated fairly and have the chance to reach their maximum potential.

*encourages the exchange of ideas which not only broadens the scope of problem solving, but also improves the possibility that the problems will be solved.


Each contact I have with a new member is based on my own experience. I bring to the table my diagnosis of COPD (even when I don't memtion it!), my SUCCESS, my personality! It can hardly be otherwise. It's for the Newbie to take what is useful to them and leave the rest from all the comments and advice they receive!  We all have equal opportunity to add our own input.I most often center on folks with COPD and then on other members who I feel are open to the Fantastic Change which is necessary to become a true EX. That's because my quits in the past have been for Months even Years but not sincere! I was just borrowing time, "cleaning out my lungs so I can smoke some more!" So I know the difference! I Know that's just not good enough! 


I learn and grow from you, the beginner, too! You keep me EXcited about my Quit Journey! You show me where I've been and contribute new, fresh ideas and perspective that hasn't yet been cooked into the "accepted wisdom!" You remind me to Never Ever Forget:

-Never forget what it was like to be smoking and want to quit;

-never forget what it was like to change my perspective and become determined and focused - 100% committed;

-never forget the discomfort of withdrawal, both physical and emotional;

-never forget when one day, one hour, one minute was an accomplishment'

-never forget that break through that made me a "Happy Quitter!"

So you see, you are helping me Protect my Quit! You are giving me one of my most useful tools! Yaya often says, I'm here more for me than for you! And that's the beauty of BecomeanEX! We all becume more successful at Addiction FREE Living Together.

You bring your own talents, experience and personality to your Comments! Each of us contributes something that may help that individual make the ultimate decision - to live addiction FREE! I would like to remind you so you don't get depressed that as you see folks come and go, remember that you have no idea how many mustard seeds you are planting on the way! Maybe that person will come back later or maybe somebody else read that Comment to So-and-So and took it to heart! I think we'd all be surprised at how many people are lurking, reading everything but choose to remain out of the limelight! Finally, contribute what you have and respect that other contributor, too! We all make this Community a Great Place to be and most important SUCCESSFUL!


Together We're BETTER!

  Smoking Cigarettes Affects Brain Like Heroin
  Heroin, Morphine, Nicotine Affect 'Feel-Good' Brain Chemicals in Similar Way
  Just like heroin and morphine, smoking cigarettes triggers the release of addictive "feel-good" brain chemicals. The finding helps researchers understand why smokers have such a tough time quitting despite all the health dangers.
  Smoking cigarettes stimulates the brain's production of chemicals called opioids. The opioids are known to play a role in soothing pain, increasing positive emotions, and creating a sense of reward. Both morphine and heroin trigger this same chemical flow.
  Smoking cigarettes affects the flow of another feel-good brain chemical called dopamine. Researchers are now investigating the interaction between the two chemicals in the brains of smokers and nonsmokers.
  "It appears that smokers have an altered opioid flow all the time, when compared with non-smokers, and that smoking a cigarette further alters that flow by 20 to 30 percent in regions of the brain important to emotions and craving," says lead researcher David J. Scott, a graduate student in neuroscience at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
  Learn more about brain changes due to addiction at:
   A SPECT scan is a map of brain metabolism. It shows how well the blood is flowing through arteries and veins in the brain. This is important because the brain must have oxygen and glucose to function (oxygen and glucose are carried to the brain through  blood). SPECT scans come as surface scans or in 3-D. Either way, a SPECT shows which parts of the brain are working hard and which parts are not working hard enough. 
   Surface scans, like those below showing the impacts of alcohol | drug abuse, give visual “proof” of these impacts. The areas that appear to be holes in a SPECT show areas of low metabolic activity, low blood flow. They are not areas of lost brain matter, which is the good news. The brain can heal — these holes can be filled in with proper treatment. 
    ACDuringAbuseTop  AC1YrFreeLaterTop  ACDuringAbuseBottom  AC1YrFreeBottom
    Top-down Surface SPECT During Abuse 
    Top-down Surface SPECT 1 Year After Abuse 
    Bottom-up Surface SPECT During Abuse 
    Bottom-up Surface SPECT 1 Yr. After Abuse 
   Why might this visual evidence help? 
   SPECT is helpful because each area of the brain is responsible for different brain (and therefore different body and behavioral) activities. A term to describe this is Functional Neuroanatomy which are descriptions of the various functions that occur in A SPECT scan are a map of brain metabolism.  
   So what can we do about it? We often speak of Retraining your Brain and here is a Video that tells us the most effective ways to do that: 
   2012 Roundtable at Stanford - Gray Matters: Brain Science in the 21st Century 
   I'd like to point out the following comments: 
   *There are approximately 100 trillion synaptic connections (which is how brain cells – neurons – communicate) in the brain and the goal is to maintain those connections or gain them back. 
    *We form new synaptic connections every hour – what determines if they persist is if they’re being used.  
    *Meditation, prayer, mindfulness activities are good ways to heal the brain because they shut down the stress circuitry – allow you to focus on the bigger world, relax and not get hooked into worry – to see the world differently; this is important to creating new memories, as well.  
    *Stress strips synapses in the hippocampus so reducing stress is critical.  
    *Nutrition, such as a healthy, Mediterranean-type diet, is important for brain health.  
    *Sleep is critical to brain health – it allows the brain to codify and organize the day’s learning.  
    *Exercise boosts the levels of BDNF (an important protein growth factor); BDNF is critical for promoting plasticity, which is the ability to form new neural connections and maintain the connections we have.  
    *Mindfulness activities are important – they allow for free-thinking – not focused on one task, rather letting random thoughts come and go – pushes synapses.  
    *We need to believe in the ability of the brain to heal itself and that can be hope or faith or…  
    *We need to be “in” the world – not on a cell phone or texting but rather open to what all is around you in order to extend/expand synapses.  
    There are a lot of concrete ways that you can recover your brain. None of them is more effective than keeping those sickerettes away from your face!  

I'm working a spilt shift today so I won't be around but just had to say it:

Vapors are suckers!

Who wants to suck anti-freeze into their lungs?

Only an uneducated person! We at BecomeanEX know that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! 

We know how to quit smoking for real and for LIFE!

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned yesterday that second-hand smoke from electronic cigarettes could also be harmful to health.

In Advisory No. 2013-015, FDA acting director Kenneth Hartigan-Go said: “Electronic cigarettes are not emission-free... Second-hand exposure to e-cigarette emission which may lead to adverse health effects cannot be excluded.

“E-cigarettes contain volatile organic substances, including propylene glycol, flavors and nicotine, and are emitted as mist or aerosol into indoor air.

“If several people are using e-cigarettes in a room at the same time, considerable indoor air pollution will accumulate and may result to harmful second-hand exposure.”

The advisory said that  “ultrafine liquid particles of less than 2.5 micrometer in diameter” from e-cigarettes may penetrate into the lungs.

The FDA said e-cigarettes contain various harmful substances, citing the study “Electronic Cigarettes – An Overview” by the German Cancer Research Center Unit Cancer Prevention, Heidelberg and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Tobacco Control.

    Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

These substances include  “glycol (the main ingredient), nicotine, flavors, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, volatile organic compounds, acetone, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, benzo(a)pyrene, silicate and various metal particles.”

The electronic cigarettes marketed as a safer alternative to the real thing produce immediate changes in users' airways, a small study suggests.

Researchers in Greece saw changes in the lung function of healthy smokers who puffed on an e-cigarette for just five minutes -- although it's not clear what the long-term result of those responses might be in regular e-cigarette users, the team reports in the journal Chest.

"E-cigarettes" are battery-powered devices that allow users to inhale a vaporized liquid nicotine solution instead of tobacco smoke. They were designed as a way for smokers to get their nicotine fix without exposing themselves, or other people, to the toxins in tobacco smoke.

But some scientists, including officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), warn that too many questions remain about the safety of these products.

"This is the first evidence that just one (e-cigarette) use can have acute physiologic effects," said lead researcher Constantine I. Vardavas, of the Center for Global Tobacco Control at the Harvard School of Public Health.

For the new study, Vardavas and colleagues in Athens had 30 healthy smokers puff on an e-cigarette to see how it affected their airways.

The researchers found that after five minutes, users showed signs of airway constriction -- as measured by several types of breathing tests -- and of inflammation.

It is not known whether that short-term response could translate into health effects in the long run, including lung diseases like emphysema.

"More studies on the long-term effects are needed," Vardavas told Reuters Health.

But, he noted, if e-cigarettes trigger airway effects after just a few minutes, that raises concerns about repeated use of the products over time.

"There are claims that e-cigarettes have no health effects," Vardavas said. "But that's not correct."

An industry spokesperson defended the products.

"This is a product that eliminates second-hand and third-hand smoke," said Ray Story, CEO of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association.

Third-hand smoke refers to the toxic particles that remain on smokers' clothes, furniture and other surfaces long after second-hand smoke has cleared.

"We already know e-cigarettes are much safer than the conventional cigarette," Story said, "because you're not burning it, and you don't have the five or six thousand ingredients in cigarettes, which are mostly dangerous chemicals."

Story said that e-cigarettes contain only five main ingredients: nicotine, water, propylene glycol, glycerol and flavoring.

"These ingredients are all FDA-approved," Story said.

But the FDA says on its website that "e-cigarettes may contain ingredients that are known to be toxic to humans, and may contain other ingredients that may not be safe."

Indeed, the FDA and the e-cigarette industry have had a rocky relationship.

In 2010, the agency sent warnings to five makers of e-cigarettes for marketing them illegally as stop-smoking aids. The FDA also tried to regulate e-cigarettes as drugs -- and thereby block their importation into the U.S. -- but a U.S. court ruled that the FDA could only regulate the devices as tobacco products.


Vardavas said it's not clear why e-cigarettes increased airway constriction in this study. But when they had 10 of the study participants use "control" devices -- e-cigarettes that had the cartridges removed -- they did not see the same airway effects.

So one or more ingredients in the e-cigarette may be responsible, but it's not known which they are, Vardavas said.

The study was partly funded by the Hellenic Cancer Society in Greece. The researchers report no financial conflicts of interest.

It's possible, according to Vardavas, that if people used e-cigarettes as a temporary "bridge" to quitting smoking, any short-term effects of the products would be outweighed by the long-term health benefits.

But no one knows if e-cigarettes actually do help smokers kick the habit.

"If you're trying to quit," Vardavas advised, "stick to the methods that are known to work."

Those, he noted, include nicotine patches and gum, prescription medications like bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix), and counseling.

SOURCE: Chest, online December 22, 2011.

Recently the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) received a callfrom a parent whose toddler ingested some contents of an e-cigarette cartridge containing nicotine.  We could find very little information addressing the accidental poisoning potential of these products in children, so we thought we’d share some information with you based on our findings. 

Electronic cigarettes or “e-cigarettes” are battery-powered tubes that heat liquid nicotine stored in a cartridge, into an inhalable vapor that looks and tastes like smoke from a regular cigarette.  These products are touted to be “safer” alternatives to cigarette smoking.  Often imported from other countries and distributed by multiple e-cigarette companies, they are marketed under various proprietary names.  These products are not currently regulated by the FDA, and their long-term safety has not been demonstrated.  To add to the confusion, the amount of nicotine per cartridge varies widely, as well as the amount of nicotine delivered per “puff.”  Additionally, some of these products have flavoring agents and other possibly harmful chemicals. 

So, what could possibly be so bad about children getting a hold of nicotine-containing products? 

Based on our findings, these e-cigarette cartridges may contain quantities of nicotine ranging from zero to almost 7 milligrams (mg).  Toxicology references state a dose as low as 1 mg of nicotine may cause symptoms in a small child.  16 mg of nicotine represents a potentially fatal dose of nicotine for a 25 pound child. 

Nicotine, even at low doses, is quite dangerous to small children.  A few milligrams of pure nicotine may cause symptoms of:


  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • diarrhea,
  • drowsiness,
  • weakness,
  • irritability,
  • sweating,
  • increased heart rate
  •  and blood pressure. 

Higher doses may lead to coma, seizures, depressed respiration, irregular heartbeat, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and even death.  

Believe it or not, nicotine sulfate is an EPA-registered insect killer, which was used several decades ago and carried a DANGER” warning.  However, it is no longer widely used.  Think about that the next time you light up or take a puff from your e-cigarette. 

As a poisoning hazard to children, e-cigarettes may not be any safer than other natural or synthetic nicotine products(i.e., cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobaccos, nicotine chewing gums, lozenges, skin patches, etc.).  Like other potentially hazardous substances in the home, all smoking materials and smoking alternative products should be out of reach of young children.  We urge all parents and caretakers of small children to call the IPC at 1-800-222-1222 immediately whenever the suspicion arises that a child may have consumed any amount of such products.  

 So much for being safer. An electronic cigarette blew up in a Florida man's face, leaving him in a hospital with severe burns, missing his front teeth and a chunk of his tongue.

Fire officials said Wednesday that the man had switched to electronic cigarettes to try and quit smoking, and that the scary situation was caused by a faulty battery.

"The best analogy is like it was trying to hold a bottle rocket in your mouth when it went off," said Joseph Parker, division chief for the North Bay Fire Department. "The battery flew out of the tube and set the closet on fire."

Electronic cigarettes to be regulated like real cigarettes
"Smart" cigarette pack brings social networking to smokers: Will it help them quit?

Fire Chief Joseph Miller said the victim contacted the department on Wednesday to thank firefighters and told them he was recovering at a hospital in Mobile, Ala., and anticipated being released later in the day. Officials have not publicly identified him, citing department policy. But a Facebook page under the name of 57-year-old Tom Holloway of Niceville was filled with well-wishers commenting on the injury and database searches matched his address on the fire report with his name.

Holloway was at his home office when the device exploded, leaving behind burned carpet, chair cushions, pictures and office equipment. A scorched battery case found on a piece of melted carpet appears to be one for a cigar-sized device, the report said. Those in the house with him rushed to his aid in the smoke-filled room and tried to put the fire out with salt, the report said.

Holloway and his family members didn't answer The Associated Press' requests for interviews.

Investigators do not know the brand of cigarette, type of battery or age of the device, Parker said. It appears the battery was rechargeable lithium because a recharging station and other batteries were in the room, he said. Parker has forwarded information about the blaze to the fire marshal's office to include in any databases on the devices. But Parker said he has yet to hear of any similar instances.

Holloway agreed to let firefighters take the burned case and other, undamaged ones with them as examples for reporting to a national database. But Holloway has asked for the burned case back. Parker said it could be used as evidence in any litigation, although Holloway did not indicate why he wanted it returned, Parker said.

Thomas Kiklas, co-founder of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, said the industry knows of no problems with the cigarettes or batteries exploding.

Kicklas said the rigid, plastic cigarettes include a small battery and cartridge. The battery is designed to generate an electric charge when the device is inhaled. The charge sets off vapor in the cigarette tube. The nicotine-filled mist gives the taste and experience of smoking without the smoke.

Kiklas cited a federal report that found 2.5 million Americans used electronic cigarettes last year.

"There have been billions and billions of puffs on the cigarettes and we have not heard of this happening before," he said.

The industry does not claim electronic cigarettes allow smokers to kick the habit, just that they are a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes because they have fewer chemicals, Kiklas said.

The Food and Drug Administration posted a warning about the cigarettes on its website in October, saying that e-cigarettes were "highly addictive," could contain dangerous chemicals like nicotine and might encourage kids to try other tobacco products.

In 2010, the FDA sent letters to some e-cigarette makers for violations of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act including "violations of good manufacturing practices, making unsubstantiated drug claims and using the devices as delivery mechanisms for active pharmaceutical ingredients," according to the FDA website.

The agency directs people to report any adverse events with e-cigarettes by filling out a form on the site, or calling 1-800-FDA-1088.

Visit for tips on quitting smoking.

Smokers who've received a clean bill of health from their doctor may believe cigarettes haven't harmed their lungs. However, researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have found that even smokers who seem healthy have damaged airway cells, with characteristics similar to cells found in aggressive lung cancer.

The study, published today in the journalStem Cells, compared cells that line the airway from healthy nonsmokers with those from smokers with no detectable lung disease. The smokers' cells showed early signs of impairment, similar to that found in lung cancer -- providing evidence that smoking causes harm, even when there is no clinical evidence that anything is wrong.

"The study doesn't say these people have cancer, but that the cells are already starting to lose control and become disordered," says the study's senior investigator, Dr. Ronald G. Crystal, chairman and professor of genetic medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. "The smoker thinks they are normal, and their doctor's exam is normal, but we know at the biologic level that all cigarette smokers' lungs are abnormal to some degree."

The researchers found that in the cells lining the airways of the smokers's lungs, human embryonic stem cell genes had been turned on. These are genes that are normally expressed in developing embryos -- soon after eggs are fertilized -- before cells are programmed with their specific assignment. This gene is also "on" in the most aggressive, hard-to-treat lung cancers.

"We were surprised to see that the smokers were expressing these very primitive human embryonic stem cell genes," Dr. Crystal says. "These genes are not normally functioning in the healthy lung."

Healthy lung cells, like all of the body's cells, have very specific assignments. Although all of the body's cells contain the same genes, genes are only "turned on" for each cell's defined task. Therefore, healthy lung cells only express genes related to lung function, while brain cells express brain-specific genes. "Healthy cells are very tightly controlled. Normal cells have rules and only do certain things," says Dr. Crystal. "In cancer, that control is lost."

This loss of control allows cancerous cells to multiply without restraint and enables them to migrate to other organs because the genetic programming that keeps them on task is in disarray. The study found that smokers' cells were in the very early stages of losing this control.

"When you smoke a cigarette, some of the genetic programming of your lung cells is lost," says Dr. Crystal. "Your cells take on the appearance of a more primitive cell. It doesn't necessarily mean you will develop cancer, but that the soil is fertile to develop cancer."

In the study, 21 healthy nonsmokers were compared to 31 smokers who had no lung disease symptoms and had normal X-rays as well as normal chest examinations. All individuals were evaluated at Weill Cornell's Clinical and Translational Science Center and Department of Genetic Medicine Clinical Research Facility. By sending a thin tube called a bronchoscope and a fine brush into the lungs, investigators gently brushed the inside of the airways to collect cells from the airway's lining. Researchers examined these cells, called the airway epithelium, which come into contact with cigarette smoke and are where cancer begins, Dr. Crystal says.

Routine checkups can mislead smokers into thinking cigarettes aren't hurting their bodies. However, these results paint a different picture. "Physical examinations, lung function tests and chest x-rays are not sensitive enough to pick up these very early changes," Dr. Crystal warns doctors and smokers. "The take-home message is: Don't smoke. Smoking is bad and if you smoke, you're at risk."

Additional studies are needed to determine why exposure to smoke causes these changes, so that researchers can pinpoint particular areas for designing treatments. "This study gives us clues about how cells look on the way to developing lung cancer, which can help us develop therapies," Dr. Crystal says.

Beyond treatments, Dr. Crystal also hopes the research can lay the foundation for lung cancer prevention. Smoking is an addiction, he says, and despite high taxes and ads describing the dangers, 20 percent of the population continues to smoke. "Eventually, the goal is to develop therapies to protect the airways from cigarettes and other pollutants," Dr. Crystal says. "Understanding these very early events will give us clues and help us develop ways to protect the lungs."

The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Hi, Everybody!

Unfortunately I wasn't able to publish yesterday due to health issues. Rainy weather and low barometer sent my COPD spinning! I hope I don't have to call in sick! Also, still waiting for Popocatepetl to settle down and behave himself! Stress doesn't help my condition! 

For those of you who are new, I publish each Monday when possible relavent article links for tobacco and smoking cessation because I've found that such articles help my quititude! I hope they help you, too!

  Professors given $675,000 to help smokers snuff tobacco for good
  Nicotine patch and gum used together yield higher quit rates
  Texas Researchers To Study Dangers/Benefits Of E-Cigarettes
  Tobacco expert challenges 'dangerous' claim e-cigarettes help smokers quit
  My boss smokes e-cigarettes in the office. Is this safe?
  E-cigarette maker targets Colorado
  Kids' health: Secondhand smoke down, binge drinking up
  Policies that protect kids from second-hand smoke proving effective
  Why criticize someone for health?
  Smokers have a hard time on the road
  Ramadan Question: Does smoking - if smoke does not enter stomach - break the fast?
  Smoking themselves skinny: More women are smoking now than ever before
  Smoking bans coming to an apartment building near you
  Smoking fewer cigarettes may not have much effect on a person’s life span
  Real people hurt by smoking star in graphic new ads
  Report urges coverage of smoking cessation products

These are some of the Gifts that come to mind as I CELEBRATE my QUIT:

(1) I feel more SELF-CONFIDENT because I made a choice to change my self-destructive behavior and followed through.

(2) I feel more HONEST because I am not evading truthfulness about the consequences in order to support my Smoking Addiction.

(3) I feel more SELF-RESPECT because I made a decision to QUIT SMOKING and honored that decision.

(4) I feel more SECURE because I no longer have that constant battle "I want to smoke"vs"I don't want to smoke."

(5) I feel more OPTIMISTIC because I no longer attack stress with another cigarette, I attack it with a constructive plan of action.

(6) I feel more SPIRITUAL because when I called upon my higher power for assistance I felt his/her response.

(7) I feel more DECISIVE because I saw how I can set a goal and accomplish it one day at a time each and every day.

(8) I feel more SELF-AWARE because I sense days or situations of weakness and have a winning back up plan to protect my QUIT.

(9) I feel more INTEGRATED because when my body said "I need...." my mind and spirit responded affirmatively.

(10) I feel more JOY as I experience COLLATERAL KINDNESS and CELEBRATE each and every daily VICTORY over my Smoking Addiction with my BecomeanEx friends!  THANK YOU for CELEBRATING with me!!!!!!

I'm absolutely fascinated by the Blogs I've seen these last few days! I hear people talking about how they "can't"because it's just "too hard!"I can't help but remember my first days of my quit journey 1210 days ago! I had just been diagnosed with a chronic progressive illness that's incurable. My life expectancy just went waaaaaay down with one little word. What's more I was convinced that my Quality of Life would really be looooow. In other words, don't expect much from life except pain, suffering, and early death. Talk about STRESS! Please Newbie, don't tell me about stress!!!! And do you know the worst part of it? The personal knowledge that I had done this to myself......with yes, smoking! So I was diagnosed with COPD/Emphysema on March 14 and had my last puff March 19! That's all the preparation time I gave myself! Not weeks.....not Months....not NRTs.....not chantix.... just one tool you folks would be smart to use - KNOWLEDGE! So where did I acquire this knowledge so fast? Right here at BecomeanEX. I didn't join to fool around with slips and relapses. I didn't come here with an "I already know it all" ATTITUDE! I didn't come here with a line about how we are all different and nobody understands me!!!! I came here to be included in the 6% who SUCCEED in their first year of quitting!!! I came here to listen to those who had already achieved what I wanted! I didn't blame them for being too harsh! I listened! Because they had something that I not only wanted - but something I needed!I had a clear cut choice: QUIT or DIE!!! Simple! I humbly asked questions and accepted advice. I did my homework without hesitation! I made friends and exposed my ADDICTIVE SELF to these EXers with integrity and honesty! I let that smoke cloud of distorted thinking lift because FIRST and most important - I kept them away from my face!!!! So my issue was never to smoke or not to smoke!!! My issue was "What do I do instead?" 

Folks, do you really want to wait until you have a smoke related illness before you quit? Or worse, continue to smoke knowing that you are literally killing yourself????Are you even aware that HALF of all smokers will DIE of smoke related illness????? Or do you want to pay attention and follow the road map that has been put right in front of you and shows you each and every step to take if you really want to be in the 6%? No excuses! Keep them away from your face and listen!


Why Bother?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 12, 2013

If you already have been diagnosed with COPD you may have an Addictive thought of "Why bother quitting now? It's closing the barn door after the cows are out!" Yet, the facts tell a different story! Here's some info from

How smoking cessation affects the progression of COPD

Quitting smoking is beneficial for everyone, at every age, and this is especially true for people suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an illness that occurs when a patient has chronic bronchitis and/or emphysema. Quitting smoking is the main treatment, and that applies at all stages. Here is a summary of the latest knowledge on the topic.

Smoking cessation – the main treatment for COPD

Studies carried out since the 1990s, which remain relatively few despite the widespread nature of COPD, show that smoking cessation brings numerous benefits to smokers suffering from this disease. In less serious forms of COPD, it leads to an improvement in symptoms such as coughing and wheezing. In severe cases of the illness, smoking cessation enables loss of breath to be stabilized, and reduces the frequency of coughing and expectoration.

(1) Smoking cessation slows down the decline in the forced expiratory volume of air expelled in one second (FEV1). A study from 2000 showed that smoking cessation restored the annual decline of breath capacity to a level approaching normal: the annual decrease of FEV1 was -30ml/year for a non-smoker, -31ml/year for an ex-smoker and -62ml/year for a smoker.

(2) In addition, smoking cessation reduces bronchial bacterial colonization and allows some recovery of the body's natural defences, which in turn reduces the risk of aggravation. If the patient's symptoms do become aggravated, long periods of antibiotic treatment, or even hospitalization, may be necessary. Lastly, smoking cessation improves the effectiveness of medication, especially corticoids, which do not work if the patient smokes.

(3) Smoking cessation produces a considerable decrease in the COPD mortality rate. On the whole, the studies carried out support the notion that even in severe cases of COPD, smoking cessation improves the chances of survival compared to a smoker who continues smoking. The benefits of smoking cessation on the effects of the illness appear quickly: a study showed that participants who stopped smoking saw their FEV1 improve in the following year, including heavy smokers, elderly smokers, and smokers with weak lung capacity or bronchial hyperreactivity.

(4) The Lung Health Study came to the same conclusions – from one year in, people who had stopped smoking presented fewer symptoms of COPD, namely chronic coughing, expectorations, dyspnea and wheezing. Note: it would seem that women benefit even more than men from smoking cessation from the point of view of lung function. Smoking cessation is therefore the primary treatment for COPD. It is also the only treatment that stops the continued obstruction of the bronchi and increasing shortness of breath.

I heard that Nico-Lie myself when I was diagnosed but decided to quit the minute I heard those horrific words, "You have COPD!" I used the cut back method for 6 days and then Cold Turkey! I found advantages and disadvantages to my Quit Journey. I'm going to tell you the disadvantages first:

When I quit smoking, my cough and phlegm build-up got much worse immediately! I researched and found out that tobacco companies have cough suppressants in their tobacco mix so that if you quit smoking you'll cough more and - return to your sickerettes for cough relief! Also, it was hard for me to accept that I had given myself a smoking related illness that's progressive and incurable. That led to anger, frustration and depression - all emotions I used to hide under a cloud of smoke! So, yes, emotionally it was a rough time. But WORTH IT! Look at the advantages:

The advantage from my perspective is that I absolutely could remember my reason for quitting with every single breath I take! Also, each time I got tested with Spirometry I saw marked improvement of my lung capacity. After 2 years it was 13% improvement. My pulmonologist was amazed! I also found smoking cessation as a motivator for general Self Health Care - nutrition, exercise, clean dust and air quality and regular doctor's appointments.

Overall hands down, both statistically and from personal EXperience I highly recommend that you listen to your Health Professional and Quit Smoking for Breath and LIFE!


Our Friend needs HELP!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 11, 2013

The Easy Way!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 11, 2013

Quick question for the Community:

What is the link to The Easy Way by Allen Carr?

Please send it here soon!

Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand  and melting like a snow flake


— M.B. Ray



      I like Living Smoke FREE!    
      I like getting up and stretching, going for the coffee pot and putzing through my morning routine with my Wife without having to rush outside for that morning Fix! When I get out of the shower, I smell fresh and clean and I have confidence that it will last all day instead of smelling like an ashtray! When I brush my teeth I see them white, my tongue pink, my breath fresh.     
      I love doing my EXercises without worrying about my workout buddies smelling smoke on me or wondering why I sneak out in the middle of my workout time to stand in shame outside around the corner and hopefully out of sight!    
      I love visiting elderly and very young relatives as well as picking up a cat for a lap sit or petting a dog without worrying about doing them harm with the third hand smoke that clinged to my clothes, hair, hands, even my face!     
      I like mealtime because I really truly taste my food for the first time in years. I have real conversations with my meal partners, be they family, friends, or coworkers. I can easily focus on the moment instead of having my mind hijacked by my next after-dinner fix.    
      I enjoy my alone time with true mindfulness. Mindfulness isn't something that an Addictive Mind can actually EXperience for long - they have to get back to their addiction - soon!    
      I enjoy my together time with folks - when I leave them after a nice visit, it's a genuine see you soon not motivated by having to get back to my precious!    
      I feel great at work because I focus on my work while I'm there - not my next break! I relax on my break because I don't have to eat in 15 minutes "so I'll have time to step outside!" I relate well with people in a direct nonaddictive way! I deal with problems rather than smoke them away. I have much more patience for challenges and use determination and focus to get through tough situations. I clock out satisfied that I gave my best every minute of the shift.     
      I like getting ready for bed and prayer and meditation time when I reflect on my day, on my loved ones and prayer list friends, when I converse with my Creator! I do it with honest integrity, with a sense of accomplishment, with the certainty that living    
      Smoke FREE is the only way for me to BE!    
     Cleaning your lungs after you quit smoking will take some time.Photo Credit thorax x-ray of the lungs image by JoLin from    

If you have been a regular smoker, chances are that your lungs have been scarred. Because of the scarring, your breathing will be weakened and the oxygen content that your body receives will be reduced. There are a variety of natural options that can help you in your effort to detoxify your lungs. These natural remedies can begin to clear your lungs of the various toxins that have invaded the lungs after smoking for an extended period of time.


Step 1


Stay away from any unnecessary exposure to carbon monoxide and second-hand smoke. Keeping yourself away from those who are smoking will not only help you beat the temptation to smoke yourself, but will also aid in keeping your lung regeneration on track.




Step 2


Eat pineapples. Bromelin, a component found in pineapples, works as a cleanser for your lungs. It allows you to take in more oxygen and take deeper breaths by increasing the lungs' elasticity.




Step 3


Examine your eating habits and make changes when necessary. There are a number of foods, spices and herbs that have a positive effect on your lungs. Some of the foods that can be added to your diet include rosemary, avocados, thyme, cayenne, ginger and horseradish. A dietitian or doctor can give advice on the foods that will be best for you and your lungs.




Step 4


Begin a physical exercise routine. If you have been smoking for a number of years or are not accustomed to exercise, start will small amounts of exercise and gradually increase what you do over time. As you exercise, you will notice that build-up from your lungs, such as phlegm and mucus, will become discharged through coughing. This is a good thing as your lungs are naturally getting rid of these unwanted substances. To get the best results, make exercise a part of your normal daily routine.




Step 5


Perform breathing exercises. There are a number of breathing exercises that can aid in improving the functions of the lungs. Some examples include using a spirometer device, breathing through the diaphragm or the pursed lip technique. Experiment with various breathing techniques and relaxation exercises to discover which ones work best for you. Check with your physician to see about beginning a regimen in which a respiratory therapist will work with you personally to teach you various breathing techniques.


Tips and Warnings

  • Be sure to follow through with any exercise or special diet that you choose to begin.



Things You'll Need

  • Pineapples
  • Rosemary
  • Avocados
  • Thyme
  • Cayenne
  • Ginger
  • Horseradish
  • Spirometer

Read more:








Smoker's Cough?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 10, 2013
  I had/have smoker's cough! That's right! 3 Years and 3 Months after I quit smoking I still have smoker's cough! My pulmonologist calls it Chronic Bronchitis. That's one of the components of the umbrella disease called COPD. The other components I suffer from are shortness of breath (a.k.a. emphysema), asthma and allergies. Other folks have different combinations of airway obstruction that qualify as COPD. 
  When I quit smoking in March 2010 I had had "smoker's cough" for aproximately 10 years but I was still in denial. I thought it was caused by pneumonia - in actuality, the pneumonia was caused by the hidden emphysema. Yes, I was short of breath but I thought it was because I was out of shape! It honestly never occurred to me that I might have a smoking related illness!
  I was diagnosed with COPD and 6 days later had my first puff FREE Day! But my cough got worse - not better! I coughed so hard, I pulled muscles in my chest! I coughed so hard, I vomited! I coughed so hard, I leaked! Need I go on?
  Today I still cough EXcessively and sometimes uncontrollably! I rarely eat in public because it often happens at mealtime! Sometimes I can soothe the cough with a mint or a piece of gum but sometimes I just can't stop coughing. 
  About once a year I cough nonstop for an hour or more - long enough to go to Urgent Care and get special treatments that are the only way I know of to halt the spasming cough.This cough is generally a symptom of lung infection (a.k.a COPD EXacerbation) My wife has to drive, of course, because I can't focus on driving while coughing nonstop! She usually has that deer in the headlights look in her eyes. 
  I'm LUCKY! I was diagnosed with Stage II COPD/Emphysema! My lung capacity has stabilized very nicely since I Quit Smoking and received proper medication. More than half of all folks who have "smoker's cough" don't even know that they have COPD!!!! By the time they're diagnosed, their Quality of Life is much, much worse than mine!
  Yet, unless there is a medical miracle (which I totally believe will happen in my lifetime) I will never get better! In fact, in all probability I very well may get worse - a lot worse! COPD is incurable and progressive!
  If you have a "Smoker's Cough" and have smoked more than 100 sickerettes in your lifetime - get tested ASAP! Don't make EXcuses! Ask your Doctor for a Spirometry Test! Once you know what you have, you can deal with it! KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

Hi, Folks! I'm working a split shift so without further ado....

  Combination therapy helps in smoking cessation
  Yourwellness Magazine Investigates Nicotine’s Role in Smoking Addiction
  FDA: Second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes may be harmful to your health
  Electronic cigarettes: No smoking, but lots of fuming
  Dr. Zorba Paster: Nicotine gum is safer than tobacco
  Study: Smoking spiked among former quitters post 9/11
  Bar, restaurant revenue rises after smoking ban
  Phenix City Restaurant says Business As Usual since Smoking Ordinance
  Court: landlady right to evict stinky smoker
  Tobacco taxes, smoking bans set to save millions of lives: study
  Greenbelt secondhand smoke case ends, but leaves door open to similar litigation
  Pregnant women: Secondhand smoke can harm your unborn baby
  Link Between Second-Hand Smoke and Type 2 Diabetes Seen
  Toxic tobacco residue damages DNA
  740 million second-hand smokers in China
  Smoke alarming: lighting up in the home could kill as many people as car crashes
  Prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke linked to hearing loss, researchers find
  Talking Cigarette Packs One Up Big Tobacco, Warning Smokers Of Health Risks
   Still of a man who put his head in a cage to stop smoking (GeoBeats News via Youtube)
  There has got to be a better way than this to quit smoking
  DHB forcing elderly to quit smoking
  Smoking cessation lowered risk for CHD in postmenopausal women
  When smoking cessation efforts go too far
  Got to Quit to Live Longer
  Quit Tobacco Day on first day of Ramazan
  4 Habits that cost $25 billion a year
  Inquirer Editorial: Good to see the FDA take on new tobacco role
  Youth appeal to peers with 'truth' about big tobacco, smoking at Six Flags

Still of a man who put his head in a cage to stop smoking (GeoBeats News via Youtube)At this point, there are almost as many methods to quit smoking as there are actual smokers. Gum, nicotine patches, hypnotism, etc. But this man had the brilliant idea to actually lock his own head in a cage. Doing his best Tweety Bird impression, 42-year-old Turkish man Ibrahim Yucel has locked his head in a wire helmet which prevents him from smoking. Every day, he leaves the keys with his wife and son to ensure the cravings don't get the best of him. Yucel hopes this will put an end to his 26-year habit of smoking two packs a day.

If you want your actions to have a powerful effect, repeat them. Breakthroughs come much more often from persistence than from brilliance.

The way to persist is to remind yourself of this. It's not what has already happened that matters most, but rather what you do next.

The way to persist is to focus on your purpose, on what you have chosen to achieve, and on what you can do about it right now. Look not at the past disappointments, but at the current possibilities.

Persistence isn't complicated, or even difficult for that matter. All you have to do to persist, is to keep making the effort, and that's something you can do no matter what may have happened.

You owe it to yourself to look forward rather than backward. You owe it to yourself to get where you've chosen to go, so keep going.

There is something positive you can do at this time and in this situation. Get it done, and get the sure and steadfast power of persistence on your side.

Ralph Marston - The Daily Motivator


Prayer Request

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 6, 2013

Good Morning, EX Community!

I believe in the power of prayer and I have seen our Community Prayers answered again and again! That's why I come to you today to ask for your prayers! Many of you know that my home is in Mexico although I'm currently living in Colorado. Well, my home is being threatened at this moment by the Volcano Popocatepetl  that sits only 20 miles from my home! Here is a picture taken last night:

Ash spew from Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano, seen from San Mateo Ozolco, in the Mexican central state of Puebla, on 4 July

The entire city is covered with ashes and my family has already evacuated. 

Thanks for your Friendship!

The potential of the average person is like a huge ocean unsailed, a new
continent unexplored, a world of possibilities waiting to be
released and channeled toward some great good. Brian Tracy

I remember the emptiness I felt when I first stopped smoking! It was ...sadness, ...ah, loneliness,...I don't know maybe ... boredom! I want to understand the feeling that we often label as "craving" because we don't know how else to describe that feeling. You may have heard of H.A.L.T. It stands for Hungry, Angry,Lonely, Tired and tells us of warning signs of when we might be tempted.
I've come to the point of thinking of filling the hole. Something is missing and my brain automatically says "cigarette" but that is the addiction talking. Since cigarettes are no longer an option for me no matter what - well, then what is missing? Am I hungry, thirsty, tired? Does my BODY need something to feel more comfortable and cared for? Am I lonely, angry, frustrated, depressed? Do my emotions need attention? Am I spiritually depleted from the harsh living that we all have to endure? Maybe I need time with my GOD so I can reinforce my love and trust in Him! Very often I find one or more of these factors contributing to my feeling of emptiness.
When I fill the hole with good food, rest, exercise for the body, with support from my friends to talk out my emotions, and with God time in my daily life then the emptiness ceases to exist and my brain stops even groping for that thing which is not a cigarette but we would use a cigarette to feel better! Next time you think you want a cigarette - maybe you can ask yourself - What is it I really need? After all, when you put out the smoke - the hole is still there! When you fill the hole you FEEL WHOLE!
Happy abundant living everyone! Thank you for your friendship and support! Enjoy your NEW Smoke FREE LIVING! It's a WHOLESOME Adventure!


From my Inbox to You

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 5, 2013

Exercise Reorganizes the Brain to Be More Resilient to Stress


July 3, 2013 — Physical activity reorganizes the brain so that its response to stress is reduced and anxiety is less likely to interfere with normal brain function, according to a research team based at Princeton University.


The researchers report in the Journal of Neuroscience that when mice allowed to exercise regularly experienced a stressor -- exposure to cold water -- their brains exhibited a spike in the activity of neurons that shut off excitement in the ventral hippocampus, a brain region shown to regulate anxiety.


These findings potentially resolve a discrepancy in research related to the effect of exercise on the brain -- namely that exercise reduces anxiety while also promoting the growth of new neurons in the ventral hippocampus. Because these young neurons are typically more excitable than their more mature counterparts, exercise should result in more anxiety, not less. The Princeton-led researchers, however, found that exercise also strengthens the mechanisms that prevent these brain cells from firing.


The impact of physical activity on the ventral hippocampus specifically has not been deeply explored, said senior author Elizabeth Gould, Princeton's Dorman T. Warren Professor of Psychology. By doing so, members of Gould's laboratory pinpointed brain cells and regions important to anxiety regulation that may help scientists better understand and treat human anxiety disorders, she said.


From an evolutionary standpoint, the research also shows that the brain can be extremely adaptive and tailor its own processes to an organism's lifestyle or surroundings, Gould said. A higher likelihood of anxious behavior may have an adaptive advantage for less physically fit creatures. Anxiety often manifests itself in avoidant behavior and avoiding potentially dangerous situations would increase the likelihood of survival, particularly for those less capable of responding with a "fight or flight" reaction, she said.


"Understanding how the brain regulates anxious behavior gives us potential clues about helping people with anxiety disorders. It also tells us something about how the brain modifies itself to respond optimally to its own environment," said Gould, who also is a professor in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute.


The research was part of the graduate dissertation for first author Timothy Schoenfeld, now a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as part of the senior thesis project of co-author Brian Hsueh, now an MD/Ph.D. student at Stanford University. The project also included co-authors Pedro Rada and Pedro Pieruzzini, both from the University of Los Andes in Venezuela.


For the experiments, one group of mice was given unlimited access to a running wheel and a second group had no running wheel. Natural runners, mice will dash up to 4 kilometers (about 2.5 miles) a night when given access to a running wheel, Gould said. After six weeks, the mice were exposed to cold water for a brief period of time.


The brains of active and sedentary mice behaved differently almost as soon as the stressor occurred, an analysis showed. In the neurons of sedentary mice only, the cold water spurred an increase in "immediate early genes," or short-lived genes that are rapidly turned on when a neuron fires. The lack of these genes in the neurons of active mice suggested that their brain cells did not immediately leap into an excited state in response to the stressor.


Instead, the brain in a runner mouse showed every sign of controlling its reaction to an extent not observed in the brain of a sedentary mouse. There was a boost of activity in inhibitory neurons that are known to keep excitable neurons in check. At the same time, neurons in these mice released more of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, which tamps down neural excitement. The protein that packages GABA into little travel pods known as vesicles for release into the synapse also was present in higher amounts in runners.


The anxiety-reducing effect of exercise was canceled out when the researchers blocked the GABA receptor that calms neuron activity in the ventral hippocampus. The researchers used the chemical bicuculine, which is used in medical research to block GABA receptors and simulate the cellular activity underlying epilepsy. In this case, when applied to the ventral hippocampus, the chemical blocked the mollifying effects of GABA in active mice.


Have You Noticed?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 5, 2013

While we've been focusing with rightful concern on the recent relapses, several people have been reaching their Six Month Goal! 

So here's a Big Shout Out to all of our 6 Month WINNERS such as Peggy TODAY! If you've had a 6 Month Milestone these last few days, COME HERE and Shout Out to all the Community about how you did it! 

This is for YOU!


  Summer: A great time to quit smoking for good
  Summer is a great time to make healthy lifestyle changes. Longer days provide us with more time to get outside and exercise; we can choose from an abundance of fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables; and most of us are also able to take extra time to relax and rejuvenate our bodies and our minds.The summer vacation season can also be a perfect time to quit smoking.
  Here are a few reasons why:
  Summer offers a chance for a change in routine: Your summer vacation can be an excellent time to make the break from unhealthy habits you may have developed during your regular work or school life. 
  Summer may provide you with more time to relax: Many people think that smoking helps them relax, but that is not the case. According to researchers at Dundee University in Scotland, smoking causes physical changes in your brain that inhibit transmission of serotonin, the body’s natural stress-relieving hormone. As a result, smokers become deficient in serotonin and may suffer higher levels of stress.
  Summer may be a great time to control your weight: A lot of smokers, especially young women, believe smoking will help them control their weight. Many young women are also afraid to quit because they think they will gain weight. This is not true. Smokers gain just as much weight as non-smokers in the same age range.
  If you are still worried about gaining weight if you quit smoking, consider this: You can exercise more: The summer provides all sorts of opportunities to get out there and get active no matter what your fitness level! You can walk, cycle, swim, kayak, hike, rollerblade, windsurf and even go mountain climbing!
  It is easier to eat and snack on healthy, low-fat foods. Summer offers an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that are easy to obtain and quick to prepare. What could be more refreshing than a plate of fresh seasonal fruit such as strawberries, raspberries or peaches?
  You will prevent further skin damage. We all know how important it is to protect our skin from the summer sun. Did you know that smoking also damages your skin? Research has shown that facial wrinkles, while not yet visible, can be seen under a microscope in smokers as young as 20.
  Quit tips for the summer
  Preparing to quit:
  Make a list of the reasons why you want to quit smoking. E.g. You won’t need to stop for cigarette breaks when you are on a family road trip. No more standing outside your workplace and smoking in the rain. 
  Tell everyone that you are quitting and ask for their support. People who have more supports from their friends and family often find it easier to make healthy changes.
  Identify your smoking triggers and decide how you will deal with them. For example, if you smoke after meals, get up and go for a walk instead of reaching for a cigarette.
  After you quit:
  Get out and get active! Spend more time at the park; go for an early morning walk; begin a new outdoor sport such as speed walking or swimming.
  Make sure that you manage your stress levels. Take advantage of a more relaxed summertime frame of mind. Relax outside in a hammock, read a good book, stop and smell the roses! 
  Munch on fresh veggies and fruit to reduce cravings. Remember that every day you remain a non-smoker you are reducing your risk of heart disease, cancer and lung damage.
  Do you need some help?
  There are many products available for people who wish to quit smoking. These include nicotine replacement products such as nicotine gum, the nicotine patch, nicotine inhalers and antidepressant medications that reduce withdrawal symptoms. 
  Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT):
  NRT is an effective treatment that has few side effects. NRT can help you control your withdrawal symptoms and cravings by gradually reducing your body’s dependence on nicotine. 
  Nicotine gum: Nicotine gum contains nicotine which is absorbed through your gums and cheeks. Nicotine gum can be effective in helping you cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. 
  The patch: NRT is available as a small patch which you wear on your skin. Patches come in different strengths and you will gradually move to lower doses until you no longer need to use them.
  Nicotine inhaler: Inhalers can be held between your fingers like a cigarette. Small particles of nicotine are inhaled into the back of the throat where they are absorbed into your body.
  Other prescription products: 
  There are several types of medications in pill form that your doctor can prescribe which may reduce your withdrawal symptoms. These medications can be used in combination with NRT.
  Have you quit and failed in the past?
  Take comfort in the fact that the more times you try to quit, the more likely you are to be successful the next time you try. Just because you may have failed in the past does not mean you will fail the next time.
  For more on quitting smoking check out the fact sheet: Helping Someone Quit Smoking.

I want to tell you Newbies about our INDIN GRL who's name is Diane Joy! She is a very Special member of our Community and has helped more people than you can ever imagine! This is the most precious gift she gave to me:

Take what you need and leave the rest - to be helpful is our only goal!

If you think folks are being harsh, I'm not here to argue with you - that's your perspective! But I want you to understand that the folks here who volunteer their untold hours have only one goal - to help YOU save yourself from YOU! In the end it's your DECISION! But if you wish to quit commiting suicide one puff at a time, I suggest you think, really think about the advice you are given and remember that every single one of us has been EXactly where you are today! What's more, we are EXactly where you say you wish to be in the future!

How much do you wish to live?

I just read so much Bologna I could make a sandwich!

Your Addiction isn't worse than mine!

Addiction is controlled by an Equal Opportunity Law - The Law of Addiction!

I didn't accumulate 1201 Smoke FREE Days because it was "easy for me!" I accumulated them with the same struggles, doubts, stressors, etc... as you and every single one of us here did!

I came here and listened and followed the advice given without the "You just don't understand me" attitude! 

Just like the Law of Gravity doesn't care who you are or how your day (or life) goes - the Law of Addiction doesn't work that way either!

Here's the Law of Addiction:

  "Administration of a drug to an addict will cause reestablishment
  of chemical dependence upon the addictive substance."
  No matter who you are or the circumstances of your LIFE the solution is the same:
  N.O.P.E. or as Dale says - "Keep them away from your face!"
  Don't buy into that myth - "They quit and it was easy!" The truth is "They quit and they made it   look easy!" BIG DIFFERENCE!

What's in a Number?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 2, 2013

Why would I keep track and Celebrate 1200? 

Because this day - Day 1200 I have FREEDOM!

I have the Freedom to not smoke 

But like all Freedom 

Freedom isn't FREE!

I also can give away my Freedom with one simple stupid choice 

And shackle myself back up to Addiction!

I have a Responsibility as well -

The Responsibility to Protect my Quit - EVEN NOW!

I, Thomas, decide right here and now that I will not smoke even so much as one little puff under any circumstances, for any "reason".  I will honor myself enough to respect my commitment NO MATTER WHAT!

TODAY is still the Most Important Day of my Recovery!

I still get to/have to DECIDE!

Freedom and Responsibility on this Independence Day Week! They go hand in hand!



Good Morning EXers and New Member!

When I first joined over 3 years ago, there was a large group of successful members who all started in November. They were called the November to Remember Group and many are still around! All of our new July members remind me of them and I wish you all the same group success - perhaps the July that Flies Group? LOL!

This is Monday morning which means I post all the relevant current news for you folks to catch up. I've found that reading these articles fortifies my Quititude and helps me Protect my Quit! I hope it does the same for you! Everybody remember - TODAY is the most important day of our recovery!

Happy July!

  Why Smoking Rates Are at New Lows
  Smoking Cessation for Asbestos Workers Dramatically Reduces Lung Cancer Risk
  Now you can quit smoking
  Pediatricians Target Parental Smoking, As Major Way To Improve Child's Health
  New Smoking Cessation Campaign Offers Support for the "Quitter in You"
  Alere to exclusively offer Voxiva’s Text2Quit
  Smoking cessation – keep trying!
  FDA Gets Tough on Tobacco
  Philip Morris Sues Thai Government Over Anti-Tobacco Law
  Graft suspected in tobacco bill deliberation
  PM's overseas trip linked to tobacco group
  Spain tax tweaks fall short of calls for system overhaul
  Rise of black tobacco barons in Zimbabwe
  Imperial Tobacco Canada makes a donation to support the victims of the floods in Calgary
  FDA: Second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes may be harmful to your health
  Study Details Cancer-Promoting Mechanisms of Overlooked Components in Secondhand Smoke
  Inside the dangers of third-hand smoke
  Stillbirths tied to secondhand smoke: Study
  Albay eyes record for largest human 'no smoking' sign
  Change in the air: Rental smoking bans
  Return of the cigarette: Some Casper bars celebrate as smoking ban is relaxed

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