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2013

If you’re experiencing life with chronic bronchitis, you want to take advantage of all the treatments available to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life. One of the less appreciated methods of treating bronchitis is simply to take an expectorant prescribed by your doctor. According to WebMD, you should not take over-the-counter cough suppressant medicine to treat chronic bronchitis.

Read on to learn the difference between the two medicines:

Suppressants

As the name suggests, suppressants suppress your cough, meaning they reduce your urge to cough. In some cases of acute bronchitis (when a normally healthy person with no chronic problems becomes temporarily ill), a doctor may prescribe a suppressant, according to WebMD. This helps the person sleep and reduces the pain associated with excessive coughing if it's persisted for more than two weeks.

Expectorants

Life with chronic bronchitis means there are many periods when you cough excessively. While it may be a nuisance, this is your body’s way of getting rid of excess mucus that's harming your lungs, WebMD explains. If you cough often but don’t have productive coughs that loosen phlegm, your doctor may prescribe an expectorant. It’s likely your doctor will recommend you never take a suppressant because it could cause dangerous complications.

In addition to following your doctor’s orders regarding expectorants and suppressants, WebMD points out other common treatments and preventative measures for chronic bronchitis. These include:

 Supplemental oxygen, also known as oxygen therapy, to help you breathe better.

 Oral steroids to reduce inflammation.

 Inhaled bronchodilator to temporarily dilate your lungs and make breathing easier.

 Quitting smoking to prevent doing more harm to your lungs.

 Yearly flu shot to help prevent infections.

• Pneumonia vaccine to protect you from this disease for years to come. Once you turn 65, you may need a booster shot to continue being protected.

 Antibiotics to fight bacterial infections. These are evident if you notice the mucus you cough up becoming thicker than usual.

 Healthy diet to keep your weight down and prevent putting excess strain on your heart.
Remember to always speak with your physician before trying new treatments or scheduling vaccination appointments.

Mine is with my Alzheimers' Residents! Lots of overtime....

My Family will celebrate on Saturday! May you all have eyes to see and ears to hear the overflowing blessings of the Season! Enjoy your Turkey Day!

20 Things You Didn't Know About Charles Schulz

   
  
   
       
  
  
   

Today is the birthday of American cartoonist Charles Monroe Schulz, that beloved "Peanuts" creator who would turn 91 years old if he were still alive today.

   

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Schulz is remembered most fondly for the wholesome characters he created throughout his 50-year-long illustration career. Among them are the eternally hesitant Charlie Brown and the mischievous Snoopy, two characters who came to represent the iconic four-panel gag strip known as "Peanuts." Schulz devoted much of his life to the American comic standard, which ran up until the day after his death in 2000.

   

In honor of the 91st anniversary of Schulz's birth, we wanted to shine a spotlight on the man behind the cartoon, so we've put together 20 facts you might not have known about the great American artist. Behold, the quirks of a "Peanuts" legend:

   

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/26/charles-schulz-birthday_n_4339337.html

  
  If you love being in nature but your health prevents you from spending as much time outdoors as you'd like, consider bringing a little nature inside with houseplants. You can enjoy their beauty, and some houseplants can also promote staying healthy with chronic lung disease.
   
  According to the University of Minnesota Extension Service, NASA has discovered photosynthesis does more than just turn sunlight into food for plants—it also removes significant amounts of harmful gases from the air. This means houseplants can improve indoor air quality.
   
  Solving Problems With Indoor Air Quality
   
  If you live in a relatively new home, it’s likely it includes features to make your home "tighter." A tightly sealed home saves energy and money, but it also traps air pollution inside. One solution to trapped pollutants is to increase ventilation.
   
  With NASA’s confidence in the power of plants, it’s also viable for you to improve indoor air quality with houseplants. Several plants are helpful because they absorb gases that contribute to poor indoor air quality, including carbon dioxide, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. These offending gases are found most commonly in new homes and offices furnished with manmade fabrics, carpet, wallpaper, paint, laminate and other common materials.
   
  Choosing Houseplants
   
  Not all houseplants remove harmful gases at equal rates or in equal quantities. NASA suggests you maintain 15 to 18 houseplants in 6- to 8-inch diameter pots for the average 1,800 square-foot home. According to Healthline, the best plants for cleaning indoor air and staying healthy with lung disease include:
   
  • Peace Lily
   
  • Dracaena
   
  • Florist’s Chrysanthemum 
   
  • Bamboo Palm
   
  • Golden Pothos
   
  • English Ivy
   
  • Chinese Evergreen
   
  • Areca Palm
   
  • Rubber Plant
   
  Before you run out and buy one of each, make sure you understand how to properly care for individual plants. No matter what you choose, it’s important to maintain the soil correctly so it doesn’t harbor mold and reverse your attempts at staying healthy with lung disease. Also be sure to consult with your doctor about your intent to add houseplants to your home.
  That's what I call this stretch of road in my Recovery! I have come to an awareness - different from a cognition - of my permanent status as an Addict. But not just any addict but my own personal brand of Thomas the Addict. I feel my weakest point - when others relapse I feel responsible and my strongest point - when I learn I share. I am still in the process of learning non-judgment of myself and letting go of others' addictive actions. It's not enough to 'know' that I have nothing to judge myself for and that I can't change others' behaviors. I have to really 100% get it - here, in my heart, not just my head! 
   
  Here's how I have been working on this:
  I have been using Mindfulness Meditation and Neurofeedback.
   
  
    Mindfulness Meditation
  
     
  
   Mindfulness meditation, yoga practice, and regular exercise lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your bloodstream, increase your interleukin levels (enhancing your immune system and providing you with greater energy), and streamline your body’s ability to cleanse itself of chemical toxins, such as lactic acid in your muscles and bloodstream, which can affect neurotransmitter receptors and alter your mood. Mindfulness practice may positively affect the amount of activity in the amygdala, the walnut-sized area in the center of the brain responsible for regulating emotions. When the amygdala is relaxed, the parasympathetic nervous system engages to counteract the anxiety response. The heart rate lowers, breathing deepens and slows, and the body stops releasing cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream; these stress hormones provide us with quick energy in times of danger but have damaging effects on the body in the long term if they’re too prevalent. Over time, mindfulness meditation actually thickens the bilateral, prefrontal right-insular region of the brain, the area responsible for optimism and a sense of well-being, spaciousness, and possibility. This area is also associated with creativity and an increased sense of curiosity, as well as the ability to be reflective and observe how your mind works. 
  
     
  
   
    
     By building new neural connections among brain cells, we rewire the brain, and with each new neural connection, the brain is actually learning. It’s as if we’re adding more RAM to a computer, giving it more functionality. In The Mindful Brain, leading neuroscientist Daniel Siegel , defines the mind as “a process that regulates the flow of energy and information.” His early brain research showed that “where neurons fire, they can rewire”; that is, they create new neural pathways or structures in the brain. He postulates that one of the benefits of mindfulness meditation practice is this process of creating new neural networks for self-observation, optimism, and well-being. Through mindfulness meditation, we light up and build up the left-prefrontal cortex, associated with optimism, self-observation, and compassion, allowing ourselves to cease being dominated by the right-prefrontal cortex, which is associated with fear, depression, anxiety, and pessimism. As a result, our self-awareness and mood stability increase as our harsh judgments of others and ourselves decrease. By devoting attention, intention, and daily effort to being mindful, we learn to master the mind and open the doorway to the creativity available in open-mind consciousness.    
    
         
    
     The pillars of mindfulness practice are non-judging, patience, a beginner's curiosity, trust, non-striving, acceptance, and letting go. That doesn't mean you have to have all of these to get started! It means that they cultivate mindfulness and mindfulness cultivates these attitudes!   
    
         
   
   
       
   
    
      Neurofeedback  
    
         
    
     Neurofeedback trains the brain directly and is often referred to as exercising the brain. Computer feedback enables the brain to learn new patterns to function more efficiently. Interestingly, neurofeedback training takes place almost entirely at unconscious levels similar to learning to ride a bike or balancing on one foot. The mind doesn't need to "understand" for the brain to learn.    
    
         
    
     Specialized equipment allows the practitioner to observe brainwave activity while the client either listens to sounds or a combination of sound and visual display (games) for feedback. The auditory and visual feedback "rewards" the brain's achievement when the student meets target goals.  Rewards encourage the brain toward more appropriate patterns, resulting in new brain function and greater self regulation.   
    
     Self regulation is key to neurofeedback because as  the brain increases its capacity to self regulate,  both mental and physical functions are able to improve. The goal of neurofeedback training is to shape the brain toward greater self regulation. Over a series of training sessions, the new patterns in the brain become more permanent (as with learning to type or ride a bike) for  lasting improvements in both mental and physical performance.   
    
         
    
     
      Neurofeedback can help me regulate my own nervous system so I can have an appropriate anxiety response when it is necessary and stay calm when it is not. Infra low frequency neurofeedback can help my depression. It also helps me cope with the psychological stress of having a chronic incurable ilnness and chronic physical pain.    
     
           
     
      With increased clarity and awareness comes ever increasing self-compassion and self-respect. It makes the possibility of relapse a never option! N.O.P.E.! Not this fellow!    
     
           
    
   
  

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!

   YOUR ADDICTIVE SELF DRAGS YOU DOWN WITH IT!
   
  Your Addictive Self is a part of   YOU! That being said there is another part of you that is being dragged down with it - the part that knows that what you're doing is wrong and contradictory to your every moral value!   Your Addictive Self  won’t stop smoking, and you can’t stop forking over the time and money that make the sickerettes possible.
   
  Of course you can easily see the problem from the outside. Why would an Addict stop smoking when they can squeeze thousands of dollars a month out of you and keep right on doing what they’ve done their whole lives? And how can you say no when your Addiction seems impossible to break? Besides, it’s a disease, isn’t it? How can you deny your sick addiction?
   
  You probably already know that that’s how the daily cycle continues for years and years, and how it’s apt to go on until you get very, very sick or  die or the money runs out. The Addict within will continue to manipulate you, and you will continue to feel guilty and wonder what you did to cause your decision to smoke that first sickerette and go down the Addict road.
   
   Nicotine Addiction  is a Choice, not a Disease
   
  Of course you've always known that the promise of tobacco never really came to fruition. You weren't really cooler, more rebellious, more popular, sexier, calmer and whatever else the commercials depicted just because you smoked your cancer sticks. Even when your childhood quest for those things played a role, it doesn’t excuse ongoing childishness. Searching for the current problems’ beginnings, even finding them, does nothing to fix the mess. As you’ve probably noticed, everyone just stays trapped in the swirl of emotions, habit, myth, and despair.
   
  
     
  
    There is an Alternative
  
     
  
    This time I have a different  suggestion. Instead of pouring on battles and willpower, I recommend a carefully planned disengagement. No threats, no expectation that your addictive self  will change - just a gradual change in the personal dynamics that will, over the course of a year, result in your Addictive Self being isolated. 
  
     
  
   Concentrate on YOU! What values do you have? What activities would you like to do if you "had the time." Imagine your perfect self in line with your values and then decide on one activity that brings you closer to becoming that person and do it. You are the part of yourself who wants things to change - so ignore your Addictive Self who obviously has a vested interest in things staying the same. 
  
     
  
   It works because you are focusing on that part of you who wants to change rather than to force change onto your Addictive Self. Success means working with the part of you that is motivated; skipping labels and self-justifying EXcuses; focusing on the present and future, not the past; and actively instituting new behaviors. 
  
     
  
   
     The Temper Tantrum 
   
       
   
    Your Addictive Self will certainly protest, especially if it got it's fix by carrying on loud enough or long enough! But just as you wouldn't given in to a two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum, that's obviously not the solution here either.  
   
       
   
    But you can defuse the tantrum using similar methods as good parenting skills. You can acknowledge that your Addictive Self is frustrated. You can let it know you feel it's pain, too! Even just saying "I know you're upset," you're telling it you're there to help it feel better. That might be enough to calm it down so you can add, "I wish we could have a cigarette, too. It's too bad we can't right now."  
   
       
   
    Be silly. Laughter can be a great tantrum buster. If your Addictive Self starts to pitch a fit about walking past a temptation, try singing a goofy song  -- anything to make yourself giggle.  
   
       
   
    Try a distraction. Give yourself something else to think about. There are several lists of 100 things to do instead. Get busy and if it's an activity for which you're passionate, like art or music, even better!   
   
       
   
    Ignore it. Sometimes, tantrums escalate because your Addictive Self  thinks it will get what it wants if it screams loud enough. If you don't react, it will give up.  
   
       
   
    Leave the scene. When all else fails, get out of public and let yourself have the meltdown, tears and all - just keep those sickerettes away from your face! But do it without making a fuss  -- you'll be proving to yourself that even when you don't feel calm you can display calm behavior. It may be inconvenient, but it shows who's in control:   
   
     YOU! 
  
  More than 1,200 people die in the United States  every day from smoking-related illnesses. This is equivalent to three airplanes loaded with passengers crashing everyday in America. Smoking-related illnesses are the No. 1 cause of preventable deaths in the country, killing more Americans than
   
  drugs,
   
  homicides,
   
  suicides,
   
  accidents,
   
  and fires
   
  combined.
   
Thomas3.20.2010

Which Comes First?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 21, 2013
  With the approach of the Holiday Season, we are embarking on a time when the alcohol gets poured more often. It might be tempting to have a drink with your Family and Friends. You might even say, "Just because I'm giving up smoking doesn't mean I have to give up alcohol, too! In fact, I believe that giving up 2 vices, i.e. pleasures, at once is just too much to ask!" But you would be listening to Nico-Lies! 
   
  Nico-Lies are created by your Addictive Self with simpy one goal in mind - your next FIX! They know you intimately because they are a part of you! But listening to them is a sure-fire way to relapse, after all, that's the Addictive Self's one and only goal!
   
  It is important for us to know that everything that we could do as smokers, we can also do as ex-smokers. We just have to teach ourselves how. Drinking is a special case because the association is so strong and by its very nature lowers our inhibitions. It can cause people to do some very irrational behaviors. Smoking can be one of them. Because of the drug's influence, it is best that people take it on gradually, after having at least 4 Months Quit. Drinking while in No Man's Land is an almost certain recipe for disaster!
   
  
   If you have more than 4 Months and you feel confident in your Quititude you should probably limit yourself to one drink the first time out just to show yourself that you can have a drink without smoking. Also, you should do it with people who are non-smokers and who really are supportive of your quit. This is a much safer situation in the beginning than going out with drinking buddies who smoke cigarettes and who may be envious of your quitting, and who, while drinking themselves also have their inhibitions lowered. It may manifest in behaviors of encouragement of smoking at a time when you are more vulnerable. 
  
     
  
   Actually, for the rest of our lives we will need to keep our guard up, in a sense reminding ourselves of our  reasons for having quit and the importance to stay off smoking, every time before we take a drink. It prepares us to face the situation in a much safer state of readiness. 
  
     
  
   Something very important for all of us to keep in mind is higher, more volatile smoking urges happen before we actually begin drinking, suggesting that alcohol consumption may  be in response to smoking urges rather than vice versa. 
  
     
     
     

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If you haven't written a Blog yet, I invite you to tell your COPD Awareness Story! Whether you have COPD or don't or don't know, COPD deeply affects this Community! Tell us your story TODAY!

Together we're BETTER!

Replace "I" with "WE" and Illness becomes wellness!

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   No informative Blog today! 
  
   I   want the Community to speak of their EXperience with COPD Awareness! 
  
     
  
   Here's my story: 
  
     
  
   On March 14, 2010 I went to the Hospital with a temperature of 102! My teeth were clacking in my head. I radiated heat off my feverish body for yards. I was literally delerious and then I was given the news, "Your lungs are inflated." What do you mean, my lungs are inflated? How can that be and why? "You have Emphysema." That's not possible! I hardly smoke at all! "Emphysema is chronic, progressive and incurable." Whoa, hold on here! I haven't smoked that much!"If you don't quit smoking now you will get a lot worse very quickly."YIKES! I guess my smoking days are over! Smoking just isn't an option for me anymore! 
  
     
  
   What I didn't know was way more than what I did know about Emphysema and COPD!!! Oh, I'd seen the pictures of the happy retired folks puttering around in their gardens or playing with their grandkids because they were smart enough to take Advair or Spiriva! That's about it! My Grandma who lived in another State died of Emphysema when she was in her nineties but we all have to die of something, don't we? Eventually! But heck, I was 52 and had never really been sick much at all my entire adult life! I worked 60 to 80 hours a week and never thought anything of it - hard physical labor, not a desk job! 
  
     
  
   Here are some facts that I have since learned about COPD: it is an auto-immune illness. it doesn't care if you are 20 or 80 years old! It doesn't care if you smoke 2 or 3 sickerettes  a day or 2 or 3 packs! Just one sickerette will trigger your body's defense mechanism and there you have it! My friend JoJo from New York calls that one sickerette the killerette!  
  
     
  
   About 15-20% of all smokers and EXers will be diagnosed with COPD and half of the folks who have COPD don't even know it! Meanwhile the damage that they are doing to their lungs can NEVER be repaired! Your body creates all kinds of mucus in your lungs and bronchials that is a perfect breeding ground for any kind of bacteria or virus you cross paths with like pneumonia! Every time you get a lung infection a bit more irreparable damage will have been done and your condition deteriorates. 
  
     
  
   Because your lungs don't work so well you can inhale fairly well, but you can't exhale so well at all.  If you want to EXperience this feeling take a breath in and without exhaling take another breath and another. Did you feel the panic? What people exhale is Carbon Dioxide - you know, poison! That CO2 stays in your system and makes your whole body in a constant state of being poisoned! Because your body wants Oxygen and not CO2 your heart overworks itself trying to get enough Oxygen to where it's needed. Eventually, the heart deforms itself from working overtime! Then you have Congestive Heart Failure! 
  
     
  
    Don't forget, you're still getting those lung infections from time to time! The toxins make your limbs feel like wet spaghetti so that such things as getting dressed or washing dishes become monumental tasks! When you cross a room you huff and puff like the Big Bad Wolf! And know you can't even blow out a candle - let alone blow down a house! This is COPD!  
  
     
  
   So I joined BecomeanEX that very day and 6 days later, March 20, 2010,  had my last smoke ever. Ever since then, I have used my illness as an opportunity to educate myself and also to educate others about COPD. If you enter COPD in the search window you will find 3160 entries. When you add Thomas to that you get 1820 entries. I feel like I'm making a difference! I often wonder if I'm "preaching to the choir" when my intention is to outreach not just to those who have been diagnosed with COPD but to those who may have copd and not know it and to help the rest of you know how to act and what to say around COPDers. Since up to 20% of all smokers has COPD this is a great population to raise awareness. Here is a screening test to see if you should consider having a Spirometry Test: 
     
     
  
    I'm asking anybody who wants to join in to please Blog sometime today about their COPD Awareness.
  
     
  
   Here are some questions to help you get started: 
  
     
  
   How did you learn about COPD? 
  
     
  
   What are your feelings about possibly having COPD? 
  
     
  
   Have you taken the Spirometry Test? If not, what would motivate you to get tested? If you have taken the Test, What were your reasons? 
  
     
  
   What was it like to take the test? 
  
     
  
   How did you feel about learning that you do/don't have COPD? 
  
     
  
   How, if at all, has your perspective on COPDers changed? 
  
     
  
   If you are a COPDer, how has your lifestyle changed since diagnosis? 
  
     
  
   Anything along those lines! 
  
     
  
   Thank You for caring! 
  
     
   
   

Confidence on the outside begins by living with  integrity on  the inside.          

Brian  Tracy

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Just in case you're new here today and haven't heard, we are JUNKIES! I am and YOU ARE, Too! Here's the difference between us and those guys jonesing for a fix! When you have QUIT SMOKING you break the cycle of dishonesty that says anything to "justify"  my next hit! You know, "Oh I don't smoke much, everybody deserves a vice!", or "just one won't hurt!", or (I love this one!)" I can quit any time I want!" (and here's the other half!) "I can't quit - I've tried a dozen times!" There are an infinite number of LIES that we tell ourselves in order to give in to that next craving and keep the Monster happy!

 Now, once you stay quit for a good while,that smoke cloud rises and you are left standing there in all your natural beauty! The REAL YOU! The Rose with thorns! You have to learn to live with yourself just as God intends for you to be! You have to become INTEGRATED! You can't run for a cig and hide behind the smoke any more! This is YOU! And it's a Great Opportunity to look at yourself - really take a good look! - and say "I like what I see!" There's a person with so much courage (s)he kicked the addiction for LIFE! There's a person who had FOCUS, who had DETERMINATION, who RESPECTS themself, who HONORS their DECISIONS! That's a darn AWESOME PERSON! You set a Goal and made it happen even though you were afraid, anxious, upset, disoriented! You made it happen! YOU DID THAT! WOW! If you could do that you can do all kinds of things! You have EXcellent reason to be CONFIDENT because you have INTEGRITY! Now, seriously, folks, how many people do you know who can say that? Feel PROUD of YOURSELF! 

Thomas3.20.2010

Living with Emphysema

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 18, 2013

This is what it looks like!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfVDAAdo7Pw

Did you know that COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the third leading cause of death in the United States? This disease kills more than 120,000 Americans each year – that’s 1 death every 4 minutes – and causes serious, long-term disability. The number of people with COPD is increasing. More than 12 million people are diagnosed with COPD and an additional 12 million likely have the disease and don’t yet know it. These statistics come from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute which is sponsoring a campaign to increase awareness of COPD during November, designated as National COPD Awareness Month.

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  Why does nutrition matter for people with lung disease?
   Good nutrition will make you feel better and help in managing COPD. Food is your body’s fuel and provides the energy your body needs to perform all of your daily functions, including breathing. 
   The muscles used for breathing require up to ten times more energy in people with COPD than those without COPD. 
   The types and amounts of foods you eat affect your metabolism, including how much carbon dioxide is produced by digestion. Too much carbon dioxide can make you feel weak and fatigued . 
   Good nutrition helps the body fight infection, which can be common in COPD. 
   Maintaining a healthy weight is especially important for people with COPD. Being overweight can make breathing more difficult and may demand more oxygen. Being underweight can make you feel weak and tired, and you may be more susceptible to infections, including pneumonia. People with COPD who maintain a healthy weight and have a good diet live longer and enjoy improved quality of life compared to those who do not. 
   A healthy diet for persons with COPD is not all that different from how everyone should be eating, but there are some things that should be limited, or avoided, as well as some special recommendations. 

 

  
  What to eat and drink daily:
   2-3 servings of fruit and 3-5 servings of vegetables. Be sure to include fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C. Research shows a positive relationship between an increase in vitamin C and pulmonary function 
   2-3 servings of low-fat dairy. Also consider taking a calcium and vitamin D supplement to help improve lung strength and function 
   25-35 grams of fiber. Good sources are whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables 
   Lean proteins, like eggs, fish , poultry, and loin cuts of beef and pork 
   6-8 glasses of water. Fluids will help keep airways moist, prevent dehydration, and can help thin mucous. 
   Eating 5 or 6 smaller meals can help minimize abdominal pressure and shortness of breath. 
     
  
   
   What to limit or avoid in your diet: 
  
 
    Limit sodium. Consuming too much salt can cause the body to retain water, making breathing more difficult  
  
 
    Limit foods and beverages high in sugar. Sugars cause production of excess carbon monoxide in the bloodstream, which can increase fatigue  
  
 
    Avoid carbonated beverages. Carbonation, chewing gum, and use of straws increase the likelihood of swallowing air, which can increase bloating and gassiness  
  
 
    Limit caffeine. Caffeine can interfere with some medications and cause restlessness that expends energy  
  
 
    Avoid foods that cause gas or bloating. A full abdomen can make breathing uncomfortable  
  
 
    Very hot or very cold foods may stimulate coughing. If so, choose room temperature foods and beverages  
  
 
    Limit alcohol due to possible medication interactions  
  
 
   
  
  
  Are you at risk for COPD? Risk factors include:
   Shortness of breath, chronic cough, or difficulty performing simple daily tasks 
   Over age 40 and currently smoke or used to smoke 
   Have worked or lived around chemicals or fumes 
   Have certain genetic conditions 
     
  
  If you are at risk for COPD, you should:
   Talk with your health care provider about shortness of breath, chronic cough, or decline in activity level 
   Get a simple breathing test 
   Quit smoking 
   Avoid pollutants and lung irritants 



 




 

The University of Nebraska Medical Center will lead a $4.4 million clinical research study to evaluate whether a common over-the-counter drug can reverse the effects of emphysema.

The second-phase, three-year study is funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The study will look at whether ibuprofen can reduce inflammation in the lungs.

Emphysema has been regarded as an irreversible type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, because the lung's ability to repair itself is suppressed, UNMC's Dr. Stephen Rennard said.

"Recent evidence indicates lung repair processes are diminished in COPD, partly due to increased levels of prostaglandin E," Rennard said in a UNMC news release about the study. "We know that ibuprofen blocks the production of prostaglandins. We want to know if it can block prostaglandins in the lung."

Study participants will take 600 milligrams of ibuprofen or a placebo three times a day. Researchers will measure participants' lung inflammation and use biochemical techniques to determine the extent of lung repair that occurs.

If the study shows those taking ibuprofen saw improvement in lung function, researchers will seek approval to conduct a larger clinical study in patients.

UNMC will coordinate the study and analyze the data. The four other medical centers involved in the study are National Jewish Health in Denver, Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Temple University in Philadelphia and Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

   
   
  "Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy." —Pema Chödrön
   
  I will begin with me! I have been emotionally stressed lately due to the ever growing numbers of COPD BecomeanEXers as well as the Relapsers. I feel helpless, stressed, anxiety, even worthless when I read a relapser's blog. I feel a deep sense of inadequacy and flail myself with self-criticism - for not relaying the key information in the timely hour, for not expressing myself well enough to make a difference, for wasting your and my time with blogs that speak to nobody and mean nothing.
   
  What I have decided to do about it:
  I will recognize that being imperfect, failing, and experiencing life difficulties is inevitable, both for me and for the relapsed person. I will let go of that which I cannot change - the relapser's struggle to find freedom from addiction. I will accept that some folks will hear and read my words and not necessarily respond and that's OK. Others will read and respond positively to what I communicate and grow from it. And some folks will not find my words and thoughts either helpful or applicable to them and that's their decision to make with no personal reflection on me, Thomas. When this reality is denied or fought against, my suffering increases in the form of stress, frustration and self-criticism.  When this reality is accepted with sympathy and kindness, my greater emotional equanimity is experienced.
   
  When a Friend of mine relapses, I often feel an irrational but pervasive sense of isolation – as if “I” were the only person suffering or making mistakes.  All humans suffer, however. The very definition of being “human” means that I am mortal, vulnerable and imperfect.
   
  What I have decided to do about it:
  I will  recognize that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of the shared human experience - something that we all go through rather than being something that happens to “me” alone. 
   
  I will acknowledge that  my personal thoughts, feelings and actions are impacted by “external” factors such as parenting history, culture, genetic and environmental conditions, as well as the behavior and expectations of others.  My essential interbeing allows me to be less judgmental about my personal failings. After all, if we had full control over our behavior, how many people would consciously choose to have anger issues, addiction issues, debilitating social anxiety, eating disorders, and so on?  Many aspects of ourselves and the circumstances of our lives are not of our choosing, but instead stem from innumerable factors (genetic and/or environmental) that we have little control over.  By recognizing my essential interdependence, therefore, failings and life difficulties do not have to be taken so personally, but can be acknowledged with non-judgmental compassion and understanding.
   
  When I become overwhelmed here among my Community, I sometimes suppress my uneasiness and other times they feel exaggerated out of all proportion. 
   
  What I have decided to do about it:
  I will observe my negative thoughts and emotions with openness and clarity, so that they are held in nonjudgmental awareness. I will simply observe my thoughts and feelings for what they are, neither suppressing nor denying them. But I will not  be “over-identified” with thoughts and feelings, so that I am  caught up and swept away by negative reactivity.
   
  Finally, I will make room for my Grief that my Friend has decided to Smoke in spite of the hazards, in spite of the traps, inspite of anything anybody can do or say to show them the way! Each of us gets to/ has to decide whether to seek Freedom or to stay trapped in Addiction. Nobody can do anything at all to change that! The last stage of Grief is Acceptance. Maybe someday I will earn to accept that some of us are here for other reasons than to truly set themselves free - maybe someday, just not today! I could sure use a hug right about now!
Thomas3.20.2010

Peace Be With You!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 15, 2013

Peace: It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble
or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm
in your heart. - Author unknown

 

Did your cigarette always make you feel at peace? Did you see it as the solution to escape from strife? If you've quit for a few days now then you will recognize that these are nico-lies! But also, your quit isn't guilty of all that has gone wrong since you quit, be it physical, mental, or emotional! So many people ask me if the quit caused them to have headaches, to overreact at work, or to become forgetful! The fact is this stuff happens whether we quit or not! But our addict mind is always searching for a "reason" why it's better to smoke than to quit: "I'm a nicer person when I smoke; I sleep better (or don't sleep as much) when I smoke; I'm more alert when I smoke; etc, etc, etc,...." Some of these phenomenon are temporary adjustments to becoming an Addiction FREE Person but no reason AT ALL to give in to the voices whose real purpose is simply to get my next fix!!! With time some will clear up as your body adjusts to the NEW non-smoking YOU! Others have absolutely nothing to do with the process - they just get generalized into the whole time line of how I experienced my quit! In other words, LIFE HAPPENS! But our junkie minds will twist anything to bring us back to our comfort zone! You have to basically find another solution to your problems than smoking! So the next time you hear that voice - redirect the question - I don't ask to smoke or not to smoke! The REAL Question is what can I do instead??? Look inside of you and find that inner Peace which doesn't rely on anyone or anything - especially not a dead leaf wrapped in paper and dipped in over 4000 chemicals! The Peace is in you and you can carry it anywhere you go under any circumstances!

  The most well known smoking induced COPD is emphysema.  This is another one of those diseases that primarily happen to smokers.  Over 90% of the cases are smoking induced.  There are cases in some families where there does seem to be a genetic predisposition, where non-smokers get it too.  This is from a rare condition, a lack of a blood enzyme called alpha1antitrypsin.  This again is rare, but if you do have family members who never smoked a day in their life get emphysema there may be a genetic tendency.  But again, over 90% of emphysema cases are simply caused by smoking.  Eradicate smoking and you eradicate the risk of the disease.
   
  To get a sense of how a lung is altered by smoking to cause emphysema look at the pictures below.  The first is a picture of an inflated non-smoker city dweller's lung.
   
   normlung2.jpg (24793 bytes)
   
  
     
  
   As in the normal picture of a lung above, you can see carbon deposits collected throughout from pollution effects.  But when contrasted with a smoker's lung with emphysema... 
  
     
  
     
  
    emphysema.jpg (19943 bytes)
  
     
  
   
    ...there is a very dramatic visible difference.  Not only is the discoloration the issue, but the lungs have literally been ripped out of shape making breathing extremely difficult and eventually impossible.  To get a sense of what it feels like to breathe with emphysema take a deep breath and hold it.  Without letting out any air, take another deep breath.  Hold that one too.  One more time, take one more breath.  Okay let it all out.  
   
       
   
    That second or third breath is what it feels like to breathe when you have advanced emphysema.  Emphysema is a disease where you cannot exhale air.  Everyone thinks that it is a disease where you cannot inhale but in fact it is the opposite.  When you smoke you destroy the lungs elasticity by destroying the tissue that pulls your lung back together after using muscles that allow us to inhale air.  So when it comes time to take your next breath it is that much more difficult, for your lungs could not get back to their original shape.  
   
       
   
    Imagine going through life having to struggle to breathe like those last two breaths I had you take.  Unfortunately, millions of people don't have to imagine it, they live it daily.  It is a miserable way to live and a slow painful way to die.  
   
       
   
    Hopefully when you breathe normally today you are not in pain and you are not on oxygen.  If you don't smoke you will continue to give yourself the ability to breathe longer and feel better.  Never lose sight of this fact.  To keep your ability to breathe better for the rest of your life always remember to - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!  
   
       
   
    - Joel  
  

Are you living with lung disease and concerned about the risk of chronic bronchitis? By educating yourself on the risk factors and taking steps to prevent its development, you may be able to avoid this chronic condition altogether.

According to Medical News Today, bronchitis is characterized by swelling and inflammation of the bronchi, which are the air tubes that connect your nose and lungs. Acute bronchitis is when a cold or viral infection brings on a cough, chest soreness and sometimes shortness of breath. The condition is temporary.

However, if you have chronic bronchitis, you’re living with lung disease continually. A mucus-producing cough affects you three months or more of the year, and you face breathing difficulties and other symptoms that return again and again.

Factors That Increase Your Risk

Even if you’re not living with lung disease, Medical News Today points out you might be at risk. You’re more likely to develop chronic bronchitis if you:

• Smoke: Smoking is associated with the overabundance of mucus that leads to chronic bronchitis.
• Are exposed to secondhand smoke: If you live in a home with smokers, your risk for developing chronic bronchitis could be almost as high as the smokers' risk.
• Have a weakened immune system: The very young and the elderly are more susceptible to bronchitis. Chronic lung disease is most common in seniors.
• Have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Sometimes called acid reflux, GERD affects more than half of people with chronic bronchitis, says Everyday Health
• Are exposed to chemical fumes: Ammonia, chlorine, strong acids, bromine, sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide are known to increase your risk for developing chronic bronchitis.
• Are exposed to certain air pollution: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) irritate the lungs. They originate from vehicle exhaust, tobacco smoke, wood-burning stoves, grills and burning coal.

Preventing Chronic Bronchitis

If you’re concerned these factors put you at greater risk for chronic bronchitis, Medical News Today recommends taking the following steps to prevent it:

      
  • Stop smoking
  •   
  • Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
  •   
  • Avoid people with a cold or the flu.
  •   
  • Talk to your doctor to determine if you should have annual flu and pneumonia vaccinations.
  •   
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  •   
  • Avoid areas with lots of air pollution.
  •   
  •  
   
   
  A small, easily implantable device called the Lung Volume Reduction Coil (LVRC) may play a key role in the treatment of two types of emphysema, according to a study conducted in Europe. Results of the study indicate the beneficial effects of the device persist more than a year after initial treatment. 
   
  The study was presented at the ATS 2013 International Conference. 
   
  "LVRC treatment results in significant and clinically relevant improvements in lung function, ability to exercise and quality of life for patients with emphysema," said Gaetan Deslee, MD, PhD, professor of respiratory medicine at the University Hospital of Reims, France. "Our study shows the device is effective in treating both homogeneous disease, where emphysema is distributed evenly throughout the lungs, and heterogeneous disease, where emphysema is isolated to specific areas of the lungs." 
  The coil works by gathering and compressing diseased lung tissue, allowing healthy tissue to function more efficiently. The device is implanted in a simple procedure which does not require a surgical incision. Patients typically are implanted with multiple devices in each affected lung, with each lung being treated in a separate procedure. 
   
  The study's researchers gathered and analyzed data from three nearly identical multicenter European studies that analyzed the safety and efficacy of LVRC treatment in 109 patients with severe emphysema who had received two separate coil treatments. In total, 2081 devices were implanted in 218 procedures. In addition, computed tomography (CT) scans were used to determine whether these patients had homogeneous or heterogeneous disease. 
   
  Follow-up data were gathered from each patient at six months and 12 months following the procedure on the second lung. To evaluate the effectiveness of the LVRC device, the studies used a validated quality of life survey designed for patients with obstructive airways disease and three other standard measures: the forced expiratory volume or FEV1, which measures the maximum amount of air that can be exhaled in one second; the residual volume or RV, which measures the volume of air remaining in the lungs after a maximal exhalation; and six-minute walking distance or 6WMD, which estimates a person's ability or capacity to exercise. 
   
  The study authors found that, at both six months and 12 months following the procedure, values for all four measurements were significantly improved. 
   
  "The results clearly demonstrate that a broad population of emphysema patients can achieve clinically and statistically significant improvements in quality of life, exercise capacity and lung function from treatment with LVRC, and that these improvements are sustained at one year from treatment," Dr. Deslee said. 
   
  There were few adverse events. Following 218 procedures, there were 13 exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), nine incidents of pneumonia and nine cases of pneumothorax (deflated lung); in addition, one patient developed a cough containing significant amounts of blood (haemoptysis). All of these events resolved with standard care. 
  A post-hoc analysis of 53 patients identified as having either homogeneous or heterogeneous disease showed the improvements from LVRC treatment were similar between the groups, an important finding since other minimally-invasive treatment methods have not shown sustained efficacy in the many patients who have diffuse patterns of emphysema, Dr. Deslee noted. 
   
  Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two primary forms of COPD, recognized worldwide as a major public health concern. 
   
  "Emphysema is a progressive disease and there is no known cure," Dr. Deslee said. "Because available drug and behavior-based therapies have only limited effectiveness in relieving the symptoms of the disease, researchers have pinned much hope on the emergence of new medical implants which seek to provide significant and lasting improvements in patients' lung function and ability to perform activities of daily living. To date, many of these technologies have come up short, and data on the sustained effectiveness of new technologies is scarce." 
   
  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently gave its approval for a clinical study evaluating the LVRC in emphysema patients, the first step in making the technology available to emphysema patients in the United States. The LVRC has also been selected by the French Ministry of Health for a national cost-effectiveness study, expected to lead to reimbursement of the treatment for emphysema patients in France. 
   
  "A minimally-invasive technology which proves to be effective in treating a large population of emphysema patients could potentially help patients to live healthier lives despite their emphysema," Dr. Deslee said. "Because the disease imposes such an enormous economic and social burden, rapid adoption of such a technology could change the paradigm of emphysema management, evolving the standard of care from today's drug and behavior-based methods to include routine use of treatment procedures to optimize and prolong a patient's overall health."
Thomas3.20.2010

Nicotine Addiction 101

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 12, 2013

Nicotine is the tobacco plant's natural protection from being eaten by insects. Its widespread use as a farm crop insecticide is now being blamed for killing honey bees. A super toxin, drop for drop it is more lethal than strychnine or diamondback rattlesnake venom and three times deadlier than arsenic. Yet amazingly, by chance, this natural insecticide's chemical signature is so similar to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine that once inside the brain it fits a host of chemical locks permitting it direct and indirect control over the flow of more than 200 neuro-chemicals, most importantly dopamine.

What Are Dopamine Pathways?

 

Brain dopamine pathways

Brain dopamine pathways

What is dopamine? It's hard to understand nicotine addiction, or any form of drug addiction for that matter, without a basic understanding of the brain's primary motivation neurotransmitter, dopamine. The brain's dopamine pathways serve as a built-in teacher. It uses a desire, yearning or wanting sensation to get our attention when it wants to pound home a survival lesson necessary to keep us humans alive and thriving.

Have you ever wondered why it's so hard to go without eating, to actually starve yourself to death, or for that matter, to die of thirst? Why do we seek acceptance by our peers, want companionship, and desire a mate or sexual relations? Why do we feel anxiety when bored and an "aaah" sense of relief when we complete a task?

Remember the very first time your parents praised you for keeping your coloring between the lines? Remember the "aaah" sensation? That was dopamine, the satisfaction of your wanting to succeed. The deep inner primitive brain (the limbic mind) is hard-wired, via dopamine pathways, to keep us drinking liquids, fed, together (there's "safety in numbers"), while achieving and reproducing.

When we feel hunger our dopamine pathways are being stimulated, teasing us with anticipation "wanting" for food. If kept waiting, the anticipation may build into urges or even full-blown craves. Each bite we eat further stimulates dopamine flow until stomach peptides at last tell the brain we're full and wanting becomes satisfied.

But our brain doesn't stop with simply creating and satisfying wanting associated with species survival events such as eating, drinking liquids, bonding, nurturing, accomplishment and sex. It makes sure that we don't forget them, that in the future we pay close attention to these activities.

The brain associates and records how each particular wanting was satisfied in the most durable, high-definition memory the mind may be capable of generating. It does so by hard-wiring dopamine pathway neuro-transmissions into our conscious memory banks (the prefrontal cortex), where each is linked to the event that satisfied dopamine pathway wanting, hunger and yearning.

Drug Addiction's Common Thread

Now ponder this. What would happen if, by chance, an external chemical existed that once introduced into the bloodstream was small enough to pass and cross through the blood/brain barrier (a protective filter), and once inside the brain were somehow able to activate and turn on our mind's dopamine pathway circuitry? Could that chemical hijack the mind's priorities teacher? If so, how long would it take before continuing chemical use resulted in the person becoming totally yet falsely convinced that using more of the chemical was as important as eating food?

The nicotine dependency feeding cycleHunger for food, hunger for nicotine. Food craves, nicotine craves. "Aaah" wanting satisfaction while taking bites, "aaah" wanting satisfaction while replenishing nicotine reserves. Welcome to the addict's world of nicotine normal, a world built on lies. For if we don't eat food we die, while if we stop using nicotine we thrive.

Clearly, I've vastly oversimplified an extremely complicated topic. While dopamine pathway stimulation is the common thread between chemical addictions (including cocaine, heroin, meth, nicotine and alcoholism), my simplified explanation does not explain why users initially continue using the drug prior to a growing pile of dopamine pathway high-definition use memories begging them to use more. Nor does it explain why most regular nicotine users get hooked but not all, or why quitting is often accompanied by withdrawal symptoms.

Although enhanced dopamine flow is associated with all chemical addictions, each chemical differs in how it triggers or enhances stimulation, how long stimulation lasts, and each chemical's ability to produce a different "high" sensation by interacting with other neuro-chemicals and pathways.

Aside from enhancing dopamine flow, nicotine is a legal central nervous system stimulant that activates the body's fight or flight response. This results in an alert stimulated high, which allows us nicotine addicts to feel different or even superior to illegal drug addicts who fill the world's prisons. This despite the fact that this year addiction to smoking nicotine is expected to kill 17 times as many Americans as all illegal drugs combined.

While nicotine stimulates the nervous system, alcohol has the opposite effect in actually depressing it and slowing normal brain function. Heroin's dopamine stimulation is accompanied by an endorphine high, resulting in a short yet intense numbing or analgesic effect. Cocaine's high is a sense of stimulated euphoria associated with delaying normal clean-up (re-uptake) of multiple neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin and nor-adrenaline), while methamphetamine is the maximum speed stimulant.Again, the common thread between each of these addictions is that the brain's dopamine pathways were taken hostage and left the drug addict totally yet falsely convinced that continuing drug use was important to their survival, that their drug gave them their edge, helped them cope and that life without it would be horrible.

What we nicotine addicts could not see was that our beliefs and thinking about that next fix were unworthy of belief. Once hooked it was too late. Dopamine pathway generated pay-attention memories were so vivid and durable that they quickly buried all remaining memory of life without nicotine. Gone were our pre-addiction memories of the calm, quiet and beauty of the mind we once called home.

It's why getting off of drugs is so difficult. It's why half of the smokers we see each day will eventually smoke themselves to death. While their friends and loved ones scream the insanity of their continued self-destruction, their brain dopamine pathways scream even louder that continuing drug use is as important as life itself. Who should they believe, their limbic mind's begging for that next fix, or the outside world's begging for them to stop?

Nicotine Dependency a Mental Illness and Permanent Disease

College student holds sign declaring addicted to smoking nicotineI'm sorry but there's simply no nice way to say this. Nicotine dependency, like alcoholism, is a real mental illness and disease. While able to fully and comfortably arrest our chemical addiction, there is no cure. It's permanent. Like alcoholism there's just one rule. Once we're free, just one, using just once and we have to go back. You see, it isn't a matter of how much willpower we have, but how the brain's priorities teacher teaches, how nerve and memory cell highways that recorded years of nicotine feedings have left each of us wired for relapse.

So why are some people social smokers able to take it or leave it, while the rest of us got hooked? Referred to as "chippers," they probably account for less than 10% of all smokers. Jealous? If so and still using don't worry, it's normal. That's what enslaved brains tend to dream about, to want to become like them, to control what for us is uncontrollable.

Being immune to addiction is believed to at least in part be related to genetics. But with up to 90% of daily users hooked solid, spending millions studying nicotine dependency genetics is almost laughable. Before feeling too sorry for yourself, imagine what it's like to be an alcoholic and forced to watch roughly 90% of drinkers do something that you yourself cannot, to turn and walk away. We only have to watch the 10% who are chippers.

Then again, we were each once chippers too, at least for our first couple of cigarettes or oral tobacco uses. There was no urge, desire, crave, hunger or wanting for those first couple of smokes. Nicotine stimulated our nervous system without our brain begging us to come back and do it again. There was no dopamine "aaah" relief sensation, as nothing was missing and nothing in need of replenishment. But that was about to change. Most of us became hooked while children or teens. What none of us knew prior to that first hit of nicotine was how extremely addictive smoking it was. Roughly 26% of us started losing control over continued smoking after just 3 to 4 cigarettes, rising to 44% after smoking 5 to 9.

What we didn't then know was that within ten seconds of that very first puff, that up to 50% of our brain's dopamine pathway acetylcholine receptors would become occupied by nicotine, or that prior to finishing that first cigarette that nicotine would saturate almost all of them.

Nicotinic receptor saturation

No one told us that once saturated, that continued smoking would cause our receptors to become de-sensitized, which would somehow cause our brain to grow or activate millions of extra receptors, a process known as up-regulation.

Every two hours the amount of nicotine remaining in our bloodstream declined by half (known as nicotine's elimination half-life). At some point in the process, continued stimulation, de-sensitization and up-regulation left our brain wanting and begging for more. An addiction was born as our brain was now wired to function with gradually increasing amounts of nicotine. Not only does nicotine stimulate the release of dopamine within ten seconds of a puff, smoking it suppresses MAO, a dopamine clean-up enzyme. Suppressing MAO allows wanting's satisfaction to linger far longer than a natural release, such as the short lived sensations felt when eating food or quenching thirst.

Battling nicotine dependencyOne cigarette per day, then two, then three, the longer we smoked nicotine, the more receptors that became saturated and desensitized, the more grown, and the more nicotine needed to satisfy resulting "want" for replenishment.

As America's leading drug addiction expert puts it, the NIDA's Dr. Nora Volkow, drug addiction is a disease where brain changes translate into an inability to control drug intake. These drug induced brain modifications then signal the brain with a message that's equivalent to "when you are starving," the signal to "seek food and eat it," that the drug is "necessary to survival," that dopamine pathways ensure "long-lasting memory of salient events."

Our priorities hijacked, our mental disorder having left us totally convinced that that next nicotine fix is as important as life itself, where do we turn once we awaken and realize that we've been fooled?

The Good News

The good news is that it's all a lie, that drug addiction is about living a lie. It's hard work being an actively feeding drug addict, and comfortable Yes you canagain being you. The good news is that knowledge is power, that we can each grow smarter than our addiction is strong, that full recovery is entirely do-able for all. In fact, today there are more ex-smokers in the U.S. than smokers.

While the first few days may feel like an emotional train wreck, beyond them, with each passing day the challenges grow fewer, generally less intense and shorter in duration. Recovery leads to a calm and quiet mind where addiction chatter and wanting gradually fade into rarity, where the ex-user begins going days, weeks or even months without once wanting for nicotine.

Recovery is good, not bad. It needs to be embraced not feared. The good news is that everything done while under nicotine's influence can be done as well or better without it.

"Our brain has tremendous capacity for recovery," says Dr. Volkow. But the addicted person "has to take responsibility that they have a disease."While no cure, there is only one rule that if followed provides a 100% guarantee of success in arresting it -- no nicotine today.

Successful Recovery

Each year, more successful ex-users quit cold turkey than by all other methods combined. Their common thread? No nicotine, just one hour, challenge and day at a time. The common element among all who relapsed? A puff of nicotine.

On a conscious level, roughly 70% of daily smokers want to stop. But few understand how and even fewer appreciate that they're dealing with a permanent priorities disorder and disease of the mind. Instead, they invent justifications and rationalizations to explain why they must smoke that next cigarette.

Subconsciously, you've established nicotine use cues. Those cues trigger urges or craves upon encountering a specific time, place, person, situation or emotion during which you've trained your mind to expect a new supply of nicotine. But the catalyst and foundation for both conscious rationalizations and subconscious conditioning is your underlying chemical dependency.

Trapped between nicotine's two-hour elimination half-life and a gradually escalating need to smoke harder or more, the dependent smoker faces five primary recovery hurdles: (1) appreciation for where they now find themselves, (2) reclaiming their hijacked dopamine pathways, (3) breaking and extinguishing smoking cues, (4) abandoning smoking rationalizations, and (5) relapse prevention.

The Law of Addiction

Most quitting literature suggests that it normally takes multiple failed quitting attempts before the user self-discovers the key to success. What they fail to tell you is the lesson eventually learned, or that it can be learned and mastered during the very first try.

Successful recovery isn't about strength or weakness. It's about a mental disorder where by chance our dopamine pathway receptors have eight times greater attraction to a nicotine molecule than to the receptor's own neurotransmitter. We call it the "Law of Addiction" and it states, "Administration of a drug to an addict will cause re-establishment of chemical dependence upon the addictive substance."

Never Take Another PuffRoughly half of relapsing quitters report thinking that they thought they could get away with using just once. The benefit of fully accepting that we have a true chemical dependency and permanent priorities disease can't be overstated. It greatly simplifies recovery's rules while helping protect against relapse.

Key to arresting our disease is obedience to one simple concept, that "one is too many and a thousand never enough." There was always only one rule, no nicotine just one hour, challenge and day at a time.

Navigating Withdrawal and Reclaiming Hijacked Dopamine Pathways

 

Like clockwork, constantly falling nicotine reserves soon had hostage dopamine pathways generating "want" for more. Sensing that "want" thousands of times per year, how could we not expect to equate quitting The body is nicotine free within 72 hoursto starving ourself to death? Again, the essence of drug addiction is about dependency quickly burying all memory of our pre-dependency self. The first step in coming home and again meeting the real us is emptying the body of nicotine.

It's surprisingly fast too. Cut by half every two hours, our mind and body become 100% nicotine-free within 72 hours of ending all use. Extraction complete, peak withdrawal now behind you, true healing can now begin. While receptor sensitivities are quickly restored, down-regulation of the number of receptors to levels seen in never-users may takeup to 21 days. But within two to three weeks your now arrested dependency is no longer doing the talking. You're beginning to sense the truth about where you've been.It's critical during early withdrawal to not skip meals, especially breakfast. Attempting to do so will likely cause blood sugar levels to plummet, making recovery far more challenging than need be.

As a stimulant, nicotine activates the body's fight or flight response, Drink natural fruit juice during recoveryfeeding the addict instant energy by pumping stored fats and sugars into the bloodstream. It allowed us to skip breakfast and/or lunch without experiencing low blood sugar symptoms such as feeling nervous or jittery, trembling, irritability, anxiousness, anger, confusion, difficulty thinking or an inability to concentrate. Eat little, healthy and often.

Also, heavy caffeine users need to know that (as strange as this sounds), nicotine doubles the rate by which caffeine is eliminated from the bloodstream. One cup of coffee, tea or one cola may now feel like two. While most caffeine users can handle a doubling of intake, consider a modest reduction of up to one-half if feeling anxious or irritable after using caffeine.

If your diet and health permit, drink some form of natural fruit juice for the first three days. Cranberry juice is excellent. It will aid in stabilizing blood sugar while accelerating removal of the alkaloid nicotine from your bloodstream.

One caution. While we need not give-up any activity except nicotine use, use extreme caution with early alcohol use as it is associated with roughly 50% of all relapses

.Extinguishing Use Conditioning

Embrace crave episodes don't fear themEmbrace recovery don't fear it. Why fear a temporary journey of re-adjustment that transports us to a point in time where we're going days, weeks and eventually months without wanting to use nicotine?

Each cue driven crave episode presents an opportunity to extinguish additional conditioning and reclaim another aspect of life. We may have trained our mind to expect nicotine during stressful events, when walking in the back yard, while 

driving a car, talking on the phone or upon encountering another user. Attempting these activities after stopping may generate a short yet possibly powerful crave episode.

Success in moving beyond each episode awards the new ex-user return of another slice of a nicotine-free life, a surprising sense of calm during crisis, return of their yard, car, phone or friends. But be sure and look at a clock during craves as cessation time distortion can combine with fear or even panic to make a less than 3 minute episode feel much longer.

Research suggests that the average quitter experiences a maximum of 6 crave episodes per day on the third day of recovery, declining to about 1.4 per day by day ten. If each crave is less than 3 minutes and the average quitter experiences a maximum of 6 on their most challenging day, can you handle 18 minutes of challenge?

quit smoking crave chart

But what if you're not average or normal. What if, instead, you've created twice as many nicotine use cues as the "average" addict? Can you handle 36 minutes of significant challenge if it means arresting your dependency, improving your mental and physical health and the prospect of a significant increase in life expectancy? Absolutely!

Abandonment of Use Rationalizations

Acceptance that drug addiction is a mental disorder and that we're just as addicted as the alcoholic, heroin or meth addict destroys the need for nicotine use rationalizations. Try this. List your top ten reasons for using. Now go back and cross off all the reasons except the truth, that hijacked pay attention pathways kept us wanting for more.

If a smoker, you didn't continue destroying your body's ability to receive and transport life giving oxygen because you wanted to. You did so because a rising tide of withdrawal anxieties would begin to hurt when you didn't.

Convenience store street cigarette ads in Columbia, South Carolina in 2008Contrary to convenience store tobacco marketing, we did not smoke for flavor or taste. In fact, there are zero taste buds inside human lungs. Contrary to hundreds of store "pleasure" signs, drug addiction isn't about seeking pleasure but about satisfying a brain "wanting" disorder.

Our mind's priorities disorder had most of us convinced that we liked or even loved smoking. But what basis did we have for making honest comparisons? Try hard to recall the calm inside your mind prior to getting hooked, going days, weeks and months without once having an urge or crave to smoke. You can't do it, can you? So what basis exists to make honest comparisons about liking the addicted you more than the free you? It isn't that we liked smoking but that we didn't like what happened when we didn't smoke, the onset of withdrawal.

Most of us convinced ourselves that we smoked to relieve stress when in reality our addiction intensified it. While nicotine is an alkaloid, stress, alcohol and vitamin C are each acid generating events that accelerate elimination of nicotine from the bloodstream. Stressful situations would often induce early withdrawal, forcing immediate nicotine replenishment. Replenishment's temporary silencing of our disease left us falsely convinced that smoking had relieved our stress, when all it had relieved was nicotine's absence and the onset of early withdrawal.Think about it. Once we finished tanking-up with a new supply of nicotine and had satisfied our dependency, the car's tire was still flat, or the bad news was still bad. One of the greatest recovery gifts of all is an amazing sense of calm during crisis, as we're no longer adding nicotine withdrawal atop every stressful event.

Probably the most destructive rationalization of all is pretending that all we suffer from is a nasty little habit, that like using a cuss word now and then, that we can smoke just once now and then after quitting and get away with it.

Why tease yourself? Willpower cannot stop smoked, chewed or sucked nicotine from arriving in the brain. Ask yourself, how many marathon runners have the endurance to run two marathons in a row? While we may walk away from one hit and relapse thinking we've gotten away with it, as sure as the sun rises in the sky our disease will soon be begging for more. We can no more take a hit than an alcoholic can take a sip.

"But now just isn't the right time," you say? Frankly, there will never be a perfect time to arrest mental illness. In fact, planning and putting it off until some future date actually breeds needless anticipation anxieties that diminish the odds of success. As backwards as this sounds, two recent studies, one in the UK and the other in the US, found that unplanned attempts are twice as successful as planned ones. The next few minutes are all within our ability to control and each is entirely do-able.

One concern Dr. Volkow hears is that by teaching users that they have a chemical addiction that's both a mental illness and disease, that some will use it as an excuse for avoiding responsibility in arresting it. But as she notes, does a person who's told that they have cancer or heart disease pretend helplessness, or do they instead fight to save and extend their life?

Nicotine dependency recovery can be the greatest personal awakening we've ever known. Destruction of needless fears allow us to savor the beauty unfolding before us. No longer afraid, we're able to notice our breathing improve and savor the richness delivered by rapidly healing taste buds. We discover that white flour and rain drops have smell. It's a clean, ash-free world where the oil on our skin isn't tar's but ours. Imagine the return of self respect, of being home and residing here on Easy Street with hundreds of millions of comfortable ex-users, of knowing it's a keeper, and never having to quit again.

Relapse Prevention

image"One day at a time" is a focus accomplishment skill. Why worry about how much of the mountain is left to climb or how far we could fall when all that matters is our grip upon here and now, the next few minutes? Combining the "Law of Addiction" with a "one day at a time" recovery philosophy is all that's needed to remain free and keep our mind's priorities disease arrested for life.

The greatest unsolved mystery is why after having successfully quit for 5, 10 or even 30 years, that it normally only takes a single lapse in judgment - using on just one occasion - to trigger full and complete relapse. To quote from a study released on May 16, 2011, "Nearly all smokers who lapse experience a full-blown relapse."

What makes our disease permanent? Did years of using somehow burn or etch permanent dependency tracks into our brain? Does new nicotine somehow turn on our addiction switch? Once the brain restores natural receptor counts (down-regulates), is some record kept of how many receptors there once were? Or, does one powerful hit of nicotine simply awaken thousands of old memories of an addict having satisfied "wanting" for more?

Frankly, science doesn't yet know. What it does know is that it's impossible to fail so long as all nicotine remains on the outside. There was always only one rule, no nicotine, just one hour, challenge and day at a time. The next few minutes are yours to command and each is entirely do-able. Baby steps to glory. Yes you can!

In your mind, see and treat that first hit of nicotine as if the survival rate is zero. None of us are stronger than nicotine. But then we don't need to be as it is simply a chemical with an I.Q. of zero. It cannot plot, plan or conspire, and contrary to the teachings of the UK's leading cessation educator (whose lessons are otherwise high quality), there is no demon or monster dwelling within us. Our most effective weapon against nicotine is and always has been our vastly superior intelligence, but only if put to work.Nicotine Replacement Products

The key to nicotine dependency recovery is not in dragging out the up to 72 hours of natural detox by toying for weeks or months with gradual nicotine weaning schemes or other creative means to chemically stimulate brain dopamine circuitry. The nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) industry want smokers to believe that a natural poison is medicine, that its use is therapy, and that it is somehow different from the tobacco plant's nicotine molecule.

Truth is, the pharmaceutical industry buys its nicotiana from the exact same growers as the tobacco industry. They want us to believe that double-blind placebo controlled studies proved that NRT doubles a cold turkey quitter's odds of quitting and that only superheros can quit without it. Truth is, their studies were not blind as claimed, and did not involve quitters who wanted to quit cold turkey. Truth is that once again this year, out here in the real world, that more ex-users will quit cold turkey than all other quitting methods combined.

Here are a few facts that those selling creative nicotine delivery devices would rather you not know:

Placebo controlled NRT, Zyban, Chantix and NicVax clinical studies were not blind as claimed and thus have no foundation in science. Think about it. You cannot hide the presence or absence of withdrawal from users with significant quitting histories, who have become experts at knowing exactly how withdrawal feels. A 2004 review found that NRT studies suffered from wide-spread blinding failures (May 2004). A 2009 study by the inventor of the nicotine patch found that 4 times as many study participants randomly assigned to wear the placebo nicotine patch correctly determined their group assignment as guessed wrong. Placebo controlled quitting product clinical trials do not measure "efficacy," but frustrations.

A nicotine smoker's natural odds of quitting for six months, entirely on their own, without any products, procedures, education programs, counseling or formal support is roughly 10% (June 2000).

Those using the over-the-counter (OTC) nicotine patch or gum as a stand-alone quitting product have about a 7% chance of quitting smoking for six months (March 2003).

Up to 6.7% of OTC nicotine gum quitters are still chronic users of nicotine gum at six months (November 2003). The math makes you wonder if any gum users actually break free from nicotine while chewing it (May 2004).

36.6% of all current nicotine gum users are chronic long-term users (May 2004).

Studies suggest that you truly would have to be a superhero to quit while using the nicotine patch if you'd already attempted using it once and relapsed. The only two patch user "recycling" studies ever conducted both show that nearly 100% of second-time nicotine patch users relapse to smoking nicotine within six months (April 1993 and August 1995, see Table 3).

The vast majority of long-term ex-smokers quit entirely on their own without resort to any product, procedure or program of any kind including hypnosis, Zyban, Chantix, Champix, acupuncture, magic herbs, laser therapy, or the nicotine patch, gum, lozenge, spray, or inhaler.

The only long-term competition between the nicotine patch and Chantix/Champix produced a statistical draw in the actual percentage of participants still not smoking at both six months and one year (February 2008). If so, why risk serious injury or death using Chantix or Champix? Here in the U.S., as of May 19, 2011 the Food and Drug Administration had received 272 reports of completed suicides by Chantix users, Chantix was ranked first among all prescription drugs in reported deaths (more than twice any other drug), and the total number of U.S. reported adverse drug events of all severity surpassed 35,000, with roughly 10,000 of those being serious, disabling or fatal.

Education, understanding, new skills and some form of ongoing quality support can easily triple your odds of success.

Those who refuse to allow any nicotine back into their bloodstream have 100% odds of remaining nicotine free today! (Today, Tomorrow & Always!).

Education Is a Quitting Method

Is it possible to become so educated and motivated that the deep inner mind no longer sees ending nicotine use as a threat, so much so that the body's emotional fight or flight anxiety alarms hardly ever get sounded? Roughly half of quitters report that recovery was far easier than expected. Is it possible to so embrace coming home that fears evaporate and it feels like a cake-walk?

Did you know that unplanned attempts, which avoid accumulation of self-induced fears, are up to 2.6 times as effective as planned attempts?

Why wait! Watch or listen to WhyQuit's free counseling sesssions or grab one of our free quitting ebooks and jump in the pool. The next few minutes are all that matter and each is entirely doable. It may not always be easy but it is simple. There was always only one rule ... no nicotine today!

 

John R. Polito

Those living with chronic lung disease are no strangers to the doctor’s office. That’s because many of those with chronic lung disease have not one, not two, but three doctors: an internist or family practice physician, a pulmonologist and a respiratory therapist. With all those appointments under your belt, you likely have a good feel for what you want and expect from your physicians.

That’s how the members of a Cleveland Better Breathers Club said they felt at an August meeting. At the meeting, four Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine students engaged in an open discussion, hoping to garner positive and negative experiences those with lung disease have had with their physicians. The idea was that these students would use the information to become more informed, compassionate physicians in the future.

The blog “Living with Chronic Lung Disease: What Patients Want from Physicians,” discussed three key traits those at the meeting said they look for in their physicians. Here, you’ll see three additional traits to look for in your physician.

 

Thoroughness

To earn their doctorate, medical students diligently study terminology, procedures, treatments and more for years. To become certified in a particular field of medicine, physicians undergo testing. And to become recertified, they must undergo continued education and testing. Therefore, patients can assume physicians are well versed in the language of medicine.

However, unless you work in the medical field, you are likely not familiar with the intricacies of your chronic lung disease. That’s why attendee Pat said thoroughness is a key trait she looks for in her physicians. “Don’t assume a patient has been warned about side effects,” she told the students. “Not one physician told me COPD was a possible side effect of a collapsed lung.”

Attendee Aquilla shared how her physician exceeds her expectations when it comes to being thorough: “He’ll always tell me how what I have relates to breathing. He’ll get a chart out and show me how this affects this and this affects this. The reason I like him is because he explains everything to me. When I leave, I don’t have any questions.”

Empathy

While those with chronic lung disease want a physician who is straightforward with the seriousness of their condition, they also want a physician who sympathizes with their situation, especially if they’re facing other health concerns.

“My doctor wants to know about my ovarian cancer. He always wants to know how I’m doing,” Aquilla said. “He follows my case, and he calls me every so often to see how I’m doing.”

She continued, “When I had my operation, my doctor told me I was going to have depression. He told me, ‘If you don’t go to see a therapist, contact me.’ He gave me his home phone number, his cell phone number and his email address.”

Desire to Go Above and Beyond

Everyone has experienced the frustration of filling out medical forms upon medical forms when arriving at the doctor’s office only to be asked nearly identical questions by the doctor when entering the exam room. That’s why attendee Joyce advised the students to go above and beyond with patients in their professions. “When a patient comes in, look at the clipboard and say, ‘I have the information here, but tell me what’s going on in your own words,’” she told them.

Attendee Judith, who has Pulmonary Fibrosis, says she looks for a doctor who will do everything he or she can to answer her questions and accommodate her active lifestyle, which includes flying with oxygen. “Although I’ve met some wonderful nurses and doctors, I’ve had a bad experience with one doctor. I was told I’m not allowed to call and talk to his office anymore because I ask too many questions,” she said. ““Don’t diagnose and be done,” she advised the students.

They may be safer, but they also threaten to upend decades of anti-smoking efforts

1. “We’re Big Tobacco in disguise.”

When electronic cigarettes first debuted in the U.S. about five years ago, they seemed like a threat to the old-fashioned cigarette industry. The battery-powered devices, which turn nicotine-laced liquid into vapor, promised a less harmful and more socially acceptable alternative to combustible paper-and-tar cigarettes — and they were cheaper, not being subject to hefty tobacco taxes. Already, the underdog industry is on track to hit nearly $2 billion in sales for 2013, tripling its 2012 figures, says Wells Fargoanalyst Bonnie Herzog. And although the market for traditional cigarettes is still far bigger — topping $80 billion — Herzog predicts that e-cigarettes could surpass old-fashioned smokes in popularity within a decade. But Big Tobacco brooks no challenge. The Big 3 — Altria Group MO -0.13%  , Reynolds American RAI +0.13%  , and LorillardLO +0.49%  — have all begun making their own foray into e-cigarettes in the past two years, a main reason why Herzog says she is “very bullish” on the tobacco stocks.

Not everyone thinks that’s such a good thing. “It’s a new product with the same tobacco industry and the same tobacco-industry tactics to get people to try them,” says Erika Seward, assistant vice president for national advocacy at the American Lung Association. Indeed, e-cigarettes are such a hit, some worry that Americans will get hooked before all the risks are known — much as happened with regular cigarettes. “They’re certainly taking a page out of Big Tobacco’s playbook,” Seward says. Big 3 companies, however, say their only target customers are adults who already smoke, and they support more scientific studies on e-cigarettes. Altria, the manufacturer of Marlboros and the largest of the tobacco companies, for one, says its own research shows that 50% of adult smokers are interested in “innovative types of tobacco products” (such as e-cigarettes, which vaporize tobacco-derived nicotine). The company is exploring how to best meet their needs, says spokesperson Brian May: “Time will tell.”

But even e-cig proponents object to Big Tobacco’s involvement, though from a different perspective: “It’s not helpful to the acceptance of e-cigarettes by the public health community,” says Charles Connor, former president and CEO of the American Lung Association who is consulting with the Electronic Cigarette Industry Group (ECIG), a trade association representing e-cig makers. “It’s an optics problem for sure, and it will certainly raise a lot of caution flags among those who have to promulgate regulations.” The second largest of the Big 3, Camel cigarette makerReynolds American, however, says it, along with its vapor subsidiary, “are leading the transformation of the tobacco industry,” producing high-quality e-cigarettes “while also meeting societal expectations,” according to spokesperson David Howard, Adds ECIG president Eric Criss, “We don’t want to be anything like the bad old tobacco industry — in our product, or in our sales and marketing. Our goal is complete transparency. We’re not interested in sugar coating things.”

2. “We can’t promise this won’t kill you.”

Anti-smoking advocates and public-health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alike concede that e-cigarettes have fewer toxins than regular cigarettes and none of the tar. But that’s no guarantee e-cigs won’t give you cancer or kill you the way tobacco-burning cigarettes are known to do. While traditional smoke carries nearly 5,000 chemicals, more than 50 of which are carcinogens, e-cigarette vapor appears to have far fewer deadly toxins, says Michael Fiore, a physician and director of the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention. Still, a relatively small study of two leading brands of e-cigarettes, the Food and Drug Administrationfound carcinogens in half of the 18 samples it tested, and one sample contained small amounts of a toxic chemical found in antifreeze. Researchers at the University of California–Riverside recently found that “many of the elements” in e-cig vapor “are known to cause respiratory distress and disease,” and in some cases emitted higher concentrations of the elements than cigarette smoke produced.

E-cigarette proponents say the trace levels of toxins are unlikely to be dangerous, but Altria and Reynolds American say they don’t make any health claims about their electronic products, pointing out that the FDA has not ruled any tobacco product less risky than another. Both sides agree that more research is needed on the devices — as well as their secondhand effects. Until then, the industry will only go so far as to say the products are “less harmful” than traditional smokes: “It’s better than a cigarette,” says Criss.

“Are they safer than combustible tobacco? Without a question, yes. Are they 100% safe? I don’t think anyone can say that,” Fiore says. Even the implication that e-cigarettes are a little safer puts some health experts on edge, since companies in the 1970s marketed “lite” and “low-tar” cigarettes as a healthier option, only to learn later that they were equally toxic and deadly. “We don’t need another ‘lite, low-tar’ debacle in the United States,” Seward says.

3. “You didn’t quit smoking.You just think you did.”

Rob Fontano, the owner of an e-cigarette retailer Fort Myers, Fla., says e-cigarettes helped him quit smoking actual cigarettes “cold turkey,” after he’d tried nicotine patches, gum, and prescription Chantix without success. He even says his skin now looks healthier and he can breathe easier at the gym. But his version of “cold turkey” still includes e-cigarettes— which neither anti-smoking advocates nor tobacco companies would call quitting. After all, e-cigarettes contain nicotine, and therefore could keep people hooked on the powerfully addictive drug, Fiore says. Worse, they could increase a smoker’s habit if the person used e-cigarettes in places where they aren’t allowed to smoke — or reactivate the addiction in someone who had successfully quit cigarettes.“Once you provide a means for current smokers to maintain their nicotine addiction when they might otherwise think about quitting, you run the risk of continued and substantial use of deadly combustible tobacco,” Fiore says.

Still, e-cig users and advocates say that smoking cessation is one of the devices’ biggest selling points. A Gallup survey of former smokers in July found that 3% credited electronic cigarettes with helping them quit, compared with 2% who cited prescription drugs and 1% who used nicotine gum. (The rest cited everything from willpower to hypnosis.) Some research has tentatively supported e-cigs for smoking cessation: A recent New Zealand study of smokers attempting to quit found that more than 7% of those aided by e-cigarettes had successfully quit six months later, as had nearly 6% of those using nicotine patches. “The research that exists so far indicates that we might be on to something,” says Connor, the Lung Association president-turned-e-cigarette consultant. “My own personal view is that these will be the game-changers that finally get the smoking rate down below 20%.”

But e-cigarette makers don’t outright advertise that their products help people quit smoking — because they aren’t FDA-approved as a smoking-cessation product.“If a tobacco product consumer is concerned about the health effects from tobacco products, the best thing that they can do is quit,” says May of Altria. People who want to quit smoking can go to smokefree.com to learn about the seven treatments FDA-approved to help, or call 1-800-QUITNOW for counseling.

4. “We’re advertising like it’s 1960 — while we still can.”

E-cigarettes have so far evaded many of the restrictions that tobacco cigarettes are subject to: You won’t see a Surgeon General’s warning on e-cig packages, for instance. You will see them advertised on TV, from which cigarette ads have been banned since 1971. And you’ll see them promoted by celebrities — another no-no for cigarette marketers.

Indeed, there are now an estimated 250 brands of e-cigarettes sold in stores and online, and virtually no federal regulations on them. Some state regulators have sued e-cigarette brands over misleading advertising, so companies stop short of making health or smoking cessation claims, which the FDA would have to verify. “Many of these are mom-and-pop businesses, many of them are in China, and we really don’t know what’s in them or what sort of quality-control measures are used,” Fiore says. “It’s the wild, wild West out there.”

The FDA plans to issue new rules soon, however, and state lawmakers have tried to improvise a few of their own. Public health experts say the industry has run wild in the meantime, and is getting away with behavior that would not be tolerated from traditional tobacco, including glamorous marketing, failing to list ingredients and selling to kids. Even flash-sale sites like LivingSocial have offered deals on e-cigs. (Amazon, however, prohibits sales of them.) “It’s concerning to me that it has gone forward with no regulation, no restrictions and really no oversight,” says Sheelah Feinberg, executive director of the New York City Coalition for a Smoke-Free City, a non-profit. “There are trucks that just stop in neighborhoods and hand out free e-cigarettes, and they’re not necessarily doing an ID check when they hand them out.”

E-cigarette industry representatives, for their part, say they are just as eager for government watchdogs, as “reasonable regulation” can “protect adult tobacco smokers” with “sound science” about the risks of e-cigarettes relative to conventional cigarettes, Altria’s May says.

5. “We defy categorization.”

The e-cigarette industry says it welcomes regulation, but it’s also shown some ambivalence: On the one hand, it doesn’t want to be grouped with cigarettes and tobacco, because that would entail restrictions on who can buy them and how they can be advertised and because it has staked its success on being an alternative to those products. On the other hand, it doesn’t want to put its product on the shelf until it can be proven safe enough to get its own category. The industry would have to go through years of trials and FDA approval as a drug or drug-delivery device, effectively taking e-cigs off the market entirely, says Criss, the head of the the ECIG trade group. “I don’t really feel that it’s a tobacco product,” he says, “that’s maybe a compromise position that we maybe don’t think of as ideal.” (Altria, however, says its e-cigarette meets the definition of a tobacco product.)

So far, e-cigarettes have managed to dodge being categorized as cigarettes or tobacco. And two e-cigarette brands, NJOY and Smoking Everywhere, successfully sued when the FDA tried to regulate electronic cigarettes as drug-delivery devices, blocking the FDA’s restrictions. But the lack of categorization probably won’t last much longer: The FDA is expected to issue long-awaited rules regulating e-cigs as a tobacco product later this fall.

6. “We look like cigarettes, but please don’t tax us like cigarettes.”

E-cigarettes’ biggest advantage over traditional cigarettes is their price, market analysts say. Regular cigarettes carry high excise taxes of up to about 50% of their retail price; e-cigarettes, for the most part, are currently only subject to sales tax, says Wells Fargotobacco analyst Herzog.

The price of an e-cigarette, meanwhile, is hard to compare with that of a regular cigarette, as the electronic devices are sold to be either disposable or refillable and rechargeable. But assuming that it takes 1.25 e-cigarettes (or cartridges) to deliver the nicotine in a pack of cigarettes, and the average e-cigarette costs about $7, Herzog estimatesthat e-cigarettes are nearly 8% cheaper than cigarettes.“E-cigs are definitely more affordable than conventional cigarettes,” she says, adding that e-cigarettes’ price per usage falls with greater consumption.

Government regulation, however, and accompanying taxes are likely to increase prices, which could erode the price advantage very quickly. The industry, of course, opposes heavy taxes, arguing that making e-cigarettes more expensive could deter smokers from switching to something potentially better for their health. ““If you’re taxing combustible cigarettes because of the need to offset higher health care costs that’s one thing, but if there’s no higher health care costs because of e-cigs, that’s harder to justify,” Herzog says. Reynolds American adds that because its Vuse e-cigarette “is not a cigarette, and does not contain any tobacco, we do not believe it should be taxed the same as cigarettes,” Howard says. Herzog nonetheless predicts that e-cigarettes will be taxed 5% of their retail price next year, 10% by 2015 and 20% by 2019.

7. “Kids love us.”

If there’s one thing that the e-cigarette industry and the public health community agree on, it’s that e-cigarettes are not for children. Kids, on the other hand, seem to disagree, judging by the surging interest in e-cigs among adolescents and teens. The proportion of middle-school and high-school kids who have used e-cigarettes doubled to nearly 7%, or almost 2 million students, between 2011 and 2012, according to a recent report by the CDC. What’s more, “there’s a substantial concern that e-cigarettes will serve as a gateway product to nicotine addiction for a new generation of young people,” Fiore says. Indeed, more than 76% of students currently using e-cigarettes also reported smoking regular cigarettes. (E-cigarette defenders say the statistic can be interpreted the opposite way, too, illustrating that students who already smoked are switching to e-cigs.)

A crackdown on the way e-cigarettes are designed, marketed and sold is sorely needed, say critics. Flavored e-cigarettes, with labels touting flavors like gummy bear, fruit loop and cotton candy, are particularly offensive—especially since the FDA forbids regular cigarettes from being flavored, says Feinberg. (The e-cigarette industry says it wants to keep the products out of children’s hands, and people should only be able to buy them after showing they are of legal age. Altria and Reynolds American add that their e-cigs, like cigarettes, only come in regular and menthol.) Other chief complaints include e-cigarette ads in music magazines and celebrity endorsements in pop-culture tabloids. “We’re concerned that our youth is going to grow up thinking e-cigarettes are cool and they’re going to get addicted to nicotine,” Feinberg says.

Until the FDA sets age restrictions on e-cigarettes, children will continue to be able to buy them in many states without being carded, though some local lawmakers have enacted their own rules. Massachusetts State Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez (D), for one, is advancing a bill to prohibit sales to minors. “Right now my 7-year-old could go to the convenience store and literally take it off the shelf and buy it, and the store owner could sell it to them,” he says.

8. “We’re bringing smoking back inside…”

As new bans have pushed cigarette smokers ever further out into the cold — often as far as 25 feet from the entrance of restaurants, bars, and even outdoor spaces like parks and beaches — e-cigarettes have found a haven indoors. The devices, which emit vapor that is less noticeable and odorous than smoke, and don’t use a flame or smoldering butts that could pose a fire hazard, have largely been tolerated if not fully welcomed in places where smoking is banned, including workplaces. Some e-cigarette users reportedly even took drags while attending a recent New York City council meeting about raising the purchasing age of cigarettes as well as e-cigs. Indeed, part of the allure of e-cigarettes is that people can use them discreetly, without having to brave the cold or stink up their home, says Herzog: “There are a lot of smoking bans, and it’s easier to use these in many places that are difficult to smoke. There’s no real smell.”

Anti-smoking advocates, however, argue that observers can’t tell the difference between electronic cigarettes and the real thing. Inviting e-cigs into no-smoking zones threatens to undo public-health progress in making tobacco taboo, says Feinberg of the NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City. Some policymakers have recently stomped out e-cigarettes, applying smoke-free laws to e-cigs, too, and Amtrak prohibits them in stations and trains. The University of California, where researchers recently called for more studies on e-cigs’ impact on bystanders after finding that e-cig vapor released higher concentrations of some disease-causing elements also produced by cigarette smoke, has banned both products at all of its campuses.

Electronic cigarette makers, however, oppose banning them anywhere but schools, playgrounds and child-care facilities, saying the devices emit vapor, not smoke. Still, research on the secondhand risks of vapor is scant, and Altria’s May says the company supports restrictions in cramped, enclosed spaces — such as a packed subway car or elevator: “In small confined places, people might not want to be around the vapor; people might find it inappropriate.”

9. “… and back into aircraft.”

Lately, airlines have had to chastise not just passengers, but their own flight attendants for smoking — er, “vaping”— e-cigarettes on planes. After the flight attendants union for a regional branch of US Airways realized over the summer “that there are some crewmembers that are using electronic cigarettes on the aircraft,” it reminded members that the Department of Transportation’s blanket ban on airplane smoking also applies to e-cigarettes. The DOT, however, acknowledges that its current ban, which does not explicitly prohibit e-cigs, hasn’t been clear enough, with travelers and even flight staff using the devices openly in their seats, or in the airplane bathrooms. “This issue does come up occasionally and when it happens, a flight attendant will inform the passenger of current regulations to clear up any confusion,” and “that there is no-smoking of any kind in the aircraft,” says Corey Caldwell, spokesperson for the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, a national union. (The Federal Aviation Administration finally approved the use of portable electronic devices like tablets and cellphones on airplanes, but the new policy, announced in October, doesn’t sanction puffing electronic cigarettes on planes.)

The DOT plans to issue new rules prohibiting using e-cigarettes on planes by mid-2014, and many airlines have specifically banned them. In the meantime e-cigarette proponents disagree about whether it’s okay to vape on planes — and some say they’ve been able to get away with it anyway, and don’t see a problem, as the battery-powered devices can’t start a fire. Caldwell, however, says it’s important to minimize any potential health risks for fellow passengers as well as the flight crew: “Right now the biggest question is, what are the effects of use?”

10. “E-joints and e-crackpipes are the new e-cig.”

The season premiere of Saturday Night Live in September included a mock commercial for “e-meth.” The skit parodied some of the arguments championing e-cigarettes, only instead of a nicotine substance, the devices supposedly contained the illegal drug crystal meth: “It produces vapor instead of smoke. And that means I can ride the ice pony anywhere I want,” said one actor. “Thanks to e-meth, I can now even smoke inside my favorite restaurant.”

The spoof was funny because it seemed outrageous, but e-cigarette experts say that using the devices to vaporize illegal drugs isn’t so farfetched after all. Some users say e-cigarettes can easily vaporize a liquid form of marijuana (now legal for medical uses in almost half of the country), and health advocates worry that it’s nearly impossible to tell what people are inhaling from the devices. “It sure concerns me that there are new methods to deliver illegal substances particularly to young people,” Fiore says, citing reports that the products could not only contain marijuana, but even crack cocaine. Industry spokesmen say they don’t endorse using e-cigarettes beyond their intended purposes; Reynolds American’s e-cig won’t work with anything other than its own vapor cartridge, and Altria has no plans to sell marijuana-based products. But a few companies are marketing devices for whichever substance their customers prefer, whether or not it’s legal. The $10 mCig, for one, is billed as the “cheapest eCig on the market that allows for heating of a variety of plant materials.” The eponymous company, trading over-the-counter as MCIG, is based in Washington state (which recently legalized pot), and says it is betting on two trends “sweeping the globe”—the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana, and the adoption of electronic cigarettes by the more than 1 billion smokers around the world. 

 

[Thomas: Is a little cyanide better than a lot of cyanide?]

I simply don't understand this safe-r language being used even by professionals that should know better! Balogna!

1. I am learning to understand the importance of forgiving myself for smoking.

Living in a state of being unable to forgive myself requires a lot of energy. I was constantly chewed up by fear of my vulnerability, burning with anger at myself and  with  guilt, and living with the constancy of sadness, hurt, and self-blame. Vulnerabilty terrifies me! But this energy deserves to be put to better use, so that my creativity and abilities are fed, not my negativity. Forgiveness also allows me to live in the present instead of the past, which means that I can move into the future with a renewed sense of purpose focused on change, improvement, and building on experience rather than being held back by past hurts and damage that cannot be healed.

I was afraid to forgive myself because I feared losing my sense of self that has been built on the back of self-anger, resentment, and vulnerability. But I asked  myself if that  angry, easily hurt and reactive person is the identity I choose to show the world and live with. Is the security of this mode of thinking worth the effort and harm it is causing me? I know that it is better to have a small time of insecurity as I find my way again than to continue a lifetime bogged down in self-loathing.

Now I see forgiveness in a positive light. I allow myself to experience strong feelings such as resentment and anger, but I view it as the chance to feel strong positive feelings, such as joy, generosity, and faith in my true self. Switching it to thinking about what I have  gained rather than what I have lost has the benefit of keeping me positive while minimizing the negative emotions.

2. I take into account the challenges raised by not forgiving myself. 

Not only do I allow myself to remain stuck in the past, but not forgiving myself takes a huge toll on my emotional and physical health. Inability to forgive is sourced from anger and resentment, two emotions that can wreak havoc with my health. Isn't that just another way to create more damage with my own behavior and attitudes?

I know that forgiving doesn't equate with forgetting [Thank You, Dash, for coining the phrase Never Ever Forget N.E.F.!] I am  learning by experience and  guided by that experience in all aspects of my life. It's about leaving aside the resentment and self-inflicted berating that comes with remembering - taking away the sting!

3.Accepting  my emotions. 

Part of the struggle is often being unable to accept that I am experiencing such emotions as anger, fear, resentment, and vulnerability. Instead of trying to avoid facing these negative emotions, I accept them as part of what is fueling my lack of self-forgiveness and self-respect. A problem named is a problem ready to be tackled. This is particularly a huge challenge for men in our society. 

4.I reflect on why I'm  trying to hold myself to a higher standard than anyone else around me.

 Perfectionism  causes me to hold too high a standard for my own behavior, a standard that I wouldn't hold anyone else to. And if my perfectionism causes me to be too hard on myself, I am caught in a situation where self-forgiveness is very hard to do because it seems like acceptance of a sub-standard Thomas. But  I can remove myself from this vicious cycle of thinking by  "welcoming imperfection". Welcoming imperfection is the way to accomplish what perfectionism promises but never delivers. It allows me to accept that all human beings are imperfect, and I am human, and imperfect too, and My Creator LOVES me just as I am!

5.I let go of other people's expectations for me. When I get stuck in a spiral of self-hate and never feeling good enough because of things that were once said to me, self-forgiveness is essential. I have no control over what other people do and say, and many things are said and done unconsciously, often motivated by the other person's own shortcomings. But living my life in self-loathing because I don't feel I live up to someone else's expectations is based on making too much of another person's mixed-up feelings. I forgive myself for trying to live a life according to other's expectations and am making the changes needed to follow my own purpose instead.

For every person who has been hard on me,I must remember that someone was hard on them. I am breaking the chain of harshness by being kind to myself, not trying to live up to someone else's expectations for me.

Whenever someone criticizes me unfairly, I realize that they have just made it that much harder for themselves if they make a mistake or fail to fulfill their own perfectionist ideas. I occasionally reflect where I've come from and why I no longer want to live that way.

6.I have  stopped punishing myself.

 I have frequently misunderstood that forgiveness equates with forgetting or condoning. This misunderstanding has at times led me to feel that it is not right to forgive myself because in the process of doing so, it's akin to an act of forgetting or condoning the past wrong. But forgiveness is a process of mindfulness in which I continue to remember what happened and don't condone something that was "wrong" as suddenly "right". It's a process of letting go of the damage that's still being done by holding on to the emotions surrounding the poor choice that was made.

It's perfectly fine to say: "I am not proud of what I've done (or how I've devalued myself) but I'm moving on for the sake of my health, my well-being, and those around me." Affirming this is healthy and allows me to break the cycle of self-harm I've fallen into because I openly acknowledge what was wrong and the intention to set it right from now on.

7. I practice self-acceptance.

 I don't need forgiveness for being me. Forgiving myself is about targeting the specific things that I feel bad about, not about the person that I AM. As a forgiveness technique, self-acceptance allows me to acknowledge that I'm a good person, faults and all. It doesn't mean that I ignore the faults or stop trying to improve myself but it does mean that I value myself above those elements and cease to allow my faults to halt my progression in life.

8. I think about and plan what will improve in my life if I can release myself.

Then I bring my plan into fruition. As part of forgiving myself, it's  not enough to simply resolve to forgive myself. Doing things to confirm the forgiveness process will help me to realize my self-forgiveness and to give me a new sense of purpose. Some of the things I have done include:

Taking up meditation.

 Meditation is an ideal way to find inner quiet, spiritual, self-realization, and physical relaxation. It  allows me to take time out, to tune into and appreciate the moment, and to get in touch with my inner self. Done regularly, meditation  improves my well-being and sense of self.

Affirm my self-worth.

Whenever the negative thoughts reappear, I make the time out signal with my hands and then I remind myself regularly that I am a valued and beautiful person and say simply: "I forgive myself" or "I will no longer let anger eat away at me", 

Keep a journal.

 I write down my journey to forgiveness. Having the writing space to share my thoughts and feelings with, one that nobody else will ever read, is a liberating and self-enlightening way to breaking through negative approaches to my life.

 Draw strength from the  teachings of the Holy Scriptures to support me.

 The Scriptures are full of imperfect people who were close to their Creator - not because of perfection - because of LOVE and Forgiveness. In fact, the only perfect person in the Scriptures is My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

9. I see forgiveness as a journey, not a destination.

Forgiveness is an ongoing process and I recognize  that I'll have my up days and my down days, as with most feelings and experiences in life. I sometimes have felt that I've reached a point of forgiveness, only to have something  - a bad breathing day or a COPD exacerbation -  that causes me to feel it was all a wasted effort and that I'm back to square one, angry and annoyed with myself. So I let the back sliding  happen and see it as a minor setback in an otherwise more forgiving self. In addition, I realize that forgiveness has no timetable; instead, I  do my best to prepare myself for the process once more, drawing on my experience of healing, knowing that by entering the process I will  this time as well,  no matter how big it seems at this moment,  repair and heal  and  begin again.

My name is Thomas and, after being an off and on closet smoker for 20 years, I was diagnosed with COPD and quit 6 days later. I have been happily free for 3 Years, 7 Months, 3 Weeks, 19hours, 11 minutes and 10 seconds (1332 days). I have saved $1997.70 by not smoking 13,318 cigarettes. I have saved countless days of my life and unknown suffering. My Quit Date: 3/20/10 and I have promised myself to forgive myself for the damage I have caused me. my family, my friends, my life and to never smoke again no matter what! N.O.P.E.!

If you think that your COPD is too far gone then you are mistaken! There's no such thing! As Jon Kabat-Zinn says, "As long as you are breathing, there's more right with you than wrong with you!" That's a powerful statement! 

Even people with 30 FEV1% can have a long, fulfilling life - BUT they have to make some lifestyle choices! That's a given! The only way any of us can treat COPD is by QUITTING SMOKING for Life! That's it! It doesn't cost any money! And it is the first line of treatment! All the rest is also helpful ONLY IF you quit smoking! So you can change your diet, your exercise program, get your vaccines, even take your meds - but if you don't quit smoking - FORGET IT! 

No Addiction is worth forfeiting your Life without a struggle! I have known many many people who lived Quality Lives with much less lung capacity for many years! Some of them were fortunate enough to have a lung transplant, a helpful surgery called LVRS, or even the new coil and foam treatments - but they all have one thing in common - THEY QUIT SMOKING!

TODAY is a Great Day to LIVE Smoke FREE!

Nov. 7, 2013 — Tobacco misconceptions prevail in the United States despite the dramatic drop in smoking rates since the release of the first Surgeon General's Report on smoking and health in January 1964. Experts at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center dispel common myths and share new educational resources to address this persistent challenge.

"Since 1964, smoking rates have dropped by more than half as a result of successful education, legislative and smoking cessation efforts," said Lewis Foxhall, M.D., vice president for health policy at MD Anderson. "Still, lung cancer remains the number one cancer killer and the leading preventable cause of death in the United States."

With the approaching 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General's Report, Foxhall and other MD Anderson experts urge the public to take a proactive stance against this pervasive health issue by gaining insight on current tobacco issues including information that disproves the following myths.

Tobacco Myth #1: Almost no one smokes any more.

Fact: About 43.8 million people still smoke. That's almost one in five people in the United States.

"The current percentage of smokers is 19%. That's significantly lower than the 42% in 1965," Foxhall said. "However, the actual number of people smoking today is close to the same." About 50 million people smoked in 1965. "Because our population is much larger, it just seems like we have a lot fewer smokers," Foxhall explained.

"We have a lot of work ahead to prevent new smokers and help existing smokers quit," said Ellen R. Gritz, Ph.D., professor and chair of behavioral science at MD Anderson. "Thanks to programs like the American Legacy Foundation's truth national anti-smoking campaign, we have been able to achieve fewer youths smoking," Gritz said, a previous vice chair on the Legacy board. "But funding for these campaigns is limited and unable to compete with the exorbitant and seemingly unlimited advertising dollars spent by tobacco companies."

Tobacco Myth #2: e-Cigarettes, cigars and hookahs are safe alternatives.

Fact: All tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and hookahs, have nicotine. And it's nicotine's highly addictive properties that make these products harmful.

In 2008, the five largest cigarette companies spent $9.94 billion dollars on advertising and marketing products like e-cigarettes, flavored cigars, cigarillos and hookahs.

"The tobacco industry comes up with these new products to recruit new, younger smokers," said Alexander Prokhorov, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Tobacco Outreach Education Program at MD Anderson. "And, they advertise them as less harmful than conventional cigarettes. But once a young person gets acquainted with nicotine, it's more likely he or she will try other tobacco products."

"While e-cigarettes may contain less harmful substances than combustible tobacco, they're presently unregulated so quality control over the nicotine content and other components is left to the manufacturer," said Paul Cinciripini, Ph.D., professor and deputy chair of behavioral science and director of the Tobacco Treatment Program at MD Anderson.

"At this time, it's far too early to tell whether or not e-cigarettes can be used effectively as a smoking cessation device," Cinciripini said.

Tobacco Myth #3: Infrequent, social smoking is harmless.

Fact: Any smoking, even social smoking, is dangerous.

"Science has not identified a safe level of smoking, and even a few cigarettes here and there can maintain addiction," said David Wetter, Ph.D., chair of health disparities research at MD Anderson. "If you are a former smoker, data suggests that having just a single puff can send you back to smoking."

Tobacco Myth #4: Smoking outside eliminates the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Fact: There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Even brief secondhand smoke exposure can cause harm. Exposure to secondhand smoke at home or work increases a person's risk of heart disease by 25 to 30% and lung cancer by 20 to 30%. That's because the amount of cancer-causing chemicals is higher in secondhand smoke than in the smoke inhaled by smokers. Families that prohibit smoking in and around the home are on the right path, said Wetter.

Stay informed and take action

"Being educated and sharing this knowledge with others are ways to action," said Ernest Hawk, M.D., vice president of cancer prevention and population sciences at MD Anderson. "For smokers, it's never too late to quit smoking and reap health benefits."

As part of MD Anderson's Moon Shot program to end cancer, Hawk and other experts have developed a comprehensive plan that addresses the burden of tobacco use in institutions, communities, states and nations.

"The End Tobacco plan recommends more than 100 actions in the areas of policy, education and community-based services that MD Anderson can lead to end tobacco at the institutional, local, regional, state national and international levels," Hawk said. "As a leader in the field of tobacco research, it's vital we take a leadership role to confront the use of tobacco in any form."

More than 200,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year in the United States and about 150,000 people die as a result of this disease. Smoking contributes to almost 90% of lung cancer deaths and 30% of all cancer deaths.

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Don't let illusions grasp you! Your mind has been hijacked into thinking that sickerettes somehow help you or make your life better when the truth is they represent death! Break FREE from the lies of Addiction! Nicotine brings you nothing but grief!

Thomas3.20.2010

WHY BOTHER?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 4, 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!

Quitting smoking is a top priority for all smokers, but if you have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) it's even more urgent.Here's why: If you quit, it might be possible to slow down the disease and lessen the toll it takes on your breathing, but only if you cut out cigarettes permanently -- and soon.


Here's how to do it, starting today.

1. Get, and Stay, Motivated

Learning that you have a chronic disease is no doubt distressing, but it can also be the push you need to make necessary changes. Take advantage of that feeling.

"That's when people are highly motivated," says COPD specialist Joe Ramsdell, MD, director of the Airway Research and Clinical Trials Center at UC San Diego.

Smoking adds to the burden of this often debilitating disease. Don't let it.

   "Quitting smoking will help you do more of what you want to do," says Patricia Folan, RN, MS, CTTS, who directs the Center for Tobacco Control at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. "It will also help your COPD medications work better and allow you to exercise more, which will improve your mood, even if it's just walking."
  

 

  

Mary Ella Douglas, the American Lung Association's smoking cessation expert, agrees.

  

"When you are diagnosed with a lung disease, you may feel defeated. Don't," she says. "You will experience immediate benefits from quitting. It will help."

  


2. If at First You Don't Succeed...

  

"Falling off the wagon does not mean a flip has been switched and you're a smoker again," Ramsdell says. Instead, it just means that you have to keep trying. "Persistence is so important."

  

This is especially true for people with COPD, most of whom have been smoking for decades, says Douglas.

  
    "When we talk about people who have been smoking a long time, we know there's a lot of fear and anxiety there because they have likely tried to quit before, and they look at those attempts as failures," Douglas says. "We encourage them to change their thinking. We want them to realize that those times they were off cigarettes were successes."
  
     
  
   

3. Be Prepared

   

Before you quit, make a plan. Quitting on a whim, good intentioned as it may be, is rarely successful, Douglas says. Her advice:

   

Set a quit day. Pick a day three or so weeks out and mark it on your calendar. That will be your first day without tobacco.

   

Make a list. Write down your reasons for quitting. For people with COPD, ‘Breathe easier' will likely be at the top.

   

Set up a reward system. Get ready to celebrate your smoke-free milestones -- the first 48 hours, the first week, the first month, and so on. Your reward might be new music, dinner out... anything that honors your efforts. And remember: You can afford those awards because you are not buying cigarettes. "We have people who save that money and put it toward a vacation," Douglas says.

   

Know your triggers and avoid them. "Behaviors become habits, and those habits can be associated with smoking," Douglas says. For example, if you always smoke with your morning coffee, make a change: Have your first cup on the way to work, perhaps in a coffee shop where smoking is not permitted. "Little changes like that can make a big difference," Douglas says.

   

Know your triggers and avoid them. "Behaviors become habits, and those habits can be associated with smoking," Douglas says. For example, if you always smoke with your morning coffee, make a change: Have your first cup on the way to work, perhaps in a coffee shop where smoking is not permitted. "Little changes like that can make a big difference," Douglas says.

   

Pick alternatives. Make a list of 10 things you can do instead of smoking. When you have the urge to smoke, pick something off the list -- call a friend, take a walk -- and do that instead.

   

4. Whatever Works

   

There are lots of resources to help you quit -- such as behavioral therapies, quit-smoking hotlines, and medications. Ramsdell says they all have about the same success rate. "There's a 20% chance with any of them that you will stop and stay smoke free," he says. "The good news is that each time you make an attempt, you have a one in five chance of quitting for good."

   

He often advises his patients to start by calling 800-NO-BUTTS, which is California's free quit-smoking help number. Every state has its own, and they are all equally effective. For one in your area, call 800-QUITNOW (800-784-8669).

   

A mix of counseling, education, and medications (such as nicotine patches and gum) works for many people, Folan says. She also says it's essential that you talk with your doctor about your smoking, because that may make you more likely to give quitting a try.

   

5. Stay Positive

   

For more than two decades, Kay Ferguson, 72, smoked up to five packs a day. When a bad case of pneumonia sent her to the hospital about three years ago, she was diagnosed with COPD. Though she had long since given up smoking, she now had to learn to contend with her disease. Her positive attitude has helped keep her COPD in check.

   

"I'm very stubborn," says Ferguson, who lives in Lemon Grove, Calif. "I expect my body to do what I want it to."

   

Through the pulmonary rehab program at UC San Diego, she learned exercises to help ease her symptoms and lessen her reliance on oxygen tanks. As a result, she still works at the San Diego Zoo.

   

Ferguson doesn't waste time blaming cigarettes for her disease. She's done with them and has moved on, though she says that her COPD does slow her down, especially on hot days.

   

"But I can't sit still. I have to keep up my stamina or die, and I'm not ready to die," says Ferguson, whose father died of COPD. "There's so much more to live for than a cigarette."

   
    

6. For Friends and Family

    

Quitting is not easy -- for the quitter or the people who love them. But it's worth it. If you are close with someone who is attempting to quit, here are a few ways to help.

    

Expect some irritability as they adjust. Be patient and don't take it personally, Douglas says.

    

Be supportive and non-judgmental, but set firm rules and stick to them. No smoking in the house should be rule number one, Ramsdell says. "Make smoking inconvenient."

    

Be available. "Movies, dinner, basketball shoot around, accompany them to a smoking cessation class or support group, play games... anything that will take their minds off smoking in a fun, positive way," Folan says.

   
  
Thomas3.20.2010

It's NOT Too Late!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 1, 2013
   Many of our members unfortunately have COPD and for every person who knows they have it, there's another member who doesn't know it yet and has not been diagnosed! We can change that with awareness!   This Month is COPD Awareness Month and November 20 is World COPD Day. So during this Month I will be spreading information about COPD wherever I visit!
   
   There is no better place than here since most COPD is Smoking related and about   15-20% of smokers develop COPD.There are other risk factors, such as a family history and airway hyper-responsiveness, but it is not clearly predictable which smokers will develop the disease.   Smoking cessation is the only effective intervention to slow the accelerated decline in lung function.Spirometry by a trained health professional gives an indication of lung health by measuring airway obstruction. As a screening tool in smokers it has the potential to detect early changes before any significant symptoms are evident.
   
   Now, you might think that COPD has nothing to do with you - I certainly did! You might think that it's a gloomy subject - but if you keep an open mind, I will give you plenty of reasons for optimism! You might just be AFRAID and refuse to look at it! I wish that would provide you with some kind of magic shield but it doesn't! Knowledge is POWER! So learn about COPD and become aware and it will be a lot less frightening!
   
  COPD causes a reduction in air flow in and out of the lungs due to inflammation, loss of elasticity and excess mucus. As the disease worsens, even everyday activities become challenging due to shortness of breath. While COPD can be managed effectively if found early most people aren’t familiar with the warning signs.   Symptoms include coughing with or without mucus, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, wheezing and tightness in the chest.
   
   Smoking causes up to 90 percent of COPD cases, with air pollution and environmental irritants also factoring in. If you experience any symptoms and are a smoker or have been exposed to other risk factors, arrange for a consultation with your physician. Delayed treatment can result in a permanent loss of lung function. If you are diagnosed with COPD, your physician will propose a treatment plan.  Eliminating smoking is the most effective course; other treatments include medication, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation and, in severe cases, surgery.
   
  Scientists and researchers are striving to find better diagnosis techniques, improved treatments and ultimately a cure for both COPD and lung cancer. Join the   American Lung Association in supporting their efforts by sharing this message of awareness with friends, family and fellow community members.
   
   World COPD Day is organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) in collaboration with health care professionals and COPD patient groups throughout the world. Its aim is to raise awareness about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and improve COPD care throughout the world.
   
  The first World COPD Day was held in 2002. Each year organizers in more than 50 countries worldwide have carried out activities, making the day one of the world's most important COPD awareness and education events.
   
  World COPD Day 2013 will take place on   Wednesday, November 20 around the theme “It’s Not Too Late.” This positive message was chosen to emphasize the meaningful actions people can take to improve their respiratory health,   at any stage before or after a COPD diagnosis.
   
  Individual activity organizers can also adapt the slogan in various ways to target specific messages to their audiences. For example--  
   
  For people with symptoms who have not been diagnosed:
  If you’re short of breath, it’s not too late to ask your doctor about   spirometry.
   
  For patients with COPD:
  If you have COPD, it’s not too late to live an active life.
   
  For doctors:
  If you care for people with COPD, it’s not too late to help your patients breathe better. 
   
  COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), which includes both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, also affects the respiratory system. While it is preventable and treatable, it is also dangerously under-acknowledged: the third leading cause of death in the United States, COPD is insidious:   while 12 million people have been diagnosed with the disease, an additional 12 million are estimated to be living with it.
   
  Let's get the word out! Early diagnosis provides us with many options for a long healthy happy life! We get to/have to decide to make the lifestyle choices that will enhance our breathing and calm our minds! Look at Jenny! And if you haven't done so yet, tell your Doctor that you want a Spirometry Test! Do it Now!   It's not too late!