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Moderate levels of secondhand smoke deliver nicotine to the brain

NIH-funded study shows how secondhand smoke may increase vulnerability to nicotine addiction

Exposure to secondhand smoke, such as a person can get by riding in an enclosed car while someone else smokes, has a direct, measurable impact on the brain — and the effect is similar to what happens in the brain of the person doing the smoking. In fact, exposure to this secondhand smoke evokes cravings among smokers, according to a study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The study, published today in Archives of General Psychiatry, used positron emission tomography (PET) to demonstrate that one hour of secondhand smoke in an enclosed space results in enough nicotine reaching the brain to bind receptors that are normally targeted by direct exposure to tobacco smoke. This happens in the brain of both smokers and non-smokers.

Previous research has shown that exposure to secondhand smoke increases the likelihood that children will become teenage smokers and makes it more difficult for adult smokers to quit. Such associations suggest that secondhand smoke acts on the brain to promote smoking behavior.

"These results show that even limited secondhand smoke exposure delivers enough nicotine to the brain to alter its function," said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. “Chronic or severe exposure could result in even higher brain nicotine levels, which may explain why secondhand smoke exposure increases vulnerability to nicotine addiction."

"This study gives concrete evidence to support policies that ban smoking in public places, particularly enclosed spaces and around children," said Arthur Brody, M.D., of the UCLA Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences and corresponding author for the article.

The Surgeon General's Report concluded in 2006 that secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults and many serious health conditions in children, including sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory infections, and more severe asthma. According to the CDC, almost 50,000 deaths per year can be attributed to secondhand smoke. For more information or for resources to help quit smoking, go to

The study can be found online at: External Web Site Policy.

How much exposure to tobacco smoke can the lungs endure before damage ensues? The answer appears to be none, based on gene activity measured by researchers at Cornell University.1 “No level of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke [SHS] is safe. Even at the lowest detectable levels of exposure, we could detect changes in gene expression within the cells lining the airways,” says coauthor Ronald Crystal, head of pulmonary and critical care medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.


Fear and Anxiety

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 28, 2014

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:25-34


Relax and enjoy the Day - Smoke FREE!

  First, the good news. The risk of relapse declines with the passage of time! While roughly
  95% of uneducated smokers who attempt to stop smoking relapse within a year, the relapse 
  rate declines to just 2 to 4% per year from years 2 to 10, and then falls to less than 1% after 
  10 years.
  Keep in mind that those rates were generated by ex-users who generally had little 
  understanding of nicotine dependency and no formal respect for the Law of Addiction. If 
  obedient to Law our risk of failure remains zero.
  But just one powerful hit of nicotine and the addict is back. 
  While ignorance of the Law is no excuse, the vast, vast most ex-users do not remain exusers because of understanding or respect for the Law, or because of "one puff" relapse rates
  seen in studies.
  They do so because once home they discover that life without using is vastly better than 
  While the relapse rate for years 2 though 10 may seem small, when added together the risk 
  becomes significant. One recent study suggests that as many as 17% who succeed for 1 
  year may eventually relapse.
  These ex-users don't relapse because they dislike being home. They do so because they lose
  sight of how they got there, who they are, and the captivity they escaped. 
  Among educated ex-users there appear to be three primary factors associated with relapse: 
  (1) a natural suppression of memories of recovery's early challenges,
   (2) they rewrite, amend or decide to test the Law and 
  (3) they pretend that they have a legitimate excuse to break or ignore it. 
  Should these factors combine with an offer of a free cigar, alcohol use around those still 
  using or occur in an impulsive-type person, the risk of relapse gets magnified. 
   Recovery Memory Suppression 
   It's normal to slowly grow complacent during the months and years after ending nicotine  
   use. Complacency is fueled by failing memories of daily captivity and the factors that  
   compelled us to seek freedom. 
   It's also fueled by an inability to recall the intensity of early withdrawal anxieties, the power 
   of cue triggered crave episodes or the duration of conscious fixation.  
   Most of us failed to keep a detailed record of why we commenced recovery or what those  
   first two weeks were like.  
   Without a record to remind us, we're forced to rely upon our memory to accurately and  
   vividly preserve the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But now, the memory  
   in which we placed our trust has failed us.  
   It isn't that our memory is bad, faulty or doing anything wrong. In fact, it's working as  
   designed to preserve in as much detail as possible life's joyful events, while suppressing and 
   helping us forget life's stressful events, anxieties, trauma and pain.  
   To do otherwise would make life inside these minds unbearable. In fact, post-traumatic  
   stress disorder (PTSD) is believed to reflect a breakdown in the mind's ability to forget. 
   If women were forced to remember the agony and pain of childbirth, most would likely  
   have only one child. We are each blessed with the ability to forget.  
   So how does the recovered nicotine addict who failed to record their journey home revive  
   their passion for freedom and recall liberty's price? If we forget the past are we destined to  
   repeat it? Not necessarily.  
   But just as any loving relationship needs nourishment to flourish, we should not take our  
   recovery for granted or the flame could eventually die, and the fire go out.  
   It's my goal to protect my freedom until I draw my last breath.  
   If you feel the same, then we need to nourish our desires. If we do, we win. If not, we risk  
   complacency allowing nicotine back into our bloodstream. We risk dying as slaves.  
   Whether daily, monthly or just once a year, our recovery benefits from care. But where do  
   we turn if our recovery memories have been suppressed and we've kept no record?  
   Our best resource is probably our brothers and sisters still in bondage. Why not enlist their  
   help in revitalizing our own memories of active dependency?  
    Talk to them. Let them know what you seek. Encourage them to be as candid and truthful   
    as possible.   
    Although it may look like they're enjoying their addiction, their primary objective is to stay   
    one step ahead of insula driven urges and craves.   
    Tell them the truth about where you now find yourself. Although not always the case, with   
    most you'll find their responses inspiring. Be kind and sincere. It wasn't long ago that those  
    were our shoes.   
    Try hard to recall those first two weeks without nicotine. Think about earlier uneducated   
    attempts. What were they like? Can you recall your mind begging to be fed? Feel the   
    anxieties. Were you able to concentrate? How was your sleep?   
    Did you feel depressed, angry, irritable, frustrated, restless or anxious? Were there rapidly   
    cycling emotions, irrational thinking or emotional outbursts?   
    Do you remember these things? Do you remember the price you paid? Do you recall the   
    reasons you willingly paid it?   
    If you have access to a computer, go online and visit any of the scores of smoking cessation   
    support groups. There we'll find thousands of battles being fought, hear a multitude of cries   
    and watch hundreds struggling for survival as they dream of the calmness and quiet you   
    now call home.   
    The newbies you'll see cannot begin to imagine traveling so far that remembering the   
    turmoil they now feel will someday soon become their greatest challenge of all.  
    If permitted, send a message to those in need. The most important thing you can tell them is  
    the truth about why you came. If still in the first few days they may be facing significant   
    anxieties. Their mind may have them convinced that their emotional storm will never end.   
    Don't pretend that you can feel their anxiety. Instead give them what they need, the truth.   
    Let them know that you've traveled so far that it's now difficult to relate.   
    Tell them how comfortable and complacent you've grown. Describe last week and how   
    many seconds, if any, that you devoted to thinking about using.  
     Fear of the unknown is frightening. Teach them what life on Easy Street is like. By aiding    
     them we aid ourselves.   
     It may be that complacency has you at a point where thoughts of wanting are again taking    
     root. But think back. How long had you gone without wanting?    
     If it is happening, rekindling pride in the amazing journey you once made may silence such    
     If occurring, I suspect that you've either developed a romantic fixation with using, or failed to let go of one during recovery.    
     Amending the Law of Addiction   
     The second complacency factor working against us is a strong, natural desire to want to believe that we've been fully cured, that we can now handle "just one," "just once."    
     But just one puff, dip or chew and "do not pass go, do not collect $200." Go directly to the addict's prison and surrender your freedom.  It isn't that we don't believe the Law. It's probably more a matter of growing to believe that we're the exception to it.   
     We convince ourselves that we're stronger, smarter or wiser than all addicts who came before us.  We amend the law. We put ourselves above it. "Just once, it'll be ok, I can   
     handle it." "I'm stronger than them." "A little reward, it's been a while, I've earned it."    
     Such thoughts infect the mind and feed on themselves. Unless interrupted by reason and    
     truth, our period of healing and freedom may be nearing an end.   
     If allowed to fester, all our dreams and hard work risk being flushed like a toilet.    
     Instead of pretending we can handle" just one," such encounters demand truth. Before    
     reaching the point of throwing it all away we need to be honest about what's about to    
     If this moment should ever arrive, try telling yourself this before bringing nicotine back into   
     your body:   
     "My freedom will now end!" "I'm going back." "I can handle all of them, give them    
     all back to me, my entire addiction, all the trips to the store, the buys, the money, and   
     the empties." "I want it all back." "Go ahead, slowly harden my arteries and eat my    
      If a smoker, "fill my world with ash, cover me in that old familiar stench, and let     
      morning again be for coughing." If an oral user, "take my hair, destroy my teeth, and    
      put sores back into my mouth."    
      "Put me back behind bars, make me an outcast, throw away the key and let me die     
      with my master still circulating in my veins." "I accept my fate" "I'm ready to     
      It's far easier for the junkie mind to create a one puff, dip or chew exception to the "law"     
      than to admit the truth.     
      Instead of picturing just one or once, picture all of them. Try to imagine fitting them into     
      your mouth all at once. Because day after day, month after month, year after year after year     
      that's exactly where they'll be going.    
      "To thine own self be true." You navigated recovery. You paid the price, if any. You     
      deserve the truth!    
      If you find yourself attempting to rewrite the Law, stop, think, remember, reflect, read,     
      revisit, revive and give to others, but most important, be honest with you!     
      The Perfect Excuse    
      The final ingredient is an excuse. For many, any excuse will do, even joy! It could be a     
      reunion with an old buddy who uses, one too many drinks with friends, a wedding, a     
      graduation, or even a baby's birth and someone handing you a cigar.     
      Imagine being curious about the new electronic or e-cigarette with its atomization chamber,     
      smart chip, lithium battery, and cartridge filled with apple, cherry, strawberry, chocolate,     
      vanilla, coffee, mint or tobacco flavored nicotine.    
      Imagine watching an e-cigarette instantly vaporize nicotine when sucked and seeing a little     
      light at the end imitate a real cigarette's heat. What about a chance encounter with a self service display offering two pieces of Nicorette's new Cinnamon Surge," "Fruit Chill" or    
      "Cappuccino" flavors of nicotine gum for one penny!  What about being tempted to    
      try one of the other new nicotine delivery devices now hitting the streets? It's exactly what     
      those selling them are hoping will happen.     
      Imagine being offered the new fully dissolvable tobacco/nicotine toothpicks, sticks, film or     
      candy flavored orbs.    
       But joyful or even stupid nicotine relapse is harder to explain to ourselves and to those we      
       The smart addict waits for the great excuse, the one that will be easy to sell to both      
       themselves and others. As sick as it may sound, the easiest to sell is probably the death of a      
       loved one.      
       Although everyone we love is destined to die and it will happen sooner or later, for the      
       reformed addict it's the perfect excuse for relapse. I mean, who can blame us for ingesting      
       highly addictive drugs upon the death of our mother.      
       Anyone who does would have to be extremely insensitive or totally heartless! Right?      
       Wrong! There is no legitimate excuse for relapse.     
       Losing a job, the end of a relationship, a serious illness, disease, a terrorist attack, financial      
       problems, a flood, earthquake, hurricane, an auto accident, are all great excuses too - it's      
       drug time again! The addict is back!      
       Utterly terrible events will happen in each of our lives. Such is life. Adding full-blown      
       nicotine relapse to any situation won't fix, correct or undo our underlying concern.      
       Take a moment now and picture yourself fully navigating the worst nightmare your mind      
       can imagine.      
       Sooner or later it will happen. When it does, staying clean and free may be the most      
       positive factor during this period of darkness.      
       Remember, we've only traded places with our chemical dependency and the key to the cell      
       is that one hit of nicotine that will force your brain's survival instincts teacher to teach a      
       false lesson, and make that lesson nearly impossible in the short term to forget.     
       As long as we stay on freedom's side of the bars, we are the jailers and our dependency the      
       There are only two choices. We can complete this temporary period of adjustment and enjoy     
       comfortable probation for life, or introduce nicotine back into our bloodstream, relapse, and      
       intentionally inflict cruel and unusual punishment upon these innocent bodies for the      
       remainder of their time on earth.      
        If the first choice sounds better - lifetime probation - then we each need only follow one       
        simple rule ... no nicotine today!      


When Al Feldstein, the long-time editor of Mad magazine, died, in April, no one mentioned one of his major accomplishments: warning millions of impressionable boys and girls of the perils of smoking. Had the tobacco industry paid more attention, he might also have saved it billions of dollars a few decades down the road.

In the early to mid-nineteen-sixties, both before and after the Surgeon General issued his famous report on the dangers of tobacco, Mad took on the industry more than any “respectable” magazine. Free from any dependency on advertising, Mad could be fearless, and it was. Its campaign of ridicule was unrelenting.


The magazine attacked not just the tobacco giants but the folks on Madison Avenue who hawked the poisonous products—many of whom, it noted, were too smart to smoke themselves. Smokers weren’t spared either. (Who can forget Mad regular David Berg’s feature “Lighter Side of Smoking,” whose first panel showed a man looking out a window at night as a blizzard rages. “Gad, look at the miserable weather!” he declares. “Boy, nothing could make me go outdoors!” In the second panel, the man, eyes popping out, rummages frantically through a drawer in search of a smoke. In the third, he’s huddled grimly over the steering wheel driving to the store, his wipers and headlights fighting through the snow.)


Fifty years later, many who read Mad devotedly still remember the anti-smoking crusade. The ads closely resembled the real ones that ran on television and in magazines. There was the one for “Marble Row” funeral directors, showing horses grazing in a graveyard. “You Get a Plot You Like,” it declared. Or the ad promising that “Likely Strife separates the men from the boys … but not from the doctors.” (“Smoking is a habit we’d like to get all you kids hooked on,” it continued. “Smoke Likely Strife—and you’ll discover one other thing: You’ll also be separated from your health!”)


There were the ads that ever-adaptable advertisers had prepared in light of health warnings. One featured “Chesterfoggies” (for people already hooked); another suggested that the perils of smoking only made it sexier—“Winsom impresses good…Like smoking a cigarette should.” A third ad featured Adolf Hitler, another favorite Mad target (and, oddly enough, a virulent enemy of tobacco himself). “In the 30s and 40s we knocked off millions of people and filled countless cemeteries,” he declared. “That’s nothing! I want to talk about a really fantastic cemetery filler!” Another, featuring a man with a Tareyton-like black eye, read, “Us Cigarette-Makers will rather fight than quit.”


Mad not only lampooned cigarette makers but offered its own Swiftian—part Jonathan, part Tom—remedies for the scourge, like newfangled cigarette filters to mitigate smoking’s ills. There was the “swell filter,” made up of paper so absorbent that, when saturated with saliva, it was impenetrable; cigarettes that were ninety per cent filters and, therefore, ninety per cent safer; “litmus filters,” specially designed to turn the scary, sickly brown of diseased lungs; “noise maker filters,” which simulated wheezing and gasping; and screw-in “add-a-filters,” laden with penicillin or Dramamine or fluoride or Neo-Synephrine nasal spray, so that at least something good could come with all the carcinogens.


“Smoking has been linked with so many horrible sicknesses, you’d imagine that everybody would be giving it up,” Mad’s editors—a.k.a. “the usual gang of idiots”—noted in the December, 1964, issue. But since they couldn’t, the magazine offered “these poor trapped souls” devices for “safer smoking.” Here the magazine was clairvoyant. Long before the industry realized it,Mad recognized that, while smokers would always smoke, they would go for contraptions that lessened the harm or, if they could, abandon tobacco altogether.


Some of the ideas were non-starters, like “disposable lung-liner tips”—small plastic bags attached to cigarette ends that would inflate as smokers inhaled, lining and protecting their insides. (Afterwards, you’d just yank them out.) Portable nasal exhaust fans, to be affixed to eyeglasses or ears or hidden in beards, would draw smoke through and out the nose before it could do any harm. And heat-conducting metallic rods, inserted into cigarettes once they were lit, would burn lips to a crisp and thereby make it virtually impossible to smoke.


But the truly prescient invention was the “smoke simulator”: a cork-tipped Pyrex tube containing small amounts of water, which, like the metal rod, would be inserted into a cigarette. Once the cigarette was lit, the cork at one end of the tube (edible, of course) popped out, and the water inside became steam. When inhaled, the steam would feel just like smoke. Had the tobacco companies picked up that issue of Mad instead of ignoring it or seething over it, they might have saved the billions they are spending to snap up vaporizer manufacturers now that e-cigarettes are all the rage. That would give new meaning to the line on the corner of every Mad cover: “Our Price 25c Cheap.”


That smoke simulator, like many of Mad’s anti-smoking devices, was the creation of Al Jaffee, who was also the inventor of the magazine’s famous “fold-ins” and a former smoker himself. Perhaps because Mad’s offices were largely smoke-free—its publisher, William Gaines, was fanatically opposed to the habit—its writers and editors have lived long lives: Feldstein was eighty-eight when he died; Jaffee is now ninety-three. He isn’t seeking any royalties from e-cigarette manufacturers. “I do the obvious,” he told me. “And then society slowly catches up.”

Even in its natural state, tobacco is an extremely addictive substance. But when you alter the plant by adding compounds that make nicotine hit the brain faster and flavors that make smoke smoother, you’re practically begging people to get addicted.

As this new infographic from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids shows, that’s exactly what the tobacco industry is doing. The following image shows the numerous additives tobacco companies are putting in cigarettes specifically designed to make them as addictive as possible.

Here’s the graphic:

The report  illustrates how cigarettes have changed over the last 50 years


In a report titled “Designed for Addiction," the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids discusses the evolution of cigarettes over the last 50 years.

“[It is] clear that tobacco products – and cigarettes in particular – are highly engineered to expand the appeal of these products and facilitate the consumption of and addiction to nicotine, a highly addictive drug,” the report says. “Tobacco companies also know that almost all new smokers begin their addiction as children and that smoking is distasteful for new smokers, so they carefully design the product to appeal to this important market. The companies have spent huge sums to research the design of their products and ensure they achieve these goals, even if the impact of these changes also makes the product more dangerous.”

- See more at:

"First thing every morning before you arise say out loud,

"I believe," three times." - Norman Vincent Peale

I got in trouble when I listened to  should statements such as  "You should quit smoking"  even when my gut was telling me the same thing. I (and my Nico-demon self) kept saying, "It's my life! I have a 'right' to smoke!" Yet I was being untrue to myself who deep down knew that I was killing myself one puff at a time!. I lost respect for myself which I covered up by smoking that much more determinedly! "Nobody is going to tell me what I 'should' do!" When I was untrue to myself, I incrementally lowered my self esteem. It can happen gradually. Almost imperceptibly, but can have a far reaching and long lasting impact. I'm still re-claiming myself more than 4 years down this quit journey road!

The first step in freeing myself from social restrictions was the realization that there is no such thing as a "safe" code of conduct - one that would earn everyone's approval. My actions can always be condemned by someone - for being too bold or too apathetic, for being too conformist or too nonconformist, for being too liberal or too conservative, from my nonsmoking family and friends when I was smoking and from my smoking friends and coworkers when I quit.  So it was necessary to decide whose approval was important to me.

"To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

- William Shakespeare

I had to pay attention to my own needs and wants. I had to listen to what my body, my mind, and my heart were telling me. For instance, if my body was telling me that I have been short of breath for too long, coughing for years not months, feeling tired and anxious, stressed and unconnected to my health, I had to learn to listen past the Nico-noise and hear that Freedom-loving voice that was screaming in the background for attention. If my heart was telling me that I was abusing my God-given gift of LIFE then I had to tune into that message and ponder it with self-love, not run away from it with yet another smoke cloud of denial.

I learned to honor the person I am. I learned to accept myself as human and therefore, imperfect. I had to forgive my mistakes and focus on the prize. i had to learn that I could achieve my goal one day at a time, keeping in mind that smoking cessation is a journey - not an event.  I learn to give myself rewards for the large and small Victories!

I learned to be true to myself and thus be truly me to my Family, Friends and Coworkers. Once they saw this transformation, the "shoulds" stopped both from them and most importantly within ME!


Facing down the Demon!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 23, 2014

When you face down that Demon you come to the realization that for once in many, many Years you are the Master of your decisions! There is absolutely nothing like it! You shine with satisfaction knowing that you put your true self above your Addiction and WON! The more challenging the moment - the greater the Victory!

And you learn some other piece of the puzzle about what Life - especialy My Life - is really all about!

The last time I faced such a crisis, I learned that I still have a long way to go in understanding the Serenity Prayer! For those who don't know this prayer it goes:

God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.


--Reinhold Niebuhr


I learned that I still don't like relinquishing control when in fact, I never really had/ have control over most things in the first place! A very hard lesson to learn! But once learned it has given me an inner Peace and Acceptance that I didn't have before!

This Quit Journey just keeps giving and giving!!!!!

Nicotine Addiction just keeps robbing and stealing!

Praise the Lord I am Addiction FREE!

"Storage Wars" star Dan Dotson made an important life decision after suffering a double brain aneurysm Monday ... he's giving up on smoking cigarettes for good.

Laura Dotson tells TMZ her husband immediately decided to quit smoking after he woke up from a successful surgery on Wednesday -- because doctors said it would greatly reduce the risk of a repeat incident.

We're told Dan's excited to finally be smoke-free -- he's been puffing for 40 years -- and his 16-year-old son was so inspired by the move, he also pledged to focus on living healthier.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Hello, SUMMER!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 20, 2014


  Summer is a Great Time that we can choose to reevaluate our priorities and start anew! 
  This is a Wonderful time of year to think about where we are in life and dream about what we would become! Webster says that become means to begin to be something specified. Thus, BecomeanEX doesn't mean that you only join if you already have the mindset of an EX. It doesn't mean that you will be somehow zapped into EX-dom because you enrolled. It means that we enter and we begin to become. We don't have to be flawlessly anything when we get here. We only have to have a curiosity about what being an EX might mean to us individually. 
  As we read the Blogs, again and again, we see folks at all stages of Quititude. Some are searching for it, some are glimpsing it, some are testing it, some are growing with it and it with them and some own it fiercely! That can't be found in any device.
   It starts with openness toward learning more. Too often I see folks who bring their "My Way" attitudes rather than openness. If you already have the Successful way - then what are you doing here?  
   We're told to FOCUS on the positive side of quitting, to count our blessings and benefits of Smoke FREE Living. Some of us do that and we move forward with amazing smoothness, leaving others to think that they had it "easy" for some unEXplainable reason. In fact, it isn't any more difficult or complicated for one of us than for another. We are all Nicotine Addicts! But when you FOCUS on the FREEDOM of Recovery rather than on the "sacrifices" of quitting it is not only more understandable - it's more desirable. That makes it easy to maintain DETERMINATION! Focus and Determination - 2 very important ingredients of PERSEVERENCE! We can all persevere even when we think we can't. 
   Here are some ways to maximize our motivation: 
   (1) Draw inspiration from others 
   Be they certain individuals here who EXemplify Quititude or the general fact that:  
   Percentage of smokers who want to quit altogether    70% 
   Percentage of smokers who will try to quit this year    40% 
   Percentage of smokers who will succeed at quitting smoking without relapse    6%. Make up your Mind right here and now that you will be one of the 6%! There's absolutely no reason that you can't! NO EXCUSES! 
   (2) Don't think; just act 
   Thinking is vital and much of human folly happens because we don't think. We can think ourselves out of problems, around situations, into solutions - but also out of doing what we should. "I can't go on" is a thought that may be useful or it may be self-deception. If you have to keep on, then start to ignore these kinds of thoughts. When times are tough, sometimes we need to just keep on without thinking until the 'nose down to the grindstone' times have passed. 
    (3) Strengthen your Quititude by EXercising it  
    Quititude, like a muscle, gets stronger the more you use it. So remember that even when it feels tough, it will get easier. The more you EXercise your Focus and Determination, the more naturally motivated you will begin to feel.  
    (4)  Think about what you really want  
    Really think about what your Values are. Make a list of the values most important to you: life, family, love, work, fun etc. Recognize that there's no right or wrong answer - these are     your values! Then ask yourself if you are living these values. How is smoking enhancing them? Think about this -   
    Suppose I select Family as my value. In what ways does smoking help my Family Life? In what ways would quitting help me invest in my Family rather than my Sickerette?  
    (5) Never give up!  
    If your intentions are good and you keep working, something will happen - even if it's not exactly what you had planned. If you do nothing, nothing happens.  
    "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."  
    - Thomas A. Edison   
    Be patient with yourself! How many years was your Brain hijacked by Addiction? It will take a few comparatively short Months to recover your FREEDOM! But it can be done and we can show you how! All you have to do to get started is show up with curiosity and a willingness to learn!  

Nicotine use artificially increases dopamine production in the body so when you quit smoking, many of the withdrawal symptoms are caused by an attempt to find a new healthy level of dopamine production. 

Here is an article I found at which could help you naturally regulate dopamine production during smoking cessation:


How Do I Increase Dopamine Production?



Dopamine is neurotransmitter found in the brain and essential for the normal functioning of the central nervous system. Dopamine is derived from the amino acid tyrosine and is the precursor to norepinephrine and epinephrine. Among its effects, dopamine enhances the pleasure pathway, as well as memory and motor control. Drugs, such as cocaine and nicotine, increase dopamine, and this is why they are often so addictive. Dopamine production can be increased through healthy lifestyle modifications.

Step 1

Exercise most days of the week. Cardiovascular exercise has been shown to increase dopamine levels. A study by Giselle M. Petzinger and other researchers, in the "Journal of Neuroscience" of May 16, 2007, showed that mice running on a treadmill for up to 60 minutes per day for five days per week showed increases in dopamine production and uptake.

Step 2

Reduce stress through relaxation and other meditative activities such as yoga. Stress reduces dopamine levels and often leads to depression. Practice deep breathing techniques and take time each day to do something calming. Deep breathing is done by inhaling deeply through your nose, filling your chest cavity fully, then exhaling very slowly through your mouth.


Step 3

Take antioxidants, such as vitamin C, B6 and E. According to "Integrative Psychiatry", dopamine is easily oxidized, and these antioxidants will fight off the oxidation that lowers your dopamine levels.


Step 4

Reduce the amounts of foods you ingest that are processed and high in fat, cholesterol and sugars. Replace these foods with fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants, such as berries, spinach and broccoli.

Step 5

Eat foods that are high in an amino acid called tyrosine. Bananas, fish, almonds and watermelons are examples of foods that help to produce tyrosine, which is then converted into dopamine and norepinephrine, resulting in increased dopamine levels.

Step 6

Talk to your doctor about whether taking a dopamine precursor might be beneficial. A precursor is a chemical that is transformed into another compound. Dopamine is derived from the amino acid, or precursor, phenylalanine. This chemical is found in foods such as meats, milk and oats.

  Using brain scanning equipment researchers have established that all addictions can be traced to dopamine-induced expectations. Expectations of getting “high” keep junkies lying, cheating, stealing, and craving the next fix. For some, the expectations involve cocaine. For others, it can be nicotine, alcohol, sex, gambling, or food. Addictions to street drugs are hard to deny because they require the ingesting, inhaling, or injecting of known addictive substances. Physical addictions destroy lives and wreak societal damage, but the most common and dangerous addictions include a short list of easy to deny psychological expectations.

Psychological addictions are more insidious because the dopamine is triggered by emotions, memories, thoughts, fantasies, ideologies, rhetoric, and deceptions. Researchers have added food, sex, gambling, video games and texting to the list of addictive behaviors while continuing to ignore triggers that society considers "normal" behaviors.

Decades ago, psychologist Abraham Maslow identified and categorized what he called deficiency needs, or D-needs for short.

 Level 1: Physiological – air, water, salt, food, sex.

Level 2: Safety/power.

 Level 3: Acceptance/approval/attention.

 Level 4: Esteem/status.

It’s only a question of time until: 

·         Dopamine-induced expectations are extended to all of Maslow’s lower D-needs.

·         The more powerful the expectations, the more powerful the addiction, the greater the denial, the weaker the free will, the more likely addicts are to detest any information that threatens to keep them from feeding their addictions.

·         Scientists acknowledge that It's possible to get addicted to safety/power, acceptance/approval/attention, and esteem/status.

·         Safety, acceptance, and esteem addictions aren't considered addictions because we inherited our addictive behaviors, deceptions, and denials from clever ancestors.


To keep the dopamine flowing, heroin addicts use needles, safety addicts swallow lies, acceptance addicts join groups, and esteem addicts chase status. One important distinction between addictions is that heroin addicts have to hide their needles whereas safety addicts get to wear their weapons, acceptance addicts are free to flock to groups, and esteem addicts get away with flaunting their status symbols every chance they get.

A second difference is that safety, acceptance, and esteem addicts do a lot more damage than heroin addicts.

How does Nicotine Addiction fit in?

Yes, it is a physiological addiction compared with heroin in it’s ability to hijack the brain and cause the addict to forfeit other primary needs including air, water, salt, food, sex, sleep and more….


But the real power of Nicotine Addiction lies in it’s Level 2 through 4 components!

Level 2:  Power – Nicotine Addicts often rely on Nicotine to hide their vulnerability and lack of self-confidence with power issues. By smoking, they can present themselves as edgy, rebellious, “I don’t care what other people think” when really they are simply covering up their fear of power.



Nicotine Addicts accept and spread lies about “harm reduction” when confronted with safety issues dealing with health threats.


Level 3:  Acceptance, approval and attention – Smokers congregate with other smokers in order to give them a sense of belonging and comradery  Often, these relationships are built on nothing beyond their addictive behavior. Many smokers (vapors, chewers, users of all methods) prefer and some need to smoke with somebody in order to feel good about their smoking.


Nicotine Addicts love to hook non-smokers into addiction and quitters back into relapse:




Level 4:  Esteem and status – Ever see a smoker rudely light up where (s)he knows it’s not invited? They need to claim the self esteem that Addiction robs. By flaunting their “habit” in front of others they’re challenging one to confront them.


Overcoming Nicotine Addiction, i.e. true recovery must address ALL of these issues. That’s why even after the 72 hours of physiological withdrawal, we are just getting started on the long journey of recovery.

Sorting out each of these components means getting in touch with yourself in a way that you may have never come to terms with! It takes focus, determination, honesty, courage, and a willingness to learn what you are really all about – without your drug of choice!

That’s why we’re here and that’s why this program works. When it comes to getting to know your Non-smoking self we’re not here to give you the answers – we’re here to help you define the questions and then reach within yourself to find the answer that best suits YOU!

The death of Hall-of-Fame baseball player Tony Gwynn from mouth cancer renewed calls to end the use of chewing tobacco from its traditional place in the game.

Gwynn, 54, died June 16 after two surgeries to remove malignant growths inside his right cheek, where the former San Diego Padre said he chewed tobacco while he played. He was one of more than 40,000 people diagnosed with oral cancer yearly in the U.S., according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

Only a little more than half of these patients will be alive in five years, U.S. health officials say, mostly because oral cancers are usually discovered only after they’ve spread to another location, such as the lymph nodes in the neck. It’s estimated that at least 75 percent of those diagnosed with oral cancer at 50 have been tobacco users.

“We’ve decreased the rate of smoking tobacco but not the rates of chewing tobacco.” said Mark Agulnik, an oncologist at Northwestern University’s Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center in Chicago. “Cancers that form are just as aggressive in the smokeless tobacco as in smoked tobacco.”

Joe Garagiola, a former major-league catcher and broadcaster who for decades has been an advocate against the use of smokeless tobacco, said the strongest steps should be taken to rid the game of the product.

“Smokeless is not harmless,” Garagiola said.

While baseball prohibits the use of chewing tobacco within the view of fans, Garagiola wants a complete ban of what he calls “spit tobacco.”

“The player’s association has to vote on it,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday. “I just wish that they would take a more serious look at it and don’t wait for good people to die, good guys like Tony Gwynn. That’s a big loss for baseball.”

Gwynn, who spent his entire two-decade career with the San Diego Padres team, was an eight-time National League batting champion and was named to the All-Star team 15 times. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, his first year of eligibility, with 97.6 percent of the vote. Gwynn was on leave from his position as head baseball coach of San Diego State University, where he starred as a two-sport athlete, when he died.

“He suffered a lot. He battled,” Gwynn’s agent, John Boggs, told the Associated Press. “That’s probably the best way I can describe his fight against this illness he had, and he was courageous until the end.”

Future Caseload

Gregory Connolly, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston who has worked to get chewing tobacco out of baseball for about 30 years, says Gwynn’s loss may be a harbinger of future disease.

“Even though we see few reports of deaths now, the form of chewing tobacco that he took up is relatively recent in our country,” Connolly said. Use of chewing tobacco began to increase among younger people in the 1980s. He said use of smokeless tobacco has increased in the past several years.

As a result, the number of people in their 50s, like Gwynn, being diagnosed with the disease later in life is on the rise, according to Connolly. “We do know your risk factor greatly increases with age,” he said. “It’s devastating. The 5-year mortality rate is 50 percent, and if you don’t die, you’re left totally disfigured.”

Connolly said he would like the federal government to “come up to the plate” in helping fight the use of smokeless tobacco. He urged that chewing tobacco be regulated similarly to other forms of the drug, with aggressive warning labels and a ban on flavored forms.

Transfers Cancer

By regulating cigarettes and not smokeless tobacco, it “just transfers cancer from the lung to the mouth, and people walk around crippled from those deformities,” he said.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health has called smokeless tobacco one of the fastest growing detrimental health habits in North America as “sports figures promote the product in an attempt to erase the old, unsanitary image of the habit and replace it with a macho image.”

Athletes, military personnel and people who find it difficult to smoke in their businesses tend to switch to smokeless tobacco, said Pamela Clark, a research professor at the department of behavioral and community health at the University of Maryland College Park. Clark is doing research work for the Food and Drug Administration on the use of smokeless tobacco. She also said men and people who live in rural areas are more likely to chew tobacco.

Smokeless tobacco composes about 10 percent of sales for Altria Group Inc. (MO), the largest seller of tobacco in the U.S.. The company saw a 5 percent sales rise in 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Altria Group representatives didn’t return calls or e-mails for comment.

A team from Virginia Tech has been carrying out a series of studies investigating the carcinogenic (cancer-causing) properties of nicotine. In their latest paper, they report that, in addition to previously acknowledged qualities such as its addictiveness, nicotine is a carcinogenic substance.

MedLine Plus lists the following as effects that nicotine has on the body:

  • Decreases appetite
  • Boosts mood
  • Increases intestinal activity
  • Creates more saliva and phlegm
  • Increases heart rate
  • Increases blood pressure
  • May cause sweating, nausea and diarrhea
  • Stimulates memory and alertness.

Nicotine is just one of over 4,000 chemicals that can be found in tobacco, and 19 of these other chemicals in tobacco are known to be carcinogenic. Due to the addictive nature of both nicotine and tobacco, it is very difficult to quit using tobacco products once it has become a regular habit.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) report that about half of all Americans who maintain a smoking habit will die as a result of it. Around 480,000 people in the US die every year due to illnesses related to tobacco use - more than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide and illegal drugs combined.

Nicotine replacement therapy is a popular method of trying to give up smoking. It involves using products such as skin patches, gum, lozenges and e-cigarettes, which all contain small amounts of nicotine without any of the toxins that are present in cigarette smoke. These products aim to ease the user away from smoking by relieving cravings and making their withdrawal symptoms less severe.

Further dangers of nicotine investigated

The addictive properties of nicotine are often the focus whenever the dangers of smoking are discussed. However, new research from the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute published in the journal Oncotarget has focused on altogether more dangerous properties of the substance, examining its effects on genes.

The authors state that nicotine is not yet considered to be a carcinogen and, as a result, is increasingly being used as a therapeutic. They also reference a recent move from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to relax restrictions on many nicotine products, potentially signalling to consumers that the consumption of nicotine products is safe.

   E-cigarettes, such as these, contain nicotine, which a new study has identified as a carcinogen.

The study, led by geneticist Jasmin Bavarva, exposed cells to nicotine and compared them to cells that had not been exposed. They found that thousands more mutations were present in the cells that had been exposed to nicotine compared with the control cells.



The patterns of mutation found were similar to those observed in cells experiencing oxidative stress, a known precursor to cancer. The authors conclude that nicotine exposure can adversely affect genes by inducing mutations, and over the period of significant exposure may contribute to increased cancer incidence.

Prof. Harold Garner, director of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute's Medical Informatics and Systems Division, says that the results are important:

"For the first time they directly measure large numbers of genetic variations caused only by nicotine, showing that nicotine alone can mutate the genome and initiate a cancer state. This is particularly timely since nicotine is used as a smoking cessation therapeutic."

The team will now aim to understand the effects of long-term nicotine exposure through further research.

Considering the carcinogenic risk that nicotine poses, it may be worth smokers reconsidering the methods that they use to try and quit smoking. Recently, Medical News Today reported on a study that examined how effective e-cigarettes were at helping smokers quit. It yielded the following figures:

  • 20% of participants trying to quit by using e-cigarettes were successful
  • 10.1% of participants trying to quit by using other nicotine replacement therapies were successful
  • 15.4% of participants trying to quit without assistance were successful.

Although e-cigarettes were the most successful method of achieving smoking cessation, these results suggest that avoiding nicotine replacement therapies altogether would not automatically decrease the likelihood of quitting. In fact, avoiding products such as skin patches and gum might even increase the likelihood.

Written by James McIntosh

Which of the following poisons is the most deadly?   

1.    Arsenic                    

2.    Strychnine

3.    Nicotine                            

If you guessed # 3, you are correct. The lethal dosage for a 150 pound adult is 60 mg. The lethal dosage for # 2 is 75 mg and the lethal dosage for # 1 is 200 mg. In other words, nicotine is three times as toxic as arsenic and one and one half times as toxic as strychnine.

 (source: Poisoning/Toxicology, Third Edition, Jay M. Arena, B.S., M.D.)

Nicotine - a poisonous volatile alkaloid, derived from tobacco and responsible for many of the effects of tobacco. It first stimulates (small doses) and depresses (large doses) at autonomic ganglia and myoneural junctions. It is also used as an insecticide and fumigant.

 (source: Black's Medical Dictionary, thirty-fourth edition)

Recent research has shown in fine detail how nicotine acts on the brain to produce a number of behavioral effects. Of primary importance to its addictive nature are findings that nicotine activates the brain circuitry that regulates feelings of pleasure, the so-called reward pathways. A key brain chemical involved in mediating the desire to consume drugs is the neurotransmitter dopamine, and research has shown that nicotine increases the levels of dopamine in the reward circuits. Nicotine's pharmacokinetic properties have been found also to enhance its abuse potential.

Nicotine - one of the most toxic and addicting of all drugs and it is toxic by all routes of exposure including the intact skin. ....also used as a contact insecticidal.

 Lewis' Dictionary of Toxicology

 Overdose can occur if a person uses too many nicotine patches or chews too much nicotine gum or chewing tobacco, as well as smoking. It can also occur through direct contact with e-cigarette liquids sold in large quantities for refills.

Poison centers are reporting a recent uptick in calls about exposures to e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine.

Slightly more than half of these reported exposures have occurred in young children under the age of six. However, this is consistent with National Poison Data System exposures to all substances combined.  Some children and toddlers who come in contact with e-cigarette devices or liquid nicotine have become very ill; some even requiring ER visits with nausea and vomiting being the most significant symptoms. 


2013 vs. 2012 E-cigarette Devices and Liquid Nicotine Reported Exposures


As nicotine can be absorbed into the bloodstream easily through the skin, if an extremely high concentration of nicotine is spilt on the skin, this can lead to toxicity and death.

Nicotine has not yet been clearly identified as a cancer causing agent and is not yet officially listed as a carcinogen. However, Nicotine activates MAP kinases, increases adrenergic signalling in bowel cancer and disrupts apoptosis or programmed cell death. This cell death actually clears the body of cells that have been damaged or have undergone mutations.

Although there is no solid evidence supporting that nicotine is a carcinogen, the carcinogenic potential of the substance has been demonstrated in various animal and cell culture studies over the last ten years.

Impairment of apoptosis means damaged and altered cells remain, creating a pathway for cancers to develop. Nicotine has also been shown to promote angiogensis or the formation of new blood vessels which can help a tumour to survive and grow.


Nicotine has strong mood altering effects and can act on the brain as both a stimulant and a relaxant.


Once within the bloodstream, nicotine may circulate around the body until it reaches the brain. This can occur in as little as 7 seconds.

Once in the brain, it binds to and activates receptors called the cholinergic receptors. These cholinergic receptors are also abundant in other areas of the body such as the muscles, heart, adrenal glands and other vital organs. Normally, these receptors are activated when they bind to a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine which is produced at nerve endings in the brain and in the nerves of the peripheral nervous system. Stimulation of the receptors by acetylcholine is important in maintaining healthy respiration, heart function and muscle movement, as well as cognitive function.

Since nicotine has a similar structure to acetylcholine, it can activate the cholinergic receptors. However, unlike acetylcholine, nicotine enters the brain and disrupts its normal functioning. Regular use of cigarettes leads to an increase in the number of cholinergic receptors and changes in the sensitivity of these receptors which may lead to nicotine tolerance. A smoker then needs to maintain a regular supply of nicotine to maintain normal brain function and the habit becomes addictive.

Nicotine also stimulates the release of several neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine,epinephrine, vasopressin, dopamine, arginine and beta-endorphin. Pain, anxiety and other negative symptoms are relieved and positive pleasant sensations are increased.

Nicotine intake also increases blood glucose levels, which is generally thought to be the result of the increased adrenalin levels that occur with nicotine intake stimulating the liver to release glucose. The increased availability of glucose along with adrenalin is thought to be responsible for the increased learning ability, memory and alertness that has been associated with smoking.

An increase in the rise of blood glucose also reduces appetite, which raises metabolic rate and eventually causes weight loss in the long term.

Nicotine stimulates the reward centres in the brain, providing pleasure and euphoria when taken. On binding to receptors present in the brain, nicotine causes release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, amongst others, a chemical involved in reward sensations.

With continued use, nicotine leads to a decrease in the release of dopamine at a dose the body is used to. There is also a down regulation or decreased production of other stimulatory neurotransmitters in the brain.

Furthermore, the number and sensitivity of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the brain significantly reduces. To compensate, the brain increases production of a number of receptors for important neurotransmitters. Therefore, the reward pathways of the brain become more sensitive, with an increased number of receptors. This increases a smoker's craving to smoke and leads to addiction.

Stopping smoking or intake of nicotine may lead to unpleasant symptoms called withdrawal symptoms. Some of the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine include:

·         Nicotine cravings

·         Irritability, frustration, anger and mood swings

·         Depression and anxiety

·         Weight gain

The International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) notes that: “Nicotine is one of the most toxic of all poisons and has a rapid onset of action. Apart from local caustic actions, the target organs are the peripheral and central nervous systems.”



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 15, 2014


The day you quit smoking is an extraordinary personal event that you are likely to remember and cherish!

But the true meaning of your quit is the day to day process - the decision you make today, the decision you'll make tomorrow, each event that adds to the continuation of the process which is a new way of living!

Living Life ADDICTION FREE! That's what this is all about! You are choosing to live life abundantly, believing in yourself, seeing that you deserve to be Happy and Healthy!

You are making a life affirming decision that you know will affect not just yourself but will send a clear and unmistakeable message to your loved ones - I care enough not only about you but about myself to care for myself, knowing that caring for myself is primary to caring for you, the people I love!

Self esteem! Self worth! Integrity! This is Abundant Living! This is what it means to be the person that my Creator intends for me to be!

My name is Thomas and what you see is what you get - a fella who values his own life enough to decide to be ADDICTION FREE!

I want to be honest with you but more importantly I will be honest with myself! That's impossible under the smoke cloud!

Know thyself! To thy own self be TRUE! Make each event of Today a part of the larger process of valuing yourself because yes, YOU ARE WORTH IT!




It didn’t make me paranoid, like pot. It didn’t make meblack out, like drinking.

Unlike smoking, it didn’t ruin my teeth and lungs and cause me to have nervous breakdowns in front of funeral homes: CVS-brand cinnamon-flavored nicotine gum was my perfect drug.

But I gave it up, and I hardly even know why.

As a smoker, I obsessed constantly over my own mortality. By 2011, thanks to Bloomberg, you couldn’t walk a block in New York City without seeing graphic images of decomposing organs and rotting teeth posted in subways and outside delis. Oh god, I’m going to die! I would think, walking past yet another blackened lung.

As a kid I got so nervous in certain social situations that my hands shook—you can’t climb the social ladder with shaky hands. I smoked my first ever cigarette at 16 and it drained the anxiety and fear right out of me. I felt edgy and aloof and cool—for a teen who wore too much corduroy and raised her hand too often in class, this was a new feeling.

“Wanna step outside?” and “Can I bum one?” is how countless new friendships are forged. A pack of Marlboro Lights in my back pocket instilled me with a sense of swagger. I liked the way smoking made me feel like I looked—leaning against a wall, a lit cigarette dangling from my lips, just like, Whatever—I don’t care if I live or die.

But that’s not me, not really. I care an excessive amount about whether I live or die. I would like death to be postponed as long as possible, and with no pain and suffering, please. I was always Googling questions like, “Can you die from smoking if you quit before you’re 30?” But the Internet offered no conclusive answers. I was left imagining a slow and gory end. Doctors would have to chop out parts of my body, one at a time, until I was just a pile of yellow teeth and tar-scented hair.

One cruel irony of smoking is that it momentarily eliminated certain of my anxieties while replacing them with a morbid dread of disease and death. Yet I smoked on and off—socially, anti-socially—for the better part of a decade. Toward the end I was in a constant state of anxiety that I could not smoke away.

So I quit. It was awful. I cried on the subway and raged at work. When I ran out of reasons to be angry at my co-workers, I got angry about things that happened on Facebook, or in my childhood, or in the news. I stuffed my mouth with fruit and gummy candy and whatever was in reach. In social situations, I had no idea what to do with my hands. So I avoided social situations. I manically chewed my way through two or three packs of Dentyne a day.

I eventually grew to love being a non-smoker: I didn’t gasp for air after climbing a flight of stairs. Fourth-floor walk-up apartments stopped being a reason to turn down a dinner invitation. My hair smelled like hair! It felt good just to breathe. And food tasted so good. When I ate, my tastebuds sang. I ate, and ate, and ate. I gained five pounds. The crying came back.

About six months later I started smoking again because I started seeing someone. Smoking made me feel sexy, even though the guy I was seeing thought smoking was disgusting. I quit again. Then I re-started because I had a writing deadline.

So I bought my first box of nicotine gum, for $42. I’d always been too cheap to go that route—a faulty rationale, given the cost of smoking in New York. Plus, my lungs and teeth are probably worth at least $42. So I chose CVS-brand cinnamon nicotine gum, 2 mg. At first, the cashier refused since I didn’t have ID with me. But I begged, and she must have seen the panic, desperation and rage in my eyes.

This time, quitting smoking was easier. I fell for nicotine gum as hard as I had fallen for cigarettes. It became my mouth’s constant companion. I loved the instant kick of nicotine as I first bit down, the chewing, the sweetness, the secrecy—My gum is not like your gum. It is special. It is drug-gum.

Sometimes people would see me chewing and ask me for a piece of gum—assuming I was some normal Orbitz-chewing plebeian, not a secret ex-smoker with top-shelf ****. People were usually surprised, and a little impressed. “I smoked for 10 years!” I would brag. If smoking was cool, quitting was cooler.

I used the gum for 90 days as recommended. But then, instead of weaning off the gum, I upgraded to the 4 mg variety—same cost, twice the kick! I found no reason to “wean” off it other than a feeble suggestion written on the side of the box. There is no conclusive evidence that nicotine, on its own, has even modest health risks. It’s a stimulant—so it may cause a slight increase in blood pressure and heart rate.

But the benefits far outweigh the risks: increased attention span, reduced anxiety, and improved memory have all been linked to nicotine use. Another known side-effect is weight loss. So basically, it’s a goddamned miracle, is what it is. I was addicted to the perfect drug.

But I was still addicted.

I slept with a piece in my mouth, and woke up craving it. My life revolved around obtaining it—ensuring I had enough to get me through the day. If I got down to my few last pieces, I’d feel a surge of panic that didn’t subside until I could get to the store for my next box. No one cast accusatory glances at me on the street for chewing gum, as they had with smoking. But I could swear I was getting judgmental side-eye from the cashiers at CVS who rang up my preferred brand of “smoking cessation aid,” week after week. I started going uptown, to a different CVS.

On a weekend trip to Montauk last summer, my stash ran out as we were on our way back to the city. Stuck in traffic, it took us seven hours to drive back and we stopped at multiple gas stations—none of which sold nicotine gum. It was 85 degrees and the air conditioner in the car didn’t work. I felt anxious and physically ill. I ate my way through a box of Hot Tamales and one of those enormous deli muffins made out of couch cushions, but it didn’t help. I thought about smoking again. I almost bought a pack of “Snus” but had no idea what it was, how it works, or if it even contained nicotine.

I live nowhere near a CVS, so when I got home that night, miserably, I went to sleep. No gum in my mouth. I haven’t had a piece since. The next day, I decided to continue riding out the withdrawal—just to see if I could, and because I never wanted to go through that again. The next day at work I was nauseated, headachey and seething in silent, venomous rage. The withdrawal took about 48 hours, and when it was over, I felt like a war hero.

To fill the gaping emotional void, I chewed regular cinnamon gum and sucked on ginger chews and scrolled relentlessly through my Facebook feed. I started grinding my teeth in times of stress—sometimes loudly, and in public. I went from two to four cups of coffee a day. I sucked Diet Dr. Pepper through a straw. I started crying on the subway, again. I played Tetris on my phone.

I got hooked on 12 different podcasts and carried snacks to eat while walking places. I have yet to recover from any of these addictions, and—unlike nicotine—some of them are destroying my mind and possibly converting my cells into toxic waste. A year later, I still miss my drug-gum every day.

I recently confessed to my therapist that I’m thinking of taking up nicotine gum again, even though I haven’t smoked in three years. “It quells my anxiety,” I explained.

She responded, earnestly: “You know, they have medication for that.” Yes, I know.

Read more:



Nicotine's chemical properties are addictive. If you take that nicotine away from your body, it will miss it and you will experience physical and mental withdrawal symptoms.

These symptoms surface after three-five days of quitting smoking and linger for approximately two weeks. We list out some of these symptoms to help you prepare for these side-effects to smoking cessation. Rest assured that these symptoms, while some are unpleasant, will only be transitionary and once you're rid of them, will leave you feeling much better after quitting smoking.

Emotional withdrawal

Some of the most common symptoms are...

Depression: You may feel low, sad and hopeless. Hence it is important to surround yourself with people, preferably non smokers and friends who will support your decision to quit smoking.

Angry: Emotional upheaval can make you angry. Others may not be aware of it, but you know what's happening to your body. The age-old remedy of counting till 10 isn't such a bad idea. Stop, think, regain your calm and composure before losing your cool.

Bored: You may have noticed that when you were bored, tired or depressed you tend to smoke. Now that you are on your way to a smoke free life replace these voids with hobbies or get involved with people around you. Pay more attention to your loved ones.

Lonely: Withdrawal of smoking can make you feel lonely, impatient and irritable. If your friends are busy, take up a dance class or cooking class. It is important to expect these feelings of loneliness, so stay prepared.

Mood swing: Tempers will flare and tantrums will increase. These are not exactly PMSsymptoms. Nicotine was once your evil friend but now you have to bear with the loss of the addiction. This will throw your emotional reactions to daily happenings into a tizzy. Most quitters will need help with these mood swings. Replace the smoking placebo with something else. Invest in some great music and strong coffee, maybe?

Physical withdrawal

Nicotine obstructs the flow of oxygen and nutrients to various parts of the body. Now that you have quit smoking, your body has to hit the reverse button to detox.

Bowel discomfort: It's time to change your diet and fitness once you quit smoking. Quitting smoking can cause cramps, nausea, flatulence and constipation, therefore it is important to increase roughage and exercise your body.

Nasal and throat problems: When you stop smoking, your nose and throat will try to clear the mucous that has accumulated over the years. You may experience coughing, dry throat and mouth. Fluids are the key to clearing this process.

Increase in appetite: Craving for cigarettes can be confused with hunger cravings. The best way to stay healthy is to consume fluids and low calorie snacks.

Headaches: Lack of nicotine can lead to headaches, the way out of it is with massages, plenty of water and rest. Gently massage your temple, drink water, take a hot shower and take a deep breathe.

Lack of sleep: You may experience insomnia after you quit smoking. Take a hot shower before you hit the sack, do breathing exercises too and most importantly avoid coffee closer to bed-time.

Restlessness/lack of concentration: You feel like there is energy bursting in you, transfer this energy into something constructive. In these situations smokes would calm your nerves, but now switch off that thought and cultivate a new habit. You may feel you can't concentrate too; try listening to music or take a break from your routine life.

Weight gain: Increase in craving can lead to weight gain, especially if you indulge in unhealthy food. But don't be dejected, you can cut it out with exercise and the right diet.

Sweating and shaky hands and feet: You will feel that your hands and feet tremble. It is a passing phase that will stop. If you experience these withdrawals you know your body is simply shedding an addiction and leading you to a much healthier life.

Skin trouble: While quitting smoking is associated with healthier skin, the period of withdrawal will cause some skin trouble. Some people with sensitive skin might break out into a fresh acne case or suffer from some ulcers in the inner-cheeks, tongue and mouth. The reason is simply that your body is letting go of the toxins and levelling up.

Instead of losing motivation, after reading these withdrawal symptoms, the one thought any quitter must focus on is this: The fact that your body is changing so much when quitting, simply showcases how much it is continuously changed and affected while you still smoke. Avoid poor health and dangerous diseases - quit smoking today.

Current cigarette smoking among high school students is at its lowest level in more than 2 decades, the CDC is reporting.

In the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, just 15.7% of participants reported they had smoked a cigarette in the 30 days before filling in the questionnaire, according to CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD.

It's the first time the proportion has been that low since the survey started in 1991, Frieden said, and it meets the objective of the Healthy People 2020 plan to get the rate under 16%.

"That's good news," Frieden told reporters in a telephone briefing on the survey results,published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

But, in general, the survey findings are a mixture of good news and bad news.

"We're encouraged to see that high school students are making better choices in some areas, like smoking, fighting, and alcohol use," Frieden said.

Nonetheless, other areas are concerning, he said, including the amount of time students spend glued to a screen instead of being active and a relatively new worry -- texting or emailing while driving.

The survey is conducted every 2 years and in 2013 involved 13,583 students. As well, the report includes data from 42 states and 21 large urban school districts that conducted their own version of the survey, to which they could add or remove questions.

Some key findings:

  • The 15.7% of students who reported current smoking represents a 10-percentage point drop since 1991, but a decline of more than 20 percentage points since the 36.4% peak in 1997.
  • Daily smoking followed the same pattern: 9.8% in 1991, rising to 12.8% in 1999, and then falling to 4.0% in 2013.
  • Use of smokeless tobacco, however, has not changed significantly over the past 14 years, remaining at 8.8% in 2013.
  • The proportion of students who reported current alcohol use also fell, from 50.8% in 1991 to 34.9% in 2013.
  • On the other hand, current marijuana smoking is at 23.4%, up from 14.7% in 1991, but slightly down from the peak of 25.3% in 1995.
  • Fewer students -- some 34% -- reported current sexual activity, defined as intercourse within 3 months of the survey date. That's down significantly since 1991, when 37.5% reported current sexual activity.
  • Nearly one student in four -- 24.7% -- reported being in a physical fight in the year before the survey. That's down from 42.5% in 1991, and also a decline from 2011, when the rate was 32.8%.


A worrisome finding is that more than two in five of the 64% of students who reported driving in the 30 days before the survey also said they had been texting or emailing while behind the wheel, according to Stephanie Zaza, MD, director of the agency's Division of Adolescent and School Health.

"This puts them and other drivers at risk," she said.

The question is a new one, Zaza said, so there is no information about trends.

Zaza also noted that TV-watching has fallen out of favor -- 32.5% of students reported watching three or more hours of television on an average school day, down from 42.8% in 1999.

That's a "pretty dramatic drop," she told MedPage Today.

But 41.3% of students reported playing video or computer games or using a computer for nonschool work for 3 or more hours on an average school day, up from 22.1% in 2003.

Students might be "replacing" the TV time with hours spent on other devices, including tablets and smartphones, she said.

"We are concerned by the amount of screen time -- it cuts into time for physical activity, it cuts in time for sleep, it cuts into time for interacting in a healthy way with friends and learning," Frieden said.

"It's a whole lot of time being inactive and that's a concern," he told MedPage Today. On the other hand, Frieden added later, computers and similar devices also offer opportunities for learning.


Dealing With Stress

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 12, 2014

Many people, including my prior addicted self, thought that we smoked in order to deal with stress. In reality, smoking creates even more stress because the second we put out that sickerette, our Addictive Minds are already planning how to convince us that we "need, deserve, have to have" the nEXt one! So the only time addictive stress is relieved is while we're smoking! 

But taking away sickerettes for whatever reasons doesn't change the fact that we dealt with virtually all stress by smoking and don't know another way to face it!

I've seen people discuss many great stress management skills on this site that not only relieve stress but keep it in check in the first place,  including:

* exercising



 *using sensory strategies to relax

 *practicing simple breathing exercises

 *challenging self-defeating thoughts

*building spirituality

*sharing with friends (especially here at BecomeanEX) who empathize with your quit

 All of these are very effective and the more you use them the better the results. We also need in our Quit Tool Boxes quick Stress Relief Strategies. Some that come to mind are:

*Exercise releases endorphins, relieves stress, and promotes emotional well-being. Try running in place,  jumping rope, or walking around the block.

*Step outside and savor the warm sun and fresh air. Enjoy a beautiful view or landscape.

*Tell a friend a funny joke.

*Yoga and meditation are excellent ways to bust stress and find balance.

*Play with your dog or cat, enjoying the relaxing touch of your pet’s fur.

*Put on some calming music.

*Light a scented candle.

*Breathe in the scent of fresh flowers or coffee beans, or savor a scent that reminds you of a favorite  vacation, such as sunscreen or a seashell.

*Close your eyes and picture a peaceful place, such as a sandy beach. Or think of a fond memory, such  as your child’s first steps or time spent with friends. 

*Make yourself a steaming cup of tea.

*Look at favorite family photos.

*Give yourself a neck or shoulder massage.

*Soak in a hot bath or shower.

*Playing Sports


I'm sure you can add to this list now that you get the idea!  You can learn to get through difficulties without falling back on your addiction. Different quick stress relief strategies work better for some people than others. The key is to find the one that works best for you, and helps you calm down when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed. When you’re confident in your ability to quickly de-stress, facing strong feelings isn’t as intimidating or overwhelming.

Often I see stress referred as triggers but we all know that stress is a part of life so if we want to quit smoking when there's "less stress" in our lives, it will be the day we're declared dead! Actually in the long run, Nicotine Addiction may very likely lead to smoking related illness - now THAT'S STRESS! So we need to learn to differientiate between triggers and stress. Triggers can be avoided, stress cannot! But it can be kept in check and it can be addressed in health ways! It's a set of skills that all successful quitters have developed - and YOU CAN TOO!

That would be the Law of Addiction! Each of us is an individual with our own personal quit history but it doesn't change the Law of Addiction! The Law of Addiction doesn't even know or care who you are! It's an equal opportunity law, like the Law of Gravity! The Law of Addiction says

"Administration of a drug to an addict will cause re-establishment of chemical dependence upon the addictive substance."

It applies whether you've been hooked for 2 weeks or 50 years and everything in between! It applies to the social smoker just as it does the closet smoker and the chain smoker. It applies to the 15 year old and the 60 year old. It applies to the healthy and the ill, to men and women, straight and gay, religious and atheist, all of us equally!

So where's the opportunity? You have the opportunity to slowly kill yourself while spending $10/day! You have the opportunity of giving away your brain - your judgment - yourself! You have the opportunity of hiding away from life on life's terms behind a smoke cloud that threatens the health of everybody around you and your pets! 

OR you have the opportunity to become FREE the way Our Creator made us to be!

Bottom line - the only way to quit smoking is to Not take One Puff Ever!!!! N.O.P.E.!

Or as we say here, "Keep 'em away from your face!"

Addiction changes our personalities. Our Addictions come in front of our feelings; they control our thoughts; they take over our time and space management; they even dictate the nature of our relationships!

If you are addicted to Nicotine in any of it's forms be it sickerettes, NRTs or Vaporizers i.e. e-cigarettes, you are not your genuine God given SELF! 

BUT inside all of us is that part which craves FREEDOM just as much as our addiction craves the next FIX!

Let the FREEDOM Loving Voice become louder and the Addiction hooked Voice become silent!

Freedom from Addiction is a 100% Contract! 

I, Thomas, pledge that today no Nicotine in any form will enter my body, warp my personality, or stain my SOUL with God's grace! AMEN!

Smokers who want to quit have all sorts of tools at their disposal: call lines, nicotine patches, medication, friends, doctors. And now, texts.

Getting counseling through text messages doubled the odds of kicking the habit compared with those who relied on Internet searches and basic information brochures, a study published Friday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found. It's one of the few long-term randomized trials looking at the effectiveness of texting as a method to help people quit smoking.

The participants were enrolled in Text2Quit, a publicly available Web-based program that sends personalized texts and emails to smokers to help them cut down as they approach a target quit date.

In moments of weakness, people could text keywords like "CRAVE" or "STATS" to receive tips about fighting cravings, an update on their progress or even a trivia game they could play to distract them.

"I was interested in helping people quit smoking with cognitive behavioral therapy, and given the widespread use of cellphones, I thought this was a neat opportunity," says Lorien Abroms, a professor at George Washington University's School of Public Health in Washington, D.C., and the brain behind the program.


Abroms got the idea about five years ago, when there weren't other options  available for receiving counseling or medical advice via text. So she started developing a program herself. Since Text2Quit was licensed and launched in 2012, about 120,000 people have enrolled.


In the trial, Abroms and her colleagues recruited 503 people by posting an ad on Google that would appear when people searched phrases like "quitting smoking" or "how to stop smoking." They randomly assigned some to enroll in Text2Quit. The others received a brochure in the mail and were encouraged to search for self-help materials online.

The researchers checked in with participants, who tended to skew female and white, four times over the course of six months to monitor their progress. Those who couldn't be followed up with were classified as "smokers."

By the end of the six months, at least 11 percent of the participants using Text2Quit had successfully quit. Only 5 percent of the participants using self-help materials had quit. (The researchers verified the self-reports by taking saliva samples, which shaved the numbers down by about half.)

That may not seem like a big deal, but it means that even with a conservative estimate, texting doubled a participant's chances of quitting. And, Abroms points out, it's about as effective as other methods, including phone counseling.

"We have a number of proven therapies in the U.S. that are recognized," says Abroms, like calling a help line or using a nicotine replacement patch. "But now we're accruing more evidence that we can also use text messaging on mobile phones. So we have another tool to quit smoking."

In a small pilot study published in 2012, the researchers asked people who were getting counseling from both a call line and Text2Quit which one they liked better and why.

"They liked that the texts came in the daytime," says Abroms. "Rather than scheduling a 45-minute phone conversation, usually at night, they could just glance down at their phone during the day. It was a constant reminder that they were quitting smoking."

But there's room for improvement. Now that call lines are offering Text2Quit as a complement to phone counseling, Abroms says she'd like to find out if combining the two increases the odds of success.

"I'm a 65-year-old smoker. Is it too late for me to see any real cardiovascular benefits from quitting?" Here's our advice.

As you probably know, smoking is a significant risk factor for stroke, heart attack and cardiovascular death. The good news is that it's never too late to quit smoking to gain health benefits -- and this applies even to those over the age of 50, as one large European study found.

Researchers from the German Cancer Research Center looked at the lifetime smoking history of more than 8,800 smokers, former smokers and never-smokers ages 50 to 74 who had never had a stroke or heart attack.

The results, published in 2013 in the European Journal of Epidemiology showed that a smoker's risk of cardiovascular disease was more than twice that of those who had never smoked, and that the number of cigarettes smoked per day and how long a person smoked worsened risk. The research also showed that smokers' risk of cardiovascular disease was elevated at much younger ages than nonsmokers or people who had quit.

However, the risk could virtually be reversed -- and in a short time. Within five years of quitting, the study found, the risk of heart attack and stroke was reduced by more than 40 percent.

As the research shows, smoking cessation is beneficial at any age, so if you're looking to quit, there's no reason not to do so. Speak with your healthcare provider about tools that can increase your chance of long-term success. These include nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medications, counseling and support groups.

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