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I can't stop dancing

Posted by TomW5.15.17 Jul 31, 2017

No, seriously.  I can’t stop.  When craves hit, I’ve tried all the suggested distractions (head in the freezer, biting on a lemon, focusing on blue things in the room, etc.) and they all work most of the time.  But the one thing that consistently works best for me is moving.  Usually, I will just get up and walk around.  Sometimes that just isn’t feasible.  I’ve noticed in the last couple of weeks, whenever I’m at my desk for more than a few minutes, my leg starts bouncing up and down like a nervous tic.  Invariably, my mind will notice a pattern or beat to the bounce, which then turns into a song to match that beat, which in turn starts me swaying, bopping my head, and basically dancing in my seat.  I’m sure I look absolutely ridiculous, especially because I never learned to dance and have no moves  But it does keep the craves at bay.

Interesting.  Not sure how I feel about this, so I'll just leave this here with no comment for now:

PUBLISHED: 07/28/17 07:12 PM EDT.
UPDATED: 07/28/17 07:13 PM EDT.

NEW YORK – For the first time, the federal government is proposing cutting the nicotine level in cigarettes so they aren't so addictive.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration chief Scott Gottlieb on Friday directed the agency's staff to develop new regulations on nicotine. The FDA has had the power since 2009 to regulate nicotine levels but hasn't done so. Stocks of cigarette makers plunged after the announcement.

As part of the new strategy, the FDA is giving e-cigarette makers four more years to comply with a review of products already on the market, Gottlieb said. The agency intends to write rules that balance safety with e-cigarettes' role in helping smokers quit, he said.

"A renewed focus on nicotine can help us to achieve a world where cigarettes no longer addict future generations of our kids," Gottlieb said in a speech to staff in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Tar and other substances inhaled through smoking make cigarettes deadly, but the nicotine in tobacco is what makes them addictive.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable heart disease, cancer and death in the United States, causing more than 480,000 deaths annually. Smoking rates, though, have been falling for decades and are at about 15 percent.

Gottlieb said he has asked the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products to explore whether lowering nicotine could create a black market for higher nicotine products and what role e-cigarettes and other products play in reducing harm from smoking. Battery-powered e-cigarettes turn liquid nicotine into an inhalable vapor. He also wants new rules to address flavored tobacco products and kids.

The FDA announcement is great news, said Eric Donny, a University of Pittsburgh researcher who has studied what happens when smokers puff on cigarettes with lower levels of nicotine. Donny and other researchers found that reducing nicotine substantially — by around 90 percent — leads to smokers being less dependent on cigarettes and smoking fewer of them.

There have been concerns that smokers might react to lower nicotine levels by smoking more. But the research shows that's not what happens — not if enough nicotine is taken out, Donny said.

"Most of the harm associated with smoking is related not to the nicotine but everything else in the smoke. Reducing nicotine doesn't make a cigarette safe, it just makes it less addictive," said Donny, director of Pitt's Center for the Evaluation of Nicotine in Cigarettes.

There's additional research underway to see how often people who smoke lower-nicotine cigarettes switch to e-cigarettes or other, less harmful tobacco products, he said.

Kenneth Warner, a retired University of Michigan public health professor who is a leading authority on smoking and health, said he was pleasantly surprised to learn of the FDA announcement.

"If you can separate the nicotine people are craving from the smoke that's killing them, then you may be doing something very important," Warner said.

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids president Matthew Myers praised the overall approach as "a bold and comprehensive vision" but called the e-cigarettes delay "a serious error."

"This long delay will allow egregious, kid-friendly e-cigarettes and cigars, in flavors like gummy bear, cherry crush and banana smash, to stay on the market with little public health oversight," Myers said in a statement.

Altria Group, which sells Marlboro, other brands and e-cigarettes in the U.S., said it would be "fully engaged" in FDA's rule-making process.

"It's important to understand that any proposed rule such as a nicotine product standard must be based on science and evidence, must not lead to unintended consequences and must be technically achievable," the company said in a statement.

Gottlieb touched on premium cigars in his announcement, saying the agency wants to hear from the industry about their patterns of use and public health impacts. He said the FDA will "seriously consider" new data relevant to how premium cigars should be regulated.

©2017 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Smoking Opportunities

Posted by TomW5.15.17 Jul 27, 2017

Many, many years ago, I smoked a pack and a half per day.  Because I could.  There were no restrictions anywhere.  I remember visiting people in the hospital and having cigarettes with them in their room (even if it was shared by a non-smoker).  Then, thankfully, we passed laws that outlawed smoking indoors.  I never smoked in my own home, because I couldn't stand the smell in my curtains, carpets and furniture fabric.  (I know, pretty sick, huh?  I'll ruin my employer's place or a public hospital or restaurant, but keep it away from my home!)


So practically overnight, I had 8 or more hours per day that I was unable to light up.  I went from 30 a day to 10-15 a day.  I went from smoking anytime/anywhere, to carefully planning out when I could have my next smoke.  I remember that awful feeling inside me when a planned cigarette break couldn't happen for some reason.  And I remember the absolute glee I felt when an opportunity to smoke happened when I wasn't expecting it.  That became the new norm for the last 30 years.


After 10 weeks, I've lost the habit of planning out my day of smoke breaks.  But every time one of those unexpected opportunities arise, I still find myself looking for my pack.  That old habit just won't die.  Luckily, I'm able to laugh it off and move on.


Weight Gain

Posted by TomW5.15.17 Jul 24, 2017

Yikes!  I’m up 12 lbs now.  I know, it’s better than smoking, but 12 lbs is a lot for me.  I began my quit at 128 lbs.  That’s a bit underweight for my 5’6” frame, but not by a big margin.  And I’ve gained nearly 2 inches in my waist.  I gained 6 lbs pretty quickly and went out and bought 2 pairs of “fat” pants thinking I’d lose the weight fairly quickly like in past quits.  Now those pants are tight.  


For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been wondering why this quit feels so much harder than previous ones.  And when I got on the scales this morning, and saw I’d gained twice as much weight as previous quits, I couldn’t understand that.  Then, as Jackie would say, I had an AHA moment.  In all my previous quits, I never gave up the NRT.  I’m embarrassed to say that on one quit, I went 2 years and was still popping 5-8 lozenges a day.  This time is cold turkey.


I’m not looking for sympathy or advice.  I know what I need to do, and that’s eat less.  Although I may try to stall on that until I get through No Man’s Land


New Freedom

Posted by TomW5.15.17 Jul 22, 2017

This is huge!:  My wife just left to run some errands.  I’m leaving soon to run mine.  As she was going, she asked, “When will I see you again today?”  Without even thinking, I said, “It’s supposed to rain this afternoon.  So I’m going to do all my errands back-to-back and get home before the rain.”


Why this is huge:  For over 30 years, I would have answered that question quite differently.  And I wouldn’t have answered without thinking.  In fact, I would have thought a great deal about it as soon as I woke up.  I would have carefully planned out my day so that I never did any errand back-to-back.  I needed to maximize the number of times I left the house so I could sneak a cigarette.  And I would space them out as evenly as possible so as to ease any withdrawal.


Today, for the first time, none of that even occurred to me.


I’m really starting to like this new freedom


Tom (68DOF)



Posted by TomW5.15.17 Jul 20, 2017

I pretty much got over my usual triggers (driving, coffee, after meals, etc.) after my first week of quit.  I've even had a few occasions with alcohol and was barely phased.  Although I did limit myself to only one small drink each time.  


In my 66 days, there have been plenty of times when I was nearby a smoker, and I did not feel any great desire to smoke.  This is not to say I no longer have cravings.  I still get some doozies.  They just don't seem to be triggered by anything.  Until today.  I ran into an old-coworker this morning.  It's been 2 years since I've seen him, but in the previous 20 years, I smoked more cigarettes with him than anyone else.  In our 8-10 work hour days, we would have at least 8-10 cigarettes together.


We spoke for about 20 minutes catching up.  But within seconds of seeing him, I was overcome with cravings.  I barely heard a word he said.  All I could think about was, "I hope he doesn't light up, because I'm not sure I could not bum one from him".  When I got in my car, I actually toyed with the idea of driving to the store to buy a pack.  Then a calendar alarm went off on my cell phone.  I looked and saw it was a reminder of my annual health insurance screening exam tomorrow morning.  This is the first year they are testing for nicotine use.  I guess timing really is everything .



Posted by TomW5.15.17 Jul 18, 2017

For the first time since I joined EX, I scrolled down to the bottom of the Home Page.  There I saw the New Member section, and for grins, I hit the VIEW ALL button.  Then I saw all the ways you could sort and search, and had a great idea!  I like knowing how people who quit around the same time as me are doing.  Since I quit on May 15, I would create a group of those who quit in May and June, and check in with them regularly.


When I did the search, I was pretty surprised.  I was expecting maybe 10-20 names.  It was 155!  I paged through all the names, and only recognized 9 who have posted here.  That's 6% of the people who joined, still actively posting a month or 2 later.  How sad .  I wish there was a way we could engage those people.  Hopefully they will return when they are ready.


No Man's Land

Posted by TomW5.15.17 Jul 16, 2017

I had the worst crave of my quit beginning when I woke up Thursday until I fell asleep Friday.  I remember falling asleep Friday thinking I can't wait to post in gregp136 's No Man's Land Roll Call when I wake up so I can complain about how bad I'm feeling.  I slept OK Thursday and Friday night, but the waking hours were non-stop misery.


Then I wake up Saturday morning and start going about my day until almost dinner time, when I realize I hadn't thought of nicotine once all day.  Same with today.  I've been up for 9 hours, and am totally crave/urge free.  This is what I hate the most about No Man's Land, the unpredictability of it.  I'm a number's guy.  A logical thinker.  I want cause and effect.  When I have a crave, (or have none) I want it to be explained by diet, exercise, amount of sleep, or something!  The randomness of this drives me crazy!


But the good news is I'm 62 DOF!  I'm nearly half-way thru this awful NML!


Profanity withdrawal

Posted by TomW5.15.17 Jul 13, 2017

I've been reading with amusement all of the posts on this site's apparently new profanity filter.  I rarely swear, and almost never in public.  I'm not morally opposed.  I guess I just don't get that mad.  Until now.  I've been swearing like drunken sailor the past few weeks when craves hit me.  Today is another bad day.  It does help a little yelling out loud at my craves.  And for those of you who are used to typing your rants, my sympathies.  It doesn't seem fair that we have to give up nicotine and profanity at the same time


Speaking of craves, I've noticed I'm not craving cigarettes anymore.  Instead I want that instant nicotine rush I used to get from Nicorette gum.  Hopefully that is progress.


Health Insurance Change

Posted by TomW5.15.17 Jul 7, 2017

My health insurer (Optima) has always required me to do a Biometric Screening every year where they would basically just take your vitals and ask you some questions.  A few years ago they started giving a premium "discount" if you were a non-smoker, and another if your Body Mass Index was under 25.  Of course, if you smoke or are overweight, you think of this as a penalty, not a discount.


Anyway, I always got both "discounts".  I've always been underweight so my weight/height ratio is what it is.  But the test for smoking was a CO2 breathalyzer.  I could easily beat this by just going on nicotine lozenges for 24 hours prior to my test, then literally lighting up as I walked to my car from the Biometric Screening.  No more.  They are going to a blood test now for nicotine.  So even if you haven't lit up in years, but continue a NRT, you lose.  Seems unfair.


It makes me wonder if it was just too many people like me gaming the system that brought about the change?  Or is there some new research suggesting that NRT's aren't successful enough for an insurer to consider you "quit"?  Thankfully, I decided to go without NRT's on this quit.


53 DOF for me.  Will be 70-80 by the time I do my test.  Hopefully I won't have any lingering nicotine in my body by then.