Quitting smoking : the facts

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For my new years resolution for 2012 I determined to quit smoking, and today stand at 12 days into putting that wish into practice and can say the intensity of the myriad of feelings first encountered, when you cease to intake over 4000 chemicals, is beginning to subside a little. It would of course be premature to suggest all things are normal within my genetic chariot, as I continue to shift between sweets and coffee with honey, to waffles with honey and anything sweet, and woe betide me should I eat anything of substance, which only serves to ensure I feel starving for a few hours after. It is a hard time not filling the face to counter the sugar loss.

The mind looks for avenues to the mass consumption of food to replace the craving for some 4000 or so chemicals no longer seeping into the bloodstream, it is within this timeframe that the birth of obesity might root itself as my genetics run amok, one thing is absolute, I do not wish to replace one baggage laden habit with another.

We are told continuously that its all about the nicotine, important it most certainly is, but it is the removal of nicotine which sets off a serious failure to communicate between the body electric and the body chemistry, the consequence of which launches side effects of a rather complex yet enlightening insight into the ways of the genetic overcoat in which our spirit is in residence.

Insomnia One of the first debilitating effects, in some cases as soon as the first night of rejection of nicotine, would be insomnia. It is a natural reaction to lack of nicotine within the body. Like most withdrawal symptoms, insomnia is most prominent during the first 2 or 3 weeks after nicotine rejection. For those versed in numerology the number three is synonymous with all things addiction, three minute craving, three day chest pressure release and so on. I can verify this synchronicity now at day twelve of my ceasing smoking tobacco and look forward to the three week demarcation line leaving only one further week before reaching the magical thirty day point which is pretty much standard for the body to make the required shift in how it processes chemistry within the body now the massive advantage of nicotine in the blood has ceased. So if we look at a timescale in the first instant of a month, it is fair to say, one should be able to resume a normal sleeping pattern, as it is during the first few weeks after quitting, the severity of insomnia is present, but the severity and length can also be effected by lessening the caffeine intake and or alcohol, but while still feeling very strange as to body chemistry and messages within it at my twelve days, it pains me to suggest a caffeine reduction is perhaps not the best way to go.

I do not drink alcohol so not an issue for me but perhaps the best way to help the body sort itself out would be to get as much exercise as possible to shift out the remnants of the 4000 chemicals and reducing build up of any toxins from the other chemical overload you might intake to keep you sane, which for me as stated, would be fruity sweets and barnips and shed loads of coffee and honey, but it is working so I will continue this course. When it comes to the importance of exercise, you release endorphins into your body which is a natural stress reliever and can only aid in the balancing of the manic chemistry and electrical storms raging in my stone.

So what is going on when the lungs no longer receive a payload of 4000 chemicals to basically takeover the chemical production system :

Low Blood Sugar During the first several days after quitting smoking, a person’s blood sugar levels drop. This can result in the same symptoms that are experienced when a person’s brain is deprived of sufficient oxygen. They include increased levels of irritation, feelings of dizziness and even an inability to accurately discern time. While cigarette smoke doesn’t deliver sugar into the bloodstream, it does create a chemical reaction whereby the body produces sugar. When a smoker quits, this chemical reaction stops and blood sugar levels drop and the cause of the feelings revealed.

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Weight Gain Gaining weight is directly related to the blood sugar levels dropping after a smoker quits. Long-time smokers have relied upon cigarettes to deliver sugar into the bloodstream within a few seconds. It’s an incredibly efficient process. When they quit smoking, they need to rely upon food consumption to release sugar. Unfortunately, it takes about 20 minutes for sugar to be released after food has been consumed. When a person has recently quit smoking, he still feels hungry after eating. This increased appetite leads him to gorge. In the 20 minutes it takes for sugar levels to rise, he can potentially eat several times more than needed. Eventually, he gains weight. Gaining weight is not uncommon and probably the biggest reason people choose not to quit smoking, especially for the females. By starting an exercise program the same time you quit smoking, you can double the benefits. You will get healthier as you get fit, and you will not gain as much weight if you were not exercising, but controlling diet is the main issue to focus on.

In my opinion the most important issue to understand before you stop smoking is the weight gain effect, but more importantly the fact it only happens if you eat just because you feel hungry,  it won’t work and before you know where you are, your new habit is stuffing your face with food and the perfect reason to return to the cigarette. Eat no more than usual and certainly not outside your normal eating regime, but do use your head to counter the cravings you have on occasion, I use small fruity sweets to replace the sugar which are not going to load on the weight, but will in the short term help me by-pass the cravings.

Depression Many people experience varying levels of depression during the first few weeks after quitting smoking. This is usually linked directly to nicotine withdrawal (as opposed to a preexisting psychological issue). This is a good time to cleanse the liver with Milk Thistle, available at Holland and Barrett.

When someone stops smoking, they often have feelings of loneliness and general lack of happiness. Assuming these feelings didn’t exist prior to quitting smoking, they will eventually dissipate. Often, exercising and a change in dietary habits can help relieve the depression.

Short-Term Pain For Long-Term Health Withdrawal symptoms related from lack of nicotine are similar to those of any other addiction. They’re most severe in the first three days, especially the first day, but over time, they slowly grow less and less severe and given I am on day twelve I can verify this information. Eventually, they disappear altogether. Some experts suggest that quitting cold turkey may not be the option that’s best-suited for everyone. Instead, a gradual reduction in the amount of nicotine introduced into the body makes the withdrawal symptoms less brutal and easier to cope with. In the end, the short-term pain and discomfort you’ll experience when you quit smoking is a small price to pay for your long-term health, the choice is yours.

If all of the above fails, then sit down light up your favourite brand and wait until next Christmas to contemplate giving up smoking and think no more about it.

Organic tobacco such as American Spirit and Pueblo are much better for you having no chemicals at all added to the growing plant and to the tobacco during the drying process.

And for your information I failed to give up the tobacco leaf in 2012 but after a lung infection in 2017… I succeeded.
Image : Coloured smoke art : River deep, by Graham Jeffrey

Further Study
Beat Depression Without Antidepressants
Electronic Cigarettes, How Safe are They?
Smoking Helps Protect Against Lung Cancer
Smoking does not Cause Lung Cancer, in Fact it may Protect you from Nuclear Fallout

Tags : Caffeine, Cigarette, Depression, Endorphins, Insomnia, Low Blood Sugar, Nicotine, Numerology, Obesity, Quitting Smoking, Tobacco, Weight Gain