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No Smoking Day 2017

No Smoking – A Difficult Goal to Achieve

Recently I have written blogs relating to cancers in the workplace and toxic fumes. With 8th March being No Smoking Day 2017 I figured that my recent investigations into the aforementioned would not be complete if I didn’t write a blog on smoking to coincide with the day.

Everyone knows that smoking is not particularly good for you. I wanted to write something that wasn’t full of scaremongering and statistics about how bad smoking actually is. But in honesty, that was going to be a difficult goal to achieve.

I could have started with a great big list of diseases caused by smoking like cancer and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), but already after just 2 the list is a bit scary. So if you wanted to know all of these diseases there are plenty of websites out there with these lists available.

I then thought of looking at all the other chemicals that are in cigarette smoke, including arsenic, mercury and formaldehyde. All of which are known poisons to the human condition, but here they are readily available in cigarette smoke. So, after looking at this list of chemicals I realised that this is a scary list also, and the list is available on other websites.

At this point I thought I could write about the benefits of not smoking, but that kind of went in the same direction, as I would be pointing out what you would be avoiding.

Also, the hypocrisy. After being a lifelong smoker I quit smoking almost a year ago, so I feel as though I can’t really say anything to anyone without feeling like a bit of a hypocrite.

I remember people telling me ‘quitting will be the best thing you ever do, etc, blah blah blah’. Then my brain would switch off thinking about how hypocritical they were being after smoking for years, and light up.

But as mentioned I was a cigarette smoker, for 30 to 35 years, and was a dedicated smoker. So to have almost a year under my belt, is proof that it can be done.

And this is where this blog is coming from.

Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT)

If you do smoke and think you may have a hard time quitting, you don’t really have to. It’s not like it was, say 20 years ago, when basically your option was to quit ‘cold turkey’. In the day of technology and modern science there are now options that really take the sting out of quitting.

The time served methods of Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT) such as patches and lozenges are great for those who want to quit smoking completely. Slowly lowering the dose of nicotine over a period of time. But these methods don’t address the addictive physical action of smoking, and I think that (especially for me) this is one of the hardest things to overcome.

So, it’s not just the nicotine that causes problems for folks wanting to quit. However, I’m going to add something here about nicotine….. to bring me on to something else.

Tobacco isn’t as addictive as a lot of people seem to think it is. Tobacco for cigarettes is treated with ammonia to ‘activate’ the tobacco. This makes the nicotine more readily absorbed by the body and thus works more quickly and is much more addictive. This was explained to me by one of the top lung specialists in the area I live. And to paraphrase he told me that it is a similar difference to the differences between ‘cocaine and crack cocaine’. So in cigarettes the manufacturers are basically selling you ‘crack nicotine’ as it keeps you buying and has more of an effect.

And now to the ‘something else’. Vaporizers.

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These little devices supply you with an amount of nicotine in a much safer medium. The problem people seem to have with them is that this is pure nicotine and not the ‘crack’ variety you get from a cigarette. So you don’t get the same effect or ‘hit’. But on the upside, they give you something to do with your hands and you get to breathe out a plume, that was also something I missed for some reason.

A few people in the office where I work have made the switch to vaporizers. I asked them how they were getting on with them and the consensus seemed to be that people preferred them to smoking “once they got used to it”. I also asked how they felt if they smoked a cigarette after getting used to the ‘vape’. One said, “I feel like an idiot”.

Another problem that people have come across is on ‘that night out’ when the batteries are running out. They tend to default to smoking cigarettes.  But most go back to the vape afterwards, so they are still smoking way less.

Although vapes don’t work for everyone (personally they make my lungs very sore) there are a lot of options for getting nicotine into your system. I ended up using 4mg mints that worked very well for me, even to the point of biting them in half as time went on (you can buy 2mg mints, but if you get the 4mg ones for the same price you get twice the amount of 2mg ‘hits’, for want of a better word).

I also tried to keep to my routines. When I would normally leave the office for a cigarette, I still take the same break but with a mint and some fresh air instead. This helped to stop the ‘holes’ appearing in my life that some people describe. By the time I sit back down again I pretty much feel how I did when I smoked. I still speak to the same guys about the same things, I just don’t smoke.

On a slightly different note about vaporizers, I much prefer walking down the street and occasionally smelling a fruity smell rather than walking through plumes of cigarette smoke as (and here’s the hypocrisy at work) cigarette smoke smells rank. You don’t notice when you smoke, and it does back off a bit, but when you don’t smoke, or at least when you first stop, the smell is awful, especially in places like your car.

The NHS offer NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) for free, simply by signing up for their sessions and further details can be found here or by visiting your G.P.

Don’t be Scared to Give it a Go

So, there you have it, a blog for No Smoking Day that isn’t just scaremongering, or a list of diseases, or a non-smoker telling you how bad you are for smoking. Nor does it tell you about how much money you will save or how much nicer your home will smell (though I suppose it just did). Just a bit of information for those who have, or are, considering stopping smoking.

If you have quit keep up the good work, and for those who are considering it, don’t be scared to give it a go, try everything that’s available to you as something out there will work. And just one more note; I have smoked the occasional cigarette (in company, on ‘that night out’) in the last year. The people who didn’t know me when I smoked say ‘it doesn’t suit you’ and the people who knew me when I was a smoker say ‘that just looks weird now’. And that’s in just under a year.

Good Luck.


Theodore Sturgeon


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