Most adults living today grew up knowing tobacco was unhealthy. Although cigarettes were commonly referred to as coffin nails in the 1940s and 50s, when the Surgeon General's report on "Smoking and Health" came out in 1964, the issue was settled. Smoking kills and maims. As the years have gone by, most of us were amazed as we began to learn of the true damage that smoking caused. We all remember the Marlboro Man, and the American Tobacco Company did everything they could to keep alive the myth that smokers could be healthy and virile.
What wasn’t known until recently is that
smoking contributes to PAIN.
Smoking contributes to pain, and is also detrimental to the relief or cure of pain.
Well designed studies have proven that nicotine makes pain worse. A very interesting recent medical study shows smokers are three times more likely to develop chronic back pain than nonsmokers. But the best part was their surprise conclusion: "when they stopped smoking, their vulnerability to chronic pain also decreased."
What else do we know about CIGARETTES and PAIN?
Based on large medical studies this is what we know about cigarettes/nicotine/smoking and pain:
Smokers develop degenerative disc disease and herniated discs of the spine at an earlier age, more often and end up with more back pain.
Smokers are more likely to develop painful arthritis and end up disabled.
Smokers report more pain of all types than non smokers.
Smokers have more headaches and migraines.
Americans pay the price while
The American Tobacco company gets richer and richer.
Americans pay the price while The American Tobacco company gets richer and richer. Smoking is one of the most costly mistakes humans engage in. America would be a much wealthier place, if the cost of tobaccos burden wasn't shifted to society in general. None of my money goes directly to the American Tobacco Company, but my taxes, along with everybody else's, do help pay to clean up their mess.
How do I quit?
Tapering is probably the most frequently used method.
I suggest getting a bunch of zip lock baggies. Use a marking pen to put a different date on each baggie. In the baggie with tomorrows date, put in one less cigarette than what you customarily smoke in a day. In the baggie for the next day, put in one less than the day before, and keep going so that you have a baggie for each day, with each baggie containing one less cigarette than the day before. Put all the baggies in the refrigerator.
Each day when you get up, pull out the baggie with that days date. Make the cigarettes last all day. When they are gone, you are done for the day. Each day you will smoke one less cigarette than the day before. If you smoke a pack a day to begin with, you can quit in less than 3 weeks. By tapering like this, you will be come a nonsmoker and never have to fight a single nicotine fit.
Quitting cold turkey is the preferred method for some people.
They compare tapering to cutting off a dogs tail one inch at a time. Better just to set the date, and when it comes, the cigarettes are gone. You will have nicotine withdrawal and have multiple nicotine fits each day. But the good news is that the physical craving for nicotine only lasts 3 days. Once you make it through the 3 days the hard part is over.
There are Drugs to help you quit smoking.
There are a number of FDA approved medicines to help you quit smoking including gum, patches and pills. If you want this type of help you should discuss it with your Primary Care Provider. Remember that the gums and patches are different ways of getting nicotine into your system. As far as we know it is the nicotine that causes the problems. If you use the patches or gum, the job isn’t done until you quit all sources of nicotine, including e-cigarettes.
Washington State Tobacco Quitline
We are fortunate here in Washington to have the Washington State Tobacco Quitline. (Many states have their own Quitline. Use google and find one in your state.) They supply lots of help including free nicotine gum, etc. If you want help you should go to their website or call the 800 number.
Paste this in your browser: https://www.quitnow.net/mve/quitnow?qnclient=washington
Or use this link: Washington Tobacco Quit Line Website
The CDC also offers help to quit smoking. Go here
Which Method Should I Use?
Start out with somebody who has made up their mind to quit, and any of these methods will work. The single most important criteria for success is the motivated quitter. If you have made up your mind to quit, you will succeed. Although we want to be encouraging and there is lots of help out there, ultimately it is your problem and your life. You can make any of these plans work. On the other hand if you want to find a reason not to quit, there is no program that will make you quit.
So here is my question for you: HAVE YOU DECIDED TO QUIT?
Take care and BE HEALTHY!