Women Smokers Risk Losing 14.5 Years from Life Span

News Summary

Citing the fact that women smokers lose more than 14 years from their life span, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) urged women to quit smoking.

HealthDay News reported Nov. 27 2008

One in five women in the U.S. over the age of 18 continue to smoke despite decades of warnings about health concerns, but there’s “no good reason” not to quit, ACOG noted. “The damaging effects of smoking on women are extensive, well documented, and can be observed from the cradle to the premature grave,” said Sharon Phelan, a developer of ACOG’s smoking-cessation materials.

Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer among women, and is a contributing factor in a number of other cancers. Female smokers are twice as likely to develop heart disease and 10 times more likely to die from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than nonsmokers.

Women who smoke also face elevated risk of developing emphysema, bronchitis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts, lower bone density after menopause and hip fracture.

Smoking Cessation and Weight Gain

Smoking cessation weight gain and weight control are important issues but we must keep our priorities straight. You face a 50% chance that your chemical dependency upon smoking nicotine will cost you roughly 5,000 days of life, and even greater odds that it will leave you permanently crippled and impaired. When quitting smoking, we would need to gain an additional 75 to 100 pounds in order to equal the health risk associated with smoking one pack of cigarettes a day.

Allow yourself the time necessary to become comfortable in your still healing body before becoming overly occupied with any extra pounds. The self discipline skills you master during nicotine dependency recovery can be applied to all life’s challenges, including stop smoking weight gain (baby steps – just one meal, one ounce, one pound, or one brief exercise period at a time – just one day at a time).

As Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains, both food and nicotine shared the same dopamine pathways. Nicotine also released adrenaline. Once nicotine intake ends many try to eat their temporarily diminished dopamine flow into nicotine comparable quantities, while others pick horrible fights or create outrageous fears in an attempt to induce the body’s fight or flight pathways to release additional adrenaline. The competition between a week or two of brain neuron re-sensitization and trying to keep weight and relationships in balance is clearly a challenge but one you’re fully capable of handling.

In regard to nicotine invoking the body’s fight or flight pathways, one of those lizard mind pathways is responsible for providing instant energy to fight or flea the saber tooth tiger, by releasing stored fats and sugars into the bloodstream. Yes, nicotine was our spoon, allowing us to skip meals yet not experience true hunger, as our bigger meals were fed back to us with each puff throughout the day.

This creates two nicotine cessation challenges: (1) learning to again feed ourselves, to spread our normal daily calorie intake out more evenly over our entire day so as not to experience wild blood sugar swing symptoms (not one calorie more but smaller fuelings about every 3 hours), and (2) learning to handle true hunger pains again. In regard to hunger pains, once one arrives it doesn’t matter if we eat with a toothpick or a shovel, it is still going to take our digestive system about 20 minutes to convert the food to energy that is capable of turning off the mind’s hunger switch. Eat slowly, reasonable size bites and eat healthy!

How many nicotine smokers do you know who love running? They’re pretty rare. But online we see countless ex-smokers develop a passion for engaging in various forms of brisk and lengthy physical activity. Imagine experiencing a substantial increase in overall lung function within just 90 days. Any extra pounds can quickly disappear when such new found endurance and stamina are combined with a small to moderate increase in physical activities. If you do find yourself carrying a few extra pounds, be patient with your healing! New abilities are on the way!

Still just one guiding principle determining the outcome for all, no nicotine just one day at a time, Never Take Another Puff! Breathe deep, hug hard, live long!

Preventing a Slip After You Have Quit Smoking

A slip is the term for having one or two cigarettes after you have quit. Most slips occur within the first 3 months after quitting smoking. A slip does not mean that you will start smoking again. However, many people do relapse after a slip, so don’t “allow” yourself a slip because you think you can stop after one cigarette.

Very often a single slip triggers negative feelings, self-criticism, and depression. This may lead to a sense that you have no control and, possibly, to more slips. Several slips in a row or facing conditions where you are seriously tempted to start smoking again, may increase the chance that you will start smoking again on a regular basis (relapse).

Cravings are the most often reported reason for starting smoking again. When you are faced with a strong temptation to smoke:

  • Recognize the many health benefits you enjoy since you quit smoking.
  • Avoid thinking that “one cigarette won’t hurt me.” It is highly unlikely that one cigarette will be enough. Usually it only “primes the pump” and makes you want more.
  • Remember how hard it was to quit, and realize that you don’t want to face that struggle again.
  • Avoiding slips is best, but if you do slip, it’s important to respond to your actions carefully. A slip is not a relapse, but if you are not prepared, it can lead to a relapse.

After a slip, consider the following:

  • Recognize the slip for what it is-a brief return to an old behavior, an action that says nothing about future behavior. You do not become a person who smokes again after one or several slips.
  • Slips are not signs of failure. Make sure that you don’t give up completely on your efforts to quit.
  • Talk with one of your support people, such as a family member, another person who has quit, or your health professional.
  • Make cigarettes hard to get. Don’t buy a pack. Don’t go places where it is easy to get one from someone else.
  • Don’t let yourself have another cigarette for at least 2 hours. Then decide if you really need it.
  • Review your smoking journal or your list of reasons to quit. Then decide to take control again. Remember past situations in which you showed strength, and see yourself as a strong, capable person who has already come far.

Maintaining Your Quit Plan

Maintaining your quit plan is the most important part of your program since without it, your success cannot be assured. Maintenance keeps your well-oiled machine humming like a good sewing machine or car.

Just because you have a couple of months of being smoke-free under your belt does not mean you will be home free from now on. To keep what you have will depend upon how well you have learned how to recognize junkie thinking that leads to the first puff, how well you have tackled anger management and/or how you have found other ways to celebrate events. Consider yourself on a program of daily management designed to keep smoke-free and remaining a happy camper. Nurture your hard-earned freedom.

Here’s How:

  1. Evaluate how you feel about where you are in the scheme of your program. Is it satisfactory or could it use more work to shore up your staying power.
  2. Remember that the more you put into quitting smoking, the more you’ll get out of it.
  3. Work more on the psychological aspects of quitting and you’ll have fewer battles with Nicotine.
  4. Keep track of your triggers to smoking. This empowers you to successfully say “no” next time.
  5. Keep a log of the insights you find as you search for your own triggers to smoking.
  6. Continue to hang around people who are also quitting. Support is paramount to ongoing success.
  7. Help newcomers with their questions about quitting and tell them how you did it. You will be building on your solid foundation.
  8. Have a library of self-help books on addiction, quitting smoking and positive thinking.
  9. Be sure to continue to reward yourself with money you’ve saved from not smoking. Every day is a new accomplishment.
  10. You may be the only example of a successful ex-smoker someone sees. Show a positive attitude.
  11. Learn how to control your thought processes to eliminate negative thinking.
  12. Continue to live your program just one day at a time and it will continue working for you.

Tips:

  • It is best have a plan in place in case you are visited by a craving unexpectedly.
  • You are powerfully overcoming a most dangerous addiction so take pride in what you have done.

Is Nicotine an Addictive Drug?

Nicotine. It’s a colorless to pale yellow, oily liquid with the formula C10H14N2.

Nicotine sulfate has been used as an insecticide.

According to an authoritative chemical reference, nicotine has an “acrid burning taste.” That could explain why tobacco companies have long touted nicotine as a source of flavor in smoke.

But despite claims to the contrary, some tobacco executives have privately called the chemical addictive.

Anti-tobacco campaigners are convinced that nicotine is addictive. But they say it might not be so bad in and of itself if it were not delivered in a deadly vehicle like cigarette smoke. But by addicting a person to a deadly brew of chemicals, they say, nicotine contributes to 400,000 deaths per year in the United States alone.

Is nicotine addictive in the sense that heroin, cocaine and alcohol are addictive?

The Food and Drug Administration has answered this question in the affirmative, forming the basis for rules restricting marketing and sales of cigarettes to minors. Among other things, these would prohibit tobacco billboards within 1,000 feet of schools, eliminate most cigarette vending machines and require the tobacco companies to foot the bill for an ad campaign warning children against the dangers of smoking. In the proposed rule, the campaign was budgeted at $150-million annually, but a figure was not included in the final rules.

Clearly, the answer to whether nicotine is addictive depends on your definition of addiction, or “dependence,” which the psychology industry often prefers, since it carries fewer negative connotations. According to the bible for classifying psychiatric disorders (see “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual…”. “The essential feature of Substance Dependence is a cluster of cognitive, behavioral and physiological symptoms indicating that the individual continues use of the substance despite significant substance-related problems” (p. 176). Furthermore, “nicotine dependence and withdrawal can develop with use of all forms of tobacco…” (p. 242).

Hallmarks of Addiction

University of Vermont professor John Hughes, an expert on nicotine dependence, says the scientific consensus is that “the core of the issue [over dependence] is the loss of control over use. The drug controls you — you don’t control the drug.”

Specifically:

  • You’re not able to stop using it when you decide to
  • You use the drug despite clear evidence that it is harming you
  • There are clear withdrawal symptoms — including, in the case of nicotine, depressed mood, insomnia, irritability and difficulty concentrating

According to these standards, says Hughes, who is past president of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, “there’s no doubt that nicotine produces addiction.” He also cites anecdotal evidence about the strength of the compulsion for nicotine — or tobacco smoke containing nicotine. “If you put people in a position where it’s hard to get, they will go to great lengths to get cigarettes. From World War II, there are records of starving people trading food for cigarettes in concentration camps.”

But is nicotine really addictive in the same way that heroin, cocaine and alcohol are addictive?

Not exactly… Still, Hughes acknowledges that nicotine differs from such drugs of abuse as alcohol, heroin and cocaine.

Most obviously, it doesn’t cause intoxication, so you can’t tell whether someone is on it. Public discussions of nicotine addiction, he says, often get “confused” on this score — with a bit of help from tobacco companies, which fear having their product branded “addictive.”

Although the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General did not dwell on the addictive nature of nicotine until its 1988 report on smoking and health, University of California cardiologist Stanton Glantz charges that the cigarette companies have long known about the drug’s capacity for hooking smokers. “The evidence that nicotine was addictive was convincing to Brown & Williamson in 1963,” he says, referring to internal documents he described in the newly published book The Cigarette Papers.

Although the tobacco companies have insisted that addictive drugs all produce intoxication, and therefore nicotine does not qualify, Hughes counters that “intoxication is not the center of the problem. Dependence — the inability to stop – is at the core.”

Ironically, Hughes says this inability to intoxicate could actually boost nicotine’s potential for causing dependence, since “you can take nicotine many times and still work, still function.”

Oddly, the numbers show that nicotine is more likely to entrap users than addictive drugs that do cause intoxication. “If 100 people experiment with alcohol or cocaine, about 10 percent will become addicted,” Hughes says, versus 20 to 25 percent of those who take nicotine. “So experimenting with nicotine is more likely to lead to dependence. Yet we have it reversed in our cultural norms,” which stigmatize alcohol and cocaine more than cigarettes.

Hughes points to yet another reason why nicotine is likely to produce dependence, particularly among the young: the drug’s ability to “do so many things in so many situations.” Since many of these effects – controlling hunger, concentration, anger and mood – are exactly what many adolescents seek, and since this “drug can do this every single time, quickly and reliably, it’s no wonder kids take up smoking.”

Coping Hints for Smoking Cessation

Anxiety

What to Expect
You may feel quite “tense” and agitated within 24 hours of quitting.
You may feel tightness in your muscles–especially around the neck and shoulders.
These feelings will pass with time.

Frequency
Recent studies have found that 60-90% of quitters report feelings of increased anxiety within 1 week of quitting.
If anxiety occurs, it will usually begin within the first 24 hours, peak in the first 1-2 weeks and disappear within a month.

Self-Management
Take a walk.
Take a hot bath.
Try a massage.
Try to take a few minutes out of your day to meditate, or do stretching exercises.
Set aside some “quiet time” every morning and evening—a time when you can be alone in a quiet environment.

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
Anxiety is usually measured as an increase in muscle tension as well as an increased sensitivity to muscle tension. Laboratory research shows that the anxiety produced from quitting tobacco may be due to temporary changes in your brain chemistry. There is some evidence that tobacco use actually improves anxiety so it may be that part of the anxiety felt when you quit is what nonsmokers “normally” experience.
Most of the anxiety felt immediately after you quit is due to temporary changes

Being Around Smokers

What to Expect
Expect some friends especially those who are smokers themselves, to end up trying to sabotage your efforts to cut down or quit.
The changes you intend to make may disturb friends and family members who are smokers.
Friends may feel that your efforts to control your smoking will put a strain on your friendship.
It will be tempting to join others for routine “smoke breaks.”

Frequency
You will probably find that you don’t always want to smoke when you see someone else doing it. It’s something special about the circumstance that triggers you.

Self-Management
Ask others not to smoke in your presence.
Provide an outside area where smokers may go if they wish to smoke. Post a small “No Smoking” sign by your front door.
If you are in a group and others light up, excuse yourself, and don’t return until they have finished.
Do not buy, carry, light, or hold cigarettes for others.
Cut down with a buddy.
Try not to get angry when family, friends, or coworkers hassle you for quitting.

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
You must analyze situations in which watching others smoke triggers an urge in you. Find out what it is about that situation that really makes you want to smoke.
Many studies have reported the euphoric, stimulating, and anti-anxiety effects of smoking—smoking may actually make you feel happier, more alert, etc.
These feelings may reinforce tobacco use and you may have also associated these feelings with being around other smokers. When you quit, you may feel saddened by the loss of these feelings—being around smokers may make you feel even more saddened. Don’t be sad think of what you’ve gained by quitting.

Cravings

What to Expect
Your cravings will be strongest in the first week. Generally you will have individual “cravings” that last 30-90 seconds.
You may also experience “rapid fire” cravings where they follow each other in rapid succession. As the days pass, the cravings will get farther and farther apart.

Frequency
Most cravings begin 6-12 hours after you stop, peak (stay high) for 1-3 days, and may last 3-4 weeks.
There is some evidence that mild occasional cravings may last for 6 months.

Self-Management
Remind yourself that cravings are situational—they will pass.
Keep oral substitutes handy: carrots, pickles, sunflower seeds, apples, celery, raisins, sugarless gum all work to stop the psychological need.
Try this exercise: Take a deep breath through your nose and blow out slowly through your mouth, repeat 10 times. Hold the last breath while lighting a match, blow out slowly and blow out the match then crush it in an ashtray.
Light incense or a candle instead of a cigarette.
Avoid situations/activities that you normally associate with smoking (e.g. drinking alcohol.)
Make a list of all your triggers for smoking and develop a “first-aid kit”
Sit down and relax
Change surroundings
Review reasons for quitting
Talk with a friend about your urges and what you are doing about them.
Eat starchy, non-fat foods.
Take a nap or a shower.
Exercise.

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
As a smoker, you have an ideal nicotine dose level and you regulate that level by how much you smoke, how deeply you breathe, and by the kind of tobacco you use. When you quit, physiological cravings result from the body wanting more nicotine.
When you are exposed to smoking triggers or even when you use a small amount of nicotine, your mood changes and cravings can go up as well as your heart rate and blood pressure. Cravings are NOT “just in your head.”

Depression

What to Expect
When you are feeling sad and blue and want to smoke, you know (deep down) that a cigarette is only a temporary answer.
Having a cigarette will only make you feel worse in the long run-you may get even more depressed because you could not stick with your decision to quit.

Frequency
Having a prior history of depression is associated with more severe withdrawal symptoms-including more severe depression. Some studies have found that 17-30% of people with a prior history of major depression will have a new major depressive episode after quitting.
The incidence rate of major depression after quitting is low (i.e. 2%) if you have no prior history of depression.
If mild depression occurs, it will usually begin within the first 24 hours, continue in the first 1-2 weeks, and go away within a month.

Self-Management
Identify your specific feelings at the time that you seem “depressed.” Are you actually feeling tired, lonely, bored or hungry? Focus on and address these specific needs.
Add up how much money you have saved already by not purchasing cigarettes and imagine (in detail) how you will spend your savings in six months.
Call a friend and plan to have lunch, go to a movie or to a concert.
Make a list of things that are upsetting to you and write down solutions for them.

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
Nicotine is a highly addictive drug. It acts as both a stimulant and a depressant, depending upon your mood and the time of day. It controls your mood by regulating the level of arousal of key parts of the brain and central nervous system.

Difficulty Concentrating

What to Expect
You may feel unable to do one task for a long time.
You may put off or avoid difficult or unwanted tasks.
Cigarettes provided you with relaxation breaks. Now that you have quit, you still need to take a break. This may be quite difficult because cigarettes gave you a reason to stop working for 10-15 minutes and now you may have to manufacture a new reason.

Frequency
Recent studies have found that 55-75% of quitters report problems with concentration within 1 week of quitting.
If difficulty concentrating occurs, it will usually begin within the first 24 hours, peak (stay high) for the first 1-2 weeks, and disappear within a month.

Self-Management
Take a break: gaze into a photo, look out a window, close your eyes and relax for ten minutes.
Try to come up with other things that you can do on a 10 minute break–maybe you can get some minor chores out of the way as a “break” from a repeated activity.
Do different tasks instead of focusing on any one activity for too long.
If you can, put off work when you feel unable to do it.
Do important tasks during the times when you feel alert.

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
Difficulty concentrating is one of the most commonly reported withdrawal symptoms. Results from a number of research studies indicate that quitting may “slow” the activity of a number of different brain chemicals and that this slowness may be reflected in drowsiness and poor concentration.

Drinking Coffee or Tea

What to Expect
You do not have to give up coffee or tea to quit smoking.
Expect to feel a strong urge to reach for a cigarette while drinking coffee or tea.
You will have to note which coffee/tea drink gives you an urge, and you will have to find an alternative to keep you from reaching for a cigarette.

Frequency
You may be used to smoking when drinking coffee or tea during or after meals, during coffee/tea breaks, in your office, or in restaurants.

Self-Management
If you used to smoke while drinking coffee or tea, tell people you have quit, so they won’t offer you a cigarette.
Between sips of coffee or tea, take deep breaths to inhale the aroma. Breathe deeply and slowly, while you count to five, breathe out slowly, counting to five again.
Try switching to decaffeinated coffee for a while, particularly if quitting has made you irritable or nervous.
Nibble on toast, crackers, or other low calorie foods. You may also want to do this while you drink—dip fat-free cookies etc. in your coffee/tea to keep your hands busy.
As you drink your coffee, get out a scratch pad, doodle, or make plans for the day.
If the urge to smoke is very strong, drink your coffee or tea faster than usual and then change activities or rooms.

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
Many studies have reported the euphoric, stimulating and anti-anxiety effects of smoking may actually make you feel happier, more alert, etc.
These feelings may reinforce tobacco use and you may have also associated these feelings with drinking coffee or tea.
Drinking coffee or tea may spark all the positive feelings that you have associated with this activity in the past. When you quit, you may feel saddened at the loss of these feelings and drinking coffee or tea without smoking may make you feel even more saddened. Be prepared and think about the long term benefits of life as a non-smoker.

Enjoying Meals

What to Expect
Expect to want to smoke after meals or with others at a restaurant.
Expect the urge to smoke when you smell cigarette smoke at a restaurant.
Smoking urges may be stronger at different meal times, sometimes breakfast, sometimes lunch or sometimes dinner.
Your smoking urges may be stronger with certain foods like spicy or sweet meals or snacks.
When you stop smoking after meals, you can also expect others to be pleased now that you are not smoking at the table.

Frequency
You, like many smokers, may feel the need to smoke after meals at home, at work, or out at a restaurant.
Your desire to smoke after meals may depend on whether you are alone, with other smokers, or with nonsmokers.

Self-Management
Know what kinds of foods increase your urge and stay away from them.
If you are alone, call a friend as soon as you’ve finished eating.
Brush your teeth or use mouthwash right after meals.
If someone is at your home, have someone massage your shoulders.
If you have coffee or a fruit drink, concentrate on the taste.
Wash the dishes by hand after eating—you can’t smoke with wet hands!
Go for a brief walk after meals.

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
Nicotine stops hunger pains in your stomach for as long as one hour and it also makes the blood sugar level go up. When you quit, this is reversed.
Food may be used to get the same effect as cigarettes: stimulation, relaxation, pampering, time out, comfort, socialization etc. Smoking and eating are both ways to meet these needs, so when you quit smoking, you may eat more.
Withdrawal from nicotine enhances the taste of sweeter foods–some foods may actually taste better–and you may want to eat more of them.

Facing Boredom

What to Look For
You will “take a break” from working and find that you now have nothing to do.
You may feel very bored when waiting for something or someone. (e.g. a bus, your spouse, your kids).
How Often Does It Happen?
About 41% of smokers say they sometimes smoke to overcome boredom.

What to Do
Plan more activities than you have time.
For those empty minutes, make a list of things you like to do.
Move! Do not stay in the same place too long.
Carry a book or magazine for waiting times.
Look at what is going on around you. (E.g. notice the shape of the buildings you pass, listen to the sounds of the city/outdoors)
Carry something to keep your hands busy, like a Rubik’s cube.
Hum a tune or favorite song—maybe even listen to a portable radio.
Go outdoors, if you can.

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
For smokers, boredom often brings the urge to smoke—this urge may have a physical and chemical basis.
Nicotine controls the way you feel by controlling the level of excitement in key parts of your brain and central nervous system.
When you quit smoking, you may miss the increased excitement and good feeling that nicotine gave you. This may be true when you are feeling bored.

Facing the Morning

What to Expect
When you wake up, begin thinking of your alternatives to smoking and the changes in your routine immediately.
Expect that your morning coffee will not taste the same without a cigarette.

Frequency
For many smokers, lighting up is the first event of the day. Part of many people’s dependence on cigarettes evolves from a routine built mostly upon their chances to smoke. The morning can set the tone for the rest of the day.

Self-Management
Plan a different waking up routine.
Put your attention off smoking right away.
Be sure no cigarettes are available.
Begin each day with deep breathing and one or more glasses of water.
Make a list of early morning triggers, and avoid them.
Begin each day with a preplanned activity that will keep you busy for an hour or more. If reducing, this will push that first cigarette to later in the day and if quitting cold-turkey, it will keep your mind and body busy so that you don’t think about smoking for a while.

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
After six to eight hours of sleep, your nicotine level drops and the body develops a need for a quick boost of nicotine when you wake up.
Your body has become dependent on nicotine. Your mind must be ready to overcome this physical need. Before you go to sleep, make a list of things you need to avoid in the morning that will make you want to smoke.

Handling Stress

What to Expect
Expect to become more aware of stress during your withdrawal. Nonsmokers have found many ways to break the stress cycle without lighting a cigarette.

Frequency
Almost 63% of smokers report smoking to handle stress.
You may become more aware of stress during withdrawal. This may be largely because using cigarettes actually relieved some of this normal stress by releasing powerful chemicals in your brain.

Self-Management
Know the cause of stress in your life (e.g. your job, your children, money).
Identify the stress signals (e.g. headaches, nervousness, insomnia or trouble sleeping).
Create peaceful times in your everyday schedule. (E.g. Set aside an hour where you can get away from other people and your usual environment.)
Try new relaxation methods and stick with the best one for you.
Rehearse and visualize your relaxation plan. Put your plan into action. Change your plan as needed.
Seek and learn relaxation techniques such as progressive relaxation.

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
Mental or physical tensions, strains, or distress caused by worries, responsibilities, and hassles, which you encounter in normal everyday life, can all be a part of stress.
Once nicotine enters your brain, it appears to stimulate production of a number of the brain’s most powerful chemical messengers.
These chemicals (epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, arginine, vasopressin, beta-endorphin, and acetylcholine) are involved in: alertness, pain reduction, learning, memory, pleasure, and the reduction of both anxiety and pain.
When you smoke, the general effect is a temporary improvement in brain chemistry that you experience as enhanced pleasure, decreased anxiety, and a state of alert relaxation.

Having a Drink

What to Expect
As a smoker, you may feel a strong urge to smoke when drinking beer, wine, or mixed drinks. Know this up front if you are going to drink.

Frequency
Studies show that cigarette smoking is much more common among those who are regular drinkers.

Self-Management
Switch to non-alcoholic drinks during the first two weeks of withdrawal, especially fruit juices.
Stay away from your usual haunts for awhile.
Change drinks from “your usual.”
For the first few weeks after quitting, drink only with non-smoking friends.
Don’t drink at home or by yourself.

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
Studies have shown that if you are a drinker, you will tend to breathe deeper when you drink and smoke—making the negative effects of tobacco even worse.
When you are drinking alcohol, your control over your behavior is limited. When you try to quit smoking, it is tough enough to take control of your behavior—drinking alcohol will make it even tougher to cope.
Many studies have reported that smoking, like drinking, may actually make you feel happier, more alert, etc. Over time you begin to associate smoking and drinking with pleasure–when quitting, you may feel deprived of some of this pleasure.

Increased Appetite and Weight Gain

What to Expect
After quitting, you may feel stronger and more frequent hunger pangs.
After quitting, you may have a better sense of taste.
Weight gain is most often due to eating more after quitting.

Frequency
Research has shown that 75% of all people who quit smoking do not gain weight and, of those who do gain weight, gain an average of 5-7 pounds!
Recent studies have found that 50-70% of quitters report feeling more hungry within 1 week of after quitting.
If feelings of hunger and/or weight gain occur, they will usually begin within the first 24 hours, peak in the first 1-2 weeks, and may last 1-6 months.

Self-Management
Do more physical activities (e.g. take the stairs instead of an elevator/escalator, park further away from the door to the office/mall/store etc.).
Select non-food rewards—new CD, go see a new movie.
Chew sugarless gum or a cinnamon stick.
Drink more water—especially before meals.
Plan meals ahead of time and don’t skip meals.
Weigh yourself every day.
Eat plenty of fresh fruit—carry it with you to work, to school, everywhere!

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
Nicotine stops hunger pains in your stomach for as long as 1 hour and it also raises blood sugar level. When you quit, this is reversed.
Food may give the same effects as cigarettes: stimulation, relaxation, pampering, time out, comfort, socialization etc. Smoking and eating are both ways to meet these needs so when you quit smoking, you may eat more.
Withdrawal from nicotine enhances the taste of sweeter foods–some foods may actually taste better–and you may want to eat more of them.

Insomnia

What to Expect
You may wake up a lot during the night.
You may have trouble falling asleep.
You may dream about smoking.
While sleep may be disturbed, you may actually spend more time sleeping.
Withdrawal from nicotine may further disrupt an already disrupted sleep pattern but, in the long run, being smoke-free will help you sleep better.

Frequency
Sleep disturbances may occur during the first 48 hours of quitting, but, your sleep will improve after the first week.
If sleep disturbance occurs, it will usually begin within the first 24 hours, remain strong for the first 1-2 weeks, and disappear within a month.

Self-Management
Don’t drink coffee, tea, soda with caffeine after 6 pm.
Do drink herbal tea, decaffeinated coffee, fruit juices, and water.
Read up on relaxation/meditation techniques and try one.
Do not change your sleeping routine: always get up at the same time every morning.
Prepare for sleep—before bed, allow for 15-30 minutes of “quiet time.”
If you can’t sleep, it may help to get up! Make productive use of your time instead of tossing and turning—you will probably sleep better the next night!

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
Nicotine is a stimulant and may delay sleep onset as well as decrease total sleep time.
Nicotine has also been found to both increase and decrease the amount of time you spend dreaming–and thus negatively affect your waking performance.

Irritability, Anger and Frustration

What to Expect
When you quit smoking, you may feel more “edgy” and short-tempered.
You may want to give up on certain tasks more quickly than usual.
You may be less tolerant of others’ behavior.
You may get into more arguments with others.

Frequency
Recent studies have found that 50-80% of quitters report increased feelings of irritability, anger, and frustration within 1 week OF quitting.
If feelings of irritability, anger, and frustration occur, they will usually begin within the first 24 hours, peak (stay high) the first 1-2 weeks, and disappear within a month.

Self-Management
Take a walk.
Exercise.
Avoid caffeine.
Soak in a hot bath.
Read up on relaxation/meditation techniques and use one.
Take one minute and, with your eyes closed, pay attention to your breathing pattern. Breathe in deeply through your nose and breathe out through your mouth.

Changes in Your Body and Mind
When your body does not get nicotine, feelings of irritability, anger, and frustration will often result.
Quitting will temporarily change your brain chemistry. These temporary changes may result in your experiencing negative emotions.

Relaxing

What to Expect
You may still want to reach for a cigarette whenever you start relaxing if you had been doing so for years.
You may reach for a cigarette in order to ease the anxiety.

Frequency
Recent studies have found that 60-90% of quitters report feelings of increased (higher) anxiety within one week of quitting.
If you feel anxious, it will usually begin within the first 24 hours after quitting, peak in the first 1-2 weeks, and disappear within a month.

Self-Management
Repeat this to yourself: “I can learn to relax without having a cigarette.”
Engage in activities that use your hands, like sewing, carving, working puzzles, playing cards, etc.
Make an extra effort to share your leisure time with a friend, a child or even a pet.
If the urge to smoke gets too strong, stop relaxing and start doing something physical until the urge passes.
Deep breathing is a good way to deal with tension almost anywhere and at any time.

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
When nicotine enters your brain, it acts just like some of the natural chemicals that control arousal, alertness, and mood. So, when you smoke, these chemical changes can make you feel happy, less anxious, and more relaxed.
When you quit smoking, your brain activity slowly returns to normal. The natural chemicals in your body will still regulate arousal, alertness and mood but you may miss the instant kick that cigarettes provided.

Restlessness

What to Expect
You may feel unable to sit still for long periods of time.
You may feel the need to do something with your hands.
You may think, “I should be doing something else now.”
These thoughts and feelings will generally pass after a week or two. You may still feel bursts of restlessness for up to a month after quitting.

Frequency
Recent studies have found that 55-75% of quitters report increases in restlessness within one week of quitting.
If restlessness occurs, it will usually begin within the first 24 hours, remain strong the first 1-2 weeks, and disappear within a month.

Self-Management
Listen to your body. If you feel that you need to move around, you probably need a break…get up and stretch, go for a brief walk.
Expect feelings of restlessness –take regular 10 minute mental and physical breaks from whatever work you are doing. Be active during those breaks…walk, stretch, run.
You may want to try squeezing a rubber ball or one of many “stress relief” items to help keep your hands busy.

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
Restlessness may be due to the lack of nicotine in the body’s system. It may also be due to biochemical changes in your brain as well as more conditioned responses to various smoking situations.
Now that you have quit smoking, you may not know what to do with yourself in situations that used to be associated with smoking.

Remembering the Good Times

What to Expect
You may feel a need to smoke when you do fun things you used to do as a smoker.
A large number of ex-smokers feel like smoking when they think back to happy times that included cigarettes, such as a cup of coffee, sitting with friends, quiet times, driving, etc.

Frequency
These feelings will be strongest in the first two weeks after quitting.

Self-Management
Figure out which memories make you want to smoke most and learn to manage them.
Take up some new activities such as walking, reading, a hobby, playing a sport or attending community events.
Repeat the following: “If I’d known then what I know now, I never would have started smoking.”
Focus on the thought that you will be able to enjoy your good memories longer, now that you’ve quit smoking.

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
Studies have found that smoking can make people feel happy, stimulated and less anxious.
These feelings may make you want to use tobacco and, when quitting, you may feel sad for the loss of these feelings brought on by tobacco.
Something as simple as a smell, a sound, a color or a voice can make you think of a cigarette. You may feel that you have lost a major source of happiness, but as an ex-smoker you will gain so much more.

Rewarding Yourself

What to Expect
Finishing a hard job or celebrating a special occasion might lead you into wanting to treat yourself with a cigarette. Find out what it is about certain situations that make you feel that you have earned a cigarette. Be on your guard at these critical times.

Frequency
Feelings of wanting to treat yourself with a cigarette may happen along with regular cravings for cigarettes.
Most of these cravings will begin 6-12 hours after you stop, stay strong for 1-3 days, and may last up to 3-4 weeks.

Self-Management
Spoil yourself for a couple of months (e.g. buy a little gift for yourself for every week you don’t smoke, go out to dinner once a week or see a movie).
Think of non-smoking rewards; take time to read a book, listen to a favorite tape or telephone a friend.
Put the money you are saving by not smoking, into a jar everyday. Keep a list of things you want to buy with the money and buy them.
Remind yourself that your real reward will come later…in several extra years of health.

Changes in Your Body and Mind
Nicotine controls your mood by controlling the level of stimulation to key parts of the brain and central nervous system.
When you quit smoking, you may miss the increased stimulation and positive mood that nicotine provided but as a non-smoker you will gain so much more.

Talking on the Telephone

What to Expect
Expect to be nervous because you want something in your hand while on the phone.
You may want to smoke during every phone call, only during certain phone calls or only during calls made at specific times of the day.

Frequency
Be prepared the urges will vary.

Self-Management
Keep cigarettes, ashtrays, matches, and lighters away from your telephone.
Pick up a pencil and have a large memo pad for doodling.
Hold the phone with the hand you used for smoking.
While you are on the phone, walk around as much as possible.
Keep some gum by the phone; chew while you talk.
Note down which calls make you want to smoke. Do specific types of calls or calls made at a certain time affect you more? Is calling a certain person (or certain people) more difficult?
Each day, make a list of the difficult calls that you have to make and get them out of the way early.

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
Many studies have reported the euphoric, stimulating, and anti-anxiety effects of smoking— may actually make you feel happier, more alert, etc.
These feelings may make you want a cigarette and you may have also associated these feelings with having a satisfying telephone conversation.
Having a telephone conversation may spark all the positive feelings that you have associated with this activity in the past. When you quit, you may feel the loss of these feelings and speaking on the phone without smoking may make you feel even more at a loss.

Traveling by Car

What to Expect
Expect to want to reach for a cigarette when driving a car or traveling as a passenger.
Expect to want something to do, so turn your radio on or put on your favorite tape or CD and sing along.
On longer trips, you may find yourself getting more sleepy than usual.

Incidence
Like many smokers, you may like to light up when driving to and from work as a means to: relieve stress, stay alert, relax, or just pass the time.
Your desire to smoke may be stronger and more frequent on longer trips.

Self-Management
Clean your car and make sure to use deodorizers to hide the tobacco smell.
Tell yourself:
“This urge will go away in a few minutes.”
“So, I’m not enjoying this car ride. Big Deal! It won’t last forever!”
“My car smells clean and fresh!”
Please Call M.H. Consultants at (215) 343-8987 for Further Assistance
“I’m a better driver now that I’m not smoking while driving.”
Things to do: Remove the ashtray, lighter, and cigarettes from your car.
Ask friends not smoke in your car.
If not driving, find something to do with your hands.
Take an alternate route to work.
Try carpooling.
For a little while, avoid taking long car trips. If you do, take plenty of rest stops.
Keep non-fattening snacks in your car (i.e. licorice and gum.)
Take fresh fruit with you on long trips.
Plan stops for water, fruit juice, sodas, etc.
Changes in Your Body and Mind
You may have become used to smoking while driving—to relax, stay alert, etc.
There is some evidence that smoking actually does make you feel more awake and alert. In the past, you may have relied upon this during both short and long rides.

Watching TV

What to Expect
TV programs may provide you with many “triggers” to smoke (i.e. movies that show smoking, re-runs of old detective shows, etc.)
The time of day that you watch TV may also be a smoking “trigger.” For example, you may be used to smoking when watching a morning news program or a late night talk show.

Frequency
When smoking in the house, you may be used to smoking whenever you watch TV.
You may also be more likely to smoke only while watching specific programs.

Self-Management
Get rid of cigarettes, ashtrays, and lighters.
Sit in a different place.
Practice relaxation—take a minute and, with your eyes closed, pay attention to your breathing pattern. Breathe in deeply through your nose and breath out through your mouth.
If you fall asleep-enjoy it.
Have low fat snacks handy.
Channel surf away from high trigger content shows—change the channel when you see smoking!
Try watching at different times of the day.

Nicotine and Your Body and Mind
When you quit smoking, you may feel deprived of the increased stimulation and positive mood that is brought on by tobacco use.
Please Call M.H. Consultants at (215) 343-8987 for Further Assistance
Something as simple as a smell, a sound, a color or a voice can remind you of cigarettes and of the feelings brought on by smoking—television provides many such “cues!”
You may have also come to associate both TV and smoking with relaxing. Now that you have given up smoking, something may feel out of place.