Why Quitting Smoking is Soooooo Hard

I never thought I’d be able to say this.  I’ve quit smoking.  I actually despise cigarettes now.  I’ve tried many many times before to quit and never been able to do it. Patches, pills, gum, mints… you name it, I’ve tried it.  And somehow, no matter how determined I was that THIS TIME would work, I always ended up with a cigarette again sooner or later.  Now, if I try to smoke a real cigarette (I have only done it once, but yeeehaw that was enough!), I would wipe the taste out of my mouth with your gym socks.  It’s that horrible.  We’ll get to what changed in a bit.

Before we go any deeper into this, I’ve had some people tell me that it’s not an addiction.  I’d like to scuttle that idea here and now.  When you’re broke and you’ve only got $5, you have to pick what to spend that $5 on.  In that situation, you can choose a meal or a pack of smokes.  When people consistently pick the smokes, its definitely an addiction.  You need food to live.  Any time you reject things you need for basic survival, it’s definitely an addiction.

Hmmm… so I have a nicotine addiction.  How do I fix it? I go see the doctor.  Each time I go back, he suggests something else.   When we got down to hiking out into the woods for quite a ways and for some time, I decided something else in order.  There had to be a better way.  So I started doing what I always do when I’m having a problem.  I do research.  Here’s what I walked away with from all my research.

Cigarettes average 1.3 mg of nicotine each.  Smoke a pack a day and that’s 26mg of nicotine during the 16 or so hours I’m awake. [(20 cigarettes x 1.3mg)/16 hours]That works out to 1.625 mg of nicotine per hour.  NicoDermCQ – the most popular patch – is 21mg of nicotine over a 24 hour period. [21/24]  The patches provide 0.875 mg of nicotine per hour.  In short, if you’re a pack-a-day kind of smoker, using 2 patches might work for you as long as you take them off at night.  If you’ve ever had trouble quitting on the patch, now you know why.

Hmmm…. so if not the patches, why didn’t the gum or the mints work?  You can chomp or suck on as many of those “as needed”?

Nicorette gum and lozenges are another story.  I know people who quit smoking but now have a serious Nicorette habit.  From my experience, the gum flavors are just flat out disgusting.  The gum and mints make my mouth burn.  I put Habanero peppers on my nachos and I’m telling you these products make my mouth burn painfully.  It’s not just a “tingling sensation” that they describe in the literature.  It’s more like I tried to chomp on a flame thrower.   Ghost peppers are less painful.  Seriously.  And the mints especially give me indigestion.   The gum is either 2mg or 4mg.   Either one is more than a single cigarette at 1.3 mg.  Nicorette recommends that you chew 9 pieces per day.  At the 4mg dosage, that’s too much – 36mg.  At the 2mg dosage, it’s only 18mg and not enough.  So you either increase your nicotine addiction and end up hooked on your Nicorette product of choice or you go back to cigarettes.  I suspect that Nicorette is well aware of this.  You see, every single product on Nicorette’s website has exactly the same disclaimer.  This is a direct quote from every single product description:  “if you feel you still need to use Nicorette XXXXXXX to keep from smoking, you can continue to use it beyond the 12-week program. Just talk to your health care provider.”

Hmmm… so the “side effects” and the taste suck rocks and it’s still either not enough to waay to much nicotine.

The pills just handle the anti-depressant effects from the cigarette smoke.  Only about 20% of people who try this succeed.  The other 80% go back to cigarettes.  And this is the latest and greatest that medical science has to offer us.

So, we’re blamed and judged when this tanks, too even though all of these products – every last single one of them sets us up to fail.  No wonder its so hard for people to quit smoking.