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Smoking Addiction

Not something Santa would approve of, however; I do smoke cigarettes despite being diagnosed and treated for bronchitis, asthma, borderline COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and knowing one Family Member has emphysema. Throat cancer Patients have a laryngectomy, “which involves removing the larynx, inserting a one-way valve in its place and diverting the air flow to a hole cut into the back of the throat 1." Many People have seen or heard about these Patients whom smoke, simply cover this hole in their throat and continue to inhale the tempting rolled substance.

The fact is that cigarette smoking is more than a habit. Smoking is an addiction. A habit is “a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance 2." Where as an addiction is a “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful 3." Without the poisonous psychoactive drug nicotine, smoking would merely be a habit.

A Friend of mine, currently 67 years old; has smoked for over 40 years. Recently she tried the prescription Chantix to help her quit smoking. The drug caused a few nightmares, treatable oral blisters, and bland taste buds. However; within less than a month she had succeeded in not smoking. Quickly her oral blisters healed, her taste buds returned to normal, and to date she has not smoked.

“How does CHANTIX work? First, you have to know how nicotine works. There are receptors for nicotine in the brain. When smoke is inhaled, nicotine attaches to these receptors. This sends a message to a different part of the brain to release a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine gives a feeling of pleasure. But it only lasts for a short time. The body wants to repeat this feeling. Based on research, it is believed that CHANTIX™ (varenicline) works by activating these receptors and blocking nicotine from attaching to them. However, CHANTIX does not contain nicotine 4."

In other words, Chantix blocks the pleasure factor in the brain. I am uncertain in doing so, what other pleasures this medicine may block; such as over indulging in food… Perhaps Chantix is a modern oral lobotomy. The fact is, the drug worked for my Friend and I am in hopes to soon try this prescription.

Meanwhile, these memories plague my mind. A Co-Worker had minor chest pains. Thinking such maybe a heart attack, he drove himself to the Emergency Room. However; before going in, he admitted wanting one more cigarette, so he sat in his truck and smoked. Later that day, after his initial examination, he underwent heart surgery for a placement of two stents.

Once, a Gentleman in a wheelchair whom also merely had the use of two arms from the shoulder blade to above the elbow, had taped on one of his arms a fork. He asked me to place a cigarette in-between the fork prongs so he could smoke.

Perhaps you have similar stories or posts about smoking. If so please share them here.

Ultimately, I think Dennis Leary, (“a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-nominated American actor, comedian, writer and director. He is known for his often angry comedic style and his frequent chain smoking5.”) surmised this addiction best when he said:

“You could have cigarettes that come in a black pack, with a skull and a cross bones on the front, called tumors and smokers would be lined up around the block going, "I can't wait to get my hands on these f** things! 6"

Related Posts:

Thank yourself by not smoking by Francis Scudellari




Footnotes:
1. United Bristol Healthcare
2. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary
3. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary
4. CHANTIX™
5. Wikipedia
6. Dennis Leary

2 Comments With Humanity:

cooper said...

I've never smoked not has anyone in my immediate family. It was pervasive at college however which surprised me.
I have an uncle by marriage who quite by taking a drug meant for high blood pressure. This was several years back. He used to smoke constantly and he has been smoke free for a t least ten years. His sister was the same way; she used the same drug to quick smoking.

-Jeane Michelle Culp said...

Thanks cooper, would you know the name of the blood pressure medicine? I'm leery of the drug WELLBUTRIN and Zyban because there is a 1% chance of having a psychotic episode, that I learned about the hard way. Plus Society is already to quick to overly prescribe anti-depressant medications.

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