Quit That


Where There's Smoke There're Cigarettes

With this puff I enslave myself to a lifetime of addiction.
While I can’t promise to always love you, I do promise to obey every craving and support my addiction to you no matter how expensive you become.
I will let no husband or wife, no family member or friend, no doctor or any other health professional, no employer or government policy,
no burns or no stench, no cough or raspy voice, no cancer or emphysema, no heart attack or stroke, no threat of loss of life or limbs, come between us.
I will smoke you forever from this day forth, for better or worse, whether richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part!

“You may now light the cigarette.  I now pronounce you a full-fledged smoker.”

- whyquit.com

"Sport, even for the fun of it, can be tense and tiring," says Miss Gloria Wheeden, the charming co-ed recently selected as Miss Southern Florida, who shows her skill at aquaplaning in the photo on the left.  "Like most of the folks who go in for water sports, I pride myself on my fine physical condition.  Yes, I smoke.  When I feel a bit let-down, I light up a Camel and get an invigourating 'lift' in energy."  Miss Wheeden's enjoyment of a "lift" from Camels is shared by famous champions in many lines of sports, and by millions of other men and women in all walks of life.  When an active day drains physical and nervous energy, Camels help you renew your flow of vim.  And being mild, they never get on your nerves or irritate your throat.

- Camel cigarette ad, Life May 1937

From my journal Saturday June 4 1994, written while underway between Nabouwalu Bay and Suva:

I read in the 18 March 1994 Science (in an article entitled "Nicotine Scrutinised as FDA Seeks to Regulate Cigarettes") that about half of the cigarette smokers who have a cancerous lung removed will continue to smoke.

I saw a couple of interesting articles in the 23 April 94 Economist about the subject of smoking.  In an article entitled, "No Smoke?" I read,

Three quarters of a century of prohibition has engrained in the public mind the idea that, outside a medical context, a drug is by definition an illegal substance, and that what is not illegal (such as tobacco) is therefore not a drug.  Although the addictive properties of nicotine are almost universally recognised, there is still a widespread feeling that, as William Campbell, the president of Philip Morris put it, "smokers are not drug users or addicts, and we do not appreciate being characterised as such."

Of course nicotine is a drug.  It is mind-affecting and it is addictive.

I'll switch briefly here to another article on nicotine appearing in the same Economist.  This article was called, "Nervous About Nicotine:"

For an insecticide, nicotine has found some strange uses.  Its natural role is to defend tobacco against the creepy-crawlies that would otherwise want to eat the plant.  Nicotine is a particularly good poison.  It is about the same shape as acetylcholine, a chemical that nerves use to talk to each other.  That enables it to slip into nerves and jam their communications, often with fatal results.

Insects die with tiny doses.  In people, the lethal quantity is a hefty 60mg - 60 times the amount in an average cigarette.  In smaller amounts, its subversive effects on the nervous system can be pleasurable and exceedingly difficult to resist.

It works on the same nerve cells as cocaine.  These cells, which inhabit part of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens, receive their messages in acetylcholine, and forward them in another chemical called dopamine.  The next cells in the chain of command (those responding to the dopamine) are the ones that seem to be involved in producing the sensation of pleasure.

Instead of a long continuous high, there is a rush of pleasure followed by a slow decline until the receptors switch back on and the smoker takes the next drag.  So nicotine's effects, unlike those of cocaine, are self-regulating, and its effect on behaviour is limited.  Hence people are not arrested for smoking and driving.

Drugs are addictive because the body tries to compensate for the false messages they carry.

THIS, I think, is an excellent reason to abstain from alcohol as well.  Alcohol is a "false" drug - it doesn't augment the body's natural systems, it subverts, then supplants them.

Craving that first cigarette in the morning, and the agitation caused by its denial is the hallmark of withdrawal from dopamine-related addictions.

According to Science, smokers show the three classic signs of addiction: they want to quit and can't, they become tolerant, and quitters suffer.  (On a gram-for-gram basis, nicotine is 5 to 10 times more effective at producing positive mood changes than amphetamines.)

Now, back to the article, "No Smoke?":

Even among those who think tobacco companies need reining in, few would feel it reasonable to jail their chief executives, spray Virginia's tobacco plantations with defoliant, or confiscate with minimal legal process the property of anyone who had the temerity to grow even a single tobacco plant.  Yet this is the routine fate of those whose chemical vices are not officially sanctioned.

By ending a false dichotomy between what is presently permitted or forbidden, the FDA is creating a bigger opportunity than it seems to realise: to focus policy on a real dichotomy between drugs that are cumulatively harmful and those that are more immediately dangerous.  Unlike alcohol, cigarettes seem to turn almost all users into addicts, and to be bad for their health at any dose.  Some drugs, such as heroin, can be even more addictive, and more reliably lethal; their distribution would need to be closely controlled even if they were legalised.  But others (marijuana) are less damaging, if they are harmful at all, and are nonetheless illegal.  If the current debate helps governments to base their policies on the real risk to health, not on past legal convention, a big advance will have been made.

Infusions into the mesolimbic system of tiny amounts of chemicals that block the binding of nicotine to its receptors cures rats of their nicotine addiction.  Why can't they do that with people?  (Especially one-lunged people.)

In USA Today Wednesday 8 November 2000 in an article entitled "Nicotine Seems to Snuff a Section of Brain" I read the following:

The nicotine that hooks people to cigarettes may also lead to degeneration in a region of the brain that affects emotional control, sexual arousal, REM sleep and seizures, UCLA neuroscientists report.  The part of the brain affected is called the fasciculus retroflexus, which has two halves.  In previous research, UCLA neuroscientist Gaylord Ellison and colleagues showed that amphetamines, cocaine, Ecstasy and other addictive drugs damage one half of the fasciculus retroflexus.  Now Ellison's team reports that nicotine causes degeneration in the other half.  They further report that drugs that damage one half of the fasciculus retroflexus do not damage the half that nicotine affects.  "Nicotine causes the most selective degeneration in the brain that I have ever seen," Ellison says.

The Tobacco Additives that Keep You Hooked

by Rosie Waterhouse

Additives in cigarettes may make some brands far more addictive than others, according to research.  For the first time, scientists have measured the amount of super-addictive "freebase" nicotine cigarettes deliver to the smoker.  Like crack cocaine, freebase nicotine vaporises and passes rapidly through the lungs into the bloodstream.  Because it reaches the brain so quickly it is thought to be more addictive than normal nicotine.  The research, by a team at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, could lead to ways of rating the addictiveness of different brands.

Scientists compared 11 brands available in America.  They found that some contained 10 to 20 times higher percentages of freebase nicotine than experts had previously believed.  Brands were compared with a laboratory "reference" cigarette containing 1% freebase nicotine.  They varied greatly, ranging from 1% or 2% to 36% for a specialty US brand called American Spirit.  Marlboro contained up to 9.6% freebase nicotine.  Other well known brands included Camel (2.7%), Winston (5% to 6.2%) and Gauloises Blondes (5.7% to 7.5%).

Professor James Pankow, who led the study, reported in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, said: "During smoking, only the freebase form can volatise from a particle into the air in the respiratory tract.  Since scientists have shown that a drug becomes more addictive when it is delivered to the brain more rapidly, freebase nicotine levels in cigarette smoke thus are at the heart of the controversy regarding the tobacco industry's use of additives like ammonia and urea, as well as blending choices in cigarette design."

A 1997 study led by Prof Pankow linked ammonia additives with increased freebase nicotine levels in cigarettes.  He found that on its own, nicotine would not be very potent in the body but ammonia strips away protons from surrounding molecules including nicotine, making it more rapidly absorbed.  The 1997 research confirmed assertions made by the American Food and Drug Administration that widespread use of ammonia compounds in cigarettes manufacturing was evidence that the industry manipulated the delivery of nicotine in tobacco products.

Professor Jack Henningfield, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, said: "It appears likely that ingredients used in modern cigarette manufacture, such as ammonia and urea, account for this addiction-enhancing effect."

Professor Pankow said that in the United States there were no formal tobacco industry or Food and Drug Administration guidelines on appropriate levels of freebase nicotine in cigarettes.  But the message from the industry was that cigarettes contained only small percentages of freebase nicotine.  Only additives on a permitted list from the Department of Health are allowed in cigarettes made in Britain.  A spokesman for the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association in the UK said: "Cigarettes manufactured here do abide by the permitted list and may be quite different from those in America."

A spokesman for Phillip Morris, the maker of Marlboro, said: "Ammonia is a compound naturally present in tobacco leaf.  Quite simply, there is no safe cigarette.  No one cigarette is any more or less harmful or addictive than another.  All cigarettes and their smoke are harmful and addictive.  It is entirely inappropriate to start communicating to consumers that there are distinctions in terms of harm or addictiveness between various brands of cigarettes.  If consumers are concerned about the harm or addictiveness of smoking they should quit."

Three men who featured as the most famous character in tobacco advertising - the horse-riding Marlboro Man - have died from smoking-related illnesses: David Millar Jr in 1987 from emphysema, Wayne McLaren in 1992 after lung cancer spread to his brain, and David McLean in 1995 from lung cancer.

Source: telegraph.co.uk  28 July 2003

More Nicotine in Cigarettes than 6 Years Ago: Level has Risen about 10% Regardless of Brand, Says Report

Boston - The level of nicotine found in US cigarettes has risen about 10% in the past 6 years, making it harder to quit and easier to get hooked, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Department of Health.  The study shows a steady climb in the amount of nicotine delivered to the lungs of smokers regardless of brand, with overall nicotine yields increasing by about 10%.

Massachusetts is one of 3 US states to require tobacco companies to submit information about nicotine and the only state with data going back to 1998.  Public Health Commissioner Paul Cote Jr called the findings "significant" and said the report was the first new release on nicotine yield in more than 6 years nationally.  The study found the 3 most popular cigarette brands with young smokers - Marlboro, Newport and Camel - delivered significantly more nicotine than they did years ago.  Nicotine in Kool, a popular menthol brand, rose 20%.  More than 2/3 of black smokers use menthol brands.

Calls to Philip Morris USA, the United States' largest cigarette maker and manufacturer of Marlboro cigarettes, and RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company, manufacturer of Kool and Camel cigarettes, were not immediately returned Tuesday.

The study tried to measure nicotine levels based on the way smokers actually use cigarettes, health officials said, in part by partially covering ventilation holes as they smoke and taking longer puffs.  Traditional testing methods which do not take real-life smoking habits into account, typically report lower nicotine contents, officials said.  Of the 179 cigarette brands tested in 2004 for the report, 93%% fell into the highest range for nicotine.  In 1998, 84% of 116 brands tested fell into the highest range.

Smokers who choose "light" brands hoping to reduce their nicotine intake are out of luck, according to the report that found for all brands tested in 1998 and 2004, there was no significant difference in the total nicotine content between "full flavour," "medium," "light," or "ultra-light" cigarettes.  The finding means that health care providers trying to help smokers quit may have to adjust the strength of nicotine replacement therapies like nicotine patches and gums, according to Department of Public Health Associate Commissioner Sally Fogerty.

Source: msnbc.msn.com  29 August 2006 © 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

See also:

bulletAn Obituary for R J Reynolds (in the Money, Politics and Law section) - that whole family has been decimated by smoking-related diseases...
bulletDogged by Addiction (also in the Lifestyles section) - for a list of the ingredients in L&M cigarettes and two funny Flash files (they are about 4 meg each and require a Flash plugin).

Quitting Smoking "Like Killing Best Friend"

Sydney - Giving up smoking is as difficult as killing a best friend for some Australian smokers, according to new research.  The emotional bond between smokers and their cigarettes was "more complex and more deeply personal" than many people realised, research has found.

The study, by Sydney University social researcher Stacy Carter, is based on summaries of previously unpublished reports and material from smokers in focus groups.  It indicated that many smokers regarded their cigarettes as "a close friend" that helped them connect socially and assisted the flow of a regular day.  Ms Carter said the bond between smokers and cigarettes could become a big barrier to quitting.  "For many smokers, cigarettes are an old and trusted companion.  Quitting is like finding the strength to kill your best friend."

Study director Simon Chapman, of Sydney University's public health and community medicine department, said the results had important implications for health programmes and ways to help smokers quit. "Stacy's research clearly shows that understanding the deep personal nature of the relationship between a smoker and their cigarettes is a prerequisite for being able to help them quit." - AAP

Source: The Dominion Friday 29 December 2000

Different Smokes for Different Folks

New York - Men and women smoke for different reasons and have different strategies for quitting, according to a survey of current cigarette smokers who have tried to quit.

"It's been said that men and women are from different planets, and that's certainly true when it comes to smoking," Amy Niles, executive director of the National Women's Health Resource Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey, said in a press release.  The telephone survey of 1,002 adult smokers, sponsored by the National Women's Health Resource Center, was conducted between July and August by Yankelovich Partners.

Women often reported continuing to smoke due to emotional reasons — such as stress, anxiety, anger, or depression — and they reported that they started smoking again after quitting for similar reasons.  Women were also more likely to try to quit smoking due to personal or family health, while men were more likely to quit to have "an improved sex life."  Twice as many women as men cited weight gain or concern about weight gain as a reason they failed to quit smoking.  Women were also twice as likely as men to say that they smoke to lose or maintain their weight.

About 58% of women said that they had consulted a doctor to help them quit smoking, compared with 45% of men.  Most men said that they would quit "cold turkey" on their next try.

Men and women were similar in some ways, the survey found: ¾ of men and women have tried to quit more than once, and only one in five was successful for at least a year.  "This low success rate clearly demonstrates the power of nicotine addiction," Dr Linda H Ferry, of Loma Linda University in California, said in the press release.  "It's critical for smokers to enlist the support of their physicians, who can set up a treatment plan tailored to a smoker's individual needs."

Source: Reuters Health Wednesday 24 November 1999

Women "More Dependent on Cigarettes than Men"

by Nicole Martin

Women are more emotionally dependent on cigarettes than men and less motivated to stop smoking, according to a report published today.  Although fewer women smoke than men, almost half of female smokers said they could not cope without cigarettes compared with a third of men.  Findings from the Sex and Smoking report showed that men were more determined to quit than women.  Nearly half of the male smokers wanted to give up to improve their health compared with 39% of female smokers.  Almost two thirds of women would find it difficult to go a day without cigarettes, which are the main source of pleasure for 44% of female smokers compared with 38% of men, according to the study, published for the No Smoking Day campaign on March 10.

The percentage of smokers in the UK, currently 29% of men and 28% of women, is beginning to rise after falling consecutively for 20 years.  The report, which polled some 2,500 people, concluded that men and women smoked for different reasons.  "Family pressures and worries about stress and weight gain are at the forefront of women's minds," said Robert West, professor of psychology at St George's Hospital in south London, who wrote the report.  "Men seem more self-motivated, quitting for their health and more personal reasons."

Clive Bates, director of Action on Smoking and Health, who contributed to the report, said it showed that advice on giving up needed to be tailored to the sexes.  "Smoking is a more complex phenomenon than just 'I enjoy smoking, therefore I smoke'.  There is a physical addiction, a behavioural addiction and it seems there's also an emotional compulsion to smoke," he said.  "If you want to give up, you have to tackle each of these aspects."

Source: telegraph.co.uk Issue 1382 Monday 8 March 1999

See also:

bulletHow to Stop Smoking (in the Lifestyles section) - Drinking alcohol decreases inhibitions, and thereby probably leads to smoking relapse.  If this is a particularly vulnerable time for you, it's best to avoid drinking alcohol, going to bars, et cetera, for several weeks after you attempt to quit smoking...

Are Cigarettes Sublime?

Two Men Kissing in a Paris Cafe

Source: a really interesting little book called (I'll bet you can guess) Cigarettes Are Sublime by Richard Kline, a professor of French in Cornell's Department of Romance Studies.  I found the picture touching.  What does this have to do with cigarettes?  If you look closely, each of the men holds one.

Richard Kalvar / Magnum Photos | Man talking to sleeping friend, Paris, 1974

When I found this photo immediately above online, I was delighted.  I felt I had found a couple of old buddies.  I note they're both smoking in this photo as well.  Perhaps it is even the same cigarette as the one in the first photo?

Source: pantherhouse.com

This section on enhancing human experience covers bodybuilding, marijuana, caffeine, amphetamines, ecstasy, PMA, alcohol, Ritalin, kava, nicotine, cooked food and more.  Clicking "Up" below will take you to the Index page for this section on Drugs.

Back Home Up Next