June 27, 2004

Smoking Cessation Update

ACCORDING TO THIS Web site, which is devoted to selling systems related to quitting smoking, nicotine-withdrawal symptoms include:

* Headache.
* Nausea.
* Constipation or diarrhea.
* Falling heart rate and blood pressure.
* Fatigue, drowsiness and insomnia.
* Irritability.
* Difficulty concentrating.
* Anxiety.
* Depression.
* Increased hunger and caloric intake.
* Increased pleasantness of the taste of sweets.
* Tobacco cravings.

They ain't just whistling Dixie. Jesus God.

For regular Rant readers who have been following our journey as we Try Yet Again to Quit Smoking, we are now about 60 hours into not having any cigarettes. For those of you who are just joining us, you should know that we are doing this because we finally realized that we were killing ourselves with the smoking, and therefore we are trying to cut out our two-packs-of-Marlboro-Red-100s-per-day habit.

We do not mean for The Rant to turn into a constant update on our own efforts to quit smoking. However, we can assure you that we no longer have the ability to concentrate on anything other than our nicotine-withdrawal symptoms. This is why we have not written any vacation updates. In any event, though, we do want to give everyone an update on where we stand.

In terms of physical effects while wearing a nicotine patch, we are suffering from headache, nausea, lightheadedness, increased appetite, the sweats, coughing fits, difficulty ... ah .... concentrating, irritability, a complete inability to .... concentrate ... wait, we mentioned that ... and insomnia. Also, we are having dreams of an intensity not normally seen outside of the University of Michigan's annual Hash Bash. Most of these symptoms are caused because we are receiving only half our standard daily nicotine dose.

We expected to suffer from all of these things, although we must say we are most shocked at the insomnia and the coughing. True, we did look on-line and find out that quitting smoking has the effect of doubling the effectiveness of caffeine. Still, we are amazed to see just how powerful the sensation is. As for the coughing fits, they're actually kind of enjoyable; we get a rush every time, because our lungs are spitting up tar.

Now, some of our friends have told us about just having done with the withdrawal symptoms, advising we just quit cold turkey. Therefore, for a six-hour period today, we went without both cigarettes or cigarette substitutes. We can only conclude that our experience represented some sort of horrible psychological milestone. Normal people do not, as a matter of course, lie on their beds crying their eyes out while at the same time having white-hot feelings of anger.

We don't know what was worse -- the abject feelings of misery, or knowing just how deeply the nicotine has its claws in our back. Well, OK, the misery was worse. Anyway, when we put on a fresh nicotine patch a few hours ago, we felt our entire body take in the drug. Even our toes got a tingly sensation.

So the long and short of it is that we aren't going to be going cold-turkey any time soon. More news on Monday, we promise.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at June 27, 2004 12:58 AM | TrackBack

My God. Remind me to NEVER take up smoking. Keep writing, Ben, you're providing a valuable public service to all those curious kids out there.

Remember, kids: Smoking is BAD. Drinking is GOOD!

Posted by: Matt at June 29, 2004 01:19 PM

I went cold turkey from a three pack/day/28 year habit. I found taking welbutrin for two weeks prior to quitting very helpful. I did gain weight, still crave but not too much, and have insomnia-this really stinks.
Best wishes,

Posted by: ernie at July 2, 2004 09:21 PM