Addiction is Addiction, Does Not matter What The Delivery System Is

What am I complaining about? E cigarettes.

I was a tobacco addict for around 25 years. Pack a day smoker for most of that time. I tried dip for a while thinking that might curb my smoking, but I soon realised I was just trading off one addiction for another. Same thing with these E cigs. Nicotine is nicotine, it matters not how you ingest it. The addiction is the same. Perhaps the E cig does have the smokeless aspect going for it, but that does not address the real problem which is the addiction.

I have felt this way since I first heard of E cigs, but what got me fired up enough to make this post was this article at the Science Daily feed.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306112208.htm

According to the study, E cigs are promoted to help people quit smoking. They Don’t.

Also they are marketed with flavors that appeal to younger people, kids.

Then there is this: “The authors found that the devices were associated with higher odds of progression from experimenting with cigarettes to becoming established cigarette smokers. Additionally, adolescents who smoked both conventional cigarettes and e-cigarettes smoked more cigarettes per day than non-e-cigarette users.”  Wow.

Plus this: “the authors noted that about 20 percent of middle school students and about 7 percent of high school students who had ever used e-cigarettes had never smoked regular cigarettes — meaning that some kids are introduced to the addictive drug nicotine through e-cigarettes, the authors said.”  Again…wow.

So instead of having a device which is marketed to help people quit smoking, we have a device that simply allows them to continue their nicotine addiction, although through a fancy new toy. As well, this toy also encourages young kids to take up the nicotine habit.

I predict a huge court case against the new tobacco industry. It cannot come soon enough.

I did manage to ditch the nasty habit of smoking. Only after many long years of being its slave. I had to reach the point where I was disgusted with myself for being a servant to nicotine. I got to where I would light up a cig simply because it was a habit, and after the first few draws I could not stand the taste anymore. I was also experiencing chest pains and a noticable decrease in stamina. I still did not quit.

The problem with addictions is the rationalizations one develops to make it all ok. “When cigs hit a dollar a pack, I’ll quit.” A dollar a pack came and went. “When cigs hit a buck fifty a pack I’ll quit.” A buck fifty came and went. “When cigs hit 2 bucks a pack, I’ll quit.” 2 bucks came and went. I felt a twinge in my heart/lung, “it will pass.”  I would toss the cigarette butts in the street or someones yard, “they will biodegrade.”  I would jump with a start realising I had only 3 cigs left, and hop into the car to go buy more. “I needed gas in the car anyway.”  These rationalizations become a way of life for the addicted, be it tobacco or religion. You will tell yourself whatever you need to hear in the face of an addiction, or a worlview that does not jive with reality.

Eventually I knew I was lying to myself, I knew I could not take being a slave any longer, I knew it was time. I woke up one day and said “this is the day I make a real stab at quitting.” I figured I just had an eight hour headstart, having been asleep. I went to work that day with cigs in my pocket, knowing that if I did not face them down, I would rush to a 7-11 and buy some after work, because my mind would justify it somehow.

It was very difficult, but I did it. I encourage anyone anywhere close to where I was on that day, do as I did, quit first thing in the morning, stare them fuckers down and do not give in, freedom awaits. But you have to fight for it.

EDIT: 

As an addendum, in case anyone stumbles across this that finds themselves ready to quit… The first 24 hours is a hellish mental and physical struggle. One becomes highly irritated and you feel like you could kill puppies and stomp baby chickens for sport. The next 48 hours isn’t much better, but for me those first 3 days were rough. After that the anxiousness and irritation began to wane. Slowly.

The key is to find something to do, something to keep yourself occupied. What helped me was my self employment, the harder I worked, the better I got paid. So easy to say I used this negative energy to my advantage.

After the first week, I felt like I could jump a 3 story building in a single bound. This feeling lasted a few days before it subsided. I don’t know, but I suspect my body was adjusting to better oxygen levels.

Probably the greatest problem is the psychological aspect. During the entire process, and even to this day, although much less frequent, one is faced with all of those addiction rationalizations. The ones that say “it’s ok to maybe just have one or two puffs.” Or “a cig would tastes great right about now.” I have had several dreams even, where I lost my resolve and found myself smoking, only to wake with a start, feeling disgusted and afraid, only to realise it was just a dream.

The other side of the cig addiction is the habit. Six months after I had quit, I still found myself occaisionally reaching for the shirt pocket where my cigs used to be. Or walk into a restauraunt or a bar, and without thinking flip over the little metal ashtray, only to wonder why in the hell I just did that.

To this day, I still love the smell of a freshly opened pack of smokes. A heavenly aroma. I have been free from the habit for nearly 2 decades now, and I still fear a relapse sometimes. I don’t know how many people I have talked to, that had been quit for many months, or even years, only to become a nicotine slave once again. Addiction is a terrible thing. Resolve your best friend.

I find it odd in some way, talking about a tobacco/nicotine habit as if it were a drug. Then it hits me…it is a drug you big dummy. It is just not the kind of drug that will have you homeless, living in the streets, and knocking off liquor stores to support. It is, or used to be, an acceptable drug. Still is I guess in certain circles. But a drug none the less. Good luck and my best wishes to any who look to conquer it.

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2 thoughts on “Addiction is Addiction, Does Not matter What The Delivery System Is

  1. Glad you managed to quit

    • It is one of my proudest accomplishments. Kicking a habit that is nearly as bad as a heroin addiction (so I hear) cold turkey… Certainly one of the best things I have ever done for myself, and my family.

      Thanks Mak 🙂

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