This the second in a four part series about smoking, its effects, preparing to quit, what it entails. and the effect quitting will have on your body. I am so proud of your choice and accomplishment so for and hope that this and the next two parts of this series will be of help to you. If you missed the first part you can read it HERE.
The addiction to nicotine has some very stark truths. Such as smoking being the leading preventable reason for disability, disease and death in the U.S. Think about that for a moment.
Remember your first cigarette? Tasted nasty, you coughed and it probably burned your throat. Then, after a while, your throat became numb to it because the pain receptors had been killed off. The rush of nicotine became a good feeling and you wanted to repeat it. There was no choice, it was a necessity.
The average long term smoker smokes at least one pack of cigarettes each day. Anywhere from four to fifteen puffs are pulled from an average cigarette which delivers one milligram each of nicotine to the brain. With twenty cigarettes to a pack and four to fifteen puffs each that means 100 to 300 doses of nicotine per day. In e-cigarettes the amount is anywhere from 0mg to 48mg. A pack of normal cigarettes has about 24 mg of nicotine in it. And with people sucking on the e-cig they may be getting more nicotine in a puff than those smoking a normal tobacco cigarette.
Nicotine is made up of several chemicals that has a powerful effect on the human body. It reaches the brain in about 10 seconds and then a chemical(dopamine)is released which will give the smoker a feeling of pleasure.( "Crack" and heroin effects you in much the same way) It seeps into the skin, mucous membranes and the lungs making its way to the blood vessels and the rest of the body. The function of the brain and your body changes making you feel both invigorated and relaxed. It increases blood pressure by releasing adrenaline. Your heartbeat speeds up and breathing becomes shallow.
You may eat less because nicotine blocks insulin release. This curbs your appetite and increases your metabolic rate so you burn more calories than usual. This isn't good as you may think it would be because it can increase the "LDL" or bad cholesterol. It is hardening your arteries and this will cause a stroke or heart attack later on. It's a waiting game.
Your health can be compromised further because of nicotine addiction by one or more of the following: diabetes complications, erectile dysfunction, emphysema, and Buerger's disease which is an inflammation of arteries and veins of the feet and hands. This could lead to amputation.
Over the years the amount of nicotine put in some brands of cigarettes has increased until they contain up to thirty-five times more free base nicotine than other cigarettes. This type is absorbed quicker by the lungs and brains than the average cigarette. It has even been referred to as "crack nicotine" because of how quickly it reaches its destination much like heroin or cocaine.
Symptoms of withdrawal include restlessness, anxiety, irritability, difficulty concentrating, frustration or anger, depressed mood, increased appetite, cough, insomnia, and in some cases chest tightness and constipation or diarrhea. Some of these will begin within a few hours of your last cigarette and peaking two or three days later. This can continue for days up to several weeks.
The seductive allure of cigarette smoking is something you think you can do just a little of but because of triggers and addiction to nicotine it becomes more and more of a need. It calms you. Makes you feel better. But, like all addictions, that doesn't last. And every couple of hours your bodies wants more. You end up making this a lifestyle choice and it could kill you.
I hope you will read the next two parts to this series. Your votes and comments are very appreciated.