Smoking Is Not Pretty

On January 23rd 2002 I Took A Physical At The V.A. Hospital
So That I Could Be Covered For Veteran's Health Insurance
On February 25th I Received A Wakeup Phone Call Telling Me
That My Chest X-ray Revealed That I Have Mild Pulmonary Emphysema
I Started Smoking At The Age Of Fourteen
I Had Been Smoking For 39 Plus Years
As Soon As I Hung Up The Phone
I Put The Cigarette That I Had In My Hand Ready To Be Lit
Back Into The Pack And Quit Cold Turkey
No Patches
No Nicotine Gum
No Crutches

The First Thing In The Morning
Was Always A Cup Of Coffee
And That First Cigarette Before I Did Anything Else
I Was Tired Of This Ritual
Tired Of Cigarettes Being My Ball And Chain
Tired Of Cigarettes Controlling My Life
And It Took That One Phone Call To Change My Life Forever

I Was Tired Of The Coughing
I Was Tired Of The Smell
I Was Tired Of Burning Holes In My Clothes
I Was Tired Of My Yellow Teeth And Yellow Stained Fingers
I Was Tired Of Smoking

I Have Already Scarred My Lungs
There Is Nothing That I Can Do About That
I Blame No One But Myself
But If I Stop Now
I Will Breathe Better
Smell Better
And Hopefully Live Longer

I Still Get The Urge To Smoke
But So Far I Have Been Strong Enough To Not Start Up Again

I Am Glad That I Quit
At The Price Of A Carton Of Cigarettes Today
You Have To Be Out Of Your Mind To Keep Smoking

That's Thirteen Years Plus And Still Counting

She Decided To Join Me
And I Am Proud Of Her

I Love You Honey!

There Are A Lot Of Other Lung Cancers Out There
And Smoking Cigarettes Just Adds More Ways To Get Lung Cancer.
I Am Not Going To Preach About The Drawbacks Of Smoking
I Did What I Did For My Self
It Is Up To Each And Everyone Of You To Make Your Own Decision

"My Decision Was To Live"
And To Grow Old Without The Use Of Cigarettes

CopyRight © 2000-
Rick "IrockBlue"
Rasky's VietNam Memorial
All Rights Reserved

What Is Tobacco?

Tobacco Is Made From The Dried Leaves Of The Tobacco Plant
Tobacco Smoke Is A Mixture Of Almost 4,000 Different Chemical Compounds
Including Nicotine
Carbon Monoxide
And Hydrogen Cyanide
Forty-Three Of These Chemicals Have Been Proven To Be Carcinogenic
(Causing Cancer)

The Nicotine That You Inhale From A Burning Cigarette
Goes Directly To Your Brain In About Seven Seconds
Where It Quickly Produces A Sense Of Euphoria Or A "High"
Especially Your First Cigarette Of The Day
You Will Spend The Rest Of The Day Smoking Cigarette After Cigarette
Trying To Attain That Same Sense Of Euphoria Again

Are You Addicted To Nicotine?

Do You Smoke Your First Cigarette Within 30 Minutes Of Waking Up In The Morning?

Do You Smoke A Pack Of 20 Cigarettes Or More A Day?

Do You Feel A Craving For Cigarettes
When You Don't Have Any Or When You Can't Smoke?

Is It Tough To Keep From Smoking For More Than A Few Hours?

Are You Smoking A Cigarette That Is High In Nicotine?

When You Are Sick Enough To Stay In Bed
Do You Still Smoke?

If You Answered "Yes" To Three Or More Of The Above Questions
You Are Most Likely Addicted To The Nicotine In Cigarettes

Bobbie And I Answered Yes To All Of The Above Questions!

The First Steps To Becoming A Non-Smoker!!

Set A Quit Date
It Is One Of The Most Important Steps In Being Successful With Your Quit Plan
Pick A Date When You Will Stop Smoking As Soon As Possible
Mark Your Quit Date On Your Calendar
Don't Buy Cigarettes To Carry You Beyond Your Last Day
Throw Away All Of Your Ashtrays, Cigarettes And Lighters
Don't Keep Cigarettes Around You
Sooner Or Later You Will Break Down And Smoke One
Then Another
Then Another
And So On And So On
Throw All Of Your Cigarettes Away
Make It Less Easy To Start Again
Tell Your Family And Friends That You Plan To Quit
Ask Them For Their Support And Encouragement
Ask Them Not To Offer You Cigarettes

Most People Who Are Trying To Stop Smoking
Experience One Or More Withdrawal Symptoms
But Rarely Experience "All" That Are Listed Below
Use This Information To Help With Your Specific Withdrawal Symptom(s)
Do Not Be Concerned About Those Symptoms You Are Not Experiencing


Use Nicotine Gum To Help Lessen This Symptom
Irritability Associated With Stopping Smoking Will Lessen Over Time
The Average Duration Is 2 To 4 Weeks
The Body's Craving For Nicotine
Causes The Irritability That You Experience After You Stop Smoking
Prepare Yourself, Family And Significant Others
Remember That This Is A Symptom Of Doing Something Good For Yourself
It Is Only A Temporary Situation
Craving A Cigarette

Cravings For A Cigarette Are Most Frequent
Within 2 To 3 Days After You Stop Smoking
Cravings Usually Last Only A Minute Or Two
Distract Yourself By Doing Something
Like Going For A Walk
Or Watching Television

The Frequency Of Cravings Lessens Over Time
Most Ex-Smokers Say That
They Only Have An Occasional Urge To Smoke 2 Or 3 Weeks After They Stop Smoking

Clearing The Throat
Dry Throat
Postnasal Drip

These Symptoms Rarely Last Longer Than A Few Days After You Stop Smoking
These Symptoms Are A Way For Your Body
To Return To Normal Functioning And Health
When You Stop Smoking Your Body No Longer Produces "Extra Mucous"
Soon After You Stop Smoking
It Is Common For The Mucous To Clear Out Of Your Airways

Cough Drops
And Hard Candy May Be Helpful In Relieving These Symptoms


This Symptom Rarely Lasts Longer Than A Week After You Stop Smoking
It Is Caused By The Effect Of Nicotine On How Deeply You Sleep
Dreaming About Smoking Is Also Common

Deep Breathing
A Hot Bath Before Going To Bed
And Drinking Chamomile Sleepy Time Tea
Or Warm Milk Are Some Of The Methods People Find Helpful


This Common Symptom
Rarely Lasts More Than A Day Or Two After You Stop Smoking
This Symptom Is Likely Due To Your System Getting Normal Amounts Of Oxygen
Which Was Not The Case When You Were Smoking
It Is A Way Of Your Body Returning To Normal Functioning And Health

Concentration Problems

Most Ex-Smokers Say That Concentration Is Not A Problem After A Week Or Two
Your Body Adjusts To Not Relying On Nicotine To Help You Concentrate
If You Are Facing A Work Deadline Or A Project Involving Significant Concentration
You May Want To Think About Timing Your Stop Smoking Date
Perhaps Choosing A Weekend Or Vacation As The Best Time To Stop


Nicotine Is A Stimulant
Which Is Why This Symptom Is Caused By Lack Of Nicotine

It Is Normal To Feel Fatigue After You Stop Smoking
Since You Are Not Relying On A Cigarette To Pep Yourself Up
As You Recover From The Eeffects Of Not Smoking Your Energy Levels Will Increase

Fatigue Often Occurs In The Afternoon Around 2 Pm To 4 Pm
Healthy Eating Will Help With This Symptom
If The Craving For Cigarettes Has Increased Your Sugar Consumption
This Will Contribute To A Variety Of Withdrawal Symptoms Especially Fatigue
Using Nicotine Gum Will Help Lessen This Symptom


Drink Water
It Is More Helpful Than Eating And Will Help Flush Your System
It Will Not Have The Negative Consequence Of Weight Gain
If You Have A Craving For Sweets
Eat Fruits And Vegetables That Release Complex Sugars Into The System
Fruits And Vegetables Do This More Slowly Than Sweets
Avoid Developing A Negative Eating Habit
"Do Not" Put Food In Your Mouth Every Time That You Think Of A Cigarette
Distract Yourself By Doing Something

Go For A Walk
Or Watch Television


It Is Not Uncommon To Feel Depressed After You Stop Smoking
Some Ex Smokers Say Stopping Is Like Losing An Old Friend
Try To Rethink This As A Positive Symptom
E.G. I Am Feeling Depressed
Because I Am In The Process Of Getting Rid Of Nicotine
Soon I Will Feel Better

Physical Activity Will Also Help
Many People Find It Particularly Helpful To Be Outdoors Or To Go For A Walk
These Feelings Will Pass
Starting To Smoke Again Is Not The Answer
It Will Only Make Things Worse
Because Of The Guilt Associated With Smoking Again

Gastro Intestinal

Intestinal Movement May Decrease For A Brief Period After You Stop Smoking
This Rarely Lasts Longer Than A Week Or Two

Add Bulk
Whole Grains
And Fluids To Your Diet

Increase Your Physical Activity To Help Stimulate The Digestive System
If Concerned Then Consult With Your Doctor Or Health Care Professional

Chest Tightness

Chest Tightness Is Probably Due To The Body's Need For Nicotine
This Symptom Usually Passes Within A Few Days After Stopping
If Concerned Consult With Your Doctor Or Health Care Profession

When The Urge To Smoke Strikes
Remember The 5 Dís

1. Delay A Minute Or Two And The Urge Will Pass

2. Drink Water To Fight Off Cravings

3. Do Something Else To Distract Yourself
Take A Walk
Call A Friend
Clean A Closet

4. Deep Breathe It Will Relax You
Close Your Eyes And Take 10 Slow Deep Breaths

5. Discuss Your Thoughts And Feelings With Someone Close To You

What Happens To Your Body The Moment You Stop Smoking?

Within 20 Minutes Of Smoking Your Last Cigarette
Your Body Begins A Series Of Changes That Continues For Years

20 Minutes

Your Blood Pressure Drops To Normal
Your Pulse Rate Drops To Normal
Your Body Temperature Of Hands And Feet Increases To Normal

8 Hours

The Carbon Monoxide Level In Your Blood Drops To Normal
The Oxygen Level In Your Blood Increases To Normal

24 Hours

Chance Of Heart Attack Decreases

48 Hours

Nerve Endings Start Regrowing
Your Ability To Smell And Taste Is Enhanced

2 Weeks To 3 Months

Your Circulation Improves
Walking Becomes Easier
Your Lung Function Increases Up To 30%

1 To 9 Months

Sinus Congestion
And Shortness Of Breath Decrease

Cilia Regrow In Your Lungs
This Increases Your Ability To Handle Mucus
Clean The Lungs
And Reduce Infection

Your Body's Overall Energy Increases

1 Year

Excess Risk Of Coronary Heart Disease Is Half That Of A Smoker

5 Years

The Lung Cancer Death Rate For An Average Smoker
That Smokes One Pack A Day Decreases By Almost Half
Stroke Risk Is Reduced To That Of A Nonsmoker 5-15 Years After Quitting

Risk Of Cancer Of The Mouth
And Esophagus Is Half That Of A Smoker's

10 Years

Death Rate Similar To That Of Nonsmokers

Precancerous Cells Are Replaced

Risk Of Cancer Of The Mouth
And Pancreas Decreases

15 Years

Risk Of Coronary Heart Disease Is That Of A Nonsmoker

Weight Gain

People Gain Weight For A Lot Of Reasons
For Example
After You Stop Smoking You May Be Tempted To Eat More
Because Your Food Will Smell And Taste Better
You May Eat As A Substitute For Keeping Your Hands And Or Mouth Busy

You May Also Gain Weight
Because Nicotine Is A Stimulant That Artificially Increases Your Metabolism
Sometimes People Gain Weight Because They Feel Hungrier After They Quit Smoking

Finally You May Gain Weight
Because Subconsciously You Believe You Have A Legitimate Reason For Doing So

If You Are Concerned About Weight Gain
Keep This Fact In Mind
The Health Damage Of A Pack Of Cigarettes A Day
Is About The Same As Carrying 60 Or More Extra Pounds
The More You Smoke
The More Weight You'd Have To Put On
To Negate The Health Benefits Of Quitting Smoking

Keep In Mind That Quitting Smoking
Will Reduce Premature Wrinkling Of The Skin And Premature Aging

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