Ask almost any current smoker why she continues to indulge in such a dangerous habit and she will normally reply, “Because I like smoking.” While she may say this in all honesty, it is a very misleading statement, both to the listener and to the smoker herself. She does not smoke because she enjoys smoking, rather she smokes because she does not enjoy not smoking.
Nicotine is a powerfully addictive drug. The smoker is in a constant battle to maintain a narrow range of nicotine in her blood stream (serum nicotine level). Every time the smoker’s serum nicotine level falls below the minimum limit, she experiences drug withdrawal. She becomes tense, irritable, anxious and, in some cases, even shows physical symptoms. She does not enjoy feeling these withdrawals. The only thing that will alleviate these acute symptoms will be a cigarette. The nicotine loss is then replenished and, hence, the smoker feels better. She enjoyed smoking.
A smoker must also be cautious not to exceed his upper limit of tolerance for nicotine or else suffer varying degrees of nicotine poisoning. Many smokers can attest to this condition. It usually occurs after parties or extremely tense situations when the smoker finds himself exceeding his normal level of consumption. He feels sick, nauseous, dizzy and generally miserable.
Being a successful smoker is like being an accomplished tight rope walker. The smoker must constantly maintain a balance between these two painful extremes of too much or too little nicotine. The fear which accompanies initial smoking cessation is that the rest of the ex-smoker’s entire life will be as horrible as the first few days without cigarettes. What ex-smokers will learn is that within a short period of time, the physical withdrawal will start to diminish. First, the urges will weaken in intensity and then become shorter in duration. There will be longer time intervals between urges. It will eventually reach the point where the ex-smoker will desire a cigarette very infrequently, if ever. Those who continue to smoke will continue to be in a constant battle of maintaining their serum nicotine level.
Included in this battle is the great expense of buying pack after pack and the dangerous assault on the smoker’s body of inhaling the poison nicotine along with over 4,000 other toxic chemicals which comprise the tars and gasses produced from the combustion of tobacco. These chemicals are deadly by themselves and even more so in combination.
So the next time you think of how much you once seemed to enjoy cigarettes, sit back and take a serious, objective look at why you have such an idealization of this dangerous product. Consider all the consequences. You will probably realize that you feel physically and mentally better now than you ever did as a smoker. Consider all of this and NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
©1983. by Joel Spitzer