Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chantix for Smoking Cessation

While I understand that Chantix can be very helpful to some for stopping smoking, it does have some rather dangerous side effects that people considering it should be aware of. Always, always consult with your doctor before taking it.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Being on Respirator Made Her Quit Smoking

My friend Francine sent me her story about smoking and how it almost killed her:

"I was born with bronchial asthma and have never been able to move very fast or get into strenuous sports or activities. I started smoking when I was 12 years old by stealing my Grandpa's Camels. I always loved smoking and no matter what the doctors told me I wanted my cigarettes. I always had a nagging cough and was sick pretty often with upper respiratory infections. Every time I went to the doctor he would tell me to quit smoking - but not me. I would cough my brains out and as soon as I stopped for a while I would light up again. This had been going on all my life and I was getting more and more short of breath. At 56 years old I was finally put on a nebulizer and inhalers, but still I did not stop!

On September 13, 2001 (right after 9/11 which caused this attack) I had to call 911 because I could not breathe. They stabilized me in the ER and then was sent home with more inhalers. The very next day I was lighting a cigarette and the same thing happened again - could not breathe. Thank God my daughter was there! Called 911 again and was Life Flighted to a hospital in a larger city some 60 miles away. I was put on a respirator and after 17 days of not being awake, I woke up to find my kids around me and found out I had been given last rites! I started having panic attacks because I could not stand the breathing machine. I kept telling them to take it off, but they said I would not live if they did. Against everyone's opinion and advice it was taken off and I was sent home on Hospice care, oxygen tanks and morphine. I have not smoked since. My children were extremely upset - I was so weak I could not do anything without help for days. If I tried to walk I would fall down.

Well here I am years later on oxygen 24/7, do everything (but slowly) including taking care of my 89 year old mother. Even though I am very slow I'm still here and plan to be for a long time yet. The only thing missing are my cigarettes. I no longer miss them but think about them once in a while, but then remember how it felt on the breathing machine and it scares me to death!

I hope all you smokers will quit before you wake up strapped down on a breathing machine and watch your family crying around you."

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Kids Get Smoking Ban on Ballot

Sixth grade students at a Middle School in Pearland, Texas were able to get a smoking ban placed on the ballot in the November 6th election. Not only that, but, due to their efforts the ordinance passed with nearly 80 percent of the vote. The ordinance bans smoking in restarants, auditoriums, stadiums and most public places.

The students decided to get involved after hearing a police officer's presentation about substance abuse, and a class discussion about second-hand smoke. A councilman was invited to speak to the class where the kids asked questions about how to get an issue on the ballot. They drew up a proposed ordinance and went door-to-door to get certified signatures which were required to get the ordinance put on the ballot. They then made a presentation to the city council, and received a standing ovation from the council members!

What a great lesson in civics - one that I'm sure those kids will never forget!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Cannot Smoke Under Bankruptcy?

A Houston newspaper reported today that a bankruptcy judge has denied a couple's request to allow $170.00 a month for cigarette purchases. The couple maintains that smoking cessation programs cost much more than that, and that the stress of bankruptcy would likely cause them to fail to quit. The judge did not buy their argument and denied the budget item. Way to go judge!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Smoking Prevalence Rates

Webmd recently reported that smoking prevalence rates for young adults aged 18 - 35 range from a high of 31% in Kentucky and about 8% in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Wonder what it is about the environment of the islands that make for such a low rate? Perhaps we could import some of whatever it is!

The CDC states that people who quit before age 35 "have a life expectancy similar to that of those who never smoked".

I would think that perhaps young people, young teens in particular, would become somewhat cynical about smoking cessation when the government has subsidized tobacco farmers for so long while at the same time the Centers for Disease Control advocate not smoking.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Stop Smoking Drug May Be a Problem

I posted earlier that I had heard the drug Chantix was very helpful to people trying to quit smoking. I heard on the news last night that it causes some people to have hallucinations, depression and suicidal thoughts. One young man's death was being attributed to its use. It obviously does not cause these side effects in everyone, but you should read the inserts very carefully and discuss with your doctor before deciding to use.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Promise of a Car Did Not Deter Her from Smoking

My friend, Elizabeth, sent this story of her smoking history - she was a really determined smoker!

"I started to smoke when I was a senior in High School. I was 17 at the time, and even tho my parents had offered a bribe -of a car -if I didn't smoke or drink till I was 21, the fact that seniors were allowed to smoke in the common room with the head of school was a stronger motivator. There was no attempt in the parental bribe to prevent my smoking but only to delay it, both my parents were smokers. I also had an older sister who I admired, who smoked. So I thought it was cool and sophisticated to smoke and I got lots of praise for being "a natural" when I inhaled with out coughing on the first drag. I didn't become a heavy smoker until about 2 yrs later in college, when I started studying, playing bridge, and hanging out in the "smokers". These were rooms where smoking was allowed, and I found that there was always something fun going on there, and most of my friends were chosen from the smoker crowd.

I was a moderate to heavy smoker, 1 to 2 packs a day- sometimes more, until I started to quit at age 43. I quit for the first time in 1986, and I finally succeeded in quitting in 1991!! During those years I used almost every quitting aid imaginable (I never tried the patch or gum) and they all get me off cigarettes, but nothing could keep me off cigarettes. Hypnosis and Acupuncture both really helped with the withdrawal cravings and creepy feelings I got in my body during the first 3 days. The support group gave me lots of ideas and techniques like breaking the sub habits, such as smoking while driving, and/or smoking while on the phone, etc I'm not sure which was harder quitting slowly or going cold turkey. With all this experience, I think I would recommend a combination of the support group/cold turkey/acupuncture if someone were to ask for my advice! During the 5 years of my quit/relapse phase, I smoked less heavily. The pattern was that I would stay off nicotine for a month or a few weeks, and then be so proud/cocky, Id think to myself "I can have just one" when I was tempted at a party or after a nice dinner.Then it was easy to bum a cigarette, lots of my friends smoked and so did my husband. There was never a time when cigarettes weren't available to me if I should get tempted. So I would go through the next few weeks just bumming and not admit to myself that I was failing my attempt to quit. Denial is a cornerstone of addiction. When I was so ashamed to bum another cigarette, I would finally break down and buy a pack, then work my way back to 1+ packs/day in weeks to come. The whole process could take as much as 6 months but the bottom line was, I was still smoking!

The turning point came when I finally separated from my smoking husband, and by then most of my friends had quit. At that point I was even more determined to over come this addiction that had humiliated me so, to quit and make it stick! When there was no longer any support for my mooching and relapsing, I was FINALLY able to STAY OFF CIGARETTES. An added motivation was the fact that my mother had died of lung disease in 1988 when she was only 70, she hadn't managed to quit until she was in her 60's. I hoped that by quitting for real at 48 I might escape her fate and my lungs might recover. However that was not to be. I was diagnosed with chronic asthma and emphysema (COPD) when I was 57. I am now 64 and my lungs function at about 50% of normal for my age.

I have never gotten over wanting a cigarette at certain times, but the moment passes and I don't take action. I usually deal with it by saying "this would be a nice time for a cigarette" and I laugh with the awareness that NO time is a good time for a cigarette!"