Is it really just the nicotine?

I have been quitting smoking and starting again for the last couple of years. Its really annoying that I keep failing, but then again I keep telling myself that becoming a non smoker its like trying to ride a bike, and I keep falling off. So I keep trying, to quit.

I usually quit using nicotine gum, it does stave off some of the cravings, but, and this is what I am asking, it does not seem to be only the nicotine I am craving, there is something else, and it is not psychological, but very physical and I am sure of that because of what happens after having quit using NRT and then having a cigarette after some time.

If it were just the nicotine and psychological dependency, then having a cigarette after using nico gum, would not have a physical effect, as my blood nicotne levels are probably higher on NRT than when smoking anyway. What I keep finding is that having a cigarette when I have been on gum for some time, does not just make me feel better psychologically, I actually feel some chemical flood of something that totally relaxes me when I have that first cigarette.

I am sure some will say that that is just in my head and all psychological, but I am talking about actualy physical symptoms, just like if you take a sleeping tablet or something, that is not psychological, but I feel a kind of flood of something, something that is not felt when taking the gum.

So I am questioning whether there is something else in cigarettes, not just nicotine, that smokers really crave and miss when they quit, even when using NRT.

Could that feeling I get...that I enjoy... be the effect of the carbon monoxide, reduced oxygen levels, making me feel kind of woozy? It keeps making me fail at my quits, because I am aware that I can get that feeling by having a cigarette and sometimes when something stressful occurs on my quit and NRT just doesnt cut it, I reach for a cigarette because that is the only place I know where I can get that feeling that calms me right down. If I were to know what it is in cigarettes that makes me feel that way, then I might be able to get it another more healthy way instead of the only way I know, which is from smoking.

29 Replies

oldestnewest
  • is it the harmane?

    I just read on Wikipedia the following

    Tobacco smoke contains the psychoactive alkaloids nicotine and harmane, which combined give rise to addictive stimulant and euphoriant properties.

    Ref: Wikipedia - Tobacco Smoking

    So NRT doesnt really deal with this other chemical "harmane" that is mentioned in that article.

  • Chandri

    i would very strongly suggest that you have a good read on the whyquit website (link in my sig) as this has far better explanations about your nicotine addiction than we can offer in a couple of posts.

    Many people on here agree that the "Education" method is the most effective method to quit.

    what i mean by that is for you to eductae yourself about smoking, its effects, what happens when you stop, the changes you can expect to go through etc.

    It is clear that NRT MAY be getting you past the initial stage but it is obviously not working for the medium to longer term.

    Read as much as you can on whyquit and hopefully you will see the light about quitting.

    There is no point in looking for any substitute to the various chemicals within cigarettes, the best thing is to just deal with the initial withdrawal and the urges to follow. It will only be as bad as YOU make it (i.e. much of it IS in the mind)

    Good luck.

  • thanks

    Thanks, I have extensively read whyquit.com and its very good I agree.

    They tell you that cold turkey is the only way and never to take another puff, which is good, but I am not convinced that it always works. It has not worked in my case, it is another nethod I have failed at. I have also extensively read Alen Carrs stuff and used hypnosis and I am really of the conclusion that it is not all psychological and is not relieved after 3 days of no nicotine, because if it were then it would be easy and if it were just psychologica after 3 days, then it would not produce the physical symptoms it produces in me.

    If all the current methods of quitting smoking were effective, everyone would quit easily and noone does quit easily with the current methods.

    If a person has a valium addiction or similar, scientific research shows that stoppig such a drug abruptly is not the best or most successful way to stop. But that gradually tapering the dosage of valium, helps a person get used to living with lower and lower doses, until they can actually go without.

    That is also the theory behind NRT, but if it is not the only addictive substance, then it is not going to be so effective and might be the reason why so many people fail with NRT.

    If you could also taper the dose of harmane in the same way you do nicotine, then it may be more effective and easier to quit.

  • cold turkey

    Cold turkey is not the only method, and sure the goal is eventually be free of all chemical dependencies, but there is nothing wrong with wanting to make it a little easier, in the same way a heroin addict might find using methodone for some time to be easier than going cold turkey off heroine.

    Our goal is the same and I admire those who go cold turkey, but having tried it and failed several times, I am just saying that some people might need a little more help to get to that final goal of being independent of chemicals to feel ok.

    I do not want to upset those who have gone cold turkey and remained off cigarettes, they have acheived their goal and that is great, but I have not been able to and need more help, just being told that there is no other way makes me think that as I have been unsuccesful using that method, that I will never be able to quit, and I do not want to think that way, I am sure I can quit, even if I can not do it the same way as some others have.

    Plus all the sites that talk about cold turkey, do not address anything other than nicotine dependency and psychological issues, when they are not the only problems people face when going cold turkey.

  • So I am questioning whether there is something else in cigarettes, not just nicotine, that smokers really crave and miss when they quit, even when using NRT.

    It’s the very same reason that some of us couldn’t switch from “real” fags to roll-ups and the same reason why, if you a-n-a-lyse your daily consumption, our fag smoking schedule bears little relationship to how long it was since our previous smoke.

    It’s the same reason you can quit smoking instantly and the same reason you can’t get lab rats hooked on nicotine. It's the reason muttered in hushed tones.

    Smoking is simply a compulsive habit. We smoke when we’re happy, when we’re sad, when we’re bored, hungry, lost, hurt, driving, nervous etc etc We fill the little gaps in our lives with a fag and yes, we even smoke when nicotine levels fall in our body.

    Many want you to think that falling nicotine levels are the sole reason we smoke, that you're addicted to "the most addictive drug ever put on the planet" and "quitting is hard" and then make loads and loads of cash out of that very assumption.

    As so many have easily proven, ditch the fags and within a week your nicotine dependency has gone.

    On a scale of 100, blame 5% of your habit on the nicotine and the rest on your subconscious.

    What is disgusting in the extreme is that many people fail in their well-intended quits because they misguidedly put their faith in a solution doomed from the start and don’t take the time to learn about why they smoked. They address the 5% and then find they still want to smoke….

    Society has trouble accepting the responsibility and needs an addiction excuse whether it’s chocolate, gambling, smoking, weight gain, etc

    Those that recognise it for what it is just stop and then kick themselves for being so stupid for so long.

    There is no dark side to smoking. No secret, no clever way round it.

    You stop, suffer a weekend of feeling niggled, a week or two of flu like feelings and then a weird feeling like something's missing out of your life for a few months as you get to grips with thinking you should be doing something else and it turns out it's the smoking you're missing. But in a nice way....

    ...but, while all this is happening you suddenly feel more alive, more alert, less stressed, even happier....

    ...unfortunately preaching comes a little too easy..... :o

  • AAAAHHHHH

    Now i understand Chandri

    What you want is the Golden Fleece, or the Pot of Gold at the end of the Rainbow :rolleyes:

    There is no guaranteed failsafe method to quit smoking. Any method involves some work from yourself. You are no different to anyone else on here or indeed anywhere else, who has quit or is quitting.

    There will be good days and bad days but eventually (and this usually happens sooner rather than later) you will find it a lot easier.

    What you want Chandri is a magic pill to make it all go away.........:rolleyes:

    What you need is a kick up the ar5e to make you realise that you are NO different to any of the rest of us and will just have to get on with it...

    Harsh? Yes!!!!! but totally necessary, otherwise you will just go on moaning about how difficult it is to quit and how you have tried everything and just cant stop.

    The perfect method to stop smoking, no matter what aid you use to start your quit is actually really really simple.......................................................

    NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!!!!!!

  • hi chandri

    most of us have lots of failed quits i was a smoker for 50 years and tried all sorts to quit NRT never worked for me i smoked over it this time i am using champix and it worked for me just keep going and read read read and then read some more Allen Cars easy way to quit is good

  • Very impressive read Austin, it really does sum it all up. It is not just the nicotine addiction we have to get over its the habit also.

    I like the fact that you have not flowered it up just the facts to why we smoke/d and what happens when we quit.

    Denise

    xx

  • Yes and yes

    Great post Austin!

    But I'd like to say to Chandri that I. too. have a definite physical response to a cigarette at times which don't seem to coincide with replenishing nicotine or not.

    Now none of you may go with this, but I look at it as an 'energy' thing , as close as I can tell it. What happens to me as a quit progresses is that I get quite 'high'//sometimes over loud, sometimes a short fuse, often elated..'drunk' in some curious way. Having a fag at some weeks after stiopping I can feel a 'grounding' effect...right down through my entire body and into my toes.but not every time..so it's not a straight 'replenishment of drug level' phenomenon.. ..Now 'energy' is the interface between things physical and things psychological..This is where 'healing' (such as Reiki) and acupuncture and other techniques work. You can feel energy move (try doing Yoga!) but not always follow it's effects physiologically. Seems to me my habituation to fags is essentially an 'energy' phenomenon, straddling both mental and physical sides and producing both mental and physical effects when arrested.

    But...when all's said and done...I agree with you all that there's only one way to quit.

    DON'T SMOKE ANY MORE CIGARETTES...EVER! That'll do it. Whatever else you do is up to you, but it surely must help to research the facts. if only to put some intention into the quit.

    Enuf!

    Peace!

    Bill:cool:

  • TKDJohn has said it all - there is no magic potion. Its bloody hard for some I know but the only real way is cold turkey. Sure the first few days can be hell, by day 5 all I could think and see were cigarettes, drove me to the point of actually handling one and smelling it (without lighting it). That was a major turning point - after that each day became easier.

  • This is a great thread, full of excellent advice - it deserves bumping back to the top. The 2 posts by Austin and John tell you everything you need to know about quitting.

    Education is everything. Beleive what you are told by the NHS and the other doomsayers at your peril... this place is FULL of people successfully quitting by ignoring traditional advice. The success rate for the NHS and other places offering the traditional "NRT and willpower" method is simply abysmal(sp?).

    It is not as hard as it is made out to be. Not even close. After 3 days without nicotine the worst is over, after 2 weeks 90% of quitters find the physical symptoms to be gone.

    Beleive it is hard and it will be. Beleive you can do it and you will.

    Just stop - and then don't smoke anymore. Do that and you win. Do that by using whatever method you like.... if you educate yourself you WILL stop using any aid and go it alone. Why? Because the ONLY way to stop smoking forever is to do it yourself.

    I am not saying NRT is bad, or Champix/Zyban is bad. These are great if they get you off the fags... but if you learn enough about your addiction** you will decide to stop using them. You can begin a quit any one of 1000 ways.... but there is only one way to finish it.

    **Even if you beleive that nicotine is NOT that addictive (I am still doubtful), there can be little doubt that we are addicted to cigarettes in some way .... even if it is only psycological. The addiction can be broken, and it is not that hard to do

  • [QUOTE=austinlegro;

    There is no dark side to smoking. No secret, no clever way round it.

    You stop, suffer a weekend of feeling niggled, a week or two of flu like feelings and then a weird feeling like something's missing out of your life for a few months as you get to grips with thinking you should be doing something else and it turns out it's the smoking you're missing. But in a nice way....

    ...but, while all this is happening you suddenly feel more alive, more alert, less stressed, even happier....

    What a brilliant summary of the past 24 days!! Well said austinlegro :)

  • harmine in cigarettes

    Well there has been little talk of what I mentioned what I was asking about, which is harmine, the powerful anti depressant that is also contained in cigarette smoke.

    Sure getting off it requires stopping taking it, but there is so much varied info on what to expect, from those who say after three days they feel great, to those who say after ten years they still want a cig.

    Now I am just saying that I want to be prepared. I have smoked for 28 years, tried to quite many times, sometimes for months, sometimes just days and I am not looking for excuses to smoke, but knowledge about what to expect when I do not. If I am withdrawing from a strong MAOI antidepressant like harmine, then all the NRT in the world is not going to help. Nor is positive thinking, or a kick up the arse (haha), because I am going to get physical bodily effects that may last months while my brain chemistry readjusts and there is no information about this online.

    Knowledge is power and that is why I ask, all my failed quit attempts have taught me lessons. I often fail because I read all over the place that after a month I will feel much better and think that maybe if there was more info on harmine and what to expect from cutting that out, I would be better prepared to deal with it, as quite often it is the unprepared for, unexpected experiences I have had when quitting that have caused me to fail so many times.

    So any info on harmine would be greatly appreciated.

  • Relaxation Technique

    There is no clear evidence that smoking reduces stress - only relief of withdrawal symptoms. (Nicotine levels are controlled by the depth of inhalation, number of puffs and length of butts left).

    One of the reasons you feel that a cigarette is the only thing to help calm you in stressful situations can be blamed on the technique in which you smoke it. When you're stressed, you light a cigarette and inhale deeply - in effect you are using a relaxation technique and the 5,000 + harmful chemicals contained in cigarettes are just an added "bonus??"!

    If you become stressed, try deep breathing without the fags - it does work!

    1. Sit upright in a chair

    2. Roll your shoulders back

    3. Breathe out

    4. Breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of 4

    5. Breathe out slowly through your mouth for a count of 5

    6. Now take 5 slow, deep breaths

    7. Repeat this routine 5 times

    This calming breathing can be used in any situation in which you feel tension mounting.

    Go on - give yourself a breathing break - you deserve it !!

  • There is no clear evidence that smoking reduces stress - only relief of withdrawal symptoms.

    In fact anecdotal evidence from those on here suggests that smoking increases stress levels because once you start, you feel you NEED to smoke to maintain your comfortable level of nicotine. If you are in a situation in which you can't smoke (just about anywhere public) then you feel stressed until you can.

    I realise this is probably not the case for everyone, but it seems the majority find the same thing.

  • So I am questioning whether there is something else in cigarettes, not just nicotine, that smokers really crave and miss when they quit, even when using NRT.

    Could that feeling I get...that I enjoy... be the effect of the carbon monoxide, reduced oxygen levels, making me feel kind of woozy? It keeps making me fail at my quits, because I am aware that I can get that feeling by having a cigarette and sometimes when something stressful occurs on my quit and NRT just doesnt cut it, I reach for a cigarette because that is the only place I know where I can get that feeling that calms me right down. If I were to know what it is in cigarettes that makes me feel that way, then I might be able to get it another more healthy way instead of the only way I know, which is from smoking.

    Realistically None of this matters. If you want to stop you will put up with the mild discomfort you will feel and then get over it and be /stay quit.

    It also doesn't matter if there is a replacement for Harmine which you could take along with NRT to relieve the symptoms because at some stage you will need to come off that too. Also, what if you take these things and still experience all that you have described in your posts. Does this mean that a magic pill to replace each of the hundreds of chemicals found in cigarettes needs to be taken to help you quit.

    It appears that you are looking for a reason/excuse for each quit failure instead of going through that final discomfort barrier to remain quit. The fact that there is no replacement for the Harmine, or any other chemicals in cigarettes apart from the nicotine shouldn't be a barrier to quitting. It may be that when you experience these feelings you just need to stop yourself smoking instead of giving in and smoking. It really is that simple. And the amazing thing is, that the more you get over these moments the easier they become to overcome the next time, until finally they disappear altogether.

    Cold Turkey is not as hard as it sounds and no matter what, even with NRT you will still need to go through the stopping of nicotine, the stopping of cigarettes (and all the chemicals that they contain) and get through the symptoms that stopping causes. Whether this is done cold turkey, with Champix, NRT, or midget gems (copyright austinlegro) it doesnt really matter. You will have to go through some discomfort. No-one quits without any symptoms, it is just a matter of dealing with it.

    This may sound harsh but its not. Its just a plain simple fact.

  • harmine in cigarettes

    Well I tell you what I will quit...is asking anyone here about harmine in cigarettes, because noone seems to be hearing my question, or maybe they just dont have any answers.

    Whether anyone wants to believe it or not, cigarettes contain harmine, a powerful MAOI antidepressant and I just wanted some more info on it.

    TKDJohn if you dont know the answer to my question, dont get upset and start psycho****ysing, just quit talking...if you can.

  • Well I tell you what I will quit...is asking anyone here about harmine in cigarettes, because noone seems to be hearing my question, or maybe they just dont have any answers.

    Whether anyone wants to believe it or not, cigarettes contain harmine, a powerful MAOI antidepressant and I just wanted some more info on it.

    TKDJohn if you dont know the answer to my question, dont get upset and start psycho****ysing, just quit talking...if you can.

    I tell you what I think. I think that a lot of "information" is fed to the world to stop them quitting.... there is an awful lot of money involved in keeping people smoking, but a lot of pressure on goverments/companies to help us quit.

    How else do you explain so many on here quitting in relative ease when everyone tells us from every direction how hard it is?

    How else do you explain the "success" of NRT when it's success rates are so abysmal? By comparison to other methods, NRT is useless for quitting but sells in huge amounts. The power of marketing.

    Your Harmine is no different. I had never heard of it, like most on here by the look of it. We still managed to quit without hearing of this mysterious drug. All of the well respected resources we all used to educate ourselves to quit make no mention of this drug. I therefore believe it is nothing more than another excuse not to quit. I can find no meaningful information about it anywhere outside of that wiki page (which could have been written by anyone).

    Sorry to be blunt, but that's my opinion.

  • harmine in cigarettes

    Nobody is understanding what I am saying.

    I have not said that harmine is some drug to help people quit smoking, I am saying that harmine is one of the chemicals in cigarettes that I want more info on.

  • Nobody is understanding what I am saying.

    I have not said that harmine is some drug to help people quit smoking, I am saying that harmine is one of the chemicals in cigarettes that I want more info on.

    I do understand what you are saying.

    I have never heard of it, and the only info I can find on it is that wiki page you posted. (Which could have been written by anyone - there is nothing reliable about wikipedia)

    Therefore I think either (a) it doesn't exist, or more likely (b) it is not important but someone is trying to get us to think it is.

    Many people are quitting on here while knowing nothing about it, so I suspect there is nothing to know.

    Just my opinion.

  • I think that it is entirely possible that there may be several of the thousands of chemicals in a cigarette that one can form a varying degree of dependence on.

    Harmine might be such a chemical, but the sheer lack of information does make it unlikely that it is a hugely addictive part of the physical addiction. However, when using NRT most people do seem to go through some withdrawal, twice. Once when they quit the cigarettes and once when they quit the NRT, this may be due to a lower absorption of nicotine or because they were reliant on other chemicals in the cigarette too.

    However, what people have been saying is, no we have no greater insight into harmine's contribution to tobacco addiction than can be found by searching the net, but does it make a material difference what drugs you are quitting, you are quitting smoking.

  • Chandri

    I can't help feeling that you are being a bit childish I do not mean to offend but you do not seem to be very interested in what anyone has to say or any opinion but your own we all try to help each other on here I would suggest that maybe your best course is to contact the drug company's but doubt they will answer as they make to much money from fags just like government they pay lip service to stopping us smoking

    Either that or accept like the rest of us that you are a nicotine addict and always will be

  • Nobody is understanding what I am saying.

    I have not said that harmine is some drug to help people quit smoking, I am saying that harmine is one of the chemicals in cigarettes that I want more info on.

    I think everyone understands your question.

    We understand that you are saying that Harmine is present in cigarettes. You want info on it to see if that is what is stopping you from being able to quit.

    It is you who are over****ysing things in your previous posts re the possibility of you finding it hard to quit and thinking it is not the nicotine but harmine that is the problem. You may be right. But so what?

    Why dont you just bite the bullet and quit smoking?

    Or do you not want to stop and just want to find out about harmine. If so, good luck in your quest.

    But millions of people all over the world have stopped and never needed to worry about harmine (that is if they ever knew of its existence)

  • This is an excellent thread and has provoked a lot of interesting comments. Personally if I had to single out only one commenter up to this point it would be BillG. Solely because his suggestions address the 'nervous' energy aspects of quitting.

    Whether you have received advice regarding harmine or not is, IMHO, beside the point. If you haven't then surely you could make your own investigations and post that here - it's clear others don't have that information. This site seems to now exist to provide information and has over the last 12 months evolved into a freely accessible on-line resource with the potential of providing a myriad different possibilities dealing with quitting smoking. Contentious and unpalatable it may seem to some but believe me it wasn't always the case.

    The main thing is that you wish to stop smoking and you are unique in the way you are approaching it. You can stop smoking because you do have that capacity...as do all human beings.

  • if you went to quit you will do it chandri,,ask your self do you realey went to quit smoking,or carry on smoking.you choice tony

  • The chemical harmine, together with harmane and harmaline are in group of chemicals called beta carbolines, this link can give you a bit more info. and if you do a search for beta carbolines, you can find out much more.

    deoxy.org/neuroalchemy.htm

    Why you've singled out this particular chemical, amongst the several thousand others that you could have chosen i'm not sure. I think if you look closely at many of the chemicals, you will find many that are addictive, hallucinogenic, etc. Take your pick.

    Bottom line is, do you want to stop smoking, if so, go ahead and try again and stop looking for possible reasons for failure other than lack of will-power. There is of course the possibility that although you know you should stop, you don't really want to. I wanted to stop smoking about 18 months ago, but it took me until 4 weeks ago to actually be prepared enough to go ahead and do it.

    Good luck.

  • harmane...why that chemical?

    Thanks,

    The reason I singled ot this particular chemical is because in the wikipedia article on "Tobacco Smoking" in Wikipedia says the following

    "Tobacco smoke contains the psychoactive alkaloids nicotine and harmane, which combined give rise to addictive stimulant and euphoriant properties."

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobac...

    I did a little research into this harmane and found that it is a MAOI, which is a powerful antidepressant.

    Alot of people believe that the depression that MANY smokers experience when the quit smoking is all psychological and speak of it being because they miss an old friend and stuff.

    I am suggesting it is not at all psychological, but very physical.

    Many people turn to anti depressants when they quit smoking and maybe they do not really need to, maybe the depression they experience when they quit is because for so long they have been taking anti deprpessants and that they so that depression they feel is natural, because they are suffering withdrawal from one, which if they go and replace wih another, may hamper their quit.

    I am trying to find out when a person stops taking such a powerful anti depressant as harmane, what the process is for brain chemistry to get back to normal, as really all info on quitting smoking tends to be nicotine related, when I have a feeling that the hardest part of a quit is the withdrawal from the harmane antidepressant, and if a little more were known about it, that it may aid smokers to be prepared, and quit, without worring that they are depressed, or if they do feel depressed, not to necessarily reach for more anti depressants, but to know how long such feelings may last and understand why, in the same way we are educated on the effects of nicotine withdrawal, which help get through that part of it.

    This thread isnt really about my quit and what I need to do to quit, I wasnt asking for help to quit, just interested in this chemical harmane and hopefully the above explains why I am so interested.

  • hi chandi, well done on still quitting, i am reading a fascinating book called 'nicotine' the drugg that never was , by chris holmes - hypnotist , i can recommend it highly, it dispels a lot of the smoking myths out there and also helps you to stay quit .... its helped me when i didnt believe i could be helped! ....take care xx.

  • Well I have not smoked now for 5 weeks. I am using the nicotine nasal spray and the research on harmine I did has helped me to understand what I am going thorugh and deal with it better.

    NRT has never worked for me before, after a couple of weeks my cravings for a cigarette would just get too strong and I would relapse. I did not understand why as I was getting plenty of nicotine, and that was what led me to research some of the other chemicals that are found in tobacco smoke.

    Armed with the knowledge that I would not only be missing nicotine, I started the nasal spray programme and stopped smoking. I decided that baby steps would be good for me, and if I could overcome whatever it was in tobacco smoke that I liked so much, whilst maintaining my levels of nicotine, then once that was overcome, I could overcome the nicotine as well. baby steps.

    I have another three weeks to go on the spray and that is interesting that NRT makers say to use it for 8 weeks, as that is also the time it takes for the brains dependenciy on MAOI drugs to stabilise and get back to normal.

    For those who were a little sceptical about the harmine in cigarettes having any significant effect, there is a very frank website about drug effects that has tested harmine, and you can see it is powerful.

    erowid.org/experiences/exp....

    Anyway, I feel that looking into this has helped me stay quit longer than previous attempts, and so I hope it may help others too. By the way other sources of harmine, are coffee, and passiflora. Something I feel has helped me on this quit attempt is drinking lots of decaff coffee, it does seem to ease cravings that NRT does not and maybe that is the harmine in it.

    Next step will be quitting the NRT in a few weeks time, but I am not to worried about that, it doesnt give me any buzz and as such I think the 72 hrs of withdrawal be not be hard if I have already overcome the harmine and psychological aspects of smoking that were what I found to be my greatest obstacles.

You may also like...