funny story - smoking cessation service

so today i phoned the local smoking cessation centre and got through to a very helpful lady who provided me with all the relevant information for providing cessation workshops in the workplace etc etc. she would be our main point of contact

at some point through the conversation she made a comment about how hard it is to give up which of course i resonated with. we moved on to her coming in to deliver some workshops

so imagine my horror when she slipped into the conversation

"i am a smoker myself, ive given up in the past but its just too hard"

WHAT??????????????????

COMPLETELY BONKERS....:o

28 Replies

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  • My lovely lady told me nicotine was not addictive ......

  • That's unbelievable!!

  • Technically she's right

    My lovely lady told me nicotine was not addictive ......

    Technically she's right - nicotine is not physically addictive. You won't get ill & die from withdrawal if you stop smoking nicotine; unlike alcoholics who can die from giving up alcohol due to a metabolic change in enzyme production.

  • que? technically nicotine is not addictive? Are you sure?

    It the same sense as Seroxat isn't I'd imagine!!

    (Hint: it is)

  • Smoking cessation

    That is a classic Newstart!

    Christina

  • Not PHYSICALLY addictive

    Hi all

    Yes, I'm quite sure - nicotine is Not PHYSICALLY addictive. That is not to say it isn't psychologically addictive. At least that's what my reading has lead me to believe.

    I think in order to be physically addictive it has to change, in a relatively permanent way, the biochemistry of the body. I don't think nicotine does that - it just makes us produce more dopamine. Producing more of something - a reward chemical is not biochemical change.

    For example- heroin addicts stop producing natural pain killers: endorphins. So, when they go cold turkey they are in agony; their cessation has to be monitored carefully. Same with alcohol - alcoholics stop producing certain enzymes, and if they go cold turkey it can kill them. The cessation of alcohol has to be done slowly to allow the body to return to normal.

    I could be wrong about all of this, but the literature I read gave this information. I have read it from quite wide sources. It all comes down to the definition of addicted I think, and the separation into physical & psychological.

  • Technicalities

    Hi Teflon

    I got this from the first reference in your post:

    Technically, nicotine is not significantly addictive, as nicotine administered alone does not produce significant reinforcing properties.[56] However, after coadministration with an MAOI, such as those found in tobacco, nicotine produces significant behavioral sensitization, a measure of addiction potential. This is similar in effect to amphetamine.[36]

    I'm not trying to state any cases in favour of nicotine - I'm just trying to highlight the varying interpretations of "addictive".

    No one dies if they go cold turkey from quitting cigarettes - that is one definition of physical addiction - the dopamine pathway may be altered but it's just a matter of degree.

    I think the extract I cut and pasted from your link gets us back to Austinlegro's point that he has frequently made - it's tobacco that we get addicted to not nicotine.

    Austinlegro often made the point too, which I agree with, that it's in the tobacco industry's interest for us to believe that nicotine is very addictive. The phrase "nicotine is more addictive than heroin" is simply not true. It's based on false statistical data, not biochemistry.

  • The confusion with addiction is that we all interpret it in many ways, especially in this day and age when we seem to apply hyperbole to all mundane actions resulting, for example, in awesome socks.

    We all accept that there are people out there who are addicted to drugs whether prescribed or not.

    Similarly we are happy to accept that people are addicted to chocolate, gambling, EBay, Facebook, sex and nose-picking for example.

    Tangentially there are those with OCD who must check the door is locked or must repeatedly wash their hands and so on yet we never regard them as addicted to hand washing.

    There is a multi-billion dollar industry relying on convincing a smoker that their addiction is akin to heroin addiction and absolutely nothing like a chocolate addiction.

    If you’re a smoker and you believe that you smoke to get a ‘hit’ of nicotine because you’re ‘addicted’ to nicotine and when you cease taking nicotine your body demands it and produces a ‘crave’ in response to the falling nicotine levels then you are a marketing manager’s dream and potentially hooked for life in more ways than one.

    Despite so many being taken in by the ruse they never seem to click that when they’re sat there with a patch on their arm, sucking a lozenge and puffing on an inhalator but still gagging for a fag that they've been sold down the river.

    The Fagerström Nicotine Dependence test is still industry standard despite testing neither yet what it actually is, a tobacco dependency test, is basically overlooked.

    Nicotine is a natural insecticide and poisonous to humans in relatively low concentrations. It’s not a drug it’s simply a poison that our body adapts to cope with and takes a week to adapt back to when it’s gone. There’s no ‘hit’, no intoxication and you won’t find a country in the world that prohibits drivers or pilots from using it. It's not why we smoke but influences how we quit.

    No-one wants it. There's no school-yard trade in patches, lozenges, sprays and gums. Separate it from tobacco use and it's worthless.

    Luckily you can do your own experiments. All you have to do is recall your own smoking habits and think about when you smoked and how you smoked then ask yourself whether it was addiction or habit. It soon becomes quite obvious that most of the daily fags were triggered by routine and we had enough during the day to ensure that our bodies never really noticed falling nicotine levels.

    Even the big one, the gap between falling asleep at night and waking up the following morning, doesn't have most people reaching for a smoke first thing. Most of us followed some waking up and doing stuff routine before we lit our first. I know people whose first smoke was a lunchtime.

    The point, of course, is moot as our aim is to stop smoking, stop craving when we do and not start again at some point in the future.

    Quitting is breaking our psychological dependency of tobacco usage. It’s that simple.

    Those that go to bed a smoker and wake up smoke free had the same relationship with nicotine as any other but have simply chosen the correct war to fight.

    You can’t cure an addiction in your sleep.

  • Is nicotine addictive?

    Do you get withdrawals from not taking it in some form or another?

    Yes/no

    Yes.

    Does it "rewire" your brain to make you take in more of it?

    Yes.

    It's addictive, the rest is (possibly) a fascinating depate on English language or science but not really relevant to those of us trying to get off of it.

    I'd also add that if nicotine wasn't addictive (in a sense most of us here understand) then this forum wouldn't exist, would it?

    And if it isn't addictive, why did not smoking (when I was an active smoker) make me grumpy, angry, unable to concentrate and so on.

  • In that case I can spit out this piece of gum, pull my patch off and still have a job by 5PM, right?

    Wanna bet?

  • Discussion

    i have found this whole discussion highly interesting - as I am woefully uninformed about the nature of 'addiction' /dependency.

    As I was a long term smoker - 40 years and am three months down the line as a ' stopped' smoker I have been trying to work out what is actually going on.

    The first weeks after stopping felt like a physical withdrawal - not sure exactly from what but did resolve itself comparatively quickly but intense.

    The psychological withdrawal I still find hard - I find myself compensating by overeating and in a search to get that 'first puff feeling' am constantly seeking something but don't know what.

    The consequences are that I have put on weight - not good and still feel that I 'don't have that trigger' to give me instant relaxation - an illusion I know - so must be psychological.

    Am looking for strategies and techniques to deal with this and i feel that understanding exactly what's going on would help.

    Informed input welcome.

    For new quitters I am pleased and happy to have quit and the freedom from 'addiction/dependency is great! However, cannot be complacent and I most definitely want to stay quit and this is really what my post is about.

  • Addiction????

    I think that addiction is a physical dependence. Stimulating the reward centre of the brain is not a physical dependence. Nicotine does not rewire the brain - I would be interested to see evidence of that.

    Gemma -lou - the reason you can't just quit is because your subconscious is not yet ready.

    Max - you said:

    I think that is incorrect myself-nicotine as a drug is addictive and is as addictive as heroin,so I have read-that is documented.

    We've all read that nicotine is harder to give up than heroin. That is based on statistics of those who try to quit and don't. For smoking it's a very low success rate - for many reasons, one of them being we don't understand the habit. As for success rate for heroin - well that's probably different - many people don't live to tell the tale. Also, with heroin, we're not dealing with massive numbers, but I would say it's either succeed or die. I don't think the deaths are put into the stats. From a physical dependence viewpoint, comparing nicotine to heroin is comparing apples to oranges: the statistical argument likewise is invalid.

  • Gemma -lou - the reason you can't just quit is because your subconscious is not yet ready.

    Fab I'll go buy 20 Marlboro lights then.

    You did say I'm not ready so thanks :)

  • I think that addiction is a physical dependence. Stimulating the reward centre of the brain is not a physical dependence. Nicotine does not rewire the brain - I would be interested to see evidence of that.

    And i would be interested to see a scientific or medical source that states nicotine is non addictive.

    Addiction is defined as: "a. Compulsive physiological and psychological need for a habit-forming substance"

    Re changing the brain:

    Smokers' Brains Change in Response to High Levels of Nicotine

    February 24, 2012

    Dear Mayo Clinic:

    Is it true that smoking changes your brain somehow, making it harder to stop smoking? If so, how does that happen? Is there anything that can be done to change it back?

    Answer:

    Yes, that's true. When you smoke, your brain changes in response to the very high levels of nicotine delivered by cigarettes. Those brain changes cause you to become addicted to nicotine, and that addiction can make stopping smoking very difficult.

    Nicotine is the chemical in tobacco that keeps you smoking. Nicotine that gets into your body through cigarettes activates structures normally present in your brain called receptors. When these receptors are activated, they release a brain chemical called dopamine, which makes you feel good. This pleasure response to dopamine is a big part of the nicotine addiction process.

    Over time, as you continue to smoke, the number of nicotine receptors in your brain increases. Addicted smokers have billions more of these receptors than nonsmokers do. But not all smokers have such a high level of receptors. That is why some regular smokers can stop smoking without much difficulty.

    When you try to stop smoking, the receptors in your brain do not receive nicotine, so the pleasure response is cut off. In addition, low�levels of nicotine lead to symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, such as strong cravings for a cigarette, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, depressed mood, frustration, anger, increased hunger and difficulty sleeping. The fastest way to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms is to smoke a cigarette, which releases dopamine and activates the pleasure response.

    Sourcehttp://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-edge-newspaper-2012/feb-24b.html

  • Misinterpreted

    Hi Gemma - I didn't say you weren't ready - i said the reason you can't JUST quit ... there is a difference! Most of us have need some sort of prop; the reasons is can't even begin to guess at. I used champix.

    The subconscious can't always be changed quickly - that was the point I wanted to make. I was responding to your post where you seemed to imply because it didn't happen quickly then it was an addiction.

  • I go back to what I said - it's semantics now. Stimulating the reward centre of the brain is not, I believe, a physical dependence. The article you've quoted from has chosen to say it is; the dopamine reward centre is just that - activation of what is already there - not a change as such.

  • Hi Gemma - I didn't say you weren't ready - i said the reason you can't JUST quit ... there is a difference! Most of us have need some sort of prop; the reasons is can't even begin to guess at. I used champix.

    The subconscious can't always be changed quickly - that was the point I wanted to make. I was responding to your post where you seemed to imply because it didn't happen quickly then it was an addiction.

    Sorry, I really am not buying that nicotine isn't addictive.

    I agree that a large part of smoking is the psychological element but do not agree that nicotine is a non-addictive substance.

  • I go back to what I said - it's semantics now. Stimulating the reward centre of the brain is not, I believe, a physical dependence. The article you've quoted from has chosen to say it is; the dopamine reward centre is just that - activation of what is already there - not a change as such.

    It said nicotine creates billions of receptors, i.e. a physical change in your brain which was what you wanted to see as evidence of nicotine being addictive :)

    When you smoke, your brain changes in response to the very high levels of nicotine delivered by cigarettes. Those brain changes cause you to become addicted to nicotine, and that addiction can make stopping smoking very difficult.

  • As mentioned would be delighted to be proven wrong, but no proof has come as yet. People read things that are said in forums where nobody moderates the comment, they believe it, they may even respect it. On what basis are they doing that though. somebody may start to use this thread as proof, then we have anarchy!

    These threads go round in circles every couple of years and having just had notification that much of my ramblings have surfaced again I thought I'd pop in and see what was going on.

    The idea behind this forum is to help people quit. Proving a point comes a lot further down the list.

    If you wish to believe that you smoke because you're a nicotine addict then there are terabytes of data out there that will give you comfort and help you in your quit.

    If, however, you've ever questioned why the non-massaged figures show that you're better off quitting without the interference of the 'experts' then luckily there are others that have already followed that path and can offer their experience.

    Without forums such as this the novice quitter will simply end up on a NHS smoking cessation programme and we already know the dire success rates for that.

    The pharmacology of nicotine is well understood but despite that it has done nothing to improve smoking cessation rates.

    Of course you'd expect nothing less as we're all quitting smoking not nicotine.

    Sometimes we can't avoid the elephant in the room. :rolleyes:

    [I just noticed your new post pop up re 3 of 7 things. I can't get nicotine to fulfil 1 of the 7?]

  • I should hope not you havent smoked for 5 years.

    And as a much more recent ex-smoker I can score:

    1) Yes, I was smoking heavier before I quit, and when I was social smoking, it gave me a real buzz unlike later on.

    2) Obviously

    3) Yep, never thought I'd be smoking so long or that I'd go from ~5 to ~20-25 a day

    4) Oh yes

    5) Yeah it takes a while to smoke 20+ fags a day

    6) Not really, I used NRT gum if I couldn't smoke

    7) Yes it said so on the packet

    Sorry, but again as a recent ex-smoker being told "it's all in your head, you're not an addict" isn't terribly helpful - especially when it's not referenced or backed up by anything.

  • Very unhelpful,

    Have been a bit shaky in my quit recently and actually it did make me think what's the point then?

    the mantra to read up though is great, everyone should.

    Yes, that's true!!

    Also if in making a claim they should also be able to substantiate it.

    Very excited to read up on all this stuff proving that nicotine isnt addictive, doesnt provide any effect on the body, 'hits' n other stuff too. Brain is a sponge waiting to take it all in, I have had a quick search but apart from a few conspiracy theory sites I cant find much :(

    It's odd 'cos I can definitely remember getting a hit from smoking, had it regularly when I was a social smoker but it disappeared when I built up a tolerance to it unless I was gagging for a smoke. Can also remember it making me feel sick when I overdid it so surely that's an effect on the body?

    Don't expect Harvard referencing, but something to back it up would be nice!!

  • Apparently to be quantified as addicted to something you must fullfill 3 of the 7 criteria below.

    I used to........

    (1) Tolerance, as defined by either of the following:

    (a) A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or desired effect.

    (b) Markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.

    (2) Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: (a) The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance (refer to Criteria A or B of the criteria sets for Withdrawal from specific substances). (b) The same (or a closely related) substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

    (3) The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.

    (4) There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use.

    (5) A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance (such as visiting multiple doctors or driving long distances), use the substance (such as chain smoking) or recover from its effects.

    (6) Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use.

    (7) The substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.

    I have a spare couple of minutes this morning.

    1. I became a 20-25 a day smoker quite quickly and remained such for 25 years.

    2. Couldn't say. If I ceased tobacco use I craved it. I never really attempted to substitute nicotine.

    3. see 1.

    4. Tried quitting fags on many occasions. Never attempted to quit nicotine.

    5. Had the odd late night panic if my pack was low and similarly when I fell in a stream and soaked my fags but that doesn't really count.

    6. Nope.

    7. Nope. Nicotine is prescribed and apparently 'safe' to purchase in any quantity from asda etc

    I couldn't really score when I was a smoker and still can't score now.

    It's really quite simple. Smokers are addicted to smoking like some are addicted to chocolate and gambling etc.

    Despite there now being plenty of nicotine delivery options other than tobacco very few have made a seamless transition from one to the other. Personally I know half a dozen close friends who use an ecig and they all report a struggle to switch. Frankly sometimes I think they'd have struggled less if they'd just quit.

    Different fags yield very different levels of nicotine into the smoker's blood stream yet smokers don't care. They buy and smoke regular amounts of their regular fags and have no idea of their cotinine levels for the obvious reason that it is irrelevant to why they smoke.

    Hypnotherapy is worth a quick glance.

    Every day people walk out of a hypnotherapy session as non-smokers having walked in as smokers.

    Now I'm not a medical man but I do know that an 'addiction' that can be cured by spending 90 minutes on a sofa is not really much of one.

    Similarly, an 'addiction' that can be switched on and off to suit the 'addict' is starting to annoy my dictionary a bit...

    Research is thin but there is the odd bit.

    pubmedcentralcanada.ca/pmcc...

    tobaccoasia.com/previous-is...

  • Old post alert...

    Cigarettes are just a delivery system for getting nicotine into the bloodstream, it’s that simple!

    Have we heard that before? Are we ignoring the elephant in the room that is NRT?

    There are two giants involved, Tobacco & Pharma and both will spend flippin’ great wads of cash to make sure you buy their products, ignoring the also-rans in this case, cigarettes and NRT. They have the power to alter opinion and fund the research required to justify their sales. We've known for years now that quit rates tend to stabilize well below 10% for all methods and even the most careful of statistical manipulation just alters tiny relative factors to favour one product slightly in one bit of research.

    It’s easy to educate a primary school child that smokers suck on a drug-filled fag to get the effects of the drug and need to repeat this at regular intervals as the drug wears off. Given a boring weekend I could probably teach my dog that.

    It looks so obvious and the internet is jam-packed full of sites that will say exactly that. Your doctor will confirm it and so will respected websites, magazines, papers and celebrity do-gooders.

    In fact it's a fact. It's that widely held to be true.

    This entire concept fuelled the disastrous ‘therapeutic’ nicotine rollercoaster.

    Give the smoker nicotine from an alternate source; let’s say a transdermal patch and they’ll have no wish to smoke. Hmmm, that’s strange, they’re still smoking, still gagging for a fag.

    Ok, it’s not the nicotine per se it’s also the delivery method, let’s put nicotine in a gum and they’ll get bursts of nicotine just like a fag! Hmmm, that’s strange; they’re still smoking, still gagging for a fag.

    It’s the chewing, let’s stick it in a lozenge and it’ll dissolve for a burst in the mouth experience! Oh dear, that’s strange, they’re still smoking, still gagging for a fag.

    Aaaah, we’ve got it, let’s make a plastic fag type thingy with nicotine in it and they can pretend to smoke it, that’s bound to work? Hmmm, that’s strange; they’re still smoking, still gagging for a fag.

    I tell you what we haven’t tried, let’s shove some nicotine in a bottle and every time they want a fag they can just squirt it in their gob, no way can that fail. Hmmm, that’s strange; they’re still smoking, still gagging for a fag.

    At this point the ultimate in NRT comes along and it’s not even made by Pharma.

    Hello E-Cig you’re the answer to our needs. Here we have a digital smoke. We vaporize nicotine; inhale it into our lungs with none of the harmful side effects of tobacco. We can blow smoke rings, use it in the pub and the end even lights up! Hmmm, that’s strange; they’re still smoking, still gagging for a fag!

    There must come a point when the head scratching starts and someone asks, “are you sure we've understood this nicotine thing correctly.”

    When smokers are wandering around totally dosed up on nicotine and it’s leaking out of every pore and pooling around their ankles yet they’re still gagging to smoke it’s a little bizarre to tell them that they only want to smoke because they clearly are craving more nicotine!

    It’s not even speculative. We know that nicotine therapies don’t help people quit yet people fall for their scam time and time again.

    (seen the new nicorette advert? "Works on your crave within 3 minutes." How long is the average crave? 3 minutes.. Beautiful, couldn't make it up could you?)

    Just how long are we justified in flogging a dead horse before we give it a decent burial?

    It’s starting to whiff a bit now.

  • ....

    (tell me you never,ever owned an Austin Allegro :eek:)

    ^^^What he said^^^

    :DWe need to know:D

  • Actually I'm a girl.

    My user name is just an anagram of my real name... :eek:

  • Nicotine makes a convenient and uncomplaining whipping boy for all sorts of things,does he not.;)

    He does and I've even had to write to certain magazines pointing out the error of their ways.

    Apart from the obvious nicotine brown, nicotine stains etc I've also come across both 'that nicotine smell' and 'nicotine taste.'

    I don't think there's any sort of conspiracy theory here but there's lots of apocryphal and anecdotal data that doesn't really stand up to any sort of interrogation.

    If blaming nicotine for all your ills keeps you smoke free then go for it, there's a healthy congregation.

    If the sudden realisation that you're completely in control of your own habit and it's your choice whether to smoke or not is the thing that secures your quit then you're far from alone. :)

  • Actually I'm a girl.

    My user name is just an anagram of my real name... :eek:

    You are Louise Grant (AICMFP)

  • Hmmm

    Well I like the cut of your jib,whoever you are :D

    Very thought provoking,I would say.I am utterly contemptuous of ECigs:mad: I must say,and like a slow motion car crash I am watching with horror as they are ingratiating their way into acceptability under the careful and clever arm of marketing,and remarkably carrying the hated dastardly demon nicotine with them and bringing him into semi respectability!!:eek: You could not make it up.And all those suckers out there on their Ecigs.Ugh.

    I quite liked you until you implied I'm a sucker! :mad:

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