Welcome to The Stop Don't Quit Blog

This is your blog. I am a smoker who has stopped smoking. Regardless of where you are at in your smoking career, this blog is dedicated to you and your mission to stop. How you got here is irrelevant, what matters is that you are here and whether you like it or not, it's time to kick the habit before it leads to you kicking the bucket! I have written a book on the subject called How to Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone and this blog is the companion piece. It is a place where you can join in the conversation of getting past the smoking addiction and then all addiction once and for all and add years and quality to your life. Thank you for being here. Enjoy, Participate, Grow and Learn!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

e-Cigarettes: What is the deal? (spoken in Seinfeld voice)

Searching e-cigarettes on Twitter will surely do one very specific thing.  Confuse the crap out of you!  Look at this picture.  Huffington Post says the vapor juice can increase your chances of getting a really hard to beat staph infection while Reuters says it's a great way to quit.  Both of these should fall under the hashtag WTF.  Allow me to weigh in on this one.  Forget all you think you know about the e-cigarette for a second and let's put some attention on traditional cigarettes; you know the one's with actual tobacco.  Habitual and consistent smoking of tobacco cigarettes will lead to an early death.  Period.  Usually the early death comes with severe pain and suffering as well.  Sure, someone's Grandmother smoked and lived to be 82 and her heart stopped one night while she slept.  Consider this.  How long would she have gone if she hadn't smoked first of all and secondly, YOU are not that woman.  Those lucky few are exceptions to the rule and we seek them out to provide us comfort and to avoid the reality that continuing this habit will lead us to an early grave.

Contemplating our own mortality is never easy.  We tend to create a mindset where we don't have to look it square in the eye.  Look at the marketing done by cigarette companies from the get go.  They were glamorous and showed people living.  Celebrities endorsed them, movies used them, doctors and opera singers were paid to recommend certain brands, tobacco companies gave cigarettes to the troops during both world wars.  Nothing about their advertising speaks of an early death wrought with pain and disease.  Rather, tobacco companies put up images like the Marlboro Man and Virginia Slims show progressive women.  They want you to feel ALIVE when you smoke, not setting yourself up for a bad exit.  Following me so far?

Now, what is happening right now in the world of the electronic cigarette?  The call it an e-cigarette.  Makes it sound totally harmless.  Like e-mail or e-commerce.  And now, you don't smoke an e-cigarette, you vape.  Because it's just vapor.  Right?  Harmless.  Right?  Sure...  I guess.  And that's the problem isn't it?  We're guessing for now...  just like 100 years ago.  What else is similar?  Celebrity endorsements?  Freedom themed marketing?  A healthy alternative?

At the end of the day, either way, you're rolling the dice.  At the end of the day you still wind up addicted to nicotine.  When the smoke settles (pun intended) you must recognize that every time you light up, electronic or otherwise you are handing over control of your mood, decisions, finances and life to a chemical that is lethal at 30-60 mg in humans, weakens the immune system, elevates blood pressure, messes with your hormones, all kinds of stuff, so while you're not dealing with the tar and smoke from tobacco, you're really just exchanging one set of complications from your addiction for another and yes, you're still addicted.  The downside of addiction is for another blog altogether, but nicotine is not good for you no matter how you chose to deliver it to yourself.  And you deserve total freedom from it.

While e-cigarettes may make it a little easier to stop smoking tobacco cigarettes and some studies show a moderate advantage over the patch and gum, do you really believe these people want you to quit?  Really?  They are all drug dealers.  Every one of them.

Monday, May 19, 2014

e-Cigarettes: More than just harmless water vapor

still a bad idea - "A" for effort, but still dumb
Are e-Cigarettes really the healthy alternative to smoking or just an entirely new and different set of
problems?

New research is revealing that the e-cigarettes in fact might actually impede your body's ability to defend itself from and fight off bacteria.  There is also cause to believe that the e-cigarette will actually increase the power of drug-resistant bacteria.  (HOLY pathogen Batman!)

There's a study recently put out by researchers from the VA San Diego Healthcare System and the University of California, San Diego that dug into the effect of e-cigarette vapor on live methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, the MRSA virus, as well as human epthielial cells.

WIKI:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methicillin-resistant_Staphylococcus_aureus

"The virulence of MRSA is increased by e-cigarette vapor," said lead investigator Laura E. Crotty Alexander, MD, VA researcher and assistant professor of medicine in pulmonary and critical care at UCSD, in a press release.

PRESS RELEASE:  http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2014/05/114301/e-cigarettes-expose-people-more-%E2%80%98harmless%E2%80%99-water-vapor-and-should-be-regulated

The release tells us that exposure to e-cigarette vapor increased the virulence of the bacteria, helping MRSA escape killing by antimicrobial peptides and macrophages. The vapor, said Alexander, did not make the bacteria as aggressive as cigarette smoke exposure did in parallel studies her group conducted.

The study states that the e-cigarette vapor led to changes in the body which makes it harder to fight off infection and created a greater resistance to killing by human cells and antibiotics.

"As health care professionals, we are always being asked by patients, "Would this be better for me?" Crotty Alexander said. "In the case of smoking e-cigarettes, I hated not having an answer. While the answer isn't black and white, our study suggests a response: even if e-cigarettes may not be as bad as tobacco, they still have measurable detrimental effects on health."

The research is just the latest in a string of reports on e-cigarettes and potential harmful attributes.

Claims that e-cigarettes are not a danger to smokers and nonsmokers and offer a viable healthy way to quit a nicotine habit are not true, according to a study on the electronic smoking devices released in the past two weeks.

A UC San Francisco research team states there is no evidence to support the claims from e-cigarette makers and advocates.

Another study claims particles from inhaled vapor are being absorbed in deep lung tissue and could present health issues. Another claims the e-cigarette vapor may feature potential carcinogenic elements.

Ultimately, it's you verses nicotine and the people who continue to perpetuate the addiction at your expense.  Choose life and choose freedom.  Stop.  Don't quit.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

WTH? Third Hand Smoke? Now I've heard everything!

We all know smoking is bad for you.  Deadly.  And while, I am not an alarmist, it is quite clear now that second hand smoke is not a good thing either.  I think we're all in agreement here that second hand smoke is bad.  Um...  Second Hand Smoke is Baaaud.  mmmmK?

So, what about Third hand smoke?  Third hand smoke?  What the heck is that?  Is the even possible?  So, wait, I'm breathing the remnants of someone's second hand smoke?  Like, you smoke, Bob breathes that and I breath Bob's exhalation?  Is that what we're talking about?

Sort of...  but not quite.  Third hand smoke is residual smoke.  Researchers have found that this residual tobacco smoke, now being called "thirdhand smoke," is a combination of cigarette smoke and things like indoor pollutants like ozone and nitrous acid.  When mixed with the cigarette smoke it creates a new compound. Thirdhand smoke also mixes and settles within the dust, it'll find it's way down to the carpet, the furniture, start hanging out of the curtains.  Worst of all it gets into deep into porous material, think paneling and drywall.  It also lingers on the hair, skin, clothing, and fingernails of smokers.  Consider it this way, you don't want to smoke in front of your Grandkids, so you have smoke outside.  You also smoke in the car.  But, as soon as you pick that kid up or put your grandson in your car, you're exposing him to thirdhand smoke.  These compounds created by the blending of cigarette smoke and other inhalants and particles in the air are not easy to clean up, they have a very long life of their own, and many may be carcinogenic.  This is probably the real reason they tear down casinos in Vegas.

One of these new compounds is a tobacco-specific nitrosamine known as NNA.  It actually damages DNA and has the potential to cause cancer. "Thirdhand smoke is harmful to our genetic material," Bo Hang, a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, said at a news conference this week at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, where the research was presented. "And the contamination becomes more toxic with time."

Who's at risk?  Hotel workers, restaurant and bar employees, AND the customers!  Consider the house keeping lady.  Imagine what their job entails and how their getting blasted with this stuff every day.  Think about the auto detail guy and what he must get exposed to.  This third hand smoke isn't just about cancer.  This is more akin to asthma and allergic reactions.  

Most importantly, since this material has matter and therefor subject to the laws of physics, it will settle in carpet and who is lowest to the ground?  That's right kids and babies.  Kids and babies that are trying to develop.  

What this third hand smoke reminds me of is smog.  As a kid, the smog in Southern California was nasty.  I remember my lungs being sore after a day of playing outside or soccer practice getting cancelled due to a smog alert.  

How dangerous is it ultimately?  Who knows?  How dangerous is asbestos?  That crap looked real good on paper for 100's of years but...  well, you know.  Is it real?  Yes.  Is it dangerous?  Isn't smog?  

A study examining 806 women who had babies with birth defects between 1997 and 2006, and 849 women who had healthy babies, found that smog in the San Joaquin Valley area of California was linked to two types of neural tube defects: spina bifida (a condition involving, among other manifestations, certain malformations of the spinal column), and anencephaly (the underdevelopment or absence of part or all of the brain, which if not fatal usually results in profound impairment).

So yes.  Thirdhand smoke has a high propensity to mess you and your kids up.  Is it avoidable?  Is smog?  
So, what's the bottom line?  Be aware.  Make sure you limit your exposure and make sure you're keeping a healthy body with a strong immune system to fight off and protect yourself from this crap.  Lastly, if you smoke, time to stop.  I consider myself a smoker who doesn't smoke and I also am committed to not get all high and mighty judgmental about people who struggle with quitting.  It's hard.  I know.  I did it.  I wrote my book to help others like me, kick the habit once and for all.  Just look at the evidence.  This isn't a victim-less crime anymore.  Think about it and consider the people you're effecting by succumbing to your addiction.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Shot's of e-Cig juice with a Red Bull chaser?

Are you effing kidding me right now?  The Inquisitr by way of the Chicago Tribune is reporting that that teens
are now using e-cigarettes to get high.

High schools students in Chicago are using e-cigarettes to consume THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

Not a bad idea, as it would have saved me time between class but here's the real kicker with a stupid factor of 99.9.  According to Fox News Insider, kids and teens are also using the vials of nicotine that come with e-cigarettes.  The report stated that teens have been drinking the nicotine.  Even going so far as to mix it with an energy drinks to get a quick buzz on.

KIDS:  This is one of the stupidest things I've ever seen.  Nicotine is fatal at 30 - 60 mgs.  It's a  very potent drug.   Once it's in your blood stream, it will increase your heart rate and your blood pressure.  Very likely chance that you could drop dead.

Look, when I was a kid in high school, I mis interpreted the high part and I experimented and had fun.  I will not tell you that a little messing around and experimenting will land you in a van down by the river, but I will tell you that shots of nicotine with a Red Bull chaser is about as smart as playing Russian Roulette with Christopher Walken.  It just doesn't end well.

Leave this one alone please...

Cigarettes, e-Cigarettes, NRT and the Illness Industry (big pharma vs big tobacco)

Recently The Motley Fool posted a very scary article.  Why scary?  Well, the business of disease is a very scary and evil industry.

If you've been even remotely following the electronic-cigarette debate, you're aware  that one of the big arguments used to support the possible regulation of the e-cig is the strong belief  that vaping actually brings legitimacy and encourages smoking.   Now, there is another study recently released with groundbreaking data that shows that actually there is a link between the use of the e-cigarette and tobacco cigarettes among kids in the United States.

JAMA Pediatrics is a Journal started in 1911.  One study published in the journal shows "adolescents who have or are using e-cigs are less likely to have given up smoking than those who did not use e-cigarettes."  The conclusion was based on 40,000 adolescents who completed surveys from the CDC.  In a nutshell, they concluded that:

"use of e-cigarettes does not discourage, and may encourage, conventional cigarette use among U.S. adolescents."

Critics out there will say that "while the study does show a correlation between smoking and e-cig use, there is no evidence to show that the use of e-cigs will directly lead to smoking."  [whatever] Unfortunately, this study comes at a time when the FDA is about to regulate the juvenile e-cigarette market within the United States.  [why has it taken so long anyway?]

E-cigarettes are unregulated, which enables companies to aggressively market them and make claims that the e-cigarette is "relatively safe."  This 1940's and 50's style marketing can not be used with conventional cigarettes.  That being said as opposition to vaping is building an unlikely backer is funding the move against these reduced-risk products.

This is where it's going to start getting scary...

One of the biggest forces working against the introduction of electronic cigarettes is big pharma. No big surprise, right?  It's the why that's disturbing.  Big pharma makes it's money from treating disease.  That includes smoking related illness.  If  there is less disease to treat, then profits will drop.  That would be bad news for the companies and shareholders.

Now, let's throw in NRT.  Nicotine Replacement Therapy.  The gum, the patch, the lozenge.  GlaxoSmithKline is the leading marketer of these products.  Clearly, if smokers who are trying to quit turn to e-cigarettes rather than NRT, GlaxoSmithKline will lose money.   Can you see why big pharma would want to use this study to put additional pressure on the FDA to regulate the electronic cancer stick?

If the e-cig was brought under the umbrella of the FDA, they could then require the manufacturers of the e-cig to register and pay fees, list the ingredients in their products [most important part], obtain prior approval for new products, and restrict online sales and marketing to children. [second most important part]

Big Tobacco lied it's ass off for 60 years.  Look, I'm not a huge fan of the FDA as I believe they are in bed with Big Pharma and it's strictly about a government agency regulating a free market to support the largest financial contributers.  This puts peoples lives at risk for the sake of the almighty dollar and that crosses the line from old fashioned healthy capitolism to evil and greed.  That being said, Big Tobacco is the greater of these two evils and must be stopped.  They are buying up e-cigarette companies to hedge thier tobacco bet and marketing smokeless tobacco products as well.   With the lack of regualtion in e-cigarettes, it won't be long before some "doctor" will be doing an infomercial talking about how it's just "vapor."
 
Bottom line, don't get sucked into the hype and don't financially reward evil.  If you're in a battle with nicotine, sooner or later, in order to win, you'll have to cut it off and out.  NRT and e-cigarettes exist because people have allowed themselves a physical and mental addiction.  These people have been sold a bill of goods that they are weak and incapable of stopping smoking by themselves and they they need NRT or e-cigarettes to transition.  I call bullshit!
 
Don't allow yourself to get cought in the loop.  Heroine to methadone to marijuanna to a really bad day and back to heroine then methadone to pot to clean for a while until another really bad day.  See the cycle?
Cigarettes, patch, screw up and smoke with the patch, no patch, cigarettes, gum, off for 6 weeks, bad day, just one, 3 days later buy a pack, back to full time smoker, Chantix, WEIRD F#$%ing dreams, no Chantix, then clean for 4 months... until standing outside a club with your buzz on, bum smoke...  see the loop?  Why?  Knock that shit off!  Stop trying to quit!

Want a fool proof plan?  I mean isn't that what you're after?  People are so much stronger than Big Pharma and Big Tobacco want you to believe.  If you're ready to step up and off the addiction loop, read this book then use this book:  www.StopDontQuit.com

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cigarette smoking may change brains of young smokers

 Young adult smokers may experience changes in the structures of their brains due to cigarette smoking, even with a relatively short smoking history, a study of adolescents suggests. It also suggests that smoking during this critical time period and the neurobiological changes that result may explain why adults who begin smoking at a young age stay hooked on cigarettes.”

The authors concluded that, “While this was a small study and needs to be replicated, our findings show an apparent effect of smoking on brain structure in young people, even with a relatively short smoking history. And that is a concern. It suggests that smoking during this critical time period produces neurobiological changes that may cause a dependence on tobacco in adulthood.”

READ WHOLE REPORT HERE:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304113540.htm

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Effect of Smoking and Your Skin

How does smoking damage the skin?  Here are 8 Ways It Damages Skin from an article from Rahad Abir in The Guardian:

"Apart from many adverse health effects, there are some lesser known health effects of smoking as well. It may cause early wrinkles, and accelerate the total aging of skin. Taking each puff causes irreparable skin damage. Just only 10 years of this habit, it’s likely to see the effects in the faces of young adults. Here is some of the harmful effects on the skin:

Aging

Cigarette smoking leads to early skin aging. Numerous studies have found that it speeds up skin aging more than experience to sunlight does. The consequence of exposure to sunlight and cigarette smoke together, other studies have reported, is more detrimental than the joint result of either exposure alone. In addition, men are at lower risk than women. A recent University of Michigan study found that smokers showed signs of accelerated aging below the neck and even on their inner arms.

Wrinkles

Untimely wrinkling is linked with this habit. Evidence showed that heavy smokers may have more early wrinkles than occasional smokers, and that men’s skin is less affected than women’s.

Skin tissue changing

Several studies reported the skin tissues of non-smokers and smokers as a measure of untimely aging, and found that the consequence was largely noticeable in men. Collagen and elastin are also harmed—the fibers that give skin its strength and elasticity.

Smoking and wound healing

Puffing tobacco decrease the capability of the skin to repair wounds and regenerate. This is largely apparent in patients who are undergoing a surgery. A cigarette has nicotine, which causes vasoconstriction. When the blood vessels are being constricted, the blood that they transport throughout the body is lesser, thus, the amount of nutrients needed for the skin to regenerate is reduced. In addition, carbon monoxide is the other toxic component that cuts the flow of oxygen in the body, and the amount of oxygen required for the broken cells to regenerate.

Moisture

Unmoisturized skin might take on a red, flaky or scaly appearance. Available proof suggests that the habit decreases moisture in the skin. Another study revealed that females who smoked above 10 cigarettes every day had expressively lower mean moisture values than non-smokers.

Skin blood flow

Smoking decreases skin blood flow by rising the discharge of vasopressin hormone. Vasopressin is formed naturally by humans, and lowers blood flow. Researches have reported that concentrations of vasopressin in the blood increase straightaway after having a cigarette. This habit narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin that decreases blood flow. This depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients that are essential to skin health.

Skin cancer

Smoking rockets skin cancer risk. Pipe and cigarette smokers, a Dutch study showed, were in double risk as likely as non-smokers to progress squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, when other risk factors (for example, age and sun exposure) were taken into account. The same study showed that present smokers were expected to grow the condition more than former smokers.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a scarce skin condition characterized by the formation of silvery, plaque-like scales on the arms and legs, mainly at the knees and elbows. A 2007 study found that if one cigarette pack is smoked per day for ten years or less, psoriasis risk increases 20 percent. Even secondhand smoke during pregnancy or childhood is linked to a higher risk.

These are only some of the detrimental effects on the skin. Surprisingly, there are more of them that may take place immediately or after some time. The effects on the skin, however, can never be concealed especially after a long time of smoking."

Motivated yet?  www.StopDontQuit.com