Monday, October 13, 2008

Smoking Side Effects - Immediate Term

Smokers Cough Medicine
The Cough Is Back

Photo Credit: shuttercat7

I quit smoking most recently in July, 2007. I fell off the wagon recently, but I'm only going to let it be a short drag down the quit smoking road this time. That will require its own post sometime later, but for now I'd like to share the immediate-term effects I've noticed since I've started smoking again. I started smoking again seventeen days ago. Keep in mind that I hadn't smoked in about sixteen months before this, so I was thoroughly free of any smoking symptoms or side effects.

When people consider the side effects and health implications of smoking, they tend to think long term. That is to say, the effects upon which they most often focus are long-term effects. Things like the shortness of breath that will make a flight of stairs look like a mountain, or cancer, or emphysema, or Alzheimer's.

It's kind of hard to take quitting smoking seriously when your main deterrents are things that will become problems in a couple of decades. To show that I'm not just making this up, Here's one report that shows that older people are more successful at quitting smoking, as are those who have been diagnosed with cancer. There's plenty more information like this out there, but basically it's more difficult to feel threatened by something you've never experienced, or at least seen pretty close up.

Back to the topic at hand - smoking side effects. In the last seventeen days, I'm honestly quite surprised at the things I've noticed. More accurately, I'm surprised at how quickly I'm able to notice them.

The first thing was the cough. That damned persistent smoker's cough was back within about 3-4 days. I really thought it would take longer. If you're reading this, I don't have to say much more about the cough; You know the drill by now.

Another surprise was how quickly I went broke. In these couple of weeks, I have spent around $100-120 USD on cigarettes. That's more than I've spent on clothing and shoes combined for myself all year. I'm a little bit of a cheapskate with unnecessary spending, which just makes it that much more ridiculous that I should find myself spending so much on poisoning myself. It would be cheaper to snort gasoline.

Then there's sleep. I sure would enjoy some of it right about now. A few weeks ago I was sleeping wonderfully. Since I started smoking again, my sleep has been very fitful. I rarely sleep for more than 2-3 hours without waking up at least once, sometimes much more often. Sometimes I'll sleep for 4-5 hours, stare at the ceiling for an hour, and just give up on the whole thing. When I get six hours, I feel like an angel must have followed me home.

In slightly related news, I'm definitely recalling more dreams than before. I normally rarely have any dreams that I remember, where recently I have some recall more than half the time upon awakening (and there's been a lot of awakening).

I'm down to two meals a day, sometimes more like one and a half. I have virtually no appetite, and I've lost about four pounds. The weight loss is about the only thing on this list that some might consider a benefit. Not so for somebody of my build.

My sense of smell has gotten very weak again. I could never really smell anything except for the strongest smells when I was smoking before. Thinking back, I thought it had taken several weeks for me to get my sense of smell to start coming back when I quit smoking before. Checking my previous posts, it turns out that it only took a week. I'm right back to being unable to smell food unless I'm sitting right in front of it, and basically not able to smell all but the strongest odors. That includes the full ashtray on the porch, which I used to be able to smell from a dozen feet away, or the leftover smoke in the car or laundry that I used to catch from time to time. Now, nothing.

My circulation has started down a slow slide into the crapper, as well. I have been having a hard time finding a comfortable sleeping position, because my arms go pins and needles after only a few minutes. The good news is that the circulation issue hasn't become as bad as is used to be yet, as I am not hyper-sensitive to even the slightest of chilly temperatures like I used to be. Back in the old smoking days, I'd start complaining by the time it got below 67 degrees (which is around nine months out of the year in these parts).

That's all I can come up with right now, though it's really quite a lot of side effects for smoking just over two weeks. Cough, money problems, sleep problems, loss of appetite, diminished sense of smell and negative effects on the circulatory system.

So what's the thing to do about all this? Quit smoking again.

Related posts:
Quitting Smoking Again, Again
The Benefits Of Quitting Smoking That You Don't Hear About As Often
What To Expect When Quitting Smoking

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