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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Anonymous kelly said...

hi honey,

just wanted to let you know that i put on my patch @ 10:30 myself. had enough, feel like sh!t. i was shocked that i made this decision today considering the day i am having @ work, but i had moment of clarity. thinking about the issues here and then worrying about the fact that i only have one more smoke. it surely shifts my priorities in the worst way and makes it impossible to use my energy to its potential. so, in short, here's to trying again!

love you, kelly

October 14, 2008 at 11:53:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not complex to make decisions when you recall what your values are.

May 28, 2010 at 6:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger kulay kahel said...

this is the nth time im attempting to quit smoking. i started smoking in 1998 then quit a few months, then smoked for over a decade. the longest time i was able to go without smokes was 1 year and 3 months until i met my then fiance. then it was feb 14 this year until may 6 of this year. then now im back and planning to quit again. im glad i stumbled into this blog of yours. i just hope this will be the last and final attempt and i pray i succeed!

June 25, 2010 at 4:33:00 PM EDT  
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January 6, 2011 at 5:57:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Alex said...

Hello. I am not sure you read your blog anymore. I hope you finally quit now NOW NOW. I quit since about the end of Dec 2010 and started smoking again in February 2011 after going to the pub. I woke up today and I just know I can quit and I really really will quit. Common problems I encounter are: 1. Seeing people enjoy themselves with a cigarette (This is actually a veil to the truth as they are damaging their health every drag) 2. Going to the pub and simply copying the smokers in the smoke garden/place and lighting up. 3. The cycle of thought in my mind... like my mind trying to find the missing 'piece', how to fill the day, the urge thought, the choice thought of smoke or not to smoke. 4. Spending time thinking about smoking I end up just going to the shop. 5. Being ignorant about the consequences of smoking and believeing that it is 'just a cigarette'. 6. Not taking the tablets/believing the cigarette will fill the hole. 7. Forgetting the fact that if one continues to smoke when one is older one will seriously regret the decision when they are choking to death.

The shopkeeper at the shop where I buy tobacco from, smokes too, and I feel sorry for him, he is like 36 and saying basically he is too old to quit, now I personally feel the destroyer has taken control of his thought processes, even me in moments when I am oblivious to the consequences, and start walking to the shop and say to myself well I am on the way to the shop now I can't just go back, to me this is so ridiculous, one can turn back on their smoking ways.

It's like I just need to feel the pain to know that smoking is really bad, well I say curiosity killed the cat.

Again, I think the best point that needs working on by all people is what their concept of Heaven looks like.

March 26, 2011 at 11:43:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Nannie Jolin said...

I'll be listing these things down so that I can tell everyone here what's going to be up for them when they start smoking. Maybe I'll post one of these on the fridge, or maybe put a post-it on their mirrors in their rooms. BTW, are there any alternative habits? The long-term side effects that you've mentioned are really scary.

May 2, 2011 at 12:05:00 AM EDT  
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June 22, 2012 at 2:51:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've quit many times over but this time it feels different. There's more of a sense of power & determination that I seem to be bringing to the fight- like No Way am I going to die a smoker! Thanks for the blog- 9 days & it's solid- when the cravings come I just laugh, cry or do something while thinking "yup, gee, there's a craving & it sucks but I Am Stronger & Meaner & More Determined than you!"' And oh the solid, refreshing sleep is simply delicious!!!! How I missed that.

July 19, 2012 at 1:13:00 AM EDT  
Blogger shanta islam said...

Keep up with your positive outlook even with not knowing what the next steps will be. Your attitude has been one of your biggest allies in what you have been through the past 4 years. You are also incredibly lucky to have someone like Dr Sara taking a very personal interest in you. Not all doctors behave like this. I'm lucky to have had an incredible one myself for the past 30+ years, and it helps just knowing that they care. You are not just another patient to them, thinking of you often, Dave and Debbie.
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