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Jun 8 02 2:59 PM
Jun 27 02 4:52 PM
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Aug 15 02 4:59 PM
New Zealand Herald
August 15, 2002
Even light smoking can make people grumpy and less able to handle stress, says a British study.
New Zealand anti-smoking lobby group Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) said the study results, published in the journal Pharmacology,
Biochemistry and Behaviour, dispelled the myth that smoking had a calming effect.
Researchers from London's King's College subjected two groups to "a battery of cognitive tests that were mildly
Males and females who smoked between five and 12 cigarettes a day were tested immediately after smoking.
The second group were non-smokers.
The two groups were equivalent in age, intellect, personality measures, and levels of anxiety and depression.
The researchers found the smokers' group was "overall significantly more discontented, troubled, tense, quarrelsome, furious,
impatient, hostile, annoyed and disgusted and experienced greater dizziness".
After cognitive tests, "both male and female smokers showed greater increases than non-smokers in feeling spiteful, rebellious,
They also exhibited greater sweating, "suggesting that they experienced greater mood changes in response to cognitive stress".
No difference was apparent between the two groups for divided or sustained attention tasks or in episodic memory.
In this month's Ash newsletter, director Trish Fraser said the study was further evidence of myths that tobacco companies used to lure
people into smoking.
"We hear a lot about the long-term serious health dangers of tobacco but this study makes the point that tobacco smoking has some
immediate effects on mood and ability," she said.
"The tobacco industry has for decades promoted users of their products as calm, confident individualists in control of their own
"However, this marketing image doesn't match up in practice against the sweating, impatient, incompetent person you can become if you
smoke even a small amount."
Oct 28 02 5:22 AM
"It relieves stress and
It is normal and natural to believe that smoking is a stress buster, that it calms us during crisis. How could we not believe it? We
felt it happen hundreds or maybe even thousands of times. But as reviewed in the previous chapter, stress relief is one the biggest rationalization shams of
According to a once secret 1983 Brown & Williamson research memo, "People smoke to maintain nicotine levels" and "stress robs the body of
nicotine, implying a smoker smokes more in times of stress due to withdrawal, not to relax."1
Stressful events turn body fluids more acidic, which accelerates depletion of blood serum reserves of the alkaloid nicotine. Whether smoked, chewed or dipped,
nicotine does not relieve anxiety but only its own absence. Like taking the time to calm ourselves by counting to ten, the time needed for replenishment
combines with the arrival of a new supply of nicotine and leaves us falsely yet totally convinced that nicotine was an emotional solution to crisis.
When did using nicotine ever resolve our underlying crisis? If the tire was flat, it was still flat. If some event had made us angry, nicotine replenishment
totally ignored the event.
Feeling the physiological effects of stress causes kidney urine acidification. Sucking nicotine from the bloodstream has the effect of making every stressful
event life throws our way far more stressful than it is for never-users or ex-users, as they only need to endure the stressful event, not nicotine withdrawal
Without replenishment, even if the flat tire or other stressful situation is tackled and resolved, the nicotine addict still is not going to feel good.
Conflict resolution does not ease withdrawal. Only re-administration of nicotine or navigating withdrawal and the up to 72 hours needed to eliminate nicotine
from the body can bring relief.
Unlike total nicotine elimination, replenishment's relief is temporary. While it calms for the moment, the user will again soon be forced to confront the
chemical clock governing their life (nicotine's two-hour chemical half-life) or witness accelerated depletion brought on by encountering stress or by
Joel makes one final yet important point. Nicotine's false calming effect quickly becomes a rationalization crutch reached for
during stressful situations. The crutch and nicotine's impact upon the user's life is "more far-reaching
than just making initial stress effects more severe." According to Joel, "it affects how the person may deal with conflict and sadness in a way that
may not be obvious, but is nonetheless serious. In a way, it affects the ability to communicate and maybe even in some way, grow from the
Joel shares an example. "Let's say you don't like the way a significant other in your life squeezes toothpaste. If you
point out how it's a problem to you in a calm rational manner, maybe the person will change and do it in a way that is not disturbing to you. By
communicating your feelings you make a minor annoyance basically disappear. But now let's say you're a smoker who sees the tube of toothpaste, gets a
little upset, and is about to say something, again, to address the problem. But wait. Because you are a little annoyed, you lose nicotine, go into withdrawal,
and before you are able to deal with the problem, you have to go smoke. You smoke, alleviate the withdrawal and, in fact, you feel better. At the same time,
you put a little time between you and the toothpaste situation and on further evaluation, you decide it's not that big of a deal, forget
"Sounds like and feels like you resolved the stress. But in fact, you didn't. You suppressed the feeling. It is still there,
not resolved, not communicated. Next time it happens again, you again get mad. You go into withdrawal. You have to smoke. You repeat the cycle, again not
communicating and not resolving the conflict," writes Joel. "Over and over again, maybe for years this pattern is
"One day you quit smoking. You may in fact be off for weeks, maybe months. All of a sudden, one day the exact problem presents
itself again, that annoying toothpaste. You don't have that automatic withdrawal kicking in and pulling you away from the situation. You see it, nothing
else affecting you and you blow up. If the person is within earshot, you may explode."
"When you look back in retrospect, you feel you have blown up inappropriately, the reaction was greatly exaggerated for the
situation. You faced it hundreds of times before and nothing like this ever happened. You begin to question what happened to you to turn you into such a
horrible or explosive person. Understand what happened," writes Joel. "You are not blowing up at what just happened, you are blowing up for what has
been bothering you for years and now, because of the build up of frustration, you are blowing up much more severely than you ever would have if you addressed
it early on. It is like pulling a cork out of a shaken carbonated bottle, the more shaken, the worse the explosion."
As Joel explains it, years of nicotine use stopped us from properly dealing with feelings early on. Instead, we allow them to fester
and grow to a point where when they do come out, it is far more severe than if initially addressed. Sooner or later, even if we fail to break free from
nicotine, that unresolved stress will most probably result in either a blowup or onset of one or more anxiety related diseases.
Don't for a second think that hiding from life by escaping into a central nervous system stimulated dopamine "aaah" sensation or hiding from life is an answer or solution. It's our problem. As we climb back into our mind's
driver's seat we need to listen to our feelings and emotions. We may discover that we need to learn to address the root causes of once suppressed anxiety
or anger in positive and healthy ways. The only lasting solution to anxieties brought on by rapidly falling nicotine reserves, anxieties that interfere with
healthy conflict resolution, is to bring active nicotine dependence to an end.
John (Gold x9)
1 Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation,
Internal Correspondence, March 25, 1983, Bates Number: 670508492; http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/uly04f00
2 Spitzer, J, New Reactions to Anger as an
Ex-smoker, an article in Joel's free PDF book Never Take Another
Nov 18 02 1:03 AM
This article addresses the issue that often prevents many people from ever seriously considering getting rid of
cigarettes--the issue that smokers feel that they need cigarettes to keep them calm. I suspect because of some heavier media exposure than normal over the
next week we are going to have a lot of people looking in at us here at Freedom.
I am going to try to keep articles like this that dispel some of the major misconceptions that interfere with
people attempting to quit. Maybe some of our members can address this from a more personal perspective. How have your reactions to stress changed since you
quit? We know that since we have members who are off from months and years, that many of you have faced major life traumas since
Are you feeling calmer, more nervous, or the same as when you smoked? Personal insights of a variety of people
will likely show a broad range of reactions. So share with others how your stress has changed, or more accurately, how your reactions to stress and
mechanisms for dealing with stress have altered. Lets show the world that everyone is fully capable of facing good times as well as bad and still remain
smoke free as long people know under all conditions to never take another puff!
Dec 21 02 3:10 AM
Dec 21 02 4:23 AM
Feb 11 03 5:38 PM
In the illustration above you can see on the left how a non-smokers reacts to stress. Without it they are happy and comfortable, when
encountering stress they lose this comfort and depending on its severity they can get either mildly annoyed or really upset. The resolution of the stress
will normally bring the non-smoker back to the original state of comfort, after a little time of cooling down of course.
Smokers are much more complex. Stress has an affect on all people--it makes the urine acidic. Both smokers and non-smokers experience this
phenomena. In non-smoker smokers, the urine acidity has no real visible or perceivable effects--smokers are much more complicated. After the initial stress
a smoker will feel like a non-smoker encountering stress, for a few seconds. But then the delineation occurs, the smoker's nicotine level depletes
because of the urine acidity induced by the stress, and the smoker is kicked into a drug withdrawal state. The smoker has four ways to deal with the
First, the smoker can just smoke a cigarette. Well low and behold if the smoker does this he or she will feel "better." He or she
will not feel good; he or she just won't be feeling withdrawal for the moment but still be feeling the initial stress. In essence, he or she will feel
like a non-smoker under stress, not great, but not in withdrawal either.
The second way a smoker can handle the stress is to solve it and also smoke a cigarette. This results in one happy smoker. No stress now
and no withdrawal, life is good at the moment. The feeling of bliss is basically the same feeling a non-smoker has who resolves his or her stress.
But then there are the other two scenarios. The smoker can solve the problem but not smoke. Here is the kicker here, the problem is
resolved but the smoker is still in withdrawal, the nicotine level has dropped and problem resolution has no way to stop the nicotine depletion, only a
cigarette can do that.
The worst of all situations is the smoker who cannot solve the problem and also cannot smoke a cigarette. This is a miserable situation to
ever be in. You normally don't want to be around a smoker in this situation let alone being one yourself. Many smokers find themselves facing this
dilemma daily since many jobs and social settings do not allow smoking yet constantly force the smoker to face stresses.
When you quit smoking these last four reactions to stress become a thing of the past. You still face stress, but you no longer have to face
drug withdrawals induced by it. In essence you deal with stress in a totally different way when you don't have chronic drug withdrawals exaggerating
To stay in the position of being able to handle stresses with greater clarity and minimal discomfort always know that no matter what the
stress, to avoid it having any long lasting and life threatening complications always remember to never take another puff!
Feb 17 03 4:53 PM
Feb 17 03 5:56 PM
Mar 20 03 9:29 PM
Inside the human body your blood serum nicotine reserves are an alkaloid while stress a major acid producing event. Have you ever watched a baking
soda/water solution poured onto an acid covered car battery terminal? Even in the body the neutralization is almost that fast. Smoking nicotine does not
relieve stress, it only relieves its own absence, while the underlying stressful event must always wait for you to tend to the symptoms of early chemical
Why add chemical withdrawal to every stressful event in life? The rich sense of calmness and comfort that you'll hear Freedom's BSG members talk
about isn't only related to long periods of time (days, weeks, months or years) of not THINKING about smoking nicotine but to how much easier
it is to handle all the stressful situations that are a natural part of daily life.
It truly is much much harder living and planning life from the inside of pack after pack after pack than it is being "you" again! You're
going home to meet the "real" you and I think you're in for a real treat! Just one day at a time, cling tight to your original core
motivations, reasons, dreams and desires as they and obedience to the law of addcition are your ticket home!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John
May 11 03 4:57 PM
Aug 16 03 6:07 PM
Don't panic -- stop smoking.
A new study suggests that panic attacks are far more likely in nicotine addicts than nonsmokers.
In surveying more than 3,000 Munich-area teenagers and young adults, researchers from Germany and California found that 7.6 percent of regular,
nicotine-dependent smokers had a history of panic attacks.
That compares with 0.7 percent of nonsmokers, 2 percent of occasional smokers and 1.9 percent of regular smokers who weren't
The scientists report a similar pattern for subjects who met diagnostic guidelines for panic disorder, a condition marked by recurrent panic
attacks, fear about future attacks and worries about their consequences. A history of other psychiatric illnesses couldn't account for the
associations, the researchers write this month in Archives of General Psychiatry. Four years later, nonsmokers were less likely than dependent
smokers to have developed panic ills.
Here is an abstact of the study being discussed.
Findings From a Prospective Community Study
Barbara Isensee, PhD; Hans-Ulrich Wittchen, PhD; Murray B. Stein, MD; Michael Höfler,
DiplStat; Roselind Lieb, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2003;60:692-700.
Background We examined prospectively determined bidirectional associations
between smoking and panic and other anxiety disorders and their temporal ordering of onset in a representative community sample of adolescents and young
Methods Baseline and 4-year follow-up data were used from the Early
Developmental Stages of Psychopathology Study, a prospective longitudinal study of adolescents and young adults in Munich, Germany. We assessed smoking
(occasional and regular), nicotine dependence, panic attacks, panic disorder, other anxiety disorders, and other mental disorders using the
Munich-Composite International Diagnostic Interview.
Results At baseline, panic attacks and panic disorder were strongly
associated with occasional and regular smoking and nicotine dependence (odds ratio [OR] range, 3.0-28.0). In the prospective analyses, we found increased
risk for new onset of panic attacks with prior regular smoking (OR, 2.9; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0-8.4) and nicotine dependence (OR, 3.6; 95% CI,
1.2-10.5). Prior nicotine dependence increased also the risk for onset of panic disorder (OR, 3.3; 95% CI, 1.0-10.5), whereas preexisting panic was not
associated with subsequent smoking or nicotine dependence. When using Cox regression with time-dependent covariates, prior nicotine dependence was
confirmed to be related to subsequent panic attacks (hazard ratio, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.7-4.2), but not panic disorder (hazard ratio, 1.7; 95% CI, 0.7-3.9).
Rather, we found indications that prior panic attacks/disorder might also have an effect on secondary development of nicotine dependence.
Conclusions In young adults, prospective analyses revealed a fairly unique
and specific, unidirectional relationship between prior smoking and increased risk for subsequent panic attacks/disorder. However, we could not exclude the
existence of a second, less frequent, reverse pathway of prior panic and secondary nicotine dependence.
Sep 26 03 3:02 AM
Oct 28 03 4:46 AM
Dec 24 03 5:28 PM
Sep 22 04 12:42 AM
Oct 13 04 9:41 PM
While most smokers actually believe that smoking was an effective stress treatment strategy (a drug that calmed them down), when it really comes down to
it, smoking never truly calmed them down. All it did was administered nicotine alleviated nicotine withdrawal that was induced by stress. The illustration
and text below covers this point.
The one true step that people are doing here to control their stress is getting rid of a product that should cause any thinking person a lot of worry and
to stop the vicious cycle of drug feeding and drug withdrawal by always knowing now to never take another puff!
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