Today should be a day of celebration since it has been 50 days since I last smoked a cigarette (I guess I’ll have a gin & tonic tonight for a change ho ho). Casting back over my previous blog posts I’ve decided to sum up some of my thoughts and on things I’ve learned and on the effects upon me.
Let’s start with health since that is the main reason for quitting the weed. In a previous post a mentioned how horrified I was to count the number of asthma inhalers I had accumulated in my bedside drawer. I had so many because, obviously, I needed them: I was taking a few puffs when going to bed, sometimes in the night because of breathing difficulties, sometimes in the morning too. Very occasionally I needed them during the day. The sheer number I have is due to me shuttling back and forth between here and Crete over the last six years. Here those inhalers cost a prescription charge of about £8 and first require a visit to the doctor to get them prescribed. Of course I never wanted to go to the doctor because he or she would inevitably ask me about my smoking… Anyway, out in Crete they can be bought for about €3 over the counter from the pharmacist so, of course, I was buying them out there and bringing them back, and never remembering how many I had here when doing the buying. Now I don’t use them. During the first couple of weeks of quitting I took the occasional pull, but since then I haven’t even had reason to think about the things.
My skin has improved. Many years back I suffered from acne rosacea and for many years took pills to control it. As, over the years, these pills lost their effectiveness, this rosacea transformed into some form of dermatitis, the spottiness moving out from my nose to my cheeks and where my sideburns would be if I had any. I also had spots on my scalp, shoulders and upper back. These always turned itchy in the middle of the night, and I would end up scratching them before awake enough to stop myself. It was so bad, in fact, that Caroline bought dark material pillow-cases just for me to disguise the blood. In the past I’ve gone through various phases thinking it was the sun that aggravated this, it was skin mites or it was my drinking, or that I needed to take this vitamin or that. Now, having given up smoking for 50 days, I don’t have a single itchy spot on my face or my scalp. All I have is a persistent one on one shoulder, which even now seems to be healing up. In fact the skin on my face now feels tough – like a won’t be able to inadvertently put my nail through it. Oh, and on the subject of nails: my fingernails no longer look as dry and dull.
My general health has also improved. I can think of no better way of putting it than that I feel younger. I don’t feel sluggish all the time any more. I’m not perpetually tired and don’t look upon the next job I have to do with a sinking sensation and the urge to avoid it. However, I have to add that I do have my moments. My sleep patterns still haven’t properly stabilized and this does lead to me getting sand-bagged by Morpheus at odd times. Then again, because I wasn’t sleeping I got hold of some Nytol, Sominex and some Melatonin. These, I’ve now decided, are worse than insomnia. Yes they’ll help you to get to sleep, but they’ll also help you feel sleepy throughout the following day.
On rereading my previous posts I realise that I posted a lot during the initial weeks and there talked mostly about the NRT – the number of posts I was doing waning as I took up with the electronic cigarette. The reason for this is simple: my concentration was back and I was able to get on with some editing. Therefore, though I have written some, I haven’t written enough about my e-cig: my Kanger protank and Evod battery. Yes, the nicotine gum, the inhalator and the microtabs helped, but all these did was replace missing nicotine and, as all smokers are aware, smoking is not only about the nicotine. Well, maybe I could have quitted cigarettes just using that conventional NRT, but it is the e-cig that has made it easy. In fact it has made it so easy that I hesitate here over the words ‘I’ve quit smoking’.
This hesitation, I guess, all comes down to some erroneous associations that really need to be quashed. The e-cig crowd are getting there with the new words vapers, vaping, a vape etc, but the description that really needs to be changed is ‘electronic cigarette’. Perhaps I should make a point from now on of describing the thing I use as a vaporiser. Another association that needs to be lost is that of the addiction to nicotine with smoking itself. In the minds of many, as I have discovered, nicotine is A BAD THING. Well yes it was, when the only way you could get it into your system was by burning tobacco leaves. These vaporisers have now changed the paradigm and, to finish on an sfnal note, all the anti-smokers out there who want to ban these devices seem to be suffering from a form of future shock.