minty fresh
June 25, 2009 1:26 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to quit smoking. I have never been a heavy smoker, but maybe most a half pack, at least 2 per day over a sporatic 10 years (year off here and there). During the day I'm cutting down by using only one or two those 2MG low dosage suckers from over-the-counter... but at night (so far, haven't been doing this long) I have had a few cigarettes. Am I killing myself? You are not my doctor, I know.
posted by eatdonuts to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
What, exactly, is your question? Are you asking if you're killing yourself by smoking? Are you asking for further advice about how to quit smoking? Or are you asking if it's dangerous to combine smoking using nicotine replacements?
posted by runningwithscissors at 1:29 PM on June 25, 2009

Response by poster: I am askign if it is very dangerous to mix having the 2mg suckers to stop smoking during the day and 1 or 2 cigarettes at night for a limited period of time until i'm more comfortable stopping entirely.
posted by eatdonuts at 1:30 PM on June 25, 2009

No, it's not very dangerous. You'll know you've ingested too much nicotine when you get nauseated.
posted by rhizome at 1:32 PM on June 25, 2009

No, you're fine. I've heard that you shouldn't combine the patch or chewing nicotine gum simultaneously with smoking, but this seems to be totally different. Think of the gum as just another nicotine-delivery mechanism, like chewing tobacco or cigars.
posted by dhammond at 1:36 PM on June 25, 2009

Oops, I meant "think of the suckers" instead of gum, of course.
posted by dhammond at 1:37 PM on June 25, 2009

the people who OD on nicotine from doing things like this are heavy heavy users. they are smoking 15 cigarettes a day, having 5 suckers a day, and wearing the patch - for a few weeks straight. they are trying to kick a 2 pack plus a day habit -

what you are doing has little risk of nicotine poisoning -

as i side note, as a former smoker who made nine serious tries at quitting before i got it, weening off the cigarettes never helped me - you still have to face that moment, that date, when you decide this it, no more

but don't tell yourself, "ok this is the last one ever." don't think of forever. one day at a time, you know. you have to say, no nicotine today, then say the same thing tomorrow, and try to say for as many days as you can - until saying no to nicotine becomes the habit
posted by Flood at 5:43 PM on June 25, 2009

and good luck - i sincerely hope you can do it
posted by Flood at 5:45 PM on June 25, 2009

Read this book: Allen Carr's Easyway to Quit Smoking. Ignore the generic/cheesy sounding title and just read. It's a rather amazing book.
posted by zardoz at 10:35 PM on June 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

No, you're all good. But rather than the actual smokes, try the Nicorette inhalers instead if you can get them where you are. They simulate the muscle-memory action of actually smoking so well (along with the nicotine, of course) that it really does make the tailing-off process easier.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:13 PM on June 25, 2009

"... Am I killing myself? ..." Maybe.

Another vote for Allen Carr's book. Because tapering down is just giving yourself permission to keep smoking.

For most people, the major nicotine cravings last 48 to 72 hours. Quit, and stay busy in those first 2 or 3 days. Tell yourself you could get through 3 days without smoking if you landed in the intensive care unit of a hospital, by accident, because you could, actually. Then, just don't smoke for those 2 or 3 days. Dr. Andrew Weil's breathing excercises are very helpful in shutting down cravings in those first 72 hours; basically they buy you the 3 to 5 minutes for the nicotine cravings to subside on their own, in those first days.

Once you've got 3 smoke free days under your belt, you're at least 50% of the way to being a life long non-smoker; just don't buy any more cigarettes, ever, thereafter.
posted by paulsc at 11:27 PM on June 25, 2009

Flood is absolutely right. Back in my day, those little suckers didn't exist, so I carried around cinnamon sticks to keep in my mouth instead of cigarettes. Just having something there was immensely helpful. For me, the ritual of it was hardest to give up. And yes, the cinnamon got some funny looks but when folks asked, I'd tell them what it was for and people were genuinely supportive. Also: they almost all said "does that work?" I'd say, "for me, it is".

But listen to flood. One day at a time. And when it's really bad, one hour at a time. Best of luck, friend.
posted by indiebass at 11:50 AM on June 26, 2009

Seconding zardoz's recommendation of The Easy Way To Stop Smoking. What a great book.

I smoked a pack a day for about 7 years, gave it up, and then started again 6 years later. What ensued was a very nasty start-slow-then-build-up-to-a-pack-a-day-then-quit-again-then-start-again cycle that lasted about 4 years. Finally I read Carr's book last December and haven't smoked since!

In reference to your question -- what Carr would tell you is that by "cutting back" to nicotine replacements and occasional cigarettes, you're really only making it harder on yourself. Basically, whenever you're not smoking, you're thinking of smoking, which just makes you more aware of the pain of addiction. It sounds over-simplistic, but the way to quit is to realize that cigarettes are not actually as enjoyable as you've been led to believe. They only seem enjoyable because you're addicted.

Carr actually has a pretty ingenious method of quitting -- he tells you not to quit until you're done reading his book. So you're reading the book and learning about why cigarettes are full of shit, but meanwhile you're going out every hour or two to smoke a cigarette. It really turns you off to smoking. By the time you're done with the book, you'll be glad to quit cold turkey and be done with the coffin nails.

I really think you should give Carr's book a shot. Pretty much any time you talk to someone who's quit smoking and who was helped out by a book, 9 times out of 10 they're talking about Carr's. It was actually recommended to me by two former smokers who have been quit for years. Seriously, give it a try! What do you have to lose?
posted by Afroblanco at 12:03 PM on June 27, 2009

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