Monday, February 06, 2023

Nicotine Trajectory

 It seems my nicotine trajectory has been one of, ‘Hmm, this is hurting me – I’ll cut it back just enough to stop the pain.’ So, over the years, I’ve gone from unfiltered roll ups to ones with filters, to delaying the first cigarettes with nicotine gum and ameliorating ill effects using an asthma inhaler, the varieties of e-cigarette and negotiations with them for least damage options, to NRT followed by pouches, and now at last to no nicotine at all. This history has also been interspersed with side branches into NRT and attempts at cold turkey quitting, all of which obviously failed. Incidentally, NRT is perhaps one of the most badly named therapies out there, since nicotine is the one thing it doesn’t replace.

I started using the pouches as better alternative to NRT and seemed to be getting along fine with them, just as one time I got along fine with the ecig. See, I didn’t want to quit nicotine; I wanted to quit ill health. But as with the ecig there comes a point when you realize you’re in denial about what it’s doing. 

Ever since quitting the ecig my lungs have been crappy. I’ve been trying to do something about this with cardio since I’ve known for a long time that I need to do exercise that gets me out of breath. To this end I’ve started with a 45 minute morning walk, and began reducing its time by jogging between telegraph poles. It’s been going well and I’m now down to 30 minutes while jogging between up of 30 of those poles. However, my chest still ain’t that great.

At this point I have to wander off into all the possibilities and these range from indigestion to heart failure, intercostal damage to exercise-induced asthma and so on, and so forth. In fact such is the data on these things and so similar are their symptoms that you can choose your malady dependent on your hypochondriac tendency. It’s one of these but, for the purpose of taking action it doesn’t matter which one: you exercise, eat well, and stop stuff that makes it worse.

As with the ecigs I went through a period of denial before admitting that within a minute of putting a nicotine pouch in my mouth the nag in that region of my chest over where most of us would point at our heart, would get worse. So, three days ago, I took the selection of nicotine pouches I had and threw them all into a bag and then that into the loft. The effects of doing this have been quite notable. I’ve had no particularly extreme cravings during the day but at night have had nightmares and panic attacks. Today, according to the stats, is supposed to be the worst day, with a steady decline in withdrawal over ensuing weeks.

I bloody well hope so!