Quit Smoking Diary, Day -14

Posted: 9th January 2009 by Luc "Sandman" G. in Life

nosmoking Here we go, I’m giving this quit smoking thing a go for the very first time. There’s a few factors that lead to this decision. Smoking is a very nasty habit. It causes a lot of health issues, it stinks, it dulls the taste of food. I also found myself smoking more out of habit than out of need. 9 times out of 10, other than after a meal, I lit up only because it was what I did, not because I was craving it. There’s also the small reason that my wife and I are trying to get pregnant. I definitely do not want to smoke around her while she’s pregnant or around my future children. There’s a new theory regarding third hand smoke, which may be far fetched, but I don’t want to take the risk when it comes to children.  I also don’t want to be the guy that goes outside in -40 degree weather to have a cigarette (though I do that at work already).

Knowing that I probably would not have the willpower to do this on my own, my doctor prescribed Champix, a smoking cessation pill (sold in the US as Chantrix). The way the pill works is that you continue smoking for 14 days after staring the pill. During those 14 days, the drug gets built up in your system. Smoking is supposed to become a real chore. You don’t want to smoke, it tastes absolutely bad, but you continue on for 14 days (hence the -14 countdown). On the 15th day, you continue taking the pills, my prescription is for a total of 28 days, but you no longer smoke. Champix works by blocking nicotine receptors in the brain. With the brain no longer being able to absorb nicotine, the urge and addiction to smoke is supposed to go away.

Now Champix is not a miracle drug. Only 30% of Champix users successfully quit smoking for the long term. There are many side effects. The common ones aren’t too bad: nausea, dry mouth, constipation, stomach pains, vomiting, fatigue, increase in appetite, change in sex drive, unpleasant taste in the mouth, headaches, insomnia and vivid, very weird dreams (that one I’m looking forward to).  Most people will only experience a few of these and not all. A small percentage of people won’t have any. There are some lesser possible side effects, but their impact is much more serious. There’s a small possibility of increased aggression, mood swings, depression and suicidal thoughts while on Champix.

So today I took my first pill. I took it after a meal and with a lot of water. That’s what many people and doctors recommend in order to minimize nausea and stomach cramps/vomiting. Within 10 minutes I became very light headed and nauseous. I had my after lunch cigarette and it tasted a little worse than usual. Not disgusting, but I could tell there was a slight difference. I googled this and found that it is common that the drug starts to affect you that quickly.

So why am I blogging about this? I know that willpower will be an issue for me. By sharing my experience with you, it gives me added incentive to quit. Not only will I disappoint myself, my wife and my family if I don’t quit smoking, I will also disappoint you, my reading audience.

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