Long Term Negative Side Effects of Quitting Tobacco They Will Not Tell You About
Before We Start, A Note about the Varying Nature of Tobacco Addiction:
The struggles one has on an individual basis quitting tobacco varies contingent on a number of factors. The worst cases I’ve encountered are long term (more than 5 years) chewing tobacco addictions. The reason for this is that with smokeless tobacco nicotine is delivered all at once and at levels as many as 12 times in that of cigarettes.
That said, any long term tobacco addiction usually makes for a formidable opponent to do battle with.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that it is likely that a small percentage of people are either resistant to tobacco addiction or don’t have a hard time quitting. With most drugs you usually have a segment of the population that falls into this category; though personally when I have looked further into former addicts claiming to have had an easy time quitting tobacco, for examples having spoken with their spouses, the reality has always been that the former addict just had a bad memory and the actual process of beating the addiction was quite difficult.
I’m closing in on my 19th month completely tobacco free: no patches, no gum, no vapor cigarettes. Just over a year and a half ago I quit dipping cold turkey after almost twenty years of struggling with this addiction. After countless attempts and employing varying strategies, I finally forsook the pernicious habit.
Over the years I’ve experienced almost every horrific consequence of trying to get tobacco out of my life many times over. In addition, life experience has seen me spend time with 100s of people that have struggled to quit some manner of tobacco. As a result, I empathize with my fellow humans doing battle with this drug.
And though in this article I will be coming down very harshly on the medical community that insists on both downplaying the hold of this addiction on the individual and sugarcoating the ease with which one might quit, I want it to be perfectly clear I still support quitting tobacco, regardless of the suffering and side effects such a traumatic undertaking puts on one’s body.
The majority of the information I will be providing in this article will be a combination of qualitative and subjective in nature, not because it is my preference, (If you know anything about me, you know statistics are my preference.) but because the machine that is the delusional anti-tobacco movement has made quality statistical information on the tobacco problem all but inaccessible.
And before you laugh me out of the room, keep in mind that when the tobacco companies controlled the statistics, it was qualitative and subjective information that kept the majority of citizens out of the big tobacco death machine. Though this sort of data can at times be fraught with false equivalencies, more often than not it leads to an accurate assessment.
I will also be using some quantitative information from memory of past articles about tobacco I’ve read before the anti-tobacco monster gobbled them up.
The Biggest Lie of them all: Quitting Tobacco Only Takes 7 Days
Where to even begin in regards to the idiocy of this statement? I guess the first thing I’ll do is enlighten you as to the miniscule bit of truth in this faulty logic. After 7 days without tobacco, there is probably no longer tobacco in your system, though even that isn’t always accurate, the process sometimes taking the better part of a month.
It really isn’t very consequential in the grand scheme of things how long it takes to get the tobacco out of your body, because not having the tobacco doesn’t really do anything but get the ball rolling and cause the long term addict’s brain to start screaming bloody murder for the drug it is accustomed to having. It most certainly doesn’t mark the end of the addiction. Why? If you will suffer through the story of Phineas Gage with me, I think it will become clear.
For those of you that don’t know, Phineas Gage is a person of interest in the medical field because he survived a tamping iron being blown into his jaw and passing all the way out the top of his head in an explosives misfire while working for the railroad.
While many friends and acquaintances describe Gage as a completely different man after the explosion, this isn’t altogether accurate. It is true that for a time Gage seemed to lose most of his impulse control. As a result of the accident, he basically became a vulgar, foul-mouthed man, yet what is often overlooked is that during the course of his 12 remaining years he actually slowly recovered his social graces.
His brain was basically able to rewire itself. A part of his frontal lobe was gone forever, so new paths had to be forged to recover normalcy, and his brain, amazingly enough, was actually able to do this.
A fascinating story, but what the hell does it have to do with beating tobacco dependency? When you become addicted to a drug, your brain chemistry changes. This change doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen over a year. It takes years. For example, with tobacco, when you first start using, it feels just wonderful. You feel like Superman. You don’t have to sleep. You don’t have to eat. You feel invincible.
Your brain knows this isn’t normal, and unlike you, your brain craves normalcy, so it starts its slow process of trying to get you back to the person you were. Fast forward 5 years or so and tobacco doesn’t make you high at all anymore. In fact, you need it constantly to just function at a level similar to that of before you started using.
Basically over the course of the last 5 years the chemistry of your brain has been altered to function normally in spite of the tobacco. When you choose to quit, all of this has to be undone, which is quite a traumatic process and will probably never be quite complete.
So to say that the seventh day of your sobriety marks the end of your tobacco dependency because there is no longer tobacco in your body is the equivalent of saying that Phineas Gage’s brain trauma was healed the moment his 1¼ inch round 3 foot 7 inch long tamping iron finished passing through his brain. It’s nonsense! The damage is done, and the healing process takes years!!1
So how long does completely recovering from tobacco addiction take? You probably never quite get there, but you can get darn close. For example, the first time I got a dip of tobacco, I was high as a kite, a high that eventually ended with me laying shirt off on my stomach on the back porch and trying not to vomit. No matter how long I stay off tobacco, I will likely never be able to recapture that first high if I use again, which in turn indicates my body chemistry will never return to the pristine state of my seminal tobacco usage.
So how long does effectively “beating” a tobacco addiction take? For this we can look to statistics regarding recidivism, that is if they hadn’t all been replaced with nonsense. Without them I have to go back to the memory of an article I read around a decade ago. It said that percentages for smokers staying off tobacco become favorable when an entire year is completed free of the drug, and success rates become very high when smokers are able to spend 3 whole years without a cigarette.
Again referencing memory, with smokeless tobacco the success rates exceed 50% after about 3 years, but don’t get into the high success rates until a person has been clean in excess of 5 years.
As for the pain becoming manageable, in my experience, this doesn’t happen until the completion of about 3 months free and clear of the drug.
More Analysis into the Naiveté of a 7 Day Addiction Recovery
Just some food for thought: If it actually only took 7 days to quit using tobacco, why would anybody be addicted to it if they didn’t want to be? Any tobacco addict can make it 7 days. Just take a week off work. Even if you can’t, if feeling good again is only 7 days away, if that is where the prize truly is, it is still easily accomplished.
How weak would you have to be to not be able to make it 7 days without tobacco? The whole concept is ridiculous. As an addict, I made it 7 days without a dip sometimes on accident. In my experience it doesn’t even really start hurting that bad until your 10 days in or so.
I mean, if it were really a 7 day addiction, why not just buy a big bottle of Nyquil and every time you start hurting just take a dose and go to sleep? The 7 days would be over before you knew it.
And if it truly only took 7 days to break the addiction, why would we even avoid tobacco? Why wouldn’t we utilize this wonderful drug every time life got hectic? When things slowed down again, we could just stop for 7 days and be all better again.
I cannot emphasize enough how big these idiots are that try to sale us this nonsense!
Just look at products designed to step us down from tobacco addiction. Nicoderm patches, gum, generic knockoffs, they almost all require at least a 6 month stepping down process. Why on earth would anybody buy these aids if they could just tough it out through 7 days and be clean?
Seriously, how would that even work: spend 6 months tapering down and then you’d just have to spend the same 7 days getting it out of your system at the end.
I know I’m belaboring the point, but I just want you folks to understand how ridiculous this idea is. You’re being lied to, and for no good result, either. I mean, how would you feel if you bought into this 7 day system only to find out that after the 7th day you have another 1,000 plus days to be tacked onto it. It’s crippling!
Is it not better to know the truth going in?
You’ll Only Gain 5-10 Pounds, and You’ll Lose it as soon as You’re Better
I’ve never known a single human being to gain fewer than 20 pounds if they made an honest effort at quitting tobacco, much less if they actually succeed. Even people that are genetically predisposed to be skinny gain more than 20 pounds. For those of us that are predisposed to be fat and started using tobacco to lose weight in the first place, forget about it.
In my experience, at some point you do lose a bit of weight in the recovery process, but the only people that I’ve seen return to near their previous weight are the ones that never were fat in the first place. For example, I gained 80 pounds as a result of quitting dipping. Eventually I lost 30 pounds and things have settled down. Right now my weight hovers at around 300 pounds versus the 250 pounds I weighed when I dipped.
And the weight gain isn’t always a result of overeating. In the beginning of the quitting process it usually is, but there is evidence that the trauma of quitting tobacco actually can bring on problems like low testosterone. I know a number of people who coincidentally were diagnosed with low-T when they quit tobacco. I am in the process of finding out, but I believe that is what has happened to me.
How can the anti-tobacco cult arrive at the 5-10 pound lie? I think it has to do with the 7 day addiction breaking process lie. You can’t physically gain more than 10 pounds in 7 days, and therefore, (according to their logic) if a tobacco addiction can’t take more than 7 days to break, the resulting weight gain is extremely limited.
The truth is that if I’m going to remain in the 300 pound range as a result of quitting dipping, I’m in great peril from the fallout. Thinks like joint degeneration, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease are deadly.
Former tobacco users often get on anti-depressants. Severe depression often lasts for months when one tries to break this dependency, and it doesn’t necessarily go away, but it does usually dull over time.
As a result, people who stop using tobacco are far more likely to hurt themselves or others. In the doldrums of my breaking this addiction, I had thoughts so dark I will not repeat them here. I will only say I’m glad I don’t have such severe feelings of hopelessness now and pray I never do again.
You will have digestive problems of some kind as a result of quitting tobacco. Pretty much all stimulants mess with your bowels. When you remove the stimulant of tobacco there are long-lasting repercussions. I had never had any major digestive problems in my life. A little over a year after I quit dipping, I wound up in urgent care with a severe impaction.
I got off easy. Many people who stop using tobacco develop ulcers as a result of the stress on their stomachs.
If You Used for more than a few Years, There is still a Good Chance It will Kill You
Of all the information I’ve given here, this is the only bit of information I might see some merit in keeping from people because you can’t do much about it. For example, if you dip 10 years and quit, and get throat cancer 10 years after that, the cancer was still probably brought on by your dipping, and you better believe the anti-tobacco fanatics will say it was brought on by the tobacco use even if it’s skin cancer.
If you were a long term smoker, diseases like emphysema and COPD might also show up years after you quit.
But let’s not take this information out of context. If you quit using tobacco, it is highly unlikely you haven’t extended your life, and even with all the possible side effects, quitting is still your most promising option for a more pleasant life while you’re here.
Why do They Lie to Us?
This to me is the million dollar question. After decades of dealing with lies from the tobacco companies, why are the anti-tobacco groups, who are supposed to be the good guys in all of this, doing the same thing? And it’s obvious they are lying. Just open your eyes. And if they’re willing to lie about this, than why should we believe any new information that comes to light?
I think it all started as do-gooded-ness gone crazy. The whole thing reminds me of those old exercise tapes where they tell you, “Just one more,” over and over again. I hated those tapes. They really think it’s advisable to lie to people to get them started on the road to recovery. Personally, if I had ever put any stock into what they say, I never would have been able to quit.
The result of all this anti-tobacco bullsh**, sadly, is the vilification of addicts. The insanity of companies trying to force people to quit, which never works with addiction. The hypocrisy of 15 hospital workers standing outside smoking illegally on campus.
The idiocy of people needing help to quit having to deal with the arrogance of doctors that have never had an addiction in their life glaring at them, thinking to themselves, This lazy bastard can’t even go 7 days without tobacco, when the reality is any tobacco addict can go 7 days without tobacco.
It’s all so f***ing delusional. It’s all so toxic. This isn’t how we put a stop to addiction.
I know some of you guys probably think I’m crazy. Please, trust me here. I understand addiction. I know firsthand how addiction is beaten. What they’re doing, it’s wrong!
I’ll end with this. Addictions are usually started with lies, but you sure as sh** can’t beat one with them!
1. Phineas Gage Biography on Wikipedia
2. Missinformation regarding the ease of quitting tobacco is so persistent and offensive in nature, I don't even see the point of dignifying it with a source.