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kaelaria
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« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2011, 03:57:58 AM »
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I was a 2-pack a day menthol smoker for 15+ years, quit cold turkey - and yeah it sucked, took weeks to really even the body out.  Hang in there!!
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John R Smith
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« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2011, 05:35:40 AM »
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Fred

The symptoms that you describe are in fact completely normal. I would advise that you get some nicotine patches, start using them and quit actual smoking altogether. Every time in the past that I tried to quit smoking the withdrawal symptoms would wear me down and in the end I would start again. About 7 months ago, after fifty years of smoking, I stopped again. This time I had quite a good incentive.

Just as I was coming up towards retirement, in late April, I coughed up some phlegm and spat it into the kitchen sink (by pure chance). There was just  a trace of blood in it. The next day there was a little more, so I got concerned enough to book an appointment with my doctor. The day after that there was just a trace again, and the next day it was clear – I felt perfectly fit and well so I nearly didn’t bother to go to the appointment. It was just as well that I did. The doctor sent me for a chest X-ray, which didn’t really show anything much, but he still wasn’t happy and sent me to the specialist at Treliske Hospital, a nice chap called Simon Iles. A week later, after a CT scan, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. After another two weeks and a PET scan in Plymouth, it was active lung cancer. This, as I am sure you know, is very bad news indeed.

Fortunately, the scans showed that I had just the one tumour, low down in the RH lung, so it could be tackled with surgery. However, until they had me opened up nobody could say with any certainty whether the cancer had spread into the rest of my body or not. I was booked in to Derriford hospital for the op at the end of June. While all this was going on I was in the middle of my retirement leaving presentation etc and not really able to talk to anyone about it. Very stressful. So I was retired for a month, which I spent manically gardening because I knew I would not be able to for quite some time after the op, and then into Derriford Thoracic Unit. The surgery went very well (I have a huge scar) and I came home after only 10 days but then had quite a rough time trying to cope as best I could (I was not allowed to drive for 8 weeks which made life difficult). After five months, I am returning more or less to normal. So now (after thoracotomy and lobectomy in technical speak) I have one-and-a-half lungs instead of two.

At first I was not allowed to lift any weights at all or do any kind of heavy activity. Now I can lift up to 5 kg and do gentle gardening and light activities. After January I should be more or less OK if I am sensible about working it up gently. I have been doing a lot of walking which is good for the healing process, but at first any sort of hill was pretty scary. I am getting better at the hills now, with persistence, but of course I will never be as fit as I was. The good news is that both my follow-up appointments so far have given me the all-clear, but I have to go back at intervals for five years. The bad news is that of course the cancer can recur or pop-up somewhere else, but the post-op biopsy showed that the tumour had remained localised and had not spread into the surrounding tissues, so thank heaven for that.

So, as you can imagine, I have not had much of a chance to think about retirement or how I might spend it, or what I might be doing or who it might be nice to do it with. I have just been coping with events, really. The moral of this tale is that smoking is not too great an idea – but I guess we always knew that, didn’t we? Fred, I wish you all the very best in quitting smoking. Never imagine that it will be easy, it will probably be one of the hardest tasks you have ever set yourself, even with the support of family and friends. Even with the excellent incentive of death staring me in the face, I still found it terrifyingly hard to quit. And I am still very shaky about staying clear of tobacco in the long-term.

John
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« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2011, 09:52:08 AM »
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there was, for a brief while, the pathetic spectacle of people rushing outside mid-meal for a quick drag at their habit... now, even that seems largely to have drifted away.
That's still happening. In this year's Christmas lunch at work, when the whole department share a table in a restaurant for one day and after meal conversation lasts a bit longer than usual, I recall seeing two of my mates (both girls aged 26-29) rushing outside for their dose.

I have spoken several times to one of them about quitting smoking (I understand some people smoke; after all the drug has been offered to us for years, legally, at affordable prices and even socially accepted. But I have problems to understand smokers not trying to quit such a disgusting habit once they are grown up), and I was surprised at her answer: 'it is not yet the time now'.

I answered: 'you are 29, young, you have a boyfriend and live happy with him. Even in the middle of this crisis both of you have well paid and stable jobs, no children to feed yet, a good mortgage totally under control [his bf works in a bank and gets very low interest rates], your only worry is to play the videoconsole at weekends and properly match your summer holidays, and you claim it is not yet the time. So I wonder: when will it be the time?'
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KLaban
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« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2011, 10:05:07 AM »
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Fred, a few practical tips.

If you have a partner then try quitting together. My wife used patches and nicotine gum and is still cig free. I wanted to go cold turkey but found I needed to substitute the cigs with something. That something was usually the strongest possible sugar free gum I could find. Wrigley does a selection including some that could take the top of your head off! Really strong de-cafe was another ploy. Alcohol, yeah! Deep breathing and long brisk walks also work. Whenever I wanted a cig I substituted one of the above.

I was a professional smoker, but after a few months cardiac rehab and following the above the cravings were becoming less and less frequent. Now 5+ years down the line I rarely even think of the dreaded weed. My clothes are clean, I don't have to wash down walls every six months, I have a lot more money, but above all with determination and hard work I am now generally speaking fitter than I've been for many years.

Fred, good luck.

John, so sorry to hear about your health issues, here's wishing you a speedy recovery.
 
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fredjeang
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« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2011, 12:46:57 PM »
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Thank you so much again for all your testimonials and particularly the lovely human side that's been expressed all along this thread.

I've been learning a lot.

John, yes I remember you mentionned at one point that you had to have a surgery, I ignored it was relationated with this topic. I join my wishes with Keith's on your recovery.
It seems that it's very important to avoid stress, bad thinkings and worries in the recovery process.

Today I've also learned, or re-learned, something really key about mind power. I was in a terrasse this mid-day next to my home and I was feeling terrible, like my head was about to explode because of pressure and my heart was beating very strong. I got-up, walked immediatly very pissed-off to the healph care center. They checked me and took my pressure and cardiac pulse, everything was...just perfect. In fact, it has never been as good. I felt confunded because I was so sure that it was horribly bad. I felt it...but what I was feeling was in fact stress and worries into the process, in other words, an ilusion. (those ilusions mind can create, if repeted and beleived could by the way become more real, so it's important to distinguish)
I went back home, immediatly after receiving the news that it was all right, I was feeling good and symptoms disappeared just like that. Mind is really, I mean really, key. Well directed, it should be of an incredible power.
I'm convinced that if the mind is capable to fool ourselves and drive us to wrong or dangerous paths, it's also on the other way, possible to take posession of it and directing it to do the exactly opposite.
The little today's anecdote reminded me this known fact in a clear and straingforward form.

Thanks for all the kind words and again, best luck to John and to all Lu-La members who are facing serious issues in their lifes at the moment.

Best regards.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 12:55:02 PM by fredjeang » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2011, 01:06:20 PM »
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At first I was not allowed to lift any weights at all or do any kind of heavy activity. Now I can lift up to 5 kg and do gentle gardening and light activities. After January I should be more or less OK if I am sensible about working it up gently. I have been doing a lot of walking which is good for the healing process, but at first any sort of hill was pretty scary. I am getting better at the hills now, with persistence, but of course I will never be as fit as I was. John




Hey, you kept that very private; I don't know if to praise you for it, or to admonish you for not having out with it and giving your fellow LuLanders a chance to give you some moral support. Guess we all react differently in these moments - but regardless, I wish you the very best of luck, my man.

The exercise thing is a bit strange. My own problems have been heart, which is obviously something else, and the advice there was to take as much exercise as I could - a minimum of about an hour's walking a day.

When I first came out of hospital I could hardly make fifteen to twenty minute walks. Then, over time, I got back to pretty normal. However, at my last visit to the cardio six months ago, I mentioned that I was able to walk up steep hills with few problems; I expected a sweet, but got a metaphorical kick up the ass instead! He was horrified: gently is the way to go, apparently, with tickers, gently but for as long as you can do it. Now I know. If he’s right.

Again  -  best of luck and stick with the photography; it’s a great calmer – far better than noxious weeds! It has certainly helped make my life more bearable these past few years.

Ciao –

Rob C
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RSL
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« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2011, 03:26:32 PM »
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John, I know our federal government might object, but I'll pray for you. Hang in there, walk a lot slowly, and get back up to speed.
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jalcocer
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« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2012, 06:34:23 PM »
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all of your words have made me rethink about my bad habits, I'll give it another try on quit smoking, start with less cigarettes a day and so on, coffee, well I can't promise about that, Smiley
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louoates
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« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2012, 07:14:55 PM »
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As I recall the stop smoking statistics, for most smokers it took three to four serious attempts to quit before success. "Serious" didn't mean trying to cut down gradually or just attending a stop-smoking class with intent to quit at some later time. It took the realization that the person was fully determined to break the habit and the related days, weeks, or months of cold turkey abstinence. Some have been successful with patches, hypnosis, or the rapid tapering off of tobacco use. But, by far, the most successful quitters are those that got off the nicotine for long chunks of time. And if they relapsed, they immediately quit again--even after only one cigarette. That's the kind of determination that's need in most cases. If anyone is interested, I'll list lots of pitfalls to quitting and some positive ideas.
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aduke
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« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2012, 07:43:22 PM »
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When I quit, my wife and the sixteen people who were working for me all had decided to quit at the same time. It was quite an experiment. Many of us were permanent quitters, a few gave up.

Personally, I still, after 40 years, occasionally dream about smoking, but, come morning, realize that it is all for the better.

We are quite thankful that most European countries have started anti-smoking campaigns. It make traveling there much more comfortable and enjoyable.

Alan
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EduPerez
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« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2012, 02:15:46 AM »
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Fred

The symptoms that you describe are in fact completely normal. I would advise that you get some nicotine patches, start using them and quit actual smoking altogether. Every time in the past that I tried to quit smoking the withdrawal symptoms would wear me down and in the end I would start again. About 7 months ago, after fifty years of smoking, I stopped again. This time I had quite a good incentive.

Just as I was coming up towards retirement, in late April, I coughed up some phlegm and spat it into the kitchen sink (by pure chance). There was just  a trace of blood in it. The next day there was a little more, so I got concerned enough to book an appointment with my doctor. The day after that there was just a trace again, and the next day it was clear – I felt perfectly fit and well so I nearly didn’t bother to go to the appointment. It was just as well that I did. The doctor sent me for a chest X-ray, which didn’t really show anything much, but he still wasn’t happy and sent me to the specialist at Treliske Hospital, a nice chap called Simon Iles. A week later, after a CT scan, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. After another two weeks and a PET scan in Plymouth, it was active lung cancer. This, as I am sure you know, is very bad news indeed.

Fortunately, the scans showed that I had just the one tumour, low down in the RH lung, so it could be tackled with surgery. However, until they had me opened up nobody could say with any certainty whether the cancer had spread into the rest of my body or not. I was booked in to Derriford hospital for the op at the end of June. While all this was going on I was in the middle of my retirement leaving presentation etc and not really able to talk to anyone about it. Very stressful. So I was retired for a month, which I spent manically gardening because I knew I would not be able to for quite some time after the op, and then into Derriford Thoracic Unit. The surgery went very well (I have a huge scar) and I came home after only 10 days but then had quite a rough time trying to cope as best I could (I was not allowed to drive for 8 weeks which made life difficult). After five months, I am returning more or less to normal. So now (after thoracotomy and lobectomy in technical speak) I have one-and-a-half lungs instead of two.

At first I was not allowed to lift any weights at all or do any kind of heavy activity. Now I can lift up to 5 kg and do gentle gardening and light activities. After January I should be more or less OK if I am sensible about working it up gently. I have been doing a lot of walking which is good for the healing process, but at first any sort of hill was pretty scary. I am getting better at the hills now, with persistence, but of course I will never be as fit as I was. The good news is that both my follow-up appointments so far have given me the all-clear, but I have to go back at intervals for five years. The bad news is that of course the cancer can recur or pop-up somewhere else, but the post-op biopsy showed that the tumour had remained localised and had not spread into the surrounding tissues, so thank heaven for that.

So, as you can imagine, I have not had much of a chance to think about retirement or how I might spend it, or what I might be doing or who it might be nice to do it with. I have just been coping with events, really. The moral of this tale is that smoking is not too great an idea – but I guess we always knew that, didn’t we? Fred, I wish you all the very best in quitting smoking. Never imagine that it will be easy, it will probably be one of the hardest tasks you have ever set yourself, even with the support of family and friends. Even with the excellent incentive of death staring me in the face, I still found it terrifyingly hard to quit. And I am still very shaky about staying clear of tobacco in the long-term.

John


This looks much like my father's history.

An avid smoker (1 or 2 packs per day) for most of his life, until some phlegm with traces of blood frightened him, and he abruptly stopped smoking, finally; that was about five or ten years ago. Then, he was x-rayed last November, because of a cough that was taking too long to recover; it was indeed just a cough, it went away as it it came in, and he feels perfect now... but there was that little spot on the x-ray, that worried the doctor, and turned to be lung cancer. Luckily, it seems to be very localized, he will have half his lung removed by he end of this month, and doctors have hight hopes to put and end to it with that.

Thanks for sharing.
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Rob C
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« Reply #31 on: January 03, 2012, 02:50:36 AM »
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Well, I can only speak for myself, of course, but the only way to quit is totally, the act based on the very real fear of needless death. It also helps to realise that the start of the addiction came from nothing more pathetic than wanting to appear older and tougher than the fifteen years of age that I was. Sad. And expensive.

I see patches and all that shit as just that: more commercial exploitation based on the wish for a pretend, easy way out. Man, just DO IT!

Rob C
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Craig Lamson
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« Reply #32 on: January 03, 2012, 10:46:44 AM »
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Well, I can only speak for myself, of course, but the only way to quit is totally, the act based on the very real fear of needless death. It also helps to realise that the start of the addiction came from nothing more pathetic than wanting to appear older and tougher than the fifteen years of age that I was. Sad. And expensive.

I see patches and all that shit as just that: more commercial exploitation based on the wish for a pretend, easy way out. Man, just DO IT!

Rob C

+1

I finally quit cold turkey after way too many years of smoking 8 years ago.  I just hope I keep it that way.  I relapsed many years ago after being smoke free for 5 years.  Cigs are the devils drug.

Cold turkey and sheer will power...you must REALLY want to quit to succeed. 

What worked for me, a small whiteboard that I updated every day....x days without a smoke.  It was really helpful for me to see the progress and a good deterrent to staying smoke free.  I would have hated to see that number of days go back to 1
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« Reply #33 on: January 03, 2012, 11:15:58 AM »
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As several have stated will power is needed to quit smoking.  As a "recovering smoker" I don't see anything wrong with using the nicotine patch, gum, whatever! to make a difficult task just a little bit easier.  In this struggle there is no place for macho machochism.  There is no "right" way to quit! Pragmatism rules in this contest. Whatever gets you though it successfully is the right avenue for you.   
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Rob C
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« Reply #34 on: January 03, 2012, 12:58:13 PM »
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Don't see it as any form of macho masochism at all; see it as realisation that Death is standing, key in hand, outside the door. Some think there's mileage in toys and self-deception. I think not - I think you get your chance and you have to take it. Live or die; it's your funeral.

Rob C
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PierreVandevenne
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« Reply #35 on: January 03, 2012, 07:26:26 PM »
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Smoked a lot between the age of 16 and 25. One day, during my internship (am a MD but don't practice) in ER, I was called for a woman with acute respiratory distress. It turned out it was my mother. Don't remember if I smoked that night, but I quit the next day. The first 36 hours were horrible, abdominal cramps, the sensation I was about to implode, etc... Then it was over as suddenly as it came.  Unfortunately, I started again 20 years later, by accident. I know I should stop, I hope I still can, but I can't push myself hard enough.

BTW, between the age of 40 and 45, I became a health maniac: I rode bicycles for thousands of miles every year, at the decent average speed of 20 miles per hour. I monitored my performance, heart rate, watts produced, and pedaling rythm for years and compiled so much data that I could recognize the course I was cycling simply by looking at the charts of my heart rate on the PC. As soon as I started smoking, a single cigarette per day at first, then three, my stats collapsed. After 3 months, I had lost what I had gained in two years by training. Today, I am back to square one.

My very lame advice (it worked once, but as I said I can't push myself to do it right now) is to plan a few days where you will not be confronted to your normal life's issues, keep yourself busy with a new demanding task that's not associated in any way with smoking. Drink a lot of water and keep a liquorice stick in your mouth.

Good luck! (et courage!)
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haring
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« Reply #36 on: January 03, 2012, 07:42:42 PM »
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Hi guys, this is I think the appropriate forum for this topic.

I'd like to have, if there are some here in Lu-La, former heavy smokers testimonials.

The short story is this:
I've been a heavy smoker (2 - 3 packs a day) for more than 20 years and a serious coffee drinker too.

I've never visited a doctor since my childwood, not ill one time. Not kidding.

Recently I've decided to stop coffees and passed from at least 60 cigaretes a day to 5 - 6, not because I was ill but, you know, because
I was thinking that this crazy consumming would end to kill me although I was perfectly fine.

And then problems started to araise just coinciding with the period I stopped. Instead of feeling better, the body's reaction has suddenly turned crazy:
low pressure, cardiac rythm suddenly unstable, low, then high, headaches (never happened to me in the past), sensation of breathing worse, lack of concentration, and I'm starting to catch colds easily...
I also had sort of dizziness sensations that come and go from time to time, and a form of anguish.
I'm really having bad time those days, and my social life is affected; it's not my style to complain or feeling physically bad, but the sensation in fact is that it seems that when I decided to take care of my healph, the worse I'm feeling !

If you've been a serious smoker in the past, I'd like to hear from your experience.

Thanks. 


My father had the same symptoms 15 years ago when he wanted to quit. Finally he concluded that he couldn't give up smoking. He died last year (lung cancer) 4 weeks after I photographed his and my sister's father-daughter dance at her wedding. I remember that I was crying behind the camera. He had prayed to be able to be at her wedding. Sorry to be brutal! Quit today!!!
« Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 07:45:04 PM by haring » Logged

haring
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« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2012, 07:34:11 AM »
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My father had the same symptoms 15 years ago when he wanted to quit. Finally he concluded that he couldn't give up smoking. He died last year (lung cancer) 4 weeks after I photographed his and my sister's father-daughter dance at her wedding. I remember that I was crying behind the camera. He had prayed to be able to be at her wedding. Sorry to be brutal! Quit today!!!

I hope I wasn't too harsh. I just miss my father.
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GRHazelton
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« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2012, 09:41:05 AM »
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As a recovering smoker who used the perscription patch some 13 years ago to quit - so far, so good -
I was reminded of this thread by a New York Times story:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/health/study-finds-nicotine-gum-and-patches-dont-help-smokers-quit.html?ref=health

My interpretation of the story is that the OTC patches aren't  effective in the long run, with or without counselling.  Patient non-compliance is cited as a possible reason.  I wonder if the study includes the earlier perscription patches, which at least in theory were tailored to the patient.  Those patches also weren't covered by insurance (at least not my insurance) and they weren't cheap, so the patient had more skin in the game.  Since a doctor's visit and a drugstore purchase were needed, perhaps we felt that others were watching, thus there was some peer pressure.

Anyone out there with other thoughts?
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Rob C
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« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2012, 12:04:27 PM »
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As a recovering smoker who used the perscription patch some 13 years ago to quit - so far, so good -
I was reminded of this thread by a New York Times story:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/health/study-finds-nicotine-gum-and-patches-dont-help-smokers-quit.html?ref=health

My interpretation of the story is that the OTC patches aren't  effective in the long run, with or without counselling.  Patient non-compliance is cited as a possible reason.  I wonder if the study includes the earlier perscription patches, which at least in theory were tailored to the patient.  Those patches also weren't covered by insurance (at least not my insurance) and they weren't cheap, so the patient had more skin in the game.  Since a doctor's visit and a drugstore purchase were needed, perhaps we felt that others were watching, thus there was some peer pressure.

Anyone out there with other thoughts?


Yes, Nike. Just do it.

Rob C
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