Thursday, June 28, 2007

So That's Why...

Still plodding my way through Smokefree Day 10 / Chantix Day 22. The brief period of extra urges this morning didn't last long, and I'm back to feeling good again and actually having perhaps the fewest urges yet so far in this journey. Now what I intended to talk about:

I always kind of thought is was overkill back when I'd tried quitting smoking in the past using the patch (always removing it while sleeping - "the vivids" issue again) how the instructions would mention proper disposal when done and sometimes even gave you a little plastic receptacle for the used patches. My thought was, OK, sure, I probably don't want my cats chewing on these, but otherwise, so what? Then, the other day, I went on my tirade about the 4000+ chemicals in cigarettes (still angry about ammonia in particular - finding some justice in the fact that my anger has pulled me through a few urges, bastards) and marveled at what crazy stuff is in cigarettes. Today, I'm surprised that I'm surprised (if that makes sense) about nicotine itself... I've pretty much considered myself the expert on all things nicotine for years (along with coffee, Hello Kitty, Japan, how people should behave, and plenty of other stuff; just ask me - or Tom). That's why this article about nicotine blew me out of the water. Like the other chemicals post, I guess I kind of knew, but it's like I didn't really get it or something (or only the nicotine in *your* cigarettes was like this, not mine again kind of syndrome that I had). Anyway, the whole article and even the other sections of it about how nicotine works are interesting, but here's the tidbit that really got me (and my goat, too!):

Unfortunately, the fact that nicotine alone is an extremely toxic poison often goes unmentioned. Not many people realize that nicotine is also sold commercially in the form of a pesticide! And every year, many children go to the emergency room after eating cigarettes or cigarette butts. Sixty milligrams of nicotine (about the amount in three or four cigarettes if all of the nicotine were absorbed) will kill an adult, but consuming only one cigarette's worth of nicotine is enough to make a toddler severely ill!
(Ann Meeker-O'Connell. "How Nicotine Works". January 02, 2001 http://health.howstuffworks.comnicotine7.htm)
Nicotine, my old buddy and pal that gave me that little mood bump every hour or so. Wow.


  1. Well isn't that lovely. Like you it is something that I know on some level but never really thought about.

    Thanks for posting that. One more reason why I am quitting.

  2. Ack! It's so true! And I even knew somewhere in the recesses of my brain that nicotine was used as a pesticide. Yet... what's the problem? Sigh. Is it that we don't want to hear it? Or is it that it's not being said loudly enough? Maybe a little of both.

  3. Yep, always just more good reasons to be all done.

  4. The scariest chemical in cigarettes for me is benzopyrene. That's the major substance that's causing the cancer.

    I was reading about evolution in New York Times, and as usual I got really deep into it, so I ended up reading some very technical stuff on Wiki about DNA. And then I was reading about what chemicals cause most harm to DNA (which aren't many), and benzopyrene was one of them. Cigarette smoke contains a lot of it!

    After a couple of reactions, the byproduct actually untangles the DNA curled up sequence, inserts extra molecules into it, causing major discrepancies in the code...which is now a wrong code and when it begins multiplying out of control you got cancer.

    We have a gene that controls those 'crazy' cells and their division, but that gene can also get affected by this benzypyrene, that's when things go out of hand.

    ANyways, I just found it so fascinating. Our bodies are so fragile and delicate, and knowing about that simple mechanism of destruction somehow reinforced my desire to never again put any of those chemicals in my body.

  5. Well put, Stan. Even though I only get the science on a basic level, you are right that our bodies are actually fairly delicate and pretty easy to screw up with the right kind of weapon (chemical), and it is very scary what we have been putting them through over the years of smoking. And how nice to not be anymore.


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