Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fighter! Day 16 Smoke-Free / Chantix Day 28

I've reached a milestone of sorts. I'm into my 3rd week not smoking, and yesterday I picked up my Chantix refill, which means it's been one month since I decided to really try this quitting smoking thing again seriously. (It's actually just over 2 months if you count time between calling and getting the soonest appointment a month out and then waiting a few days to get enrolled in the smoking cessation plan in order to have the Chantix covered - fortunately paying only $15 for each 1 month box of Chantix, so I'm not complaining, I'm just saying...). Anyway, it's progress.

Today Chantix's GetQuit program mentioned something I believed from experience to be true and remembered hearing about on the news several months back, as well. It's harder to quit smoking menthols. They are no more or no less dangerous than non-menthols but harder to quit. For me, they just simply tasted better. When I've been quit before, having a puff of a non-menthol tasted like ass, but menthol still tasted more "fresh and clean" (even if it wasn't) to me. When I'd be so sick with a cold that I *really* had no business smoking, the menthol would actually soothe my cough for awhile - before giving me that full on coughing fit of a smoker and exacerbating the very problem it briefly pretended to fix. Just another neat little trick by the tobacco people who have no qualms about adding poison to their products if it ensures a steady customer base. And to think I always thought it was the crazies who were the ones that ran around trash talking the tobacco companies for their evil practices because after all, smokers like me knew what I was ingesting (so very and so sadly so wrong I was). Anyway, there are several articles about this, but this article (page one and page two) has some particularly disturbing things to read for someone like me quitting menthols after 20+ years:

From page two:

Researchers found that menthol cigarettes are not necessarily more dangerous than non-menthol cigarettes, but that menthols are harder to quit.

Those smokers who preferred menthol cigarettes were less likely to have quit smoking after 15 years.

By the year 2000, 15 years after the CARDIA study began, 69 percent of the menthol smokers were still smoking, compared to 54 percent of the people who had originally preferred non-menthol cigarettes.

Menthol smokers were also more likely to relapse after successfully quitting. Researchers think menthol works through a variety of biological pathways in the body and brain--and that these biological actions might make menthol cigarettes harder to kick.

Reading this and having quit in the past for as long as even over a year only to start smoking again made me feel like this time I need to be be stronger, work harder, and be wiser (cue Christina Aguilera's "Fighter"). I know my enemy better this time. I'm prepared to keep fighting. Even if the Chantix does make quitting easier, quitting smoking is still tough enough that having to do all of this all over yet again someday would really suck. One day at a time, I just refuse to let those bastards win by smoking. Oh, and it's better for me, too.


  1. Maggie, I actually switched to menthols for a while last year, but then my friend told me that the added menthol causes micro abrasions all along your throat, trachea, and lungs. That's when I stopped right away. But that's insane to know that menthols are harder to kick. Really good to know!

  2. Good luck with your battle against cigarettes. I don't smoke, but I know people who do and I've seen what a battle it is to quit. I wish you success and good health.

  3. I always heard that menthols were worse for you because they used fiberglass to make the menthol flavor. Anyway, I used to smoke them and switched to ultra-lights that were nasty a while back

  4. Yes! I'm excited! I have a feeling it'll be good, except the first day or two after you lower the dosage. But hey, I'm still getting 1.5 mg of Chantix a day. Let's see how it'll be when I'm down to 0.5! :)

  5. Hi, I came across your blog because I was googling info about what the side effects of quiting are.I quit a little over 3 weeks ago as well using chantix. My side effect from that are less sleep and crazy dreams, and also I am a little ditsier than usual. But I have felt like I have allergies for 2 weeks(cough and stuffy,and drippy) and it doesn't feel like a normal cold and it comes and goes.I guess this is normal. Let me know if you have had these symptoms. I smoked menthols for the last 7 years and regular lights for 12 years. I heard that menthols are harder to kick as well, but I can tell you that menthols do not have fiberglass. I knew someone that worked for American Spirit Cigarettes who explained that this was never true but that menthol cigarettes don't even have methol. It's other chemicals that make that flavor. In any case, I just want to say that I was so addicted to nicotine and if I can do this, then you can too! Don't give up! Donnan in San Francisco

  6. Donnan, I haven't really had any of the cold-like symptoms at all. You are right that menthols do not contain fiberglass - as bad as they are, some of the myths about menthol just are not true. Glad to hear that you are also smoke-free on Chantix! Keep going!


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