Collecting my attempts to improve at tech, art, and life

Two Weeks Without Cigarettes

Tags: personal marginalia

I stopped smoking cigarettes two weeks ago. For now I vape instead. Time to put down some notes about what other habits I had to adjust.

Drink plenty of water

This one’s pretty much a universal caution with the cigarette -> vape transition. Propylene Glycol, a common ingredient in vape juice, is hygroscopic. It holds onto water, keeping your body from absorbing as much.

For folks that aren’t vaping, just about anything will avoid dehydration: coffee, tea, sugary drinks, maybe a little alcohol. A healthy body can compensate for their diuretic or hygroscopic properties in moderation. It has to be water for me thanks to Propylene Glycol. I can have the others if I want, but I better keep it light and should still keep plain old water handy.

Careful with the caffeine

While I’m on the subject of drinking: I drink lots of coffee. I accompanied my first cup of the day with the heaviest smoking. All that caffeine affects me more now that I consume less nicotine.

The impact of caffeine use on tobacco cessation and withdrawal:

Continuous caffeine consumption with smoking cessation has been associated with more than doubled caffeine plasma levels. Such concentrations may be sufficient to produce caffeine toxicity symptoms in smoking abstinence conditions.

A few cups of good coffee and I’m just about grinding my teeth now. So maybe I’ll cut down on the bean.

Careful with the alcohol

If you’re vaping, maybe don’t leave the vape pen at home in a fit of overconfidence when you go out for drinks. Turns out there’s a correlation between drinking and smoking urges. So you’ll be sitting there staring out the window at all those happy drunks with a smoke in their hands, with you feeling and possibly behaving ever so unpleasantly.

I was, anyways.

My new rule is to never leave home without my pen, until I’m ready to drop the vape habit as well.

Add the hydration issue from alcohol or sugary drinks or sugary alcohol drinks? Yeesh. All the rules for healthy people about consuming in moderation apply even more strictly right now.

Careful with the social media

My smoke break routine involved checking Twitter, Facebook, etc for the day’s good memes and bad news. Initially I carried this habit over to vaping to maintain my rituals. It occurs to me that withdrawal, chemical interactions, and breaking old habits has me anxious enough. Maybe it’s not that important to find out what horrible things happened to the world in the last hour or so.

For now I’m keeping with a ritual of reading, but starting today I choose books instead. I like it so far. Man’s Search for Meaning isn’t exactly light and perky, but it’s more helpful than the news.

Careful with the timeline assumptions

Last night was pretty rough. All the anxiety and disorientation that happened in the first few days of previous attempts to quit smashed into me after a couple deceptively mild weeks. I still have a chunk of that anxiety and disorientation now, twelve hours later.

I dug around on the Web and found the occasional forum post suggesting that the surprise crash a few weeks in is pretty common, even for folks who switch from cigarette to ecig.

About 3 weeks in these symptoms hit me pretty hard.It felt like I was in a haze and just couldnt concentrate. I’m no doctor but my guess is it’s the 3999 other chemicals in cigarettes leaving our bodies for good. In 25 years of smoking, I wouldnt be surprised if I had bult up quite an excess of them.

The good news it that it passed after a week or two and I feel better than ever at 6 months. I just finished my first ever 5k…ended up walking most of it…but 10 years I wouldnt have been able to finish so it’s still a victory.

Hang in there man, youve made it this far and after this bump in the road it will get easier.

That’s why I’m writing this post: it’s a collection of things I learned while trying to figure out what the heck happened last night. Recognizing the situational prompts helped. Nicotine interacts with the body and what you consume in ways I didn’t think about, so breaking that habit can have unexpected challenges even if you keep a nicotine withdrawal infographic in easy reach.

I’ll take the words of Vaping Master zapped to heart and hang in there. A little better informed now, though.

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Added to vault 2024-01-15. Updated on 2024-05-02