I have been in the process of quitting smoking now for about three years. I used to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. I did that for about 23 years. Now I have quit cold turkey several times, but I always go back to the awful habit.
For the past few years I have only smoked a couple of cigarettes a day. I light one up, take one puff and then put it back out. That way one cigarette lasts me quite a long time. You’d think that I would be able to quit by now.
It seems like the two cigarettes a day pretty much squelch my nicotine cravings and my oral fixation. The gum just doesn’t work. I end up smoking my two cigarettes on top of chewing the gum.
When I try to quit cold turkey, I really get anxious and start craving a cigarette. That’s why I was surprised to find out that the latest research says that smokers who are in the process of quitting are a lot happier, not miserable like you would expect. According to Medical News Today:
“It appears to be a myth that giving up smoking most likely makes you miserable. Brown University researchers found that those who were in the process of quitting smoking were never happier. Their study appears in an article in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.”
The conventional wisdom states that one of the reasons that people use tobacco products is that it relieves stress and calms them down, and they become miserable and depressed when deprived of the product. It only abates when all of the nicotine gets out of their systems. Nicotine is a drug and withdrawing from it is like any other drug. It has been said that it is as addictive as heroin.
But the authors of the study found different. Even if the smokers only quit for a short period, they reported feeling much less depressed. Out of the more than 200 smokers that were studied, 26 reported that they never experienced any change in mood, whether positive or negative.
But on the reverse side, the smokers who quit and then started up again right away reported that their mood darkened considerably after they started smoking again. 99 of the smokers failed to quit even for a short period. They reported that they were the most unhappy of all the subgroups in the study.
I have a friend who recently quit smoking because she was having a lot of digestive problems. Quitting smoking has not only helped her physical symptoms, but I see a really big change in her mood, and she has always been a sort of depressed person.
So maybe if I succeed in quitting altogether, the brightening of my mood will compensate for the withdrawal symptoms of the nicotine. Who knows, but it might be worth a try. And it’s better than taking antidepressants.