This photo of a smoker working is of Martin (Marty) Rosen from the UK. Marty at last broke free in 2000. Missed concentration? No. Marty totally fell in love with being free. He became one of the most giving and longest serving volunteers at Freedom, WhyQuit's original support group.
"Back then a cigarette did help me concentrate on my work, because it stopped the distraction of my nicotine craving and allowed my brain the freedom to operate," says Marty.
"But it didn't last long. Fifteen minutes later I needed another cigarette, then another. A long report could demand half a pack," recalls Marty. "Then I found a better way."
"No smokes, no craves, no artificial aids needed to concentrate - just a nice, clear, unaddicted brain able to concentrate without chemical infusions," recalls Marty. "A report which used to take me 90 minutes now took half the time and I could write them without having to open the office window."
"Were the reports any better? You'll have to ask the customers they were written for. But did I feel better when I finished a report? Oh, yes!"
Although nicotine is undeniably a stimulant that activates fight or flight pathways and excites certain brain regions, it's also a super toxin that constricts blood vessels and promotes artery hardening. While a stimulant, so is a minute or two of physical activity.
If smoked, large quantities of carbon monoxide and other toxins combine with nicotine to slowly destroy brain gray and white matter. And don't forget that concentration can be eliminated entirely by a nicotine-induced stroke, early dementia or a tobacco-induced death.
And, as Marty relates, where's the intellectual honesty is suggesting that constantly being interrupted by an endless cycle of wanting and urges, while pausing to refuel, aids concentration?
As an excited Turkeyville newbie posted this morning, "I just finished programming for 4 hours straight with full concentration and forgot totally about nicotine. I don't remember the last time I did this."
Not only did wanting and urges break concentration while using, skipping breakfast or lunch during withdrawal impairs concentration by causing blood sugar to plummet. Experiencing this low blood sugar induced sense of mind fog helped reinforce the false belief that use aids concentration.
Avoid low blood sugar concentration impairment by sipping on natural fruit juice the first three days. Cranberry juice is excellent. Also, try not to skip meals for the first few weeks. It isn't necessary to eat more food but to learn to spread our normal calorie intake out more evenly over the day, so as to keep blood sugars as stable as possible.
Yes, where's the self-honesty in calling constantly interrupted concentration concentration? Protect your ability to concentrate. Fresh air, stretching or a bit of activity are vastly healthier stimulants.