Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home


Chapter 4: Use Rationalizations

Topics:  Inventing | One | Stress | Friend | Like | Little | Flavor | Coffee | Concentration | Boredom | Pleasure | Choice | Habit | Friendless | Healthy | Can't | Demons | Weight | Safer | Alcohol

"I'd gain weight and that's just as dangerous"

An animated gif of a pig engaged in non-stop eating

Let me ask you this. Pick wisely. If your choices were tomorrow developing that first cancerous cell in your lungs, brain or pancreas, or an extra inch in your waist, which would you pick?

How many cancer causing chemicals will be in your next bite of food? Hopefully, none.

This intellectual use rationalization pre-assumes substantial weight gain and then makes an erroneous judgment regarding relative risks.

First, recovery does not generate the "bulk" of cessation weight gain, eating does.

Long term, if unaddressed, metabolic changes and appetite suppression will account for a few extra kilograms/pounds (an average of 4 kg or 8.8 lbs). But you'd need to gain an additional 34 kilograms or 75 pounds in order to equal the health risks associated with smoking one pack-a-day.[1]

The more immediate concern is that nicotine stimulates the same brain dopamine pathways as food.[2] It's also true that it is common for the uneducated new ex-user to reach for food as a dopamine pathway stimulation replacement crutch.

While it can take up to 3 weeks for millions of extra nicotine fed dopamine pathway receptors to down-regulate to levels seen in never-users, it's also true that extra food use while waiting to feel normal again can add demoralizing pounds, while at the same time establishing horrible new eating patterns.

But that's the uneducated new ex-user. You're smarter than that.

You know in advance that a few weeks of elevated dopamine pathway wanting is coming.

You know you can pre-cut low-cal fresh veggies (cauliflower, squash, celery, cucumbers, broccoli, radishes, bell peppers, carrots) and make them as available in a bowl of chilling water as a bag of candy, cookies or chips. Alternatively, you know that temporarily increasing your daily activity will aid in keeping weight gain to a minimum.

You also know that a nice cool glass of water, a big hug, or a deep deep breath stimulates the release of dopamine too.

You're too smart to allow a navigable fear to keep you from meeting "you."

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1. Whelan, Elizabeth M. A Smoking Gun: How the American Tobacco Industry Gets Away With Murder, June 1984
2. Tang DW, et al, Food and drug cues activate similar brain regions: A meta-analysis of functional MRI studies, Physiology and Behavior, June 6, 2012, Volume 106(3), Pages 317-324.

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Page created June 16, 2015 and last updated March 20, 2019 by John R. Polito