Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Questions for addicts.

The Daily Pitchfork now has the story of the free pack of stick-on cigarettes provided by the NHS. As usual, they have hyped it to ridiculous levels and set off some choice nutters in the comments.

A couple of questions for those convinced they are addicted. First, a line from the article:

The week's worth of patches give smokers a gradual release of nicotine through the skin enabling them to get their 'fix' without the cancer-causing substances such as tar and carbon monoxide found in cigarettes.
As people become less addicted, they gradually use less stronger patches until they don't need to wear any at all.

(The spelling and grammar is all the Mail's. I'm not paid to proofread their semi-literate gabblings.)

Right. So you think you're addicted to nicotine because you have to have a 'fix' from a cigarette at intervals. Then you stick on a patch that delivers that 'fix' not intermittently, like a cigarette, but continuously. How, in that case, can you become 'less addicted' to the substance you're addicted to, if it's no longer an intermittent fix but a permanent high?

That's like trying to wean someone off heroin by providing them with a permanent supply via a drip. Will that work? Surely, if you give a nicotine addict a permanent nicotine fix, the next stage is not to apply a weaker patch but to start applying two patches. That is what an addict would do. Have you ever known a 'nicotine addict' do that?

Second, a comment from Deranged of Tonbridge Wells. Oh no, wait, it's from -

annie, devon, 28/12/2010 16:00

Patches worked for me - I thought they were brilliant - I tried will power, cold turkey, acupuncture, hypnosis. Went from 60 a day to none in a matter of weeks. Going cold turkey made me weep, scream etc etc - it was horrendous.

There is a myth I'd like to try and dispel about stopping smoking however - we are made to believe - consciously and sub-consciously by the cigarette manufacturers - that it is a really really difficult thing to do - trust me - once the nicotine leaves your body, which it does in a few days, it's not that bad.... it really isn't. Go for it...

So the patches worked for Annie because they kept her from gibbering until the nicotine left her body. Didn't she read what the patches do? They provide a continuous supply of nicotine to the body. It never left! Yet the patches 'cured her addiction to nicotine'. They did this by keeping her nicotine levels at chain-smoker constancy. Does that make sense?

Oh and Annie, should you happen by, think hard about who is telling you it's really really difficult to stop smoking. Think for a moment. It's not the tobacco companies who are calling you an addict, is it? No, it's the ones selling you the bloody patches. Please try to make the connection.

Annie didn't break an addiction. She broke a habit using a placebo. She believed she was addicted to nicotine so she displayed, on command, all the symptoms she was told to expect when she tried to stop. Then she believed that the patches cured her nicotine addiction because while she was wearing them and not smoking, the nicotine left her body even though the patches kept pumping it in faster than she could have smoked it. This is a level of doublethink that would make Big Brother proud.

Everyone who believes themselves addicted and who tries to just stop experiences the same symptoms. The same ones listed on the stop-smoking literature. Always the same.

Here's the missing sentence from the middle of Annie's comment:

Good for you, all you smugos, who are so righteous about people's lack of will power - when will you ever realise that everyone is different!!

Everyone is different, and yet everyone reacts in the same way to nicotine withdrawal. Everyone follows the instructions.

Is that addiction? Or is that just really clever marketing?

Oh, and what happened to all that 'nicotine residues are deadly' research? Why does that not apply to the patches?

You know what will be cruelly amusing? Someone turning up for a job interview, announcing that they are not a smoker, then getting a cotinine test and being called a liar. Because they believe, like Annie, that patches let the nicotine leave the body.

The addiction is a lie. If you want to stop, just stop. There are no withdrawal symptoms. You'll miss the habit for a while but if you're stopping because you aren't enjoying it, that won't last long at all.

First you have to believe that you are not addicted. Then those psychosomatic symptoms just vanish.

Break the conditioning. That's the hard part.


Anonymous said...

US ruling turns smokers into junkies
13 August 1994

"Nicotine is addictive, a panel of experts on drug abuse decided last week.
The decision leaves the door open for the US Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco as it does other addictive substances.

Over the past few months, the FDA's commissioner, David Kessler, has been campaigning for tobacco to be regulated in the same way as many other drugs.

To do so legally, he must demonstrate that nicotine is a powerful drug, and that the tobacco companies depend on nicotine's addictiveness to keep smokers smoking."

Without that ruling, I doubt that things could have gone as far as they have.

It removes the concept of free will from any discussion, and leaves those so designated,to all official intents and purposes, mute.


Dioclese said...

I was an 80 a day man and gave it up when they hit £2 a pack because spending £60 a week on fags seemed silly at the time.

I was lucky because I had no withdrawal pangs at all. I did it all by sheer will power.

My view is that if people want to smoke that is up to them. I'm not one who will condemn them for doing it nor will I take a holier than thou attitude because I quit. Nothing is more annoying than an evengelical ex-smoker!

Leg-iron said...

Rose - indeed, it means we can be classed as 'mentally ill' and therefore our opinions are the ramblings of the unhinged.

Commenters like Annie in that mail article don't exactly help us dispel that myth, unfortunately.

There's also the current push to make smoking into something that only the mentally ill do.

We're up against some really evil people here.

Leg-iron said...

Dioclese -as before, it's becoming clear that the Born-Again Antis are those who were forced to quit and resent it.

Those who stop on their own, through their own choice, tend to be tolerant of other smokers.

So the NHS/ASH 'You Vill Qvit!' approach merely produces more venomous people to carry their cause.

Damn, those Cybermen and Borg stories were prophetic!

Anonymous said...

We are indeed LI

One useful thing I've noticed is that having had one success they tend to repeat the pattern.
Which at least makes them predictable.

How the Food Makers Captured Our Brains

"As head of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. David A. Kessler served two presidents and battled Congress and Big Tobacco. But the Harvard-educated pediatrician discovered he was helpless against the forces of a chocolate chip cookie.

"When it comes to stimulating our brains, Dr. Kessler noted, individual ingredients aren’t particularly potent.

But by combining fats, sugar and salt in innumerable ways, food makers have essentially tapped into the brain’s reward system, creating a feedback loop that stimulates our desire to eat and leaves us wanting more and more even when we’re full."

"Dr. Kessler isn’t convinced that food makers fully understand the neuroscience of the forces they have unleashed, but food companies certainly understand human behavior, taste preferences and desire."


Leg-iron said...

Rose - unleashing mighty forces they cannot control? That is not the job of food producers, it's a scientist demarcation!

Along with meddling with dangerous things we don't understand and tampering with the very fabric of life itself. There will be muttering at the Mad Scientist Union over this.

Well, okay, there's always muttering but this time it will be almost coherent.

Those food guys should stick to their jobs and leave the meddling, tampering and unleashing to the scientists.

We are fully trained in the art of saying 'Whoops'.

Simon Cooke said...

I was given free patches by a nice nurse at the doctor's surgery. Wore them for a week - awful, have never felt so high. The excess nicotine hit was overwhelming nearly made me ill.

So I din't use them, stopped attending the smoking clinic and gave up by the simple approach of not smoking anymore. Haven't smoked other than on no smoking day) for 5 years.

The doctor doesn't know however - still tell him I'm a smoker!


Leg-iron said...

I look forward to No Smoking Day. It's the day I always buy a big cigar.

Anonymous said...

"The excess nicotine hit was overwhelming nearly made me ill."

I'm not a bit surprised.

Jarvik and Rose inventors of the nicotine patch.

"When the researchers could not get approval to run experiments on any subjects, Jarvik, in an article in UCLA Magazine, said they decided to test their idea on themselves.

"We put the tobacco on our skin and waited to see what would happen," Jarvik recalled. "Our heart rates increased, adrenaline began pumping, all the things that happen to smokers."

They were researching Green Tobacco Sickness at the time, so they knew the symptoms.

"Green tobacco sickness (GTS) is an illness resulting from dermal exposure to dissolved nicotine from wet tobacco leaves; it is characterized by nausea, vomiting, weakness, and dizziness and sometimes fluctuations in blood pressure or heart rate"

And promptly exhibited them.
Though it would be impossible to balance enough tobacco on their arms, to even get near that effect.

Mental Stress Induces Transient Endothelial Dysfunction in Humans
"These findings suggest that brief episodes of mental stress, similar to those encountered in everyday life, may cause transient (up to 4 hours) endothelial dysfunction in healthy young individuals."

As they also missed out the crucial "transformation by fire" the resulting patches are based on the fearful imaginings of a neversmoker, on what smoking must be like.


Leg-iron said...

Blogger's spam filter is playing silly buggers again.

Sorry about the delay, Rose. I had to get your comment back out of Blogger's black hole.

Anonymous said...

Thanks LI,
I thought it must have been eaten.

So, are the medical profession inadvertantly poisoning us?

Looks like it to me.

Nicotine patches may boost intensive care risk

"The team examined the intensive care records of 224 smokers, half of which received NRT, mostly via skin patches.

Surprisingly, they found that 18 of the patients on NRT died, compared with just three of the smokers that did not receive nicotine.
Also, the average duration of an ICU stay for patients given nicotine was 24.4 hours, about 2 hours longer than their cold-turkey counterparts.

"We have to be aware that we may be doing some harm [by giving patients NRT]," Afessa warns."

"Many of the ICU patients in the trial died of multiple organ failure."

That's the problem with "medicine" based on ancient propaganda and popular belief.

Let's see if it liked that comment better.

Anonymous said...

"At the moment this pack [the Quit Kit] only contains items such as a good luck postcard and a elastic band-type toy to help keep their hands occupied and a card with the 'stop smoking' helpline number." LOL, you couldn't make etc

The article goes on to say that books of vouchers for gyms and swimming pools are to be handed out in ASDA. So the spotty yoof on the checkout is now qualified to assess whether you need to be losing a few.

I'm almost speechless.


proglodyte said...

"Think for a moment. It's not the tobacco companies who are calling you an addict, is it? No, it's the ones selling you the bloody patches. Please try to make the connection."

Spot on LI.

Story of Nu-Lab and Nu-Con - create a scare, then exploit it.

By the way, if you visit my blog - don't laugh, I will get it off the ground...

The only featured video is sort of relevant to the pub trade.

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