Saturday, 8 January 2011

Experiment, day zero.

The nicotine-free Electrofag cartridges arrived today. Good timing, I had a pouch of baccy with a little bit left in the bottom and a new one, unopened.

I've finished the open pouch so now there are no tempting open pouches of baccy here. That would make it too easy to thoughtlessly roll and light one while doing something else and that would ruin the experiment. Also, packs left open will dry out and become useless. From now, I am on only nicotine-free Electrofag.

Since this is not a stop-smoking attempt, I need to define how long the experiment should last. Any antismokers will sneer and say 'See? The addict can't stop' but this is not for them. I have given up trying to provide clues for the clueless. There is no reasoning with these creatures and I will waste no more time trying.

I smoke because I like it. This experiment won't change that, it's simply to prove that the nicotine is not addictive. As when I stopped drinking caffeine, I expect to be sleepy for a few days because nicotine does give a caffeine-like buzz that keeps you awake while mysteriously relaxing you at the same time. Nicotine has an effect, yes. What I dispute is that the effect is addictive.

Nicotine withdrawal causes the same symptoms as in those 'addicted' to gambling, shopping, exercise or the Internet. 'Addictions' in which there is no active substance other than the ones in the 'addict's' own head. In the case of nicotine, I don't dispute the existence of an effect, but I say that it's the act of smoking, not the nicotine, that we are 'addicted' to. Electrofag allows me to simulate what I think is the important part while removing the part I don't believe is addictive. That is why those who decide they aren't enjoying the smoking part any more can just stop, just like that. The 'addiction' is in the act of smoking and that fails when the smoker doesn't like that part any more. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are all in the mind. They aren't real.

It's not perfect. The ritual of the rollup and the lighter will be missing. The heat of the smoke will be missing. But I can still blow smoke rings, even though it's not real smoke. I can puff away while typing, even though it's not real smoke.

This experiment, as I said, has no scientific validity. I know I am smoking no-nicotine Electrofags. There's no control group. Nobody is supervising me to check I don't cheat. It won't prove anything to anyone but me. A proper trial would supply Electrosmokers with free cartridges with or without nicotine, with nobody on the trial knowing which ones they had. It could only be done with Electrosmokers because tobacco smokers won't all take to Electrofag. What I am doing is primarily for my own edification but if I can convince smokers there's no addiction, then enforced non-smoking periods such as flights won't bother them as they don't bother me. Those who aren't enjoying it any more but keep going just because they think they are addicted will be able to stop.

I will make no attempt to convince antismokers because they are too damn stupid to consider any alternative to the bunk that fills their heads. I don't care what they think. I am not interested in discussion of any kind with them. I've tried that and all they do is swivel their eyes, shout hysterical abuse and then complain about the smell. No more discussion, antismokers. You want to call me selfish and addicted, believe what the hell you like, just keep it to yourselves.

The timing of the cartridges is doubly perfect because tonight is a Smoky-Drinky night. I will be on nicotine-free cartridges among a group of smokers. I won't tell them it's nicotine free, might even persuade one or two to try it. So this experiment starts with the harshest test possible. If I get through tonight, the rest will be easy.

I have decided to run the experiment for one week. I have five menthol and five tobacco zero-nicotine cartridges, each equivalent to about 30 smokes, which should be more than enough. No doubt I'll use it more than I would use tobacco because I can use Eletrofag in places I can't smoke. So comparing the level of use would be irrelevant. The only thing being tested here is nicotine addiction.

At the end of the week I will return to real smoking because I like it. I have, in addition to that unopened pack of baccy, a pack of five Henri Winterman's half coronas and next Friday night I will open that first. Something to look forward to.

Okay, time to get ready for Smoky-Drinky and embark upon the experiment. If tomorrow's post looks like this - AAAAAArrgggharsearsearsebuggershit - then I will have failed. We shall see.

I'll take the opportunity to give those ashtrays a long-overdue clean, too.

Last nicotine dose was a little before 7 pm. Unfortunately I didn't think to record the exact time. It doesn't matter - I'll set 7 pm next Friday as the end of experiment.

Now it's time for smoky-drinky. Back later, whisky levels permitting.


Anonymous said...

I think you're wrong. When I'm not smoking for any length of time, I get very very irritated indeed. Taking nicotine orally fixes this.

Why would taking nicotine orally fix me if it's the act of smoking I am addicted to?

Mints don't work either.

Good luck though, I do think that there is a degree of mental addiction, but it varies from person to person. I know I'm hooked.

PT Barnum said...

You've never tried the potato peel in with the dried baccy? Works a treat.

I am also from the camp of addiction. The act of smoking is deeply pleasurable, but more than four hours without some form of nicotine makes me edgy, mentally less sharp and even more prone to grumpiness than normal. But your experiment is interesting!

richard said...

l'm betting that you'll find the nicotine ones more satisfying.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that 4 years of researching the plant chemistry has quite ruined it for me.

If I can't smoke for several hours, it just doesn't bother me like it used to.

After 3 days of smoking herbals, I do feel just a little less sharp though.


Anonymous said...

You will have to fool your own mind, LI. You must convince yourself that you really, really want that ecig, and that you are really, really addicted to it!

David C said...

Your views on addictive/non addictive are very intesting. I think there is a physical craving for/addiction to cigarettes in some people at least. When I'd not smoked for a while, to smoke a single cigarette always made me crave another an hour or so later. Others could smoke occasionally and not get the same need for another.

jones said...

Take it from someone who really knows these thing. You need to use 'Nicobate Clear 24hr 21mg patches'.

They extinguish the desire to smoke...Honest..

You may need two to start with however.

Make sure it's the 'clear'.

Anonymous said...

I stopped smoking after 20+ years on cigars simply by not buying another pack (the decision was financial, not peer pressure or health Nazi-ism by the way). Even then, if there was a smokeable form of tobacco in the house, I'd have a puff, if there wasn't then I wouldn't. No shakes, sweats or raving loonie-ism, maybe a mild irritation at not having a fag, but I didn't knife the missus.

My take, based on personal experience, is that if you're an addictive personality, you'll get hooked on something - tobacco, alcohol, ketamine, internet porn, whatever. If you're not in that bracket you can take it or leave it (for any given value of 'it') and not worry. So says the man making steady progress down a bottle of OVD, but when it's gone, it's gone and I'll be sober until the next kind soul gives me a bottle in return for getting rid of their PC problems ....

smith said...

Jones said..

" Take it from someone who really knows these thing. You need to use 'Nicobate Clear 24hr 21mg patches'."

Better with the opaque patches. Put one over each eye and then you can't find your ciggies.

Good luck with the experiment LI. My mum has stopped smoking hundreds of times so it can't be that hard ;)

Captain Fatty said...

I've been told that nicotine is chemically very similar to nor-adrenaline, which is produced by the adrenal gland. In regular smokers the adrenal gland stops producing nor-adrenaline as the body is getting it from another source. When you stop smoking it takes the adrenal gland about a week or two to start producing nor-adrenaline again, hence the cravings and all that. So to work I'd suggest the elcetrofag cartridges must still be delivering some sort of chemical similar to nor-adrenaline so you don't get the cravings for fags. Do they say what are in the cartridges?


Anonymous said...

Isn’t addiction, at its heart, a very personal and individual thing? In the same way that not everybody who enjoys a drink is an alcoholic, neither is everyone who enjoys a smoke a nicotine/smoking addict. Isn’t it also a possibility that there are some people who are addicted to nicotine, some who are addicted to the act of smoking, some who are addicted to both, and some who are addicted to neither? From my own experience, and those of people I know, I’m convinced that this is the case.

Which rather makes a mockery of the anti-smoking movement’s insistence that the only reason any people smoke, ever, is because they are addicted to nicotine. It also probably explains why their much-beloved NRT has such a woeful success rate – because it starts from the premise of a lie which simply doesn’t address the reasons why large numbers of people smoke in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I stopped for two years then lit a fag for a mate with sewage on his gloves and off I went again.

Thirty five years ago I stopped again. I was on 60 a day--Senior Service--if I recall correctly plain not tipped, except when in company. Then I smoked Capstan Full Strength because people didn't cadge those off me.
I stopped because I kept catching my 4 year old mimicking my smoking actions using crayons and a Lego brick as a lighter.

After ten years I suddenly realized I had stopped absent-mindedly reaching for my fags and lighter when concentrating on something. Or reaching for them as soon as my eyes opened in the morning.

I have no idea if it is addictive but it sure as hell is very very very very habit forming and I found relaxing as well.

I wonder what I've done with the money I saved.

Anonymous said...

Some years ago, I did experience 3 days of something that might be considered withdrawal when I swapped from pre-mades to plain tobacco, which puzzled me.

I still haven't worked that one out.


Anonymous said...

I agree with the anonymous poster who made the following comment :-

"Isn’t addiction, at its heart, a very personal and individual thing?"

I'm not certain, but in my own case, I seem to enjoy the pleasurable sensation in the throat/lung when I draw/inhale the tobacco smoke from my preferred cigarette brand. This seems to be the principal reason why I enjoy smoking. I'm not convinced that nicotine is responsible for this although I would not be prepared to rule it out either.

Interestingly enough, I do not like the flavour of American cigarettes (such as Marlboro) and I suspect that I would stop smoking if all cigarettes tasted like this. I do however realise that other individuals prefer the taste of Marlboro and that this taste preference varies greatly between individuals.

I do not find nicotine gum or lozenges helpful in relieving the frustration of not being able to smoke on something like a lengthy 7 or 8 hour airline flight. I usually want to assasinate the nearest "ASH" employee during times such as these. Another thing here is that the nicotine in lozenges and gum seems to have a nasty "bitter" taste which is quite unpleasant.

For the last 4-5 months, I have been using the "e-go" electronic cigarette and have settled on two liquid flavours (Banana and Mango) in the 16mg nicotine strength. Throughout most of this time I have smoked regular cigarettes and only occasionally used the e-cigarette. Recently this has changed, because I am now able to receive a pleasurable throat/lung sensation from the e-go. I suspect there are a few reasons for this such as buying a better e-cigarette model (e-go), finding more acceptable e-liquid flavours and becoming more adept at using the e-cigarette device. The pleasure I currently get from vaping is now much closer to that of smoking a real cigarette. I did not expect this and it has resulted in my real cigarette consumption dropping down from 20 to 10 per day.

I find the experiment of Leggy to be very interesting and look forward to hearing details of his results. Like the previous anonymous poster, I do however remain convinced that individual reasons for smoking tobacco vary enormously and cannot be explained away entirely by nicotine addiction. I may order some "nicotine free" e-liquid myself if I can get the right flavours and will post back here with details of my experience.

Expat Brit living in Canada.

Anonymous said...

"Another thing here is that the nicotine in lozenges and gum seems to have a nasty "bitter" taste which is quite unpleasant."

That's because nicotine is an alkaloid that the plant makes to stop animals wanting to eat it, because its so bitter.

The symptoms of raw nicotine are -

"nausea, vomiting, weakness, and dizziness and sometimes fluctuations in blood pressure or heart rate"

Which is the reason why for thousands of years people have had the good sense to set fire to it or processed it in some other way.

Only anti-tobacco and the drugs companies insist that the raw nicotine remains unchanged.

Nicotinic acid
Organic Syntheses, Coll. Vol. 1, p.385 (1941); Vol. 4, p.49 (1925).

How to make niacin/nicotinic acid from nicotine without setting fire to it.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for the information on why nicotine tastes bitter. This is also noticeable in high nicotine e-liquid. I find anything above the 16mg strength level tastes unpleasant.

Expat Brit living in Canada

Anonymous said...

All plants have to protect themselves, and often the flavour of the plant's own natural pesticide is the very bit we like.

Capsaicin is the material that makes chili peppers hot.

"It can be used on ornamentals outdoors and indoors for control of aphids, spider mites, thrips, whitefly, lace bugs, leafhoppers, and other pests."

It only becomes a problem when someone wants to do a bit of scaremongering and gives you only the bit of the information they want you to know.

Capsaicin.LD50.Lethal dose,50 percent kill.Oral.Rodent-mice.190 mg/kg.


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