It’s long been believed that smoking causes heart disease and lung cancer.
I don’t believe that it is as straightforward as this.
For example, people who smoke tend to be unhealthy in other ways.
They tend to eat more fried foods and to eat fewer fruits and vegetables,.
Many people who smoke do not pay attention to their health the way other people do.
Also, cigarettes contain many additives and ingredients.
Some are added to make them burn slowly, and to make them go out when you leave them in the ashtray.
Some of the additives are added to make the cigarette last longer, others for fire safety.
The same can be said for cigars, and for vaping.
So there are a few other factors that could be affecting a smoker’s health beyond cigarettes.
Be that as it may, people who heavily smoke cigarettes do have a higher rate of death from heart attack.
This is called myocardial infarction.
So a lot of pressure is put on people to quit smoking.
But what if you have been a heavy smoker, and then quit?
Is the damage still done?
And I’ve noticed that people who smoke feel so guilty about it, that the guilt creates more stress… and often perpetuates the smoking.
Why is that?
Smoking seems like such a self-destructive behavior that the idea that you’re destroying your body is very stressful.
And in these cases, the human brain often thinks “why should I quit now?”
The person thinks “the damage is already being done, and stopping now probably isn’t going to fix anything.”
So the smoker’s brain must be convinced that quitting actually will fix something.
And we found the study to show them that quitting will do plenty to help them.
This study shows that once someone quits, within two years, it’s as if they never smoked at all.
The results suggest that the risk of myocardial infarction in cigarette smokers decreases within a few years of quitting to a level similar to that in men who have never smoked.
I think this is an important study to reassure people who smoke tons of cigarettes.
If they quit, they’ll be fine.
But to quit successfully, a smoker needs to find something to replace the cigarette.
What I mean is that the cigarette is actually doing something that the smoker likes.
They see it as a stress relief.
And to quit successfully, something else has to relieve that stress in a positive way.
One thing I’ve noticed about smoking is that even people who quit still like to have a cigarette now and then.
And there’s a reason for this, it has to do with the primary effect of nicotine.
The nicotine in tobacco is what prompts the desire to smoke.
Nicotine increases dopamine in the brain.
Dopamine is the “reward hormone.”
The increased dopamine raises the mood, and that a higher mood is recalled even years or decades after someone quit smoking.
As this study shows:
These effects of nicotine resemble those of a reward like food except that nicotine-induced release of dopamine does not undergo single-trial, long-lasting habituation.
If you’re going to smoke, don’t smoke a lot.
Smoke now and then, every day may even be okay, but don’t smoke all day.
And if you’re going to smoke to enjoy the effects of nicotine, try something like cigars, or vaping, as opposed to cigarettes.
With cigarettes, you’re getting carbon monoxide, which is quite toxic.
You’re also inhaling a host of other chemicals into your lungs and your body.
With vaping, you can choose what chemicals you’re going to put into your body.
You can restrict it to safe chemicals if you choose your appliance and juices carefully.
And with cigars, as well as vaping, you could derive tremendous pleasure and enjoyment, even from doing it maybe just once a day.
Once a day seems sensible because you’re not creating a tolerance in the brain.
The nicotine raises dopamine levels in the brain reliably this way.
And remember, one of the benefits of smoking is that smokers are much less likely to get diseases such as prostate inflammation and Parkinson’s.
So there are actual health benefits of nicotine.
In fact, nicotine is an incredibly powerful anti-estrogenic compound.
This study demonstrates that smoking exerts a powerful inducing effect of estradiol metabolism, which is likely to lead to decreased bio-availability at estrogen target tissues.
In other words, it’s speeding up the metabolism of the estradiol, so you don’t have excess estrogen in your body.
We’ve discussed the dangers of excess estrogen, and reducing it can only be a good thing.
So there is another reason to consider occasional use of nicotine in a safe manner.
Nicotine is anti-estrogenic.
Role of dopamine in the behavioral actions of nicotine related to addiction
Increased 2-Hydroxylation of Estradiol as a Possible Mechanism for the Anti-Estrogenic Effect of Cigarette Smoking