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  1. #1
    Senior Member dauphin's Avatar
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    Recovering Smokers

    It has always been curious to me that people who are considered alcoholics can stop drinking for years and years and yet still be called alcoholics. When it comes to people who once smoked, it seems the same characterization is not applied. At least it seems that way to me. If you smoked....how long did you have to smoke to be considered a smoker, a week, a month, a year, or years? If you smoked for a long time and managed to kick the habit, do you still feel the residual effects of smoking? If you were able to stop, how long did it take before you felt measurably better? If you are over 50 and smoked for 20-30 years, it seems like that would be quite a bit of abuse to overcome.

  2. #2
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    I smoked from age 13 to age 33, and quite a bit, too. I still feel the effects in my chest, and am now so allergic to it that any small amount of second hand smoke has me coughing, gives me a headache, and makes my eyes and sinuses swell shut. Unfortunately, I am exposed to it at work almost daily.

  3. #3
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    I smoked for over 30 years from about 13 years old to 45 years old. I am now 48 and having quit I do not feel any real lingering issues from it. I breathe a lot better now and have a lot more energy.

    The cool part is that I do not have any cravings for cigarettes. The smell of them is really bad to me now.

  4. #4
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    I smoked heavily until age 25, when I found it was noticeably cutting down my hill climbing ability. (Until then I used to beat everyone up the hills and catch a smoke while they caught up).

    I loved tobacco, and would smoke again today if I could do so on a very limited basis without succumbing to the addiction. (Even if the limited amount caused small health problems.) But 33 years later, I still know that I don't have the ability to control it without complete abstinence.

    So analagous to alcoholic, I guess I'm still a smokaholic, but not a smoker anymore.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    I smoked a lot from age 18-32 (which means I stopped 23 years ago!). It took me a year or two to quit - false starts (or should I say false stops) and sneaking cigarettes in the office - back when everyone smoked. It took me about five years before the cravings really left for good; now I can't imagine how I did it. I can't help but wonder what things would have been like if I was cycling then like I am now.

    It's absolutely an addiction.

  6. #6
    Banned
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    I smoked for about 30 years...quit cold turkey 10 years ago

    When I was an insurance broker, a person was considered to be smoke-free if they had abstained for 1 year...if they had only one cigarette during the past 12 months, they were considered a smoker for insurance purposes

    BUT...our medical underwriters claimed that the damage done by smoking was irreversable...once a smoker, you would always have some physical carryover from the habit...thing like tooth loss, blood pressure, heart, respiratory problems, and an above average probability to get cancer.

    So, once a smoker, always a smoker

  7. #7
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dauphin
    It has always been curious to me that people who are considered alcoholics can stop drinking for years and years and yet still be called alcoholics. When it comes to people who once smoked, it seems the same characterization is not applied.
    While there is some controversy around this (and I'm not trying to create such in this fourm), and as one who can say I've been sober for eight years, there is a political element to this. Some would argue that alcoholism is not a disease (just google "alcoholism not a disease" and you'll get lots of sites with this perspective). Within this element there are those who would point out that alcoholism became a disease when there was money to be made in its "treatment". Conversely, the tobacco industry has been very powerful in lobbying law makers. Hence, making smoking a disease was much less likely to happen. (The views presented here are not necessarily the same as mine.)


    Quote Originally Posted by dauphin
    If you smoked....how long did you have to smoke to be considered a smoker, a week, a month, a year, or years? If you smoked for a long time and managed to kick the habit, do you still feel the residual effects of smoking? If you were able to stop, how long did it take before you felt measurably better? If you are over 50 and smoked for 20-30 years, it seems like that would be quite a bit of abuse to overcome.
    I smoked for 10 years, quit for three, smoked again for five, and quit again over 20 years ago. Have been smoke free since then. I found little difference in quiting smoking and drinking... both were hard. Given my smoking started when I was 15, I can't help but wonder what impact this has had on my overall lung capacity. Was I able to reach my genetic potential? Am I still paying a price? I don't really know. I do know that for me life is better now that I have a cycling addiction/disease!
    Last edited by NOS88; 09-19-06 at 09:39 PM.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  8. #8
    Streetfire HopedaleHills's Avatar
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    My name's Tim and I'm a smokaholic. There are places on the web where you can get data on the recovery after quitting, the body is actually pretty remarkable if no permanent damage was done. A couple I remember are:

    The carbon monoxide is gone from your bloodstream 4 hrs after your last smoke.
    Nicotine is gone after 3 days
    Your lungs repair themselves in about 1 1/2 years.

    I quit about a year ago but did not bike when I smoked so I can't make a comparison. However, I strongly feel that I could not ride 50 miles or climb the single tracks I do if I still smoked. And yeah, I still want one almost everyday..
    Tim
    Singing Do Wah Ditty, Ditty Dum Ditty Do

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88
    I do know that for me life is better now that I have a cycling addiction/disease!
    +1

    Well said, I know for myself I don't think I've really conquered my personal tendencies toward addiction, I've just channeled them into something far more healthy.

    But sometimes when I find myself cleaning the bike at 2:00 AM, I begin to wonder whether this new "addiction" is really benign

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mhendricks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pman
    I smoked for over 30 years from about 13 years old to 45 years old. I am now 48 and having quit I do not feel any real lingering issues from it. I breathe a lot better now and have a lot more energy.

    The cool part is that I do not have any cravings for cigarettes. The smell of them is really bad to me now.
    You just told my story. On the issue of always being an alcoholic, it's true. For me it was 20 years of being an addict and even though I've been drug free for 12+ years, I'll always be an addict. My addiction today is "Cycling"
    They call me "Mr. Mixte"

  11. #11
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    I started smoking at 18, in 1975 when the dangers were well known and publicized... I was stupid.

    I quit 18 years later when I was a Sunday School teacher and I was preparing to give a class to teens... The annual say no to drugs and alcohol lesson...

    I didn't see how I could teach kids to abstain from things that were bad for them while being a smoker, so I quit. It wasn't easy, but I did it. The bizarre part... I had taught a similar lesson the previous two years and thought nothing of my smoking then.

    I had quit once a few years before, but it only lasted a month or so.

    I quit about 13 years ago... I still sometimes have the urge to light up, but it is getting easier and easier to resist the urge. The last time I tried (once about a year after I stopped) It hurt to inhale, so I said to myself, "Good!!!"
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  12. #12
    Geezer Member Grampy™'s Avatar
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    Started when I was about 13-14. Smoked till my late 40's. I wanted a new expensive bike and the Wife said I could buy it if I quit smoking. I did. I was finally ready and motivated.

    The deal was, I buy the bike and a good lock. Wifey got the only keys to the lock. If I smoked, the bike got locked up. I haven't had a cigarette since. I can go weeks without even thinking about smoking. When I do think about it, like now, I am not tempted even in the least little bit. It's totally repulsive to me now.... "There is no one as virtuous as a reformed Wh0re."

    I felt better almost immediately. Especially at night when trying to go to sleep.
    Carpe who?

  13. #13
    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    I smoked till about 8 years ago started about 13 and I'm 53 now. I can hike and ride my bike and if I go all out and get winded I can recover in about 5minutes so I guess thats good. I hate the fact that I wasted all those years and money on cigs when I could have been buying guitars and bicycles. I really don't miss it although once in a while great while I get a whiff of fresh smoke not the stale smell on peoples clothing (blah) and think mmmm that smells pretty good but those times are few and far between. I did take a treadmill test a couple of weeks ago and did 15 minutes at the max heart rate and the doc said get out of here your good

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Smoked for 35 years and quit cold turkey when the doc told me my vocal chord problems might turn to cancer. Two years later had cancer and lost over 1/2 of my voice box. Surgery, radiation and chemo. Six years later cancer of the bladder which I've had on and off for 10 years.

    I took up cycling cuz the exercise lessened the effects of chemo. Crank on!

  15. #15
    Wheezing Geezer Bud Bent's Avatar
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    I smoked cigarettes for 16 years, then cigars and pipes for another 20 years, quitting 3 years ago. My emphysema cleared up after a couple of months, and within a year my lungs and sinuses felt as good as new. It was the rapid weight gain after I quit that finally got me on a bicycle, 2 years ago.

    I had bronchitis often as a child, and had pneumonia twice before I started smoking; more than most people, I should have never started. I always loved the smell of tobacco smoke, but 3 years removed from it, I just can't imagine what I was thinking with all that puffing. I will never even consider doing it again.
    Bud
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    They told me it's ok to post mileage over in the commuting forum, so you'll probably find me there these days.

  16. #16
    Senior Member dauphin's Avatar
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    you guys are amazing. Very inspirational.

  17. #17
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    OK - We need a POLL (said the "official" poll creator!)

    Here is the POLL

    Cigarette Smoking Poll - Have You and When?
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 09-19-06 at 06:57 PM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  18. #18
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    I smoked for 37 years. After a little medical scare, I stopped last November and went on a diet at the same time (lost 33 pounds).

    This spring I started riding again. No more smokes at rest stops!

  19. #19
    Team Poseur Metric Man's Avatar
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    I smoked and drank like a fish for almost twenty years. I was up to a fifth a day when I quit drinking. I had to check myself into a re-hab hospital to get off...and then I tackled the smokes a few weks later. That was just as tough as drinking...maybe tougher because smoking didn't carry the social stigma back then that drinking did...that is not the case today as smokers are looked upon like lepers. Smoking is just as much an addiction as alcohol or drugs. I've knew a guy that was using heroin for years and when he finally got off drugs and quit smoking he said that smoking was just as hard to kick as heroin. Clean and sober 15 years on November 21 for me. No lingering effects that I can tell and I get regular physicals.
    The thoughts and opinions expressed by this poster are his own and should not be misconstrued as gospel. They are and were not meant to inflame, enrage or otherwise tick anyone off, usually. ©
    2012 Ti Motobecane with SRAM Red 2013~2008 Trek Madone with SRAM Force~2010 Specialized Hardrock 29er~2006 Trek 4300~Garmin 800 CTR
    Mark

  20. #20
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    I noticed that all of you made a decision to stop smoking.
    BRAVO!!

  21. #21
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    Good on all of you quitters! Please, keep it up.

    I'm a lifetime non-smoker. Both parents smoked and suffered serious health effects as a result. Mother died at age 55 from a heart attack. No doubt in my mind, due in large part to her 35 year smoking habit. Watched my father with emphysema, so diabled that to walk from the front door to the car, a distance of perhaps thirty feet, that he had to stop and "rest" half way.

    As a kid second hand smoke just made me sick to be around and when I was a kid virtually ALL of my extended family smoked.

    May I ask? What made you start smoking?

    Thanks,
    Jeff, still a fat biker

  22. #22
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fat biker
    May I ask? What made you start smoking?
    I started to smoke once in a while because of the light headed feeling... It was like a little miniature high. Then I started smoking more and more until I was hooked.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  23. #23
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    I seem to be an exception, I have never smoked. Both my parents smoke, 2+ packs a day. I watched my mother dying of breast cancer struggle to get a cigarette up to her last breath. My father has breathing problems but still smokes. I don't know why I never smoked, my friends did, I tried it and got nothing out of it. I am thankful watching my parents struggle with their addiction and health that I never started and I know how hard it must be to stop once you start. Everyone has the right to smoke but I hope for your kids and your own health you stop. Congragulations to all who have fought this an won!
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

    2013 Noah RS

  24. #24
    Senior Member dauphin's Avatar
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    as with most addictions the battles are ongoing. It's sort of like the slogan.."there is no finish line".

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