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Cycling and smoking

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Old 11-05-18, 06:07 PM
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pistach.io
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Cycling and smoking

Wow, I'm recently quit! A few years into my recreational cycling career, as a commuter and tourer, I was determined not to go into my 40s with a cigarette dangling from my lips...or ever again. I smoked on and off for 18 years (I'd say less than 10 pack years) but started feeling the effects in fitness and recovery, and got paranoid for my health. I love cycling and my partner, who is also my riding partner, more than smoking so I had to quit. It's been 3 months without a slip or relapse. When I commute and ride on the weekend I average about 150-200k a week, and I want to be able to keep doing that, and go on so many more tours! That's the only reason. A life free from disability, not mention an early death.

It was definitely a very hard quit for me this time, complete with depression and anxiety. I currently have a shoulder/neck injury as well which has made it difficult to get back riding the way I used to while I was smoking, which feels a little cruel now that i've finally quit! arrgh!

Any other smokers out there who quit or are trying to? I'd love to connect here and read your stories.
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Old 11-05-18, 06:33 PM
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Never even tried one. But I applaud your successful effort. Quitting that addiction has to be hard.

As I've been going through my own transformation (six months from 212 pounds to 180 at 6'3") I've found one trick that always works: When I feel the urge to go assemble some boredom food, I go for a ride. Perhaps there can be some version of that approach for smoking as well. Even if I tell myself I'll do only a couple miles, first we all know it's never just a couple miles. It always turns into more. And also the prep time, and cleanup afterward take enough time that I'm no longer in the "boredom food" mode. I suspect that after the chemical addiction passes the primary reason people pick smoking back up again is similar to the boredom grazing. Just something to pacify oneself. So the next time that mood hits, go for a ride.
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Old 11-05-18, 08:12 PM
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I switched from Camels to e-cigs five or six years ago... that made a huge difference to my lungs. Still less than ideal, but better.
Last summer I started reducing the nicotine in my juice and by October I was at zero nicotine; at that point the whole vape thing was distinctly unsatisfying and I was able to toss the whole rig after about two days. Haven't looked back since.

There's the occasional moments where a smoke crosses my mind. But they're very specific situations and it's pretty easy to disregard the momentary cravings now.

I'm sure my cycling will forever suffer -- at least somewhat -- from my 25 years at a pack a day and my several years of vape juice. But I'm definitely better off than I used to be. And for the record, I'll wholeheartedly endorse vapes over cigs if you hit a point where you must have nicotine. Sure, they're not proven harmless and probably aren't; but cigs are proven lethal and I'll take a "maybe" over a "for sure" in that category any day.

Good luck and don't quit quitting.
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Old 11-05-18, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Fahrenheit531 View Post
I'm sure my cycling will forever suffer -- at least somewhat -- from my 25 years at a pack a day and my several years of vape juice. But I'm definitely better off than I used to be. And for the record, I'll wholeheartedly endorse vapes over cigs if you hit a point where you must have nicotine. Sure, they're not proven harmless and probably aren't; but cigs are proven lethal and I'll take a "maybe" over a "for sure" in that category any day.

Good luck and don't quit quitting.
Definitely good on you and good luck for quitting. I spent years as the only person on a work crew that didn't smoke and then when they switched to vape it made the second hand worse. Ended up quitting that job because the second hand effects it had. Many thanks for the efforts.
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Old 11-05-18, 09:17 PM
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Nice work!

I smoked for ~15 years, quite heavily for about 11, unfiltered for about half of the journey. During most of those years, I was pretty physically active - first running, then hiking in the mountains, then cycling. I initially quit in April 2013 with the help of e-cigs, Nicorette Lozenges, and Swedish snus. I still like coffee and nicotine, and still use the snus.

My significant other, who smoked for 30 YEARS, just quit last month!

We both quit for the same reasons: when smoking was starting to have a noticeable impact on endurance in physically tiring activities, it was time to stop.
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Old 11-06-18, 01:45 AM
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I do smoke, have been doing it more or less regularly for 20 years. Never been a real hardcore smoker - during the years I smoked on a daily basis, I usually averaged 1/2 pack (10 cigs) for a day. For the last ~4 years I don't smoke on a daily basis anymore, just on social occasions when having a beer with friends. That happens quite a lot though, so it's safe to say I still smoke no less than a pack a week. I haven't yet noticed any significant impact on my health, although there was some improvement in endurance when I dropped the daily smoking, which also coincided with riding more (and it looked like it had more to do wit the latter than the former). I know I should quit for good, but haven't yet found the motivation to to do it.
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Old 11-06-18, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by pistach.io View Post
Wow, I'm recently quit! A few years into my recreational cycling career, as a commuter and tourer, I was determined not to go into my 40s with a cigarette dangling from my lips...or ever again. I smoked on and off for 18 years (I'd say less than 10 pack years) but started feeling the effects in fitness and recovery, and got paranoid for my health. I love cycling and my partner, who is also my riding partner, more than smoking so I had to quit. It's been 3 months without a slip or relapse. When I commute and ride on the weekend I average about 150-200k a week, and I want to be able to keep doing that, and go on so many more tours! That's the only reason. A life free from disability, not mention an early death.

It was definitely a very hard quit for me this time, complete with depression and anxiety. I currently have a shoulder/neck injury as well which has made it difficult to get back riding the way I used to while I was smoking, which feels a little cruel now that i've finally quit! arrgh!

Any other smokers out there who quit or are trying to? I'd love to connect here and read your stories.
I am 26. I smoked from the age of 18-21. I was about a pack a day smoker. I am very fortunate I had the will power to quit and ultimately stay away from the habit. I must say that the want to perform and focus on athletics was a much more stronger want than the need for smoking. If you feel the urge to smoke and it become overwhelming I'd rather you have a vape session than resort back to analogues. Best of luck! You got this!
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Old 11-06-18, 06:13 AM
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seem like they don't go together
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Old 11-06-18, 06:31 AM
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Smoking used to be cool. Like, cool, Baby. Check out these Rat Packers.

Today? Not so much...
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Old 11-06-18, 07:41 AM
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For circa ten years (18-26) I smoked about a pack a day, as did most people I knew. Also smoked weed that time.

Giving up didn't come immediately because I turned into a cocky control freak developing the attitude for it - I'd just give up for one evening down the pub, to show my mates how easy it was to smoke or not smoke.

My vision was simple. I decide what I do. Not my body. I saw craving as an illusion. A mate said he couldn't give up. I said if he wasn't in control of his actions he needed locking up.. People talked of willpower, I said no amount of willpower will let you walk through a brick wall. But it's not really there.

There was a problem. When i was with people, I had to prove it. When on my own, there was no stopping me. So i had to make a decision. Was I gonna do this? At the time i was off the road. I don't know why, between cars or one was in bits (probably the latter). I was at a bus stop near a shop and had time to get a pack. I think I had a phone, but that's when they were just phones and I was very bored. I decided no, that was it. And apart from the occasional toke on a spliff, it was. That pack remains un-bought to this day.
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Old 11-06-18, 08:46 AM
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When I was 41 a chest Xray told me I had a tumor in my lung. The tumor wasn`t the result of my heavy 2 packs + smoking a day but the surgery that followed was enough incentive to quit...Thirty-four years later and I have no desire to have a smoke.
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Old 11-06-18, 09:29 AM
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I've been smoke free for about 10 years now. I smoked in high school up to about 27 or so. I started having coughing fits regularly and had just had it with being a slave to it. I smoked a lot of pot and took my fair share of hallucinogenics and had zero issues quiting all of that when I went to college, drinking was never an issue either so the fact that I couldn't even shake the nicotine for a few hours just drove me crazy. So I went to my doctor and got some Chantix and used an electronic cigarette for when I couldn't power through the urges. The first 3 days were horrible. High stress, irritable, etc. I pretty much stayed glued to my TV with a guitar in hand and ate a lot of pretzels. After that it was actually pretty easy because you are allowed to cheat while you are on Chantix. By the end of the first two weeks I had pretty much quit. I'd have the occasional drag from the e-cig but I stopped refilling it and it was mostly an oral fixation at that point. By the end of the month I was good and haven't looked back.

My Chantix experience was great. I was pretty hostile toward people in the beginning but I never felt like I was going to get violent and I attribute the rage more to the fact that I was fighting a 20 year addiction than to the drug that was curbing the urges. I had vivid dreams that I can only describe a acid flashbacks - the good kind, nothing bad happened at all. When I tell other smokers about it they always tell me they can't take it because they'll become crazy. It's a BS excuse really. I have a history of depression and hallucinogenic abuse and it was fine. I'm happier and healthier now than I have ever been and have probably saved a good $20k on cigarettes alone, not to mention the health costs. If you actually want to quit, it's worth trying.
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Old 11-06-18, 09:52 AM
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I imagine more than 1 guy in Amsterdam rides his bike to a "coffee" shop..
and smokes some 'spliffs' while there''...

(US Navy 66~69, on ship 'smoke breaks', were not enough
for me to take up a tobacco habit)
(both my parents, married in 44, smoked for a long time then, finally, quit )




...
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Old 11-06-18, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by NameTaken View Post
I've been smoke free for about 10 years now. I smoked in high school up to about 27 or so. I started having coughing fits regularly and had just had it with being a slave to it. I smoked a lot of pot and took my fair share of hallucinogenics and had zero issues quiting all of that when I went to college, drinking was never an issue either so the fact that I couldn't even shake the nicotine for a few hours just drove me crazy. So I went to my doctor and got some Chantix and used an electronic cigarette for when I couldn't power through the urges. The first 3 days were horrible. High stress, irritable, etc. I pretty much stayed glued to my TV with a guitar in hand and ate a lot of pretzels. After that it was actually pretty easy because you are allowed to cheat while you are on Chantix. By the end of the first two weeks I had pretty much quit. I'd have the occasional drag from the e-cig but I stopped refilling it and it was mostly an oral fixation at that point. By the end of the month I was good and haven't looked back.

My Chantix experience was great. I was pretty hostile toward people in the beginning but I never felt like I was going to get violent and I attribute the rage more to the fact that I was fighting a 20 year addiction than to the drug that was curbing the urges. I had vivid dreams that I can only describe a acid flashbacks - the good kind, nothing bad happened at all. When I tell other smokers about it they always tell me they can't take it because they'll become crazy. It's a BS excuse really. I have a history of depression and hallucinogenic abuse and it was fine. I'm happier and healthier now than I have ever been and have probably saved a good $20k on cigarettes alone, not to mention the health costs. If you actually want to quit, it's worth trying.
Thanks for sharing this, @NameTaken , I appreciate your honesty. Well done.
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Old 11-06-18, 02:20 PM
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Had to post this ..

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Old 11-06-18, 07:20 PM
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Bought a bike and quit smoking when I was 23. Have been riding since then.
I only had about a 3 pack-year history but still it took a couple of years before I had my last cigarette - in 1975.
Strangely enough, have had thoughts in the last year or two that smoking a cigarette would be pleasant. No, I won't be doing that but just shows the power of tobacco.
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Old 11-06-18, 07:23 PM
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I smoked from 22 (in the service) until I was 70. . My PCP for 30 yrs, great doc by the way, tried getting me to quit regularly, but I resisted. I'd heard of Chantix, but was put off by some of the possible side affects, or at least that was my excuse. Finally I decided to give it a try. My doctor couldn't write that Rx fast enough. Took it, kept smoking for a week then nothing, no problem, nothing since. Occasionally when riding the warmer months and vehicle pulls up with a smoker with an open window at a light, I admit to brief remembrance of my past. Light changes, and end of the memory.
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Old 11-07-18, 08:08 AM
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congrats, keep it up, one day at a time, right?

used to smoke occasionally, don't anymore. buddy of mine that I used to cycle with in high school would sometimes like to have a cig on our breaks & claimed the nicotine gave him more power. he also drank cola for the caffeine
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Old 11-07-18, 08:25 AM
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I smoked for over 15 years and was up to about 2 packs a day. Yes, very OCD and addicted. Like most other smokers I had tried to quit a million times. Then, about 20 years ago the switch in my brain flipped and it was time to quit. Never looked back. Although, I do enjoy a good cigar about once a month.
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Old 11-07-18, 09:16 AM
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Used to smoke ... now cycle instead

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Old 11-07-18, 11:04 AM
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I quit smoking when I was 34 ( I'm 56 now). At the time I was living in a hilly-to-mountainous area and commuted about ten miles to work by bike a couple of times a week. Several things happened within the space of one week that led me to quit: I split up with my wife, I finished grad school, and my father was diagnosed with cancer (he lived another twenty years). Everything was so completely topsy turvy that the stress and emotional roller coaster of kicking the nicotine habit kind of got lost in all the rest. I did drink a lot for a while: alcohol and coffee intake both skyrocketed. The fact of the matter is, though, that after having tried to quit several times, that time it stuck.

I do remember that I was expecting to start feeling better immediately and it didn't happen. Especially while riding, and especially while climbing, I coughed up years' worth of crud. I suppose that without any new smoke and tar pushing it back down into my lungs, any exercise and heavy breathing helped my lungs expel what I'd been pumping into them for years. It took a month or two before I actually started feeling better, but it did happen and in the last 22 years I have hardly ever been tempted to start again.
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Old 11-07-18, 12:28 PM
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One of my closest loved ones died a couple of years ago due to complications caused by a lifetime of smoking. Over the span of 10 years, he had open heart surgery, surgery to repair blood vessels in the extremities, treatment for gangrene, and a leg amputated. He finally died post-op from kidney failure. He was 63. For those of you have quit smoking, congratulations. For those of you working on it, please keep trying, if not for yourself, for the people in this world who will miss you when you are gone.
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Old 11-07-18, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by chicagogal View Post
One of my closest loved ones died a couple of years ago due to complications caused by a lifetime of smoking. Over the span of 10 years, he had open heart surgery, surgery to repair blood vessels in the extremities, treatment for gangrene, and a leg amputated. He finally died post-op from kidney failure. He was 63. For those of you have quit smoking, congratulations. For those of you working on it, please keep trying, if not for yourself, for the people in this world who will miss you when you are gone.
Thanks for sharing! I really appreciate all the replies so far and I'm still reading them. Sorry to hear about your loss! Smoking is the devil, I'm convinced of that now. While half of all smokers will live through middle age without major health complications, when they do happen they take away what are still some of best years well before old age. We die early with or without major disease but I didn't want to take that risk anymore. Playing russian roulette with my health wasn't for me anymore.
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Old 11-07-18, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
Never even tried one. But I applaud your successful effort. Quitting that addiction has to be hard.

I suspect that after the chemical addiction passes the primary reason people pick smoking back up again is similar to the boredom grazing. Just something to pacify oneself. So the next time that mood hits, go for a ride.
Congrats on your own amazing life changes! You hit the nail on the head. It's boredom but also the need to pacify yourself is strong when you're suffering from anxiety (induced or made worse by smoking sometimes). What people don't realize for a lot of people smoking alters your brain chemistry and creates a new normal for your mood stabilizers. It affects some more than others and therefore it will be a hard addiction to quit for a lot of people. I know I have to learn to cope with anxiety (not life stresses, but an actual anxiety disorder) without smoking as a mood regulator.
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Old 11-07-18, 02:42 PM
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smoking and biking? I can't imagine that. Just lead your healthy life man
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