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General : Question regarding arteries  
 Message 1 of 3 in Discussion 
From: Joel  (Original Message)Sent: 12/29/2005 3:34 PM
The whyquit site has many articles on how smoking causes circulatory problems, however, I have not been able to find any articles on whether these fatty deposits and clogging of the arteries can improve after a person quits smoking, or is this permanent damage which probably won't get worse, but won't get better either after one stops smoking?
Great site. Before my quit date, I checked out several sites and had purchased NRT gum and patches.   Never came across your site until the day before my quit date, started reading about quitting cold turkey, decided I would start my quit attempt that way, wasn't near as bad as I thought it would be.
 I've been reading daily from your site since my quit of 12/1/05.  Keeps me focused on what needs to be done to maintain my quit.  Thank you.
Oh, you wouldn't happen to know anyone who needs some NRT patches or gum do you?  heehee

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 Message 2 of 3 in Discussion 
From: JoelSent: 12/29/2005 3:51 PM
Hello Connie:
Here is the link to the article in my library that explores the damages done by smoking:
Quitting does likely result in a reversal of some of the clogging damages done from years of smoking. This is obvious considering the fact that after 15 years after quitting, the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker's. Also, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5-15 years after quitting. It is unlikely that these risks would be returning to non-smokers levels if the damage induced by smoking were irreversible.
The way to reduce the risks that past smoking may have caused and to eradicate the risk that future smoking would have caused is simply now to stick to your new personal commitment to never take another puff.
P.S. As far as for knowing anyone who "needs" NRT, I can't think of a single human being on earth who needs it--at least not for quitting smoking. There are many who would dispute this statement--people who will say that there is no way in the world that they could have quit without it. Most of these people are likely wrong in this feeling, but there is little chance of convincing them of that fact. The last paragraph in the following article discusses this issue:

Is cold turkey the only way to quit?

I have seen it written that we have said that the ONLY way to quit smoking is to quit cold turkey. This is not a totally accurate statement. It is not that cold turkey is the only way to quit, it is just that cold turkey is the method which gives people the best chance of success. It is the method that all but a small percentage of long-term ex-smokers in the world used to successfully quit smoking.

There are people who have quit using alternative approaches. There are some who cut down gradually and actually succeeded at quitting. For every person who did it like this and succeeded, there are many many many many others who tried it and failed. The individual who used the method will think it is great because it worked for him or her, but since it works for so few people it will generally be recognized as a pretty ineffective technique by most people who do "real world" research into how to quit.

By "real world" research I mean by going to long-term ex-nicotine users who you know personally and finding out how they all got off nicotine. Again, you will very rarely find any who did it by gradual withdrawal. If you find a person like this who is now off years, you should never minimize the person's success. He or she quit smoking, likely doing it in a way that made it much more difficult than it needed to be, but still he or she did pull off the quit. The only advice that I would encourage that you share with the person is that now to stay off he or she must understand the bottom line method of sustaining his or her quit. That message is staying cognizant of the addiction and that the only true guaranteed method to stay off now is knowing never to administer nicotine again.

The same principle here applies to people who use NRT products. There are people who have quit this way. Again, it is a small percentage of the long-term ex-users out there, but they do exist. An individual who pulled it off this way will also feel that it is a great method for quitting. But again, this method works for a small percentage of people who try it and if you look into real world long-term quits you will have a very hard time finding many people who actually successfully got off nicotine this way.

I feel it necessary to use that phrase, "got off nicotine," as opposed to saying, "got off smoking." There are some major experts coming out and advocating that people should be given nicotine supplements forever to stay off of smoking. Can this work? Of course it can. If you can give people enough nicotine via supplements it will satisfy their need for nicotine. After all, this is the primary reason they were smoking at the end--to feed a nicotine addiction. If the smoker can just get nicotine for the rest of his or her life via another route, he or she will avoid going through the three days of nicotine withdrawal.

The question needs to be, why should anyone have to pay what is likely to be tens of thousands of dollars to avoid a few days of withdrawal.? On top of this, these people will never be totally free of the moderate withdrawals that such usage is likely to keep going. These people will in fact tout the use of the product as a great aid, but when compared to what people who are totally nicotine free are experiencing, this victory over cigarettes is just a bit hollow.

There are a few people though whom you may encounter over your lifetime that did quit using NRT's as intended, weaning down for week after week and eventually quitting. If the person is now off for years, he or she is pretty much in the same state as a person who had quit cold turkey. He or she is nicotine free, and he or she should be thrilled by that fact. In some ways I look at people like this with a bit of awe, for they in all likelihood stuck with a process that was pretty much a gradual and prolonged withdrawal and yet they succeeded.

Again, debating the merits of their method with them is pretty much a moot point. It worked for them and you are going to have a pretty hard time convincing them that it is an ineffective method. But you do have a message that you can share with them that they do need to know. That message is that even though they are off nicotine for years, they still need to recognize that they are not cured of nicotine addiction and never will be. No matter how they had stopped, they must still understand the bottom line message, that the only way to stay free now is staying totally committed to never administer nicotine again via any nicotine replacement source and to never administer nicotine again from the original source that likely started the whole process by knowing to Never Take Another Puff!

 Message 3 of 3 in Discussion 
From: JohnSent: 12/29/2005 5:51 PM
Connie, the following are conclusions from Women and Smoking, A Report of the Surgeon General 2001.
  • Smoking is a major cause of coronary heart disease among women. Risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked and the duration of smoking.
  • Women who smoke have an increase risk for ischemic stroke (blood clot in one of the arteries supplying the brain) and subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding in the area surrounding the brain).
  • Women who smoke have an increased risk for peripheral vascular atherosclerosis.
  • Smoking cessation reduces the excess risk of coronary heart disease, no matter at what age women stop smoking. The risk is substantially reduced within 1 or 2 years after they stop smoking.
  • The increased risk for stroke associated with smoking begins to reverse after women stop smoking. About 10 to 15 years after stopping, the risk for stroke approaches that of a women who never smoked.


Below are the heart and stroke risk conclusions from a more recent 2004 report entitled  "The Health Consequences of Smoking - A Report of the Surgeon General."  Notice the minor stroke risk change to the newer 5 to 15 year figure used by Joel.  It may be a women vs. all smokers factor but both reports clearly evidences the fact that circulatory clogging risks decline over time.   John

 Smoking Among Adults: Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke

  • Coronary heart disease and stroke—the primary types of cardiovascular disease caused by smoking—are the first and third leading causes of death in the United States. More than 61 million Americans suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and other conditions. More than 2,600 Americans die every day because of cardiovascular diseases, about 1 death every 33 seconds. (p. 363)
  • Toxins in the blood from smoking cigarettes contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a progressive hardening of the arteries caused by the deposit of fatty plaques and the scarring and thickening of the artery wall. Inflammation of the artery wall and the development of blood clots can obstruct blood flow and cause heart attacks or strokes. (p. 364-365)
  • Smoking causes coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Coronary heart disease results from atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries. (p. 384, 407)
  • In 2003, an estimated 1.1 million Americans had a new or recurrent coronary attack. (p. 384)
  • Cigarette smoking has been associated with sudden cardiac death of all types in both men and women. (p. 387)
  • Smoking-related coronary heart disease may contribute to congestive heart failure. An estimated 4.6 million Americans have congestive heart failure and 43,000 die from it every year. (p. 387)
  • Smoking low-tar or low-nicotine cigarettes rather than regular cigarettes appears to have little effect on reducing the risk for coronary heart disease. (p. 386, 407)
  • Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Cigarette smoking is a major cause of strokes. (p. 393)
  • The U.S. incidence of stroke is estimated at 600,000 cases per year, and the one-year fatality rate is about 30%. (p. 393)
  • The risk of stroke decreases steadily after smoking cessation. Former smokers have the same stroke risk as nonsmokers after 5 to 15 years. (p. 394)
  • Smoking causes abdominal aortic aneurysm. (p. 397)