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wgatap21 (@wgatap21)

Can you be a social smoker?

Addiction & Recovery | Last Active: Mar 6, 2020 | Replies (7)

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Welcome to the “Addictions & Recovery” group, @wgatap21.
Most people recognize that smoking causes serious harm, yet many people continue to smoke––why? Smoking or nicotine addiction is an extremely complex process and psychological, behavioral factors play a big role!

The brain has its own receptors for nicotine – so-called ‘nicotinic acetylcholine’ receptors. Many of these are located in the area of the dopamine ‘reward’ pathway. Dopamine release is usually concerned with naturally rewarding activities (such as eating, drinking, sexual activity, and so on), but addictive drugs can ‘hijack’ this system resulting in faster and greater amounts of dopamine release. When nicotine activates the nicotinic receptors brain, it results in massive dopamine release. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7982062

Smoking also taps into the negative reinforcement system – via the withdrawal syndrome. When a regular smoker stops smoking, they experience bad withdrawal symptoms (e.g. irritability, depression, restlessness, poor concentration, increased appetite) and strong urges to smoke. Nicotine ingestion, especially via smoking, extinguishes these symptoms.

I’d like to invite @littleonefmohio @stressedmesseddepressed @jo54 @merpreb @trellg132 to join this conversation. You might also wish to view this Connect discussion in the Lung Health group:
– Ways to curb your cravings for nicotine https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/ways-to-curb-your-cravings-for-nicotene/

May I ask what has prompted you to consider quitting or even reducing the number of cigarettes?

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Replies to "Welcome to the “Addictions & Recovery” group, @wgatap21. Most people recognize that smoking causes serious harm,..."

@kanaazpereira– Thank you for inviting me into this discussion. I just finished a post on ways to curb your cravings for nicotine https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/ways-to-curb-your-cravings-for-nicotene/ but I did not address anything about "Social Smoking". I smoked Marlboro's for 35 years and i understand how difficult it is to quit. Smoking socially is a misnomer. because being social indicates being with others and smoking occasionally. Smoking is not a social activity. Most places inside and a lot of outside ban smoking because second hand smoke is dangerous to others. Much has been written on this subject as well. This can't be compared to social drinking because drinking doesn't harm others and as far as I know if someone gets drunk, few places will allow that person to stay.
The term Social smoking doesn't even make sense now.
When someone has an addiction "just having one more" doesn't work otherwise you wouldn't have a problem.
Almost no-one is left unscathed if they smoke for any length of time. An Xray will not show emphysema or COPD. And both can be mild. You should have yearly CT scans. Probably should quit is just kidding yourself. I want you to quit but the harsh reality is that it is dangerous to your health and others and if you keep smoking than you stand the chance of becoming ill. When you stop smoking you don't automatically stop the effects of damage to your body because every time you smoke the damage accumulates. it multiplies. It takes time for that to stop.
Here are some other side effects of smoking
Immediate effects

Some of the effects that may be experienced after smoking tobacco include:

initial stimulation, then reduction in activity of brain and nervous system
increased alertness and concentration
feelings of mild euphoria
feelings of relaxation
increased blood pressure and heart rate
decreased blood flow to fingers and toes
decreased skin temperature
bad breath
decreased appetite
nausea, abdominal cramps and vomiting
coughing, due to smoke irritation.

A high dose of nicotine can cause a person to overdose. This means that a person has taken more nicotine than their body can cope with. The effects of very large doses can include:

an increase in the unpleasant effects
feeling faint
rapid decrease in blood pressure and breathing rate
respiratory arrest (stopping breathing) and death.

60 mg of nicotine taken orally can be fatal for an adult.

Tar in cigarettes coats the lungs and can cause lung and throat cancer in smokers. It is also responsible for the yellow–brown staining on smokers’ fingers and teeth.

Carbon monoxide in cigarettes reduces the amount of oxygen available to the muscles, brain and blood. This means the whole body—especially the heart—must work harder. Over time this causes airways to narrow and blood pressure to rise, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.

High levels of CO, together with nicotine, increase the risk of heart disease, hardening of the arteries and other circulatory problems.

Some of the long-term effects of smoking (Quit Victoria, 2010) that may be experienced include:

increased risk of stroke and brain damage
eye cataracts,

, yellowing of whites of eyes
loss of sense of smell and taste
yellow teeth, tooth decay and bad breath
cancer of the nose, lip, tongue and mouth
possible hearing loss
laryngeal and pharyngeal cancers
contributes to osteoporosis
shortness of breath
chronic bronchitis
triggering asthma
heart disease
blockages in blood supply that can lead to a heart attack
high blood pressure (hypertension)
myeloid leukaemia, a cancer that affects bone marrow and organs that make blood
stomach and bladder cancers
stomach ulcers
decreased appetite
grey appearance
early wrinkles
slower healing wounds
damage to blood vessel walls
increased likelihood of back pain
increased susceptibility to infection
lower fertility and increased risk of miscarriage
irregular periods
early menopause
damaged sperm and reduced sperm

Passive smoking occurs when a person who is not smoking breathes in the smoke from people who are smoking. Passive smoking can irritate the eyes and nose and cause a number of health problems such as heart disease and lung cancer. Tobacco smoke is especially harmful to babies and young children.

Nicotine can affect the way the body processes many different drugs. This can affect how these drugs work. For example, nicotine can decrease the effectiveness of benzodiazepines. Smoking while taking the contraceptive pill increases the risk of blood clots forming.

Check with your doctor or other health professional whether nicotine might affect any medications you are taking.

Read about the effects of tobacco use on pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Many drugs can cross the placenta and affect an unborn child.

In general, using drugs when pregnant can increase the chances of going into labour early. This can mean that babies are born below the normal birth weight.

If a mother uses drugs while breastfeeding, they may be present in her milk, and could affect the baby.

Check with your health professional if you are taking or planning to take any drugs during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding.
Tolerance and dependence

People who use tobacco regularly tend to develop a tolerance to the effects of nicotine. This means they need to smoke more tobacco to get the same effect.

They may become dependent on nicotine. Dependence can be psychological, physical, or both. People who are dependent on nicotine find that using the drug becomes far more important than other activities in their life. They crave the drug and will find it very difficult to stop using it.

People who are psychologically dependent on nicotine may find they feel an urge to smoke when they are in specific surroundings or socialising with friends.

Physical dependence occurs when a person’s body adapts to the nicotine and gets used to functioning with the nicotine present.

For more information, please click on the Australian Drug Foundation’s DrugInfo
Smoking also causes heart disease, stroke, aortic aneurysm (a balloon-like bulge in an artery in the chest), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (chronic bronchitis and emphysema), diabetes, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts, and worsens asthma symptoms in adults. Smokers are at higher risk of developing pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other airway infections (1–3). In addition, smoking causes inflammation and impairs immune function (1). (https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/cessation-fact-sheet)

Other cancers that can be caused by smoking: lung, larynx (voice box), mouth, esophagus, throat, bladder, kidney, liver, stomach, pancreas, colon and rectum, and cervix, as well as acute myeloid leukemia.

I hope that you do quit. Yes it is hard and we hare here to help you. Do you think that you might give it another go?