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Nicotine Addiction: First Handed Experiences

Updated on August 10, 2015

Nicotine Comes in Many Forms

Nicotine addiction differs slightly from other addictions because it has been marketed to target more people. It has not been until the most recent decade that attempts have been made to keep the public from its deadly grip. Second hand smoke is hurting the non-smoker as well as the smoker. The smoker’s brain is so controlled by nicotine the smoker cannot believe what they are doing to those around them.

The smoker’s brain works in such a way that they are fooled into thinking bogus thoughts as truths. They believe they can kick the habit at any given time. They believe they will die of something anyway so they have no intention of stopping the one thing that gives them pleasure. All the logic is gone for them to ever believe anyone telling them good reasons to quit.

Nicotine comes in many forms. You can not only smoke tobacco or chew tobacco, but you can also use vaporized gadgets that produce no smoke or tobacco at all. E-cigarettes otherwise known as electronic cigarettes are becoming more popular as public places have banned smoking on the premises. It does however pack nearly as much nicotine as tobacco. There are even tobacco free ways for the tobacco chewer to enjoy a nicotine fix. Sort of an adult chewing gum or candy all targeted to the tobacco user. Tobacco free doesn’t mean nicotine free.

My Personal Experience

It has been over two years since I finally quit smoking. My biggest and by far most expensive habit I have ever had. I only wish I had smartened up sooner. Thirty plus years of smoking is something I’m not proud of, but it was very much a part of my life. I was controlled by it. I lived each day with nicotine being a top priority. If I left the house I had to double check to make sure I had enough cigarettes to last until I returned. If I ate I had a cigarette to settle my stomach. If I drank a cup of coffee in the morning or had an after work beer I had a cigarette because the combination seemed so fitting I couldn’t drink either without that cigarette. Break time at work included two cigarettes because I knew it would be a couple hours or more before I could have another. Back in the days when I could actually smoke while I worked I could go without the cigarette at break time. It became another life changing routine to me and many other people when they stopped the smoking in the work place. It should have never been allowed there in the first place, but we all were blinded by the effect it had on everyone.

The price keeps going up and up. I find alternate ways to afford my habit. I seek out coupons and free promotions. I buy cigarettes from the Native Americans for tax free tobacco or when worse comes to worse I roll my own. Nothing is going to stop me from smoking if I have to spend my last dollar. That was me and my husband and half the people I know. Now for whatever its worth I will not be controlled by this monster anymore.

Cancer has been a silent killer to many families and communities. Perhaps smoking tobacco is not the cause of most cancers, but with all the fuss made about how smoking causes cancers and with research to back much of what is said this knowledge alone should had stopped me and my friends from lighting up. “Wrong.” Nothing stops us from lighting up. Not losing family members, friends or neighbors one right after another causes us to give up our addictive habit that has so much control over us we can’t see right from wrong. We must want to quit bad enough on our own to even try. Even though we lose people who smoked for years we refuse to believe smoking is the cause. We blame it on anything we can, but certainly not on our lifelong companion we have grown to love as part of the family. Most importantly we convince ourselves we do not want to stop. I did this. I’ve lose many people to cancer. But I had no control over the addiction to nicotine and I was afraid to quit. I was afraid of withdrawal and most of all I was afraid of failing.

Right out of the blue in September of 2012 I decide enough is enough. I took Chantix to stop smoking. The program allows you to choose a stop date. You can smoke the first week as much as you want. My stop date was the sixth anniversary of my mom’s death from liver cancer. I slipped up on three separate occasions. I actually lit up. I never smoked all of any of them. I knew I could leave them alone now and I have been smoke free every since. September 18th 2012 made two years for me tobacco free. I have no regrets. I do wish I could do the same about my eating problems. Food taste ten times better and it is something to occupy your hands. I’ve gained fifty pounds in these two years. I knew I’d have a problem with that. Mainly because I have always had weight problems and I have had a low self esteem that seems to add to emotional eating problems. The best thing I ever did for myself was to stop smoking. If I gain weight because of it so be it. Hopefully that to will have a solution someday if I get stubborn enough to do something about it. Addictions will rule us every time if we let them. Nicotine will not rule me anymore. It will however still have great impacts on my surroundings as well as my health.

Public Warnings Over Looked

Warnings on the pack and endless campaigns to alert the public were like nothing to those addicted by nicotine, myself included. Old habits are hard to break, especially habits that have such an impact on our way of thinking. Controlling ourselves against nicotine cravings is not much different than drug or alcohol abuse. Only we can drive a car, fly a plane, man a boat and walk in public under the influence of nicotine without any problem of breaking any laws. No one thinks a cigarette will cause an accident. No one thinks a cigarette will drive you crazy. Even the litter laws are over looked when it comes to butting a cigarette or spitting tobacco on the ground. Nasty habits are tolerated when we can’t let go their demanding force.

It hasn’t been that long ago when we could smoke anywhere we chose to do it. We had restaurants, bars, parks, and even public buildings allowing smoking behind their walls. Even when it was banned from some of these places in recent years no one was stopped if they did it outside. The habit of hundreds of years by millions of people was not and will not be altered.

We are not much further away from understanding the control nicotine has on us now than we ever were. One thing that is available that we lacked before is the added support of proof that toxins have on our bodies. Cancer is everywhere and it may or may not be caused by tobacco use but certainly most is associated with being exposed to toxins of some kind or another.


My Husband’s Nicotine Addiction

My husband Bill has smoked for nearly fifty years and in the past ten years he has had a heart condition called Atrial Fibrillation. Atrial Fibrillation is a condition that causes your heart to beat faster than normal. It’s like you are running a marathon when you are barely doing anything at all. You become exhausted.

Bill has been controlled by nicotine with no desire to stop. He is not convinced smoking could have lead to his medical problems. Perhaps this is so, but certainly smoking could have an everlasting effect on him to improve or not to improve. With Atrial Fibrillation he also has high blood pressure and he needs a blood thinner to keep his arteries from blocking. The ever worry of fluid around the heart demands a water pill as well because if there is fluid present elsewhere on the body it likely is giving the heart problems, too. For nearly ten years he has been taking medication for these conditions and has gotten along somewhat well. He was even working full time. Each year his body told him in a little stronger voice that it is time to slow down. It is time to take better care of you.

Four years into his heart treatments all seems to be going fairly well. Now the real test surfaces when for the first time in over thirty years he is laid off from his regular job. The year off did him well and he was given a much needed rest from the work force. Fear of not finding another job he could do or getting his old job back made him agree to take a job which is the night watchman boiler room operator. These start out as twelve hour shifts with so many on and so many off. A routine that takes the life right out of him with fighting insomnia and overworking himself with the added chores given to sweep up sawdust under and around the mill. Dust raised chaos with his breathing and even using a dust mask did little to help. To top it off insects swarmed by the thousands into the areas well lit with big overhead light fixtures. One day after a year of this new routine, Bill fines himself in the hospital with an unidentified bacteria infection which was later confirmed as Cellulitis Infection. Several relapses occur over the next couple of years. He still does not have any need to stop smoking cigarettes.

More Ailments

Fast forward to September 2013 and Bill has finally convinced himself with the help of his employer it is time to slow down. Bill semi retires and is back on the day shift at his old job (Debarker operator) for twenty two hours per week. He not only can draw his social security because he is now sixty two, but he can keep his employer paid health insurance and other benefits. Too, bad this had not been possible much sooner because come December, Bill is in the hospital with Pneumonia and is told he has COPD and Congestive Heart Failure. He spends the holidays there and is released January 2, 2014 with oxygen to come home with. This time he does quit smoking. He begins to improve greatly. He is given no clue that he will never be able to give up the oxygen completely and return to work. These new problems most likely came from the saw dust he inhaled, but COPD is known as a smoker’s disease even if plenty of people get it who never smoked.


By April Bill is feeling pretty good. He mostly uses oxygen for sleeping and the levels seem to be staying normal most of the time. He feels him old self again so much he begins doing things he knows better about. He still has nicotine cravings. He almost has it licked but not quite. He has convinced himself he can smoke an e-cigarette and no harm will become of it. Maybe it wouldn’t have if that was the only source he sought. For whatever reason I could not imagine he begins to smoke tobacco again. Nicotine makes you stupid with its controlling ways. E-cigarettes contain nicotine. They are only a crutch for the real villain. The only thing they lack is the smoke. You might just as well be chewing tobacco for the same effect.

Total Disability Yet Nicotine Will not Take a Back Seat

My husband now finds himself totally disabled and his use of nicotine may not be the reason for it, but it certainly has added to it. Shortly after increasing his smoking habit he begins to find himself more and more dependent on oxygen. His levels will not stay above 90 without using a steady flow of oxygen throughout the day and at night. He only can take the oxygen off for short periods of time. He does this when he eats, baths or smokes. Nicotine will not free him. Nicotine will not take a back seat.

The control that nicotine has is overwhelming if a life changing illness can’t make you want to quit. And yes you have to want to quit or nothing short of confinement will help you stop not even the best of methods. I wish I had the answers and I wish I could say all of this has not had a great impact on what I think or what I do every day as the spouse of a sick man. I wish I had quit smoking myself long before I did, but I’m proud to say I did it and come hell or high water I’ll be damned if I ever do it again after seeing first handed the strong grip it has on such a big man as my husband, Bill.

In August 2014, Bill and I took his mom on a trip to a local state park. His oxygen supply was in the car not far away. He still has his cigarette break.
In August 2014, Bill and I took his mom on a trip to a local state park. His oxygen supply was in the car not far away. He still has his cigarette break. | Source

I become a widow after nearly 41 years of marriage.

On December 12, 2014, my husband Bill passed away. He could not keep his oxygen levels up at a normal level and his heart could no longer take the stress. I get up that morning to find him in distress and his oxygen levels low. I shorten his air line thinking maybe the longer one was pinched off and his levels begin to come back up.

By the time it is time for me to leave for work he seems to be getting back to normal and even though I am concerned about him needing medical attention he tells me to go to work. I tell him I’ll call him at 9:30 break. He sounds distant when I call home. I ask if he needs me to come home. He says, “Well, if you want to.” I feel I should.

I return home about 9: 45-9:50. Bill appears to be sleeping sitting on the loveseat which is his normal place, close to everything he needs, remote to TV, telephone, laptop, pitcher of water and his oxygen supply, his meds and whatever else he may need. His chin is down to his chest and he is drooling and sweating. His oxygen machine is running and I haven’t a clue he is not breathing until I try to wake him up a few minutes later. I take his oxygen levels and the meter says oxygen level is 99 with 65 heart rate. At this point with being connected to 5L of oxygen I am unaware this is a false reading so I take his blood pressure and get crazy readings that are nearly nothing. I shake him. I yell at him and can’t get a response. I try to feel his pulse. I call 911. Rescue trucks following a snowplow waste no time getting there, but Bill is gone and all attempts of reviving him fail. I am stunned by the notion I couldn’t help him.

I have just gone through one of the most stressful years of my life and I know he had too. He was more than miserable. It is true that the Lord does not give us more than He thinks we can handle. I can testify to that. Rest in Peace, Bill. Our 41st anniversary would have been January 26, 2015. I never expected to be a widow this soon. But I’m a survivor and I’ll be just fine.


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    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      3 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, Jackie. I appreciate your kind comment.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I am so sorry for your tragedy Diana; losing your husband that way, but we do know how addicting they can be. When you smoke your whole life revolves around it. I quit in 2002 and it took many years before I didn't crave one now and then but now I no longer do and every time I see someone smoking I am so thankful I never will again.

      I hope someone will be helped in the sharing of your story. I will share it around all I can.

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      3 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Oh, wow, moonlake, your story is so much like mine and I know the changes you have had this year. I'm not sure which is worse, last year with sickness and helplessness or this year trying to adjust to all the changes. I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for stopping by.

    • moonlake profile image


      3 years ago from America

      I'm sorry for the loss of your husband Bill. I know what you went through and we were both grieving at about the same time. My husband Gene passed away on Dec. 16, 2014.

      My husband also had COPD and got lung cancer that went to his brain. One time I heard him yell and went outside he was laying by the garden and couldn't get up. He suddenly couldn't walk well. He fell so many times and I would have to call 911. It was hard on him I had to get him in and out of the shower and try to hold him up with the help of his walker.

      He could never give up his smoking he had smoked since he was 13. He would stand on the deck in 30 below weather and smoke.

      It has been a very stressful year and soon will be a year. It's hard to believe even now that he is gone.

      Congratulations on stopping smoking. I stopped in 1983. My daughter has stopped just this year.

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      4 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, smcopywrite, for your kind words. This certainly has been something I was not ready for, but I am managing living alone rather well.

    • smcopywrite profile image


      4 years ago from all over the web

      I want to begin by saying how sorry I am for your loss. Both of my in laws and father died from lung cancer and smoking related illnesses. Yet, I cannot begin to detest anyone who makes a conscious choice to smoke. Adults make adult decision and these are legal in all fifty states.

      You know the saying ex smokers are worse than non smokers when it comes to ranting about cigs? is true. I was a smoker for years and an non smoker for years and then a smoker again. The reasons are not even irrelevant. Everyone who begins smoking comprehends the dangers. Those dangers need to be taken in context.

      The truth is there are some illnesses exacerbated by smoking. Yet, how do you explain someone smoking for 40 years who never gets COPD, lung cancer or heart issues? So much more damage is done to the body by booze than smoking.

      The rant on alcohol is never at the same level for some reason. No smoker killed someone on the highway while smoking. Studies have determined a smoker that exercises is healthier than a non smoker who never leaves the couch.

      I feel the non smoking campaign is extremely hypocritical. the government endorses smoking. it is legal, it is responsible for some of the highest taxes states and the federal government bring in and they have no desire to see people quit. the farmers growing tobacco are endorsed by the government and the companies making cigs have the highest number of lobbyist on capitol hill. Habits are extremely hard to break and this is worse than any illegal substance.

      Other countries admit America is a hypocrite in this aspect. We take it too seriously when there are so many more issues at hand. There are more than several generations (during the 6os and 70s for example), where every child was around smoke 24/7. The number of illnesses related to smoking are higher now since we have campaigned for non smoking laws in public places.

      Sorry for the rant and a Hub is yet to come. This was very emotional and heart felt. This Hub was delivered with so much poise and the sentiment was heart felt. Thanks for sharing and allowing me to share as well.

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      4 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, peachpurple for your kind words.

    • peachpurple profile image


      4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i am so sorry for bill's passing. You had done your best to revived him. It is not anyone's fault. He must had a miserable time with nicotine, a lesson to learn for us all

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      4 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      I'm glad your dad was able to quit, peachpurple. Thanks for stopping by. I noticed I still needed to fix some errors on this hub, so I did that. I think I have edited it enough for now.

    • peachpurple profile image


      4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      my dad had quitted smoking after he knew had high blood pressure

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      4 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thanks, Jane. I hope they are able to quit, too before it causes health problems. Strange as it is I know of people in their eighties still smoking after smoking since they were kids. They don't seem to be harmed much by it, but that's rare.

    • profile image

      Jane Potter Hilfiger 

      4 years ago

      Diana, Bless you for bearing your soul and telling everyone your story and what cigarettes can do to them! It is such a terrible addiction. I have seen so many people that have tried to kick the habit but can't! Some people have a stronger will power than others I guess. My sons have tried but have failed. I pray that somehow they will give them up.. I was so sorry to hear about Bills death. Stay strong and I am glad that you had the will power to quit smoking!

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      4 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, pstraubie48 for your input. Sadly I lost Bill to heart failure 12/12/2014, he never gave up smoking. I'll be updating this hub soon.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Good for you. Cigarettes and tobacco of all kinds are so very powerful in their attraction...I do so agree. You are blinded by the horrible effects because you have become hooked.

      I was a smoker for about 18 years until 1987 when my sister had a massive heart attack and was clinically dead for 17 minutes. She was a five pack a day smoker even though she was busy busy all the time.a cigarette was always in her mouth. After that I never smoked another cigarette, stopping cold turkey was how I had to do it, and she never has smoked again either ...

      thanks for sharing this article on a topic that many do not wish to think about it

      Angels are once again on the way to you ps

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      4 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, Frank for stopping by. You are smart you never took up smoking. It is very difficult to stop.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you so much for sharing this story.. thank goodness I never wasn't because I was afraid just didn't like the smell as a youth.. bless you Diana Lee

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      4 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, rebeccamealey. Those who have never smoked haven't a clue what we have overcome. I'm thankful we quit.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I stopped smoking almost 5 years ago. This is very true, it is a very addictive habit! Good for us we quit. I hope your husband quits.

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      4 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, Faith Reaper. This hub started out to be just a rant about nicotine and I ended up making a life story out of it. I want people to see how demanding nicotine is and why people can't always quit easily. If this article just helps one person to give them up before they ruin their health completely then I've done what I had in mind to do.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      Thank you for sharing, Diana. I am so glad I never smoked, however, both of my children do. My son has attempted to quit smoking time and time again. Nicotine is such a terrible addiction indeed. I am sorry for your husband's health issues. Congrats on your two years of not smoking!

      Voted up +++ and away



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