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Nicotine patches

I smoked Camel Filters for thirteen years, and for most of them I smoked a pack a day. I'd never really tried to quit before, mostly because I didn't want to. For many years I'd cultivated a persona that was vociferously pro-smoking, and it seemed disingenuous to flip-flop on the issue. I smoked a lot. I smoked in places I wasn't supposed to smoke, and at inappropriate times. Which in retrospect seems rather churlish, but I get it now: smoking is a rebellious act not only because it's self-destructive, but because it amplifies your solipsism to really horrifying levels. Smokers are always about satisfying their immediate needs, and in polite society, the person who demands to be treated as an exception, as an individual, is despised and admired in varying proportions. Smokers are selfish and worse, they make other people's lives more unpleasant with their smoke, their odor, their breath, etc. But as a former smoker, I can say that we like it that way.
     Anyway, sometime in 2004 I realized that I wasn't enjoying smoking anymore, not at all. I believe that despite the huge role that the Nicoderm and Zyban played in getting me over the physical addiction, I would not have been able to quit for real if I still enjoyed smoking.
     My doctor prescribed Zyban at my request, because I had taken Wellbutrin (same drug, different brand name) in 1998 and I had noticed that even though I wasn't trying to quit smoking, I was smoking a lot less. I actually had to remind myself: "fuck! It's time for a smoke! What am I thinking?" but if something distracted me before I got a cigarette lit and into my mouth, I might forget again for another hour. So I knew it was effective at stopping my cravings. I got the Nicoderm patches, and started with the strongest, which was something like 20mg of nicotine a day. The nicotine or some other aspect of the transdermal delivery system was caustic, and I had to remove one of the patches from my chest because it just stung too much -- the welt it left was real ooky. So I devised a schedule of placement on various parts of my upper arms, and that was cool.
     I wrote this review on request, which is why it's not so punchy -- I'm not so jazzed and full of things to say about the patch. But I will offer this drastically important advice for free: If you want to quit smoking, do your best to stop enjoying it first. Chain-smoke unfiltereds for a month until you're coughing up bloody lungpies. Smoke in your bedroom with the windows closed. Go to a cigar club and just sit there, breathing rich men's exhalations. Buy your smokes full price in midtown Manhattan. Putt out butts on your tongue. Whatever it takes. Because if you quit while you like it, then all the events in your life that would normally trigger the desire for a smoke will still do it once you're off the patch. But if you hate smoking by the time you quit, it won't even occur to you as a possibility.
     As for rating these things, I guess they did what they were supposed to, which was deliver nicotine. But they ate my flesh a little, and they don't work for everybody.
.: . . . . : . .8.0. :
5/08/2006 • link

14 comments:


Blogger BadYogi said...

Dude! You left out the most awesome part - the vivid dreams!

They warn you on the box that falling asleep while wearing the patch "may cause vivid dreams." They grossly understate matters - I started out on the second step of the patch, and the dreams were so intense, it was literally like living a whole other life at night. The best part about those dreams was that when I went to sleep, if I wanted to, I could pick up exactly where I left off the night before. The dirty dreams - beyond description.

Sometimes, I think about smoking again just so I can use the patch and have those dreams (dirty or not). But I know I won't, because those bastards actually drew blood, they ate into my skin so much.

5/08/2006 8:19 PM  

Anonymous Stu said...

Hooooooooooooo boy!

I do find it funny that you post this post the very day your roommate (ahem, me, that is) gets his nicotine patches in the mail.

Hooo boy I'm looking forward to using them first.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to smoke the remaining 15 cigarettes in my pack one after the other after the other after the...oh, you get the drill.

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