Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Smoking - a real killer & how to quit

I went for a general check-up yesterday morning. I was sent for chest xrays because I had been a smoker for so long. The xrays show very dark areas that should be my lungs. It reveals obstructed airways and the possible beginnings of emphysema. 
The doctor was not totally happy with the ECG, so this morning involved a journey to the cardiologist. Electrodes were placed all over me and my blood pressure was taken as ECG readings were taken. An ECG or electro-cardiogram measures the electrical impulses of the heart. These are placed in all sorts of positions surrounding the heart so that any damage can be detected. 
The next step was to get onto the treadmill. It started out as a fast stride. Every few minutes the speed increased until it was just too fast to walk and I had to break into a jog. I watched as the lines on the graph became more and more hectic. Eventually, I began to run out of breath. I found that I was less fit than I had thought. 
I was asked about chest pains and other signs that could indicate a problem. 
Next can an ultrasound scan. I saw my heart beating away. The scan showed the four chambers. 
Eventually, I was allowed to dress and speak to the cardiologist. Much to my relief, my heart is fine. The cardiologist told me to stick with the non-smoking. He told me that smokers are the people that keep him in business, and that it is not only heart problems that are caused by smoking. 
It is now close on two weeks since I had my last real cigarette. I have been smoking an e-cigarette for about a month and this has been the most amazing way to stop smoking. 
Like Mark Twain, I have given up smoking hundreds of times. I have tried nicotine chewing gums, Wellbutrin, and other methods. The big difference now is that my wife was also willing to quit using the e-cigarettes. 
I purchased one of these as a major pharmacy chain. It worked. Then a colleague introduced me to the Twisp. This is an e-cigarette made by a European company called Janty. It produces a far superior smoke with a smooth and rich taste. 
The e-cigarettes consist of three parts - a battery, an atomiser and a cartridge that holds the liquid. The atomiser transforms the liquid into vapour. The e-cigarette does not produce smoke or secondary smoke. It does have some nicotine, but not the thousands of other chemicals and tar contained in normal cigarettes. 
Seeing the xrays of my lungs has reinforced the decision to quit. Now that both my wife and I have quit, it will be for good. The secret is to do it one day at a time. 
I must return for more tests in about six weeks - to see the difference after being free of cigarettes for that time. 

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