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Old 02-09-2020, 03:22 PM
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Do nicotine cravings ever go away


Argh! This year Iíve been 10 years (mostly) cigarette free but there still isnít a day goes by when I donít have some sort of nicotine craving. Admittedly, itís not like it was for the first few years, where my every waking moment was consumed with fighting those cravings, but itís still niggling.

Am I still going to feel like this in another decade?

OB
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:30 PM
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I dunno about nicotine, per say, but after being smoke-free for... shit... 13 years+ now, there are times I still crave a cigarette. I get stressed out and the cravings go up. I don't think its nicotine I'm craving so much as the ability to step outside and just chill for 5 minutes or so. Now when I need that I make a cup of coffee and do the same.

I'm a teacher in a boarding school. I've found that on a bad day, when the students are really trying, I suck on the cap of a ballpoint pen. It's somewhat analogous to smoking a Camel, and helps me de-stress a bit. A couple of my students have put 2 and 2 together and, to their credit, crank down the obnoxiousness when the see me chewing on a pen. It really does work.
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:52 PM
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It's only been a year for me.
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Old 02-09-2020, 04:00 PM
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Three months for me (but not the first time I’ve quit). Not a day goes by that I don’t want to smoke.
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Old 02-09-2020, 04:19 PM
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Four years for me. Pretty much no cravings ever, and that was true early on. Did the patch for a week then went cold turkey. I smoked for 20+ years, tried to quit several times but had no success until this time, when I actually lost the craving.

I can't imagine continuing to crave it for 10 years and not giving in. That's some serious willpower.
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Old 02-09-2020, 04:46 PM
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They definitely lessen with time. I used to dream that I still smoked about once a month. Now I never do (haven't smoked in 40 years).

Tobacco cravings were much worse if I had any alcohol in me. If you're a big drinker, that could be part of the cause of the strong cravings.

Last edited by needscoffee; 02-09-2020 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 02-09-2020, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Oswald Bastable View Post
Argh! This year Iíve been 10 years (mostly) cigarette free but there still isnít a day goes by when I donít have some sort of nicotine craving. Admittedly, itís not like it was for the first few years, where my every waking moment was consumed with fighting those cravings, but itís still niggling.

Am I still going to feel like this in another decade?

OB
You have my sympathies, OB. Coming up for 28 years this summer - I had "quit" a couple of times before that (and restarted), but then I think I got really serious about stopping, and it seemed pretty easy to quit and stay quit. Entirely tobacco free since then. Maybe I was just lucky.

If you've stuck it out for 10 years then you're obviously serious enough. All I can do is wish you the best.

j
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Old 02-09-2020, 06:04 PM
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I used to chew; tobacco, then the nictine gum. I quit in 1997.

I also gave up alcohol and opioids and other mood altering drugs in 1990.

I have more cravings for nicotine than I do for alcohol or opioids.

They have greatly diminished as the decades have rolled by, however. So that's nice.

I've also provided medical and detox care for hundreds of addicts and alcoholics. Fairly consistently they tend to report the cravings for nicotine persist longer than the cravings for their other substances.
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Old 02-09-2020, 06:19 PM
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I used to chew; tobacco, then the nictine gum. I quit in 1997.

I also gave up alcohol and opioids and other mood altering drugs in 1990.

I have more cravings for nicotine than I do for alcohol or opioids.

They have greatly diminished as the decades have rolled by, however. So that's nice.

I've also provided medical and detox care for hundreds of addicts and alcoholics. Fairly consistently they tend to report the cravings for nicotine persist longer than the cravings for their other substances.
I've heard since I was a kid that nicotine is a harder addiction to kick than opiates, and not just because you can buy cigarettes, etc. almost anywhere.
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Old 02-09-2020, 07:42 PM
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Smoked for ten, quit for fifteen, no cravings now. But annoyingly, I do remember what a wonderful drug nicotine is. Pleasant endorphin buzz, artificially boosts acetylcholine and glutamate, making your brain work better and faster instead of the reverse, and only the prospect of an expensive and unpleasant early death to offset the upside of being a better, happier, and slightly smellier person.
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Old 02-09-2020, 07:50 PM
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I had no problems after about six months. My brother, on the other hand, who was a 4 pack-a-day smoker, complained about urges for 25 years.
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Old 02-09-2020, 08:16 PM
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23 years and 65 days since quitting. Cravings went away gradually, I don’t recall any after about a decade. Key is, of course, to really quit. Even a couple of drags restart the clock. The dreams that you fell of the wagon and started smoking again, and the massive sense of disappointment and regret the first 10 minutes after waking from such a dream, those will visit for decades.
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Old 02-09-2020, 08:25 PM
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Almost three years for me and stress for sure is the trigger. I still use nicotine gum.
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Old 02-09-2020, 08:56 PM
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I think this is very much a YMMV type of scenario, so it's very hard to say. Everybody is different. I got lucky and didn't really experience any withdrawal or cravings after stopping. My wife is similar. She was more of a social smoker than me (I was up to almost 2 packs a day), but I haven't seen her light up in a decade nor jones for a cigarette. Other people I've known still itch for it ten, twenty years on. Definitely YMMV.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:55 PM
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Quit over 15 years ago. Can't remember any real cravings after the first 6 months or so. Every three or four months I'll get a mild longing, but it's so mild that it takes almost no will power to ignore it.
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:01 PM
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I quit 6 years ago but damn I am still addicted to nicotine lozenges :-(
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:03 PM
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Six years for me. I don't think about it anymore.
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:30 AM
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I quit the lozenges about 3 months ago, I've put on a little weight since then and maybe used food a little to fight off the cravings, but I started going back to the gym.

I haven't let myself start back on any nicotine products at all but the cravings are there. They do appear to be lessening every day that goes by though.

That first week or two was hell, but I just couldn't let the stuff control my life any longer.
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Last edited by pool; 02-10-2020 at 12:31 AM.
  #19  
Old 02-10-2020, 09:10 AM
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Yes. I quit smoking about 15 years ago and I still wanted a cigarette at the 10 year mark and at the 13 year mark, but just recently I got a whiff of a cigarette and for the first time my reaction was "gross." So hang in there, it eventually does go away.
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Old 02-10-2020, 09:37 AM
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With all the variation could there be a genetic component, like the number of receptors in your brain or something?
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Old 02-10-2020, 09:52 AM
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I started smoking when I was 15 or so, quit for a year when I was pregnant, started again, quit for 11 years when I was 45, started again and smoked for 4 more years.

I recently quit again. It will be 9 months in a week.

I get the urge for the activity, not so much the nicotine. I drink, and it's worse when drinking. I went to a bar a few weeks ago. It's one that is outside the city limits, and they allow smoking. It REEKED! We cracked the doors, and it wasn't so bad, but I absolutely did not have the urge to smoke. My husband (a non-smoker) comes home from there frequently, and I make him change his shirt immediately.

I can't believe I used to smell that bad. Ugh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The King of Soup
<snip>an expensive and unpleasant early death to offset the upside of being a better, happier, and slightly smellier person.
It is not "slightly smelly" - YMMV.
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Old 02-10-2020, 10:15 AM
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My father quit smoking when he was 40. He says there are still times he would like to have a cigarette. He is 92.

I smoked heavily for 42 years; gum, patches, lozenges didn’t do it for me. I switched to e-cigs 10 years ago – no cravings, no weight gain, no stress, no stink, no spending hundreds of dollars a month on cigarettes. I am content to remain a nicotine addict.
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Old 02-10-2020, 11:09 AM
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I quit 27 years ago. For me the craving went away within a year. My reason for quitting was watching 2 very important people in my life die from smoking. I did not want to die like that. The longer I went without cigarettes, the better I felt. I have seen enough of the health effects from smoking since to quash any potential urges. I recently turned down an offer of a box of expensive cigars. I have been working on my brother in law for quite a while to urge him to quit. 2 massive heart attacks later, he still smoked. 3 weeks ago, he had no choice to quit. 2 strokes and he now lays in a hospital bed, can't eat, drink, talk, walk. His prognosis to do any of those things again are slim. My wife is going to look at lot term facilities for him to go and slowly rot to nothing. Smoking has taken away everything that he lived for.



Go to a hospital and look at everyone in there dying for a cigarette. Is that how you want to die? That next cigarette you crave might be the one that kills you.
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Old 02-10-2020, 11:31 AM
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Though it's only been a year for me, the cravings aren't intense. But then again, I also quit drinking at the same time. Since the doctors pretty much said quit smoking or else, I figured I'd quit drinking as well since the two seem to go hand-in-hand. One nice aspect of that is I'm saving around $400 a month by not drinking or smoking.

I do think the cigarette smoke is horrible when I walk by a smoker and it makes me cringe to realize I used to smell like that. It sounds horrible, but the smell does reek and makes me gag now.

But I'm not (and won't be) one of those former smokers who will get on a soapbox.

I still have dreams of smoking

I won't chance smoking again. The last thing I was going right before my stroke last January was smoking a cigarette outside at work during break. Next thing I knew I was looking around wondering why I was standing outside, and then realized my cigarette was lying on the sidewalk. And I couldn't pick it up. Out of frustration, I went back inside work and sat at my desk. And I couldn't move my mouse. In fact, it dawned on me I couldn't move my arm at all. It was just hanging there limp.

Co-workers realized what was going on (I couldn't answer their questions for some reason, but just kept picking up my limp arm and watching it fall back down into my lap), and called 911.
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:01 PM
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I quit cold turkey 55 years ago. I had some desire for maybe 15 years. Now I find the thought of a cigarette repulsive. Hang in there.

I have the impression that the age at which you started matters a lot. My SIL didn't start smoking until after he was 20 and he quit easily when my daughter told him that if he wanted to move in he had to stop. On the other hand, I was about 14 when I started. And my parents both smoked so I had been exposed for my entire life.
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Old 02-10-2020, 12:42 PM
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Quit 13 years ago using Chantix. Cravings went away in the first year.
I also made lifestyle changes so that helped put me in the "eww gross" category when I think about smoking now. I can't think of any situation that would make me pick one up again.
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:02 PM
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I'm at about 13 years - also used Chantix. The physical nicotine cravings aren't there for me in that it's not something I need to feel normal. But every once in a while, I get smacked upside the head with the psychological craving, that my brain interprets as a physical craving, that jonesin' for a smoke feel. But the smell of smoking repulses me, which is what's likely to keep me off them.

I wouldn't pick one up again because I'd be at 1-2 packs a day within a month, and I can't afford that health-wise or money-wise these days.
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:48 PM
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I have absolutely zero desire to smoke most of the time. But when drinking more than 2 or so drinks I will smoke. I hate that I do this, but I have not been able to conquer it. Any tips?
  #29  
Old 02-10-2020, 04:42 PM
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I still have dreams of smoking
I have dreams of smoking, and I've smoked maybe one or two cigarettes in my life. However, my father was a heavy smoker all of my life, so I'm sure that's why.

In re the following - IANADoctor or medical researcher, and this is just from what I have heard and observed. I think I have a good sense of reliable sources, i.e. I listen to information from the medical community, not what my friends or family tell me, when it comes to health care... but at this point I can't guarantee my sources.


Ok, from what I've heard, nicotine is an anti-depressant. So, if you're addicted to nicotine, it may be that you're self-medicating depression. Or, in the case of the OP, the cravings may be coming when something is triggering depression. It may be worth talking to a doctor about this. I've known some people who didn't even have to deal with cravings when they went on an anti-depressant. They just stopped wanting the cigarettes about two weeks in.

Sadly, it didn't work for rjk, he continued to smoke until the day he had the heart attack that put him in the hospital.

Which leads to a pet theory I have - I think there are more psycho-active drugs in tobacco than just nicotine. Because vaping and nicotine gum didn't work for rjk either - he still experienced cravings. So I think that there are more substances in tobacco, that haven't been identified because they are not as potent as nicotine.

I wish I knew who to pass this on to that would get someone looking at that possibility.
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Old 02-10-2020, 05:10 PM
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Itís been about 17 years for me. I didnít really have any physical cravings after I was done with the patch. The situational psychological cravings were there for a while. If I was able to get through divorce, war and raising teenagers without feeling the urge to start again I think the urge is gone.
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Old 02-10-2020, 06:20 PM
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I quit 34 years ago. I still have the occasional smoking dream. If I find myself really wanting one, I go stand by someone smoking and enjoy the secondhand smoke.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:21 AM
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I have absolutely zero desire to smoke most of the time. But when drinking more than 2 or so drinks I will smoke. I hate that I do this, but I have not been able to conquer it. Any tips?
Don't drink more than 2 or so drinks.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:40 AM
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Don't drink more than 2 or so drinks.
Not always doable on nights out, especially weekends. Not really an issue during the week.
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Old 02-11-2020, 11:04 AM
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My therapist said most therapists agree that nicotine is harder to quit than most drugs including heroin and coke.
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Old 02-11-2020, 11:22 AM
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I quit 34 years ago. I still have the occasional smoking dream. If I find myself really wanting one, I go stand by someone smoking and enjoy the secondhand smoke.
How can you enjoy standing next to a smoker and enjoy the second-hand smoke? As soon as I walk by a someone standing outside smoking, the stench makes me walk by even faster. I can't stand the smell now (though the smell of someone lighting one up further away does smell good).
  #36  
Old 02-11-2020, 12:26 PM
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1 month, 2 days, and 13 hours for me in my most recent attempt to quit. I have been trying for at least 15 years and I always have failed. I guess it's like the old saying - "All marriages are forever, until they aren't" right? Right now I find the cravings manageable but sometimes they do hit pretty strong and I got to work hard mentally to stay strong for a few moments until they pass. By and large it's not the cravings so much as it is that I just don't feel like myself. I feel like part of me is missing and that is the activity of smoking, the pleasure I got from it, etc. So I've just been living one milestone to the next... just get to or through X or Y:

1 day without a cigarette.
The girls up and dressed and dropped off at day care without stopping afterwards for a cigarette.
3 days without a cigarette.
1 week without a cigarette.
A long business trip including social drinking without a cigarette.
2 weeks without a cigarette.
1 month without a cigarette.
A stressful family weekend out of town without a cigarette.

And now I'm just trying to get to 6 weeks without a cigarette.

I'm doing my best to avoid triggers or risk factors for lighting up. I'm avoiding where at all possible social drinking which is a HUGE risk factor for me. I love a cold beer or a nice bourbon with a cigarette. Fortunately I rarely drink at home so I don't have that patter/risk factor but I do enjoy going out socially and having a drink on occasion. I am also using the patches this time so I am very vigilant to ensure I do not run out and that every morning I shower and apply a new patch first thing. No, I don't usually go days without showering but since I work from home my shower schedule is pretty flexible and sometimes I may not get into the shower until the afternoon. Wearing a patch from the previous day means I would be at +24 hours, probably getting a very low to no nicotine from the patch, and again vulnerable to "caving in" and lighting up. Yes, these are things that have tripped me up in the past.

I wish every day I could go back to 20-something MeanJoe and keep him from taking that first cigarette from a buddy. Smoking and trying to quit smoking is a god damn nightmare.
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:02 AM
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How can you enjoy standing next to a smoker and enjoy the second-hand smoke? As soon as I walk by a someone standing outside smoking, the stench makes me walk by even faster. I can't stand the smell now (though the smell of someone lighting one up further away does smell good).
Amen. Just last night I was riding on the light rail pretty close to midnight. At one stop a man got on and sat three rows behind me. The reek of old cigarette smoke followed him and persisted faintly for three stops until he got off.

It might have been magnified because we were the only two in that end of the car and/or he was likely smoking one until the train arrived but, yeesh. It's not like I have a hypersensitive nose, either. My sister-in-law often teased my brother and I about the [name] nose.
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:45 AM
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Amen. Just last night I was riding on the light rail pretty close to midnight. At one stop a man got on and sat three rows behind me. The reek of old cigarette smoke followed him and persisted faintly for three stops until he got off.

It might have been magnified because we were the only two in that end of the car and/or he was likely smoking one until the train arrived but, yeesh. It's not like I have a hypersensitive nose, either. My sister-in-law often teased my brother and I about the [name] nose.
I don't like the smell of people that smoke. I like the smoke itself.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:46 PM
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I chewed Copenhagen for a decade. I quit by taking up smoking. I never wanted to be a smoker and so I only smoked at night. It got to a point that my nicotine intake was only during 1 hr out of 24 and that's when I knew I could quit. Lucky for me, after I quit, I found that I can smoke or chew in small doses without the need to have more. Once or twice a year I'll have a crazy night with friends and smoke while drinking but it doesn't seem to affect me later. (other than the hangover)
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Old 02-12-2020, 05:05 PM
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Honestly it was about 15-20 years for me
  #41  
Old 02-12-2020, 05:06 PM
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Friend swears by Paul McKenna and just listens again to the CD when cravings hit. However, I must say that this friend was very motivated to quit and strongly believed that hypnosis would work for him and that McKenna would be the right person for the job. Without these firm beliefs, your mileage may vary.

https://www.amazon.com/Smoking-Today.../dp/1401949118
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  #42  
Old 02-13-2020, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Oswald Bastable View Post
Argh! This year Iíve been 10 years (mostly) cigarette free but there still isnít a day goes by when I donít have some sort of nicotine craving. Admittedly, itís not like it was for the first few years, where my every waking moment was consumed with fighting those cravings, but itís still niggling.

Am I still going to feel like this in another decade?

OB
Oswald, kudos to you for fighting off the cravings for 10 years. That sounds really difficult! Good luck.
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