Joe Weaver of Byside quit smoking.
It's always good news when someone kicks the deadly habit, but Weaver's case is particularly newsworthy.
It's the way he did it.
In "Nic the Habit," his 140-page book published by the Writers Club Press due out in July, Weaver, 37, a computer software engineer, describes a geographical as well as spiritual journey that led to his finally stomping out his cigarettes (as shown on the cover of the book).
Quitting smoking is more akin to fighting alcoholism or drug addiction than just getting rid of a bad habit. "You have to tell your mind to shut up," Weaver said in a Qguide interview.
The chemicals in cigarettes, particularly nicotine, quickly take over mind and body, Weaver said, knowing full well from his personal experience as well as his (uncompleted) medical studies in Germany.
Nicotine, for example, has a molecular structure of hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon atoms that is very similar to one of the neurotransmitters in the brain, Weaver stressed. It competes with the vital chemical to affect thinking and emotion.
There is also much evidence that cigarettes increase the level of dopamine in the brain, which gives the feeling of pleasure, at first, in a similar way to cocaine and heroin.
Weaver devoted a full chapter to listing and describing some of the thousands of chemicals in cigarette smoke, including hydrogen cyanide (used as an insecticide), lead, toluene (used in paint and paint-thinners), formaldehyde (used in embalming and dyes) and carbon monoxide, which reduces oxygen in the blood and can kill in minutes if breathed in without ventilation.
Even though Weaver emphasized the medical damage that even moderate smoking does to the body, the book is more than a simple description of the dangers.
"[A] reason people become addicted to a substance is that something is usually missing from their life," Weaver wrote. "The substance is then used as a replacement for whatever is lacking."
The author had traveled to Egypt, Nepal, India, and Tibet, and describes regaining his inner spirit - something he said is really not all that difficult to do, and doesn't require going to far-off places. In the book, he presented a series of "assignments" for the reader, emphasizing that "you have control over your mind" and urging the reader to "believe that people who smoke are nothing more than addicts who cannot take control over their life."
"Take back your life," Weaver urged.
©2001 Community News Group
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