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The First Five Days – Part III

January 11th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

This will be the final post of the ‘First Five Days’. All remaining posts will deal with the events of the day.

All I can say is that nicotine patch has definitely helped with the physical withdrawal symptoms, but I am still suffering the immense cravings and associative habit addiction. Typical physical nicotine withdrawal symptoms are irritability, trouble sleeping, fatigue, headache, anxiety, mild depression, and mood swings. I can honestly say that using the 14 mg nicotine patch, I am only experiencing mild irritability, headache, and anxiety.

You might ask, ‘why are you experiencing any physical withdrawal symptoms at all if you are using the nicotine patch?’ That is a great question and here are a few possible reasons that I’ve found after researching the subject.

Not all of the nicotine in snuff tobacco is “free,” or quickly available to enter the user’s bloodstream. The amount of free nicotine is controlled in two ways: the cut and the pH of the tobacco. Finely cut tobacco (Copenhagen silver top) releases its nicotine faster than “long cut” brands (Skoal long cut).

Most snuff brands have a pH of less than 6, meaning the tobacco is acid. For nicotine to be absorbed into the bloodstream, the tobacco must have a pH of over 7, an alkaline reading. So what is the free nicotine content and pH level of my suicidal plant over the last 24 years?

Copenhagen contains 79% of the ‘quickly available’ free nicotine, with a pH of 8.6 (remember only a pH of 7 is needed for nicotine absorption). Compare this with Skoal Long Cut which contains only 22% free nicotine at a pH of 7.5.

Ok so where am I going with this.. Give me a minute and you will see. I am taking a 14 mg nicotine patch, which means over the course of 24 hours, my body is taking in 14 mg of nicotine. There are 3 levels of patch, 22 mg, 14, mg, and 7 mg. I deliberately started with the mid-level patch to jump start the nicotine cessation process. I am not recommending that anyone else do this. I decided this after looking back at the last 24 years of attempting to quit. The average cigarette contains between 1-2 mg of nicotine per cigarette. Now how much of that nicotine you ingest, depends on your style of smoking, i.e. smoke the whole cigarette, length of the drag, how deep you inhale, etc. So the packaging for the 14 mg patch suggests that you use this if you smoke 10 or less cigarettes per day.

I don’t smoke, so why the hell am I talking about this. If a pack of cigarettes contains between 20-40 mg of nicotine, let’s say the average smoker actually inhales 30 mg per day. How does this equate to my chosen agent of death, Copenhagen snuff? There is 7.5 mg of nicotine per gram of snuff. There are 34 grams of snuff per can of Copenhagen. That equals 255 mg of nicotine per can of Copenhagen. I personally never liked to take monstrous dips, but I would keep them in for long periods of time. I went through about .5 cans of Copenhagen per day, brining my average daily nicotine consumption to about 127 mg per day. Hmmm, now are we starting to see why snuff addiction is so difficult to overcome, and why it is different than cigarette smoking???

I know that was the long way to my answer about why I am still dealing with physical withdrawal symptoms, but I hope you learned something along the way. Thanks again for reading and please post your stories or updates, as it really does help others on the same road. If you want to post, please email me and I will get you access.

Matt – 11 days quit

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  1. Christopher
    March 17th, 2009 at 10:01 | #1

    I’m just a few hours short of making the first 72 hours. No aids, just picked a date, outlined five reasons, and stopped. 35 years of chewing. Once I hit the 72 hour mark, I’m even more motivated to continue because the research shows me that the nicotine is gone and now it’s mental (like the associations). God’s best to anyone trying. My mind is swinging wildly and I’m having some drowsiness issues but as that elusive 72 hour mark nears I’m finding it more conducive to stay focused. And Matt, thanks for the stats. The information infuriates me for my willingness to subsidize them all these years and the information further motivates me to stay the course.

  2. Murphy
    March 23rd, 2009 at 21:47 | #2

    @Christopher

    Christopher,

    I hope that you are still on the path!

    The 17th of March was my 3 month mark, off Cope/snuff/tobacco – but I am still using nicotine replacement (Commit lozeng), so that is still in process – cutting back to zero. My goal is June 12th (the end of the school year)

    The biggest temptation for me is when I go out! Luckily, not often do you see guys taking a pinch out on the town – unlike cigs…

    Good luck!

    Murphy/Seattle

  3. Mike
    September 2nd, 2009 at 10:17 | #3

    Christopher and Murphy,

    Hope all is going will with your efforts to give up the dip…. I am on day 12 after 40+ years of dipping ‘hagen. I am trying the nicotine gum approach. Like you Christopher, I was dipping about 1/2 can per day and am chewing 15-20 pieces a day and hoping to cut that back even more in the next few days… I really comment you Murphy. I can’t do the cold-turkey method. My biggest problem besides poor sleeping is I keep biting my darn cheeks and tongue… retarded gum chewer… lol

    Best of Luck Gents,

    Mike

  4. Duder
    August 3rd, 2010 at 20:42 | #4

    Wow. This is fantastic information. Thanks man.

    ps. guys, this may not be kosher, but a pot and nicotine patch combo has seriously helped me (not a patch with both pot and nicotine, which i’m sure there is a market for, but the nicotine patch accompanied by marijuana usage). It helps with the whole “being a bitch” part – which is a very real part of quitting.

  5. Kyle Walter
    September 28th, 2010 at 21:21 | #5

    congrats man great explenation of why it is so hard to quit. i quit chewing copenhagen 22 hours ago and decided to use the 4mg gum. i chewed a tin a day for the past ten years. your explenation hes shown me why one piece of 4mg gum does nothing for me. i would take a big 3 finger pinch fallowed by a little pinch to top it off. i would get about 5-7 pinches from a can which means i was getting 51-37 mg of nicotine per dip. no wonder i find myself with four 4mg pieces of gum in my mouth still wanting more.thanks man the more i know the harder i can fight this.

  6. george prest
    January 4th, 2011 at 11:03 | #6

    good on all of you. Every attempt at quitting the cope is a victory, so I have heard. I am on day 5, the cold turkey method. It’s really rough after relying on cope for the past 44 years. If I stay in the house, I might make it. Soldier on boys

  7. Rob S
    February 10th, 2011 at 01:58 | #7

    Wow,
    I think this is the first time I have seen where it is broken down about how much nicotine is in chew. The best I could find was that one chew was equal to 3 cigerattes. I started out cutting down on my copenhagen pouches making myself wait 30 mins until my next chew. Then I made myself chew skoal longcut for and kept cutting down. Finally I went to Redman leaf stuff. The leaf stuff made me so mad I started the patch early and went dipless. I have been dippless for 9 days thus far. I spoke with my doc she put me on Zyban first. This is supposed to help take the edge off the nicotine cravings or crazies. I am on the 21 mg patch. I take it off when I sleep so I do not get all 21 mg. I was a 1-1.5 can of cope pouches a day. I will be off the patch in about 33 days. woot woot Good luck guys and I hope you all are fighting the good fight.

  8. Ex-Dipper
    March 26th, 2011 at 14:21 | #8

    I recently quit dipping (about 3 – 4 months ago). When I quit, I was dipping about a can a day of skoal longcut. What got me to quit, was that I was having some pretty serious anxiety due to being 1k miles from home for over a year for some contract work. The anxiety caused palpitations at night (ie. heart pounding/racing) and that scared me. I thought for sure I’d done permanent damage to my heart with nicotine. I quit immediately and started exercising. After quitting cold turkey, I bought a can and tried it again a week or so later.. my heart started racing, so I immediately spit it out and threw the can away. I haven’t had a dip since. I did finally go to the doctor who said my heart was fine and I was just having anxiety, but it was a good three weeks after I quit that I went to the doctor. I figured, it’s been three weeks.. no way I’m going back to dipping.

    These days, I do a lozenge once in awhile to relax.. but I’m off the snuff for good. I read up on the lozenges, and it turns out they don’t cause cancer.. so that’s a good thing. The nicotine amount is ony 4mg, so it doesn’t really make my heart race.. but since I don’t do much, it does have the calming effect. Trick is not to do them to often, if you do.. you get used to them and you need more LOL.

  9. September 26th, 2011 at 23:21 | #9

    I have been dipping for 13 years. Started with Levi garret chew. I then went to Cope long cut. When the cope pouches came out I jumped in with those and have been dipping 2 pouches at a time which equates to 2 cans a day. I have been using the Commit Lozenge 4mg for 2 weeks now and I can say i have seen a big difference. I now use 1 can of pouches every 4 days. Not where I need to be but its a great start. Do any of you know the nicotine mg per pouch? I can’t seem to find that published. Any help is appreciated. I hope and pray all of you quit. Hard addiction to overcome.

  10. BK
    November 1st, 2011 at 05:57 | #10

    I have dipped cope for 34 years and have been off that stuff for a week now. It feels great. I have been chewing Nicorette 4mg Fruit Chill gum. I can honestly say that I have not had any urges to dip, but have thought about it when I would do something that I would have a dip: ie. getting into the car, doing some work around the house. I had a 2 can a day habit. Like I said, it’s been a week, and have been lucky not to experience all the horror stories I have been reading about. Good luck to anyone who’s trying to quit. Be strong, you can do it!

  11. jerry
    November 29th, 2011 at 19:37 | #11

    matt,
    congrats on quitting, however cope contains an average of 2.5 mgs of nicotine per gram. that is roughly 85 grams per can and not 255.
    jerry

  12. jerry
    November 29th, 2011 at 19:58 | #12

    Matt,
    Your right on the nicotine, i cant believe it but thats roughly one can of cope to equal 8 packs of cigs.I have been nursing a can a week and thought i was doing good. good luck to all on one of the most difficult products to give up.
    Jerry

  13. Carl G
    March 23rd, 2012 at 16:18 | #13

    Quit booze 9 years ago when I ended up in a bad way. Picked up Copenhagen to, well, help me cope with life without the booze and within a month I was dipping two cans per day. Eventually turned to pouches cause it was easier at work. I’ve tried to quit probably 20 times over the last 8 years and never made it 72 hours even with gum / patch / lozengers. March 15th was my last dip and it’s been rough, but finally starting to feel normal. I’ve leaned on nicorette gum, first couple days I’d do 15 or so. Last few day I have 6-7 pieces a day. My plan is to finish the 4′s, then go to the 2′s. Once I complete the cycle, God willing, I hope to be nicotine free.

  14. Copenhagen Kid
    March 25th, 2012 at 11:10 | #14

    To give you some idea how old I am when I first started using Cope it cost 21 cents per can…I was 13 years old attending a summer camp in Western Pa where I grew up. I have tried many times over the years to stop, but failed each time. Recently I went to the dentist and was very embarrassed even to open my mouth because the effects of snuff over the years has really eatten away at my teeth and gums. So do not be like me…….it will cost be anywhere between 70,000 to 100,000 dollars to have a full mouth restoration with oral surgery. Several teeth will need to be pulled, and I will need 5 implants in the front of my mouth at a cost of $4000 per implant. The dentist told me I am seeking help just in time before oral cancer starts to set in. Guys it is not worth it…….I know the ” high” you can get by putting in a pinch while working, hunting or fishing or whatever, but now is the time to stop while you are young, its tough to do, but it can be done with strong willpower and a tough attitude!!!! I just had two root canals yesterday so I have to stop writing the pain from the root canals has become unbearable this afternoon. No more Cope for me……..you cannot have a chew when you had oral surgery all throughout your mouth.

  15. Jason
    April 3rd, 2012 at 15:11 | #15

    @Ex-Dipper
    Ex Dipper,

    I had the same issue when I went thru a bunch of changes with job, had a new baby, bought a new house and all of a sudden became very anxious. Having mini panic attacks over stupid things that I had never experienced before. I was going through about a can a day (250Mg of Nicotine). The only thing I could think of that was causing this all of a sudden was too much dip and coffee. I put the dip down and vowed I would never go back. Once I got thru the first couple weeks it was all very manageable. Within the first day or two I felt normal again and my heart wasnt racing. Even tense muscles in my neck and shoulders began to relax and feel better. At the end of the day its an unatural chemical that I was sending coursing through my veigns every day and then wondering why my body wasn’t responding the way is should. It was fun and enjoyable to me while golfing and driving and working in the yard but those are the only pro’s to counter the hundreds of Con’s on my list of reasons to stay away.

  16. April 20th, 2012 at 22:01 | #16

    10 days patch, 2 days off patch. Dipped once today. Need to get the lozenge for the weak moments, but glad what I read here. Dip is not the answer to a stumble, the lozenge should be the emergency go to to keep smoking or dipping once weve ‘quit’ while we still got a handle on things. Thanks for sharing, valuable lesson learned. I will survive and not make a big mistake by thinking dip is ever ok.

  17. April 20th, 2012 at 22:04 | #17

    clintfromnytova : FIXED CONTEXT…

    10 days patch, 2 days off patch. Dipped once today. Need to get the lozenge for the weak moments, but glad what I read here. Dip is not the answer to a stumble. The lozenge should be the emergency keep from smoking or dipping once weve ‘quit’ and feel weak. Thanks for sharing, valuable lesson learned. I will survive and not make a big mistake by thinking dip is ever ok.

  18. Ron
    April 28th, 2012 at 17:41 | #18

    Going on about 19 hours now. 1 can a day habit on Copenhagen pouches. I probably had a dip in from the time I woke up till the time I went to sleep. At most I didn’t have a chew in for 2 hours out of the day. Trying the 14mg patch but it sounds as if that doesn’t even come close to the amount of nicotine I received each day. I know people have trouble getting off the patch, I’m hoping the reduction of nicotine from the chew to the patch will make it easier to get off the patch.

  19. Jason
    June 5th, 2012 at 04:34 | #19

    Your math about the high amounts of nicotine in snuff is inaccurate and misleading.

    - “1-2 mg of nicotine per cigarette.” ths is inaccurate, there is actually much more nicotine in a cigarette than that. 1-2 mg is what a smoker can expect to absorb from a cigarette

    -”7.5 mg/g of snuff.” this is also inaccurate. the state of massachusetts did a study on this, and 7.5 mg/g seems to be on the low extreme of nicotine content. most dips have 10-15 mg/g.

    more nicotine is absorbed from typical dip than a cigarette, but the 255 mg in dip vs 20-40 in cigarettesis extremely misleading.

    Here is a study done by the state of massachusettes on nicotine content of dips sold in th state. It’s a few years old but it’s probably pretty accurate. The dip nicotine content an freebase nicotine content is located in table 7, near the top of the document.

    http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol89/mono89-6.pdf

  20. pdiddy
    July 11th, 2012 at 20:06 | #20

    On day 4 of 30 year can a day habit….i hope the pain starts to ease up soon! Any idea how long the withdrawals last?

  21. July 26th, 2012 at 07:31 | #21

    Im doing a persuasive text i need help with ideas please?
    Its about stopping smoking?

  22. Will
    November 25th, 2012 at 00:15 | #22

    Cope Snuff dipper. Can a day habbit for 17 years. 55 hours dip free. COLD TURKEY! Going through one hell of a time right now!.

  23. Jaroy Roberts
    January 13th, 2013 at 20:58 | #23

    Day 19 today of no copenhagen fine cut snuff that I have dipped for thirty plus years. Made my mind up to stop, and did so on Christmas day. I still miss it every moment I am awake, but it is getting easier. I still reach in my back pocket many times a day out of pure habit. It is like I am learning to do everything over again in a different way. BUt is Do alreadyr feel better, and I am glad I stopped.

  24. Jake W.
    October 6th, 2013 at 10:38 | #24

    Quit a cop fine cut a week ago. Dipped for 25 years. Quit once for a year and a half. Started back after chewing on cigars gave to me for Xmas. That was about 15 years ago. Tried several times to quit since but always wound up back at it. Finally decided to put some money on it. To take a dip it will cost me several hundred bucks. The first 3 days was cold turkey and was just pissed off all the time. Started using 2 mg lozenges. Trying to keep it at 4 per day. Then ill cut to 3. I guess after that ill break them in half and do that for a week or so. Tootsie rolls seam to help with some of the habit of having a dip. Good luck guys.

  25. Chris
    January 26th, 2014 at 20:54 | #25

    Copenhagen-long cut ……day 9 cold turkey. Sleeping way better but eating everything in sight. I hope it gets easier. This sucks for sure……

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