A primal craving for Mother’s love turns adults into drug addicts

E cigarettes are cool adult pacifiersCredit: Sue Visser

We activate our sucking reflexes before we are born, way back in the womb where thumb sucking begins. We then continue to suck our fingers and thumbs or dummies for a number of reasons, mainly to feed. Suckling is a primal instinct that is linked to security issues - the soothing motherly comforts being food, warmth, love and reassurance. Without these, a helpless baby cries until it gets what it instinctively needs. When Baby grows up and screams for more of the same despite a full tummy and a clean bum, a plastic dummy is used to compensate to shut them up.

And so begins the habit of turning to the pacifier / bottle or eventually cigarettes instead of getting the hug you yelled for as a tiny tot. As adults many of us still crave some form of reassurance or comfort that relates to maternal magic. Over 41% of the adults that took part in a recent questionnaire admitted to having secret habits like thumb sucking or cuddling a toy (or hopefully something fleshy) prior to going to sleep.

Help yourself to oxytocin, the comfort hormone with a 20 second hug!

Plastic baby dummies are still quite popular with some of the older teenagers who keep them hidden from public view. (Confessions of 19 - year olds.) You could then say that sucking on a nicotine-free e-cigarette is a more socially acceptable substitute, especially if you have company. It can double up as a delivery device for aromatherapy oils and homeopathic remedies. But more about that later on. In many cases these secret rituals have a placebo effect - just like 90% of the anti-depressant medications people take. People get their "medicine" from the nice man in the white jacket - somebody CARES about them! We all need a hug, love and comfort, so why make such a fuss about it? Oxytocin is a hormone that is generated and released extensively during the suckling and breastfeeding routine. Do we miss it? Well, a good hug from anybody will give out a mutual wave of oxytocin and all it takes is 20 seconds.

If there is nobody to hug then go on, close your eyes, hug yourself and feel the love. Cross your arms and stroke your shoulders, pat them, rock to and fro.Sigh and breathe in a rush of feel good, happy, trusting oxytocin. Do it often. Reading that paragraphtook 20 seconds - now try it.

Nicotine does not fulfill the craving for comfort and reassurance

We really don’t need the nicotine and toxic substances as much as we seem to still crave a pacifier or something like fingers and thumbs to suck. It is not hard to imagine why smoking pipes and then the more modern cigarette has paved the way to electronic devices one can suck on to great psychological (suckological) benefit. The ugly aspect is that the e-cigarette is now promoted as a nicotine dispensing device. It perpetuates a depencence on a habit forming drugs that can become as addictive as heroin or cocaine. A child can buy nicotine chewing gum over the counter. Each piece can contain as much as 4 mg (4 cigatette's worth) of habit forming nicotine. What if they are already on addictive drugs like Ritalin? Now that really sucks!

The emotional need is to feel reassured: nuk - nuk.

pacified with a dummy

The kid who quit his dummy and Dad's old pipe was no sucker

When my favourite nephew was a toddler he loved to mimic his father. By the age of two he began to suck his dad’s pipe when he found it lying in the ash tray. He used to alternate the dummy with the unlit pipe, carrying them both around the living room and sucking them in turn. He screamed blue murder when his father took the pipe away. In the end he was given a spare old pipe of his own to suck. Yuk! His breath really stank like an old trooper but he persisted. A few weeks later he abandoned both pipe and dummy. He was no longer interested in either of them once he discovered he could hit a tennis ball with a broomstick. He became a scratch golfer at the age of 12 and never tried to smoke again.

Don't mess around with nicotine - even if it seems to do good

The addictive nature of nicotine that is present in tobacco is what causes all the problems with smoking. Nicotine is a drug and it does not matter if it is inhaled, swallowed or absorbed from a skin patch – it is still a potentially dangerous substance when adused. The FDA has banned the use of conventional as well as e-cigarettes because of the nicotine. But one wonders why it is still so easy to get hold of nicotine patches and chewing gum? Scariest of the lot is the danger of ingesting a huge shot of nicotine from the bottle of what is known as e-cigarette "juice". It is usually a mixture of flavoured glycerine and propylene glycol with nicotine. Although the nicotine levels vary the bottle should be kept away from children (and adults!) The 20 ml bottle of liquid used for e-cigarettes contains nicotine equivalent to about 400 normal cigarettes.

pacifiers for babies of all agesCredit: Sue Visser

The Nesbitts's Paradox - what exactly does nicotine do?

Accoding to the research information set out in Wikipedia, nicotine has interesting and even beneficial effects on our neurochemistry. This website has an in depth data base on nicotine and its medicinal effects and provides over 100 excellent references, should you need to know more. Nicotine can jazz up a tardy set of neurotransmitters and is used for Alzheimer patients as well as asmatics and people with Parkinson's disease but it has an ugly side. Nicotine interacts with a number of neurotransmitters and over time it replaces their functions thus leading to a nicotine addiction. (Addiction means not being able to function properly without taking a substance in order to just feel normal. As we know, for the drug addict (or nicotine victim) it takes increasing amounts of the substance they are addicted to.) That is why people smoke 20 - 40 cigarettes a day. Just to feel normal instead of jittery and irritable!

Nicotine can also raise blood sugar by hitting the cortisol and adrenalin buttons and releasing stored glucose from the liver. This is a boon for people suffering from hypoglycemic attacks. So if you need the same effect, rather eat sensibly and don't light up a cigarette and eat sweets. Nicotine works like some slimming dragees in that it stimulates the brain. (Just like Ritalin.) It arouses our exitatory chemicals and this reduces the appetite - hence the association with weight loss and smokers.

The nicotine delivered from the average cigarette (1 - 3 mg) helps its consumer to feel alert yet relaxed, calm yet keen. The memory improves and it is easier to concentrate and get things done. But oh dear, at the expense of you being able to do that in future without the nicotine. This is how we are subtly lured or seduced into a nicotine additciton. The body stops orchestrating the feel good chemistry and relies on a shot of nicotine instead. Smoking conventional cigarettes gives one an overwhelming toxic assault of dozens of chemicals and this is what induces the secondary addiction to painkilling opioid effects. There are good reasons people need to quit smoking but they need to compensate for the loss of the "dummy sucking."

You quit smoking - cold turkey. Then what happens?

Babies cry we get withdrawal symptomsCredit: Vivienne du Preez

Instead of receiving the nicotine-induced rush of acetylcholine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, arginine, vasopressin, serotonin, dopamine and beta-endorphin you fire a blank. You feel lousy and go on the rampage to get your rush of neurotransmitters. If you have given up smoking and the body has not compensated by restoring the natural flow, the usual feelings of withdrawal will affect you adversely. This is why nicotine patches and chewing gum or vapour from e-cigarettes help you along. But they don't put an end to drug (nicotine) addiction. It would be wise to follow the nutritional route or use specific herbs to help you restore the balance.

Within seven seconds of the first drag one experiences the psychactive effects of nicotine from smoke or vapour that contains it. They say that short quick puffs produce low levels of blood nicotine. This is excellent for nerve transmission whereas slow, deep draws depress the nerves and have a more relaxing effect. Well, when your body is producing the brain chemicals normally, correct breathing habits can do the same and a whole lot more! Many of the treatments used for helping people to quit smoking (or using nicotine) use nutrition, breathing, exercise and positive affirmations to boost our feel good factors.

Now you can save a fortune, by making your own vapour "juice"

So why ban the use of e-cigarettes that are free of nicotine when they work like a dummy or deliver the same effects as aramotherapy oils? They are not even environmentally hazardous as are the exhaust fumes from traffic. They are not lethal or unpleasant - not even as bad as sharing a taxi with flatulent passengers. That is why e-cigarettes can help you quit the nicotine addiction. They give you a dopamine reward – an impressive cloud of olfactory bliss - heavenly holy smoke; call it incense. It can all be done without nicotine. At the same time you can smell the roses, or mint or whatever essential oils help your brain to concentrate and chill out.

These natural essential oils can be added to a small dropper bottle of cheap plain old glycerine. They are concentrated and all you need is one drop per 5 ml or 10 ml glycerine. Invest is a set of pure, natural organic essential oils. Enjoy them in your hot steamy bath, on your skin, in an air freshener and dare we suggest - your e-cigarette, now that you have the secret. But please go and tell all your friends! Peppermint oil is a natural brain stimulant - plus it chases away flies and mosquitoes. It drives my cat nuts because he thinks it is an aphrodisiac! He even eats mint tea bags with relish and then chases me. Mint, like so many essential oils is a virtual medicine chest. Also blend the oils - say with aniseed, liquorice or vanilla. They all smell and taste great.

The pleasant effects of air fresheners or e-cigarette vapour?

We are familiar with electronic air fresheners and the pleasant fragrances we can choose from to alleviate unpleasant household odours - peppermint, vanilla, a touch of spice and all things nice. They work on the same principle as some types of e-cigarettes, believe it or not! Glycerine is the basic active substance that is used. Glycerine is a harmless, colourless sweet tasting chemical that is used in cosmetics. It is even added to cough elixirs, digestive bitters or liqueurs to thicken and sweeten them. So yes, it is ingestible and is obviously non-toxic.

When heated, glycerine shape shifts and becomes a cloud of water vapour that resembles cigarette or pipe smoke. That is one of the innocent marvels of old fashioned chemistry. This cloud of water vapour can be infused with the pleasant aroma of natural essential oils that are added to the glycerine before it is heated. Here too, we can use items from the kitchen cupboard that are obviously edible and in many ways, beneficial. Thus the use of a heated mixture of glycerine and fragrant plant oils makes a very pleasant air freshener. It alleviates the foul effects of cooking smells, pet odours and obviously man-made emissions from chronic farting.

Odours in an aeroplaneCredit: Sue Visser

Choosing the type of air freshener is up to you. You can use a simple gadget that plugs into the wall. But some of these contain potions mixed with other chemicals and they may have included a few nasty ones, so read the label carefully. If you want to use an e-cigarette as an air freshener you have a distinct advantage because it can simulate the sucking and smoke blowing action you had as a smoker – without all the nicotine and other crap! They are great for cars.

How do we benefit from taking a breather?

Suck your fingers as much as you like – or bite your fingernails, chew pencils and chew gum (without nicotine). These habits are still preferable to taking drugs like antidepressants and tranquilizers. Have you noticed how much calmer and happier people are when they have had their cigarette? Nicotine kicks in and kicks out your natural ability to then achieve the wonderful effects independently. A patient told a doctor friend of mine that unless she smoked her morning cigarette, she was unable to go to the toilet. So you see, people even smoke to relieve constipation. Not! In this case a few deep breaths and a few glasses of water would be more effective.

Now take note: it is not always the nicotine that calms them down! In many cases it is because they stop what they do and take a few deep, slow breaths. They drink a cup of tea or a glass of water – ideally. Sweet cool drinks and coffee are not the best ways to control blood sugar and frazzled nerves. But they smoke the so-called calming cigarette to their obvious detriment. The onslaught of cigarette smoke raises cortisol levels. When your blood sugar is low your adrenals take a blow. Stress raises cortisol. Conventional cigarettes may seem to alleviate stress but all the nasty fumes from cigarette smoke are major stressors in their own right.

We get addicted to opioid chemicals the body makes

When you become nicotine or junk food addicts the toxic chemicals also provoke an endogenously generated opioid (pain relieving) effect from the body. This is a last ditch attempt by our internal chemistry to try and dull the heavy blows of the continuous toxic onslaughts. In the case of cigarettes it is via the lungs. However, the same thing happens via the digestive system when one consumes vast quantities of what we call junk food. A heavy load of sugar, high corn fructose, denatured white flour and trans-fatty acids does the same thing. We revert to the release of endogenous opioids to alleviate their toxic effects. Naturopaths call this allergenic food addiction. It is exactly the same as nicotine addiction. Both cause enough harm to release the emergency trigger for the opioid chemicals we make.

What happens when people abruptly stop smoking? They eat more

We all know about weight gain and giving up smoking. People are so scared of gaining weight they prefer to keep smoking. Sure, they stop smoking in most cases the need to suckle or suck a dummy or put a cigarette in their mouth gets the upper hand. Sweets to the rescue! Biscuits, snacks, more and more high fructose corn syrup that has now been classified as a deadly poison. They eat junk for comfort and loop into the toxic allergenic addiction mode. They take their nicotine treatment because it will stop the need for getting it from smoking cigarettes. But they still need to stuff something (yes, a dummy) into their mouth to recreate the comfort they got from sucking away at an infantile pacifier.

Stressed people eat toxic foodCredit: Sue VisserEx smokers fea the fatCredit: Sue Visser


Now how about doing the same thing without getting fat or fouling up your lungs and making the air stink like an ashtray? If you can be convinced that you need to give up nicotine, do so by all means. But we have to find the best way - for many is with the help of an e-cigarette and the nicotine fluid that is sold with it. Gradually one can be weaned off the nicotine by using weaker concentrations. The e-cigarette helps to fulfil that embarrassing, irresistible desire for a pacifier. The visible clouds of water vapour and the lovely scented air provides a harmless – delightful dopamine reward. A homeopathic dilution of nicotine (D6) is available as a "juice." One can also make use of natural adaptogens and supportive supplementation to help the brain to restore the broken telephone lines that nicotine withdrawal causes.

So why do babies suck dummies? Why do adults bite fingernails, pull out strands of hair, pick at zits, chew gum or suck on pipes and cigarettes? They do it compulsively for comfort when they are agitated. At least these devices keep us free from antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, tranquillizers and sleeping potions. Remember too, that exercise also can generate opioids and endophins and they too, are addictive, so switch to some action and kick the butt.

Suck the “dummy” and quit the meds. But people prefer the opposite strategy - quit the smoking (or dummy sucking) and keep up the meds (nicotine addiction) with alternative delivery systems such as chewing gum, pills and patches. Then they still rely on all manner of medications to calm down, control blood pressure and help them sleep. An addict is addicted to drugs of many different kinds, including the ones that are prescribed by doctors!

Put somethin in your mouth?Credit: Sue Visser

We need to take a good hard look at all the substances we have become dependent on. There is no point in fixating about somebody who blows a little water vapour around when you are actually guiltier in terms of drug abuse. Yes, those prescribed medications from your doctor or other members of massive drug cartels. They are in many cases much more harmful than a shot of nicotine. They can have even more deadly side effects. There is ample proof that hundreds of thousands of people die annually from taking prescribed medications. Many of them are to treat symptoms of inadequate nutrition and a lack of exercise. Many of them are for depression and a placebo can have he same effect without a nasty whiplash effect that is often the final blow to a failing libido.

Surely this type of substance abuse is more serious than worrying about people enjoying an innocent puff at an e-cigarette, especially if using a homeopathic remedy such as Nicotinium D6? Is this breaking the law and being a public nuisance while people with bad breath and foul intestines are free to fart in our faces?

VapourCredit: Sue Visser

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