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Quitting Smoking – Trying Again with Chantex (Champix)

I inhaled my first cigarette on New Year’s Eve when I was thirteen years old.  Sure, I smoked longer, by drawing the smoke into my mouth and blowing it out, but for me, the actual inhaling counts as being a smoker. I do not remember if it was peer pressure or just seeing everyone else smoking and wanting to feel grown up that started my smoking.

Over time, especially when I tried to quit or cut down, I would realize there are two conditions of smoking that has to be broken. One is the addiction to nicotine. Nicotine is a drug, when it reaches the brain, it causes the release of dopamine which is a pleasure sense. Stopping the nicotine can cause withdrawal symptoms such as irritability. Smoking is also an everything drug, if you are hungry but cannot eat, smoke a cigarette. If you are tired but cannot sleep, smoke a cigarette, it will stimulate you. If your stressed a cigarette will help  you relax. There are also triggers that you automatically reach for a cigarette. After a meal, having a drink, answering the phone are some. One of mine is as I start the car I have a cigarette.

I had tried many times to quit. First, I tried nicotine gum, but it made me sick to my stomach. A few times, I tried the patch, but that did not work for relieving the habit and triggers. A couple of times I used a combination of the patch and Zyban, also known as Wellbutrin. This is an antidepressant but helps in the reduced need for smoking. These never worked for me.

Three years ago, I tried Chantex and surprisingly it worked. After two weeks on the drug I was not smoking. I took the pills for 3 months and then I did not smoke for eight months. Two weeks before I moved to the Philippines, I was going crazy with boredom. I had everything packed and was just waiting for the day of my departure.  One day I was outside and a neighbor came along. As we were talking, she took out a pack of cigarettes. I asked to borrow one. It tasted good but then I was fine the rest of the day.  The next day she came by to chat again and while we were talking, I had two cigarettes. Well this was it, the next day I went out and bought a pack.

With the boredom and stress here, I have been up to smoking two to three packs a day. If I am at the mall waiting for Elena, I would go outside and in one hour smoke three to four cigarettes. After a cold it would take months for my cough to subside.

Well, with my coming change by moving to Las Vegas I decided it was time to try to quit smoking again. The reasons are many; first is health, then since I plan to drive a taxi and not being able to smoke. There is also the problem of where I will be living, the family does not allow smoking in their house and of course, the high price is a factor too.

One nice thing, Chantex, packaged here as Champix is not a prescription drug in the Philippines. It is not cheap, it is 70 pesos ($1.75 USD) per pill and you need two a day. Well a week ago I started on the drug. After two days, without a conscience effort to cut down I noticed I only smoked one and a half packs a day. Then the next two days I only smoked one pack. The first three days you take one pill of a .5mg of the drug. Then starting the fourth day you take two of this, once in the morning and once at night. Sunday was the start of my second week and now will be taking a 1mg strength pill twice a day. I am hoping by the end of this week, I will not smoke at all.

I plan to continue my regiment of the drug for at least three months and I hope and pray this will be the end of my years of cigarette addiction.

31 Responses to “Quitting Smoking – Trying Again with Chantex (Champix)”

  1. Marcel says:

    Bruce, thank for the tip on Champix.
    The last year my wife I spend lots of time checking majority of pharmacies in Davao for nicotine patch for her father.
    It seemed like they never heard of it there…

    • Bruce says:

      Marcel,
      Chantix is the US based drug and Champix is the one available here. We bought mine without a perscription at Mercury Drugs at Gaisano Mall, Bajada.

  2. Ken says:

    Hi Bruce, I was one of the lucky ones able to just stop after many years of smoking. Friends said I got irritable and arguementative but ‘THATS JUST LIES!’ lol.

    • Bruce says:

      Ken,
      They could tell the difference in your personality? hehehe, joking.
      Maybe I can blame the quitting as my reason for getting upset.

  3. Jannette Graham says:

    I have been a long time lurker and this is the first time I have decided to leave a comment. I have found your site to be an invaluable source of information on the Philippines, the country where my mother was raised in, but left over 30 years ago.

    My boyfriend has been off the cigarettes for just over 12 months. He went to a hypnotist in Sydney and hasn’t wanted or had a cigarette since that day.

    My boyfriend’s brother tried Champix but he found that they made him angry. I hope that these pills don’t have the same affect on you.

    I wish you the best of luck with giving up the smokes and with your move back to the US.

    • Bruce says:

      Jannette,
      Thank you for lurking and finally commenting. Year ago I tried a hypnotist and found out I could not be hypnotized. I even tried the laser acupuncture and that did not work. My signs of aggravation has increased, but that might be from the bad attitudes I am getting from some local “So-called” friends.
      I hope everyone can put up with me since in the long run, I will be better.
      I also hope I can get some writers to help keep this site running. They do not have to live here. They can write about cultural differences between Filipinos and American cultures and how we see things differently.

      • m60man says:

        I will be glad to write articles for your site. I sent you an article so you could see my writing style. You said you would introduce me to your readers. I sent you a short bio as well. I’m building an American style home here, that in it self is a wealth of information to be shared………….considering 99.9% of all construction here is concrete. I have a Filipino wife, a Filipino dog and use public transportation. I’ve been in the Philippines since Jan. 26th 2009, with the exception of a 7 week return to the states. So surely, there is something that I might be able to contribute……..I get to hone my writing skills for the book I’m writing………you get to keep your site alive. Oh, I’m a smoker….I have stopped before, over a year and stupidly started again. Its mind over matter…..the only way to do it is to be strong in desire……have a counter measure for your triggers (not food)……but then again, thats another article……….and one that can change your life style. Hope to hear from you soon.

  4. sandy says:

    It is probably the quitting that makes you irritable. Hopefully people will understand.

  5. Leon Andrews says:

    Started smoking when I was 17 and developed into a 40 a day habit. Decided to quit on Christmas eve 37 years ago. Hardest 3 days of my life followed by the next 2 years before I was finally off the fags. Not easy however if you really want to quit it’s far better going cold turkey and not use a crutch like like these quit smoking aids which I think only make the manufacturers and resellers richer & d0on’t really help.

    Do it cold turkey by your self, call it character building and make your self proud.

    Walking, other exercise and drinking fresh fruit juice helps as does the support of your peers and above all else stay away from alcohol. That’s the biggest no no to quitting there is.

    Regards Leon…

    • Bruce says:

      Leon,
      Some like you are able to quit cold turkey. That is great, but not all can do it. If the champix works for me, that is at least a way to quit.

      • Leon Andrews says:

        Hi Bruce,

        Never said it was easy. Just get used to the attitude you will succedd and achieve in whatever you attempt in life and after a while being successful becomes a habit however always remember never bite off more than you can chew. 🙂

        Regards Leon.

        • Bruce says:

          Leon,
          With the drug, my need and desire has been decreasing. I have been on the pills for 2 weeks and today only had 5 cigarettes. As long as I quit is what is important, how I do it is secondary.

  6. greg says:

    I quit just over 2 years ago using Chantix. It worked extremely well, but I did take it for 4 months before I quit smoking, and took it 2 more months fearing a ‘relapse’.

    I have not heard of the medicine causing irritibility or anger, however it is documented to cause depression in some individuals. It may have had this effect on me, as I resigned from my previous employer about 6 weeks after starting Chantix. It worked out well for me careerwise (was just before the economy sank), but I had no ill-effects otherwise.

    Chantix works by actually blocking the receptors in the brain from getting stimulated by the nicotine. After a few weeks or month, the nicotine essentially has no effect on the brain, so you begin to realize, “why should I light up—they don’t do anything for me”.

    I took the medicine for so long and continued to smoke due to the travelling I was doing: two day-long trips going across the country get boring, and smoking was my ‘hobby’. I quit 2 days prior to starting with my new job. I did not want to be ‘the guy’ that was known for taking too long and too frequent breaks to go outside and smoke. I also was tired of hearing about how my clothing, even after machine washing, smelled of smoke. And I knew I was getting to an age where smoking-related illnesses begin to take hold. Lastly, the new federal cigarette tax increase was about to hit, and I had an economic incentive to quit.

    So, I encourage everyone who smokes to try to quit when it is their time. I never thought I would succeed, but Chantix was my ‘miracle drug’. I smoked from the age of 14 until 37. It is possible.

    Good luck Bruce.

  7. John in Austria says:

    Hi Bruce,

    I smoked from 17 till 45 when I quit using the nicotine gum. I substituted peppermints (scotch mints) for my habit, and still carry them with me for stressful situations! One habit for another – now my teeth are shot! 🙂 Good luck!

    • Bruce says:

      John,
      My only thought is, at least you can breath better and you can get false teeth, but cannot get a lung replacement.

  8. Seth says:

    I smoked for about 20 years and was able to quit about 7 years ago. I did it cold turkey. Yes there are triggers that set off the desire for a smoke. I read somewhere that when you get the urge to smoke, pick up a pencil and doodle. I started doing crosswords or sudoko puzzles to get my mind off it. Good luck to you

    • Bruce says:

      Seth,
      I have heard, over the years many things, one was put a rubber band around your write and snap it hard when you have a craving. With the pain, you forget the cigarette.

  9. Marvin says:

    Leon’s right about the fruit juice, take more vitamins and eat really healthy foods and the cravings will be less and less as time goes by. I think pot might now be cheaper in the US than a pack of smokes.

  10. Randy says:

    I smoked from about the age of 14 until 30.
    The last few years as a smoker I gradually started smoking lighter and lighter cigarettes. By the time I quit smoking I had been smoking the lightest brand of cigarette on the market.
    Quit cold turkey but almost 10 years now since I quit, I still get the urge from time to time. I guess it just never goes away.

    • Bruce says:

      Randy,
      As smokers, are will power is less to stop smoking, over time we are stronger. I have heard of many who say as you do about never completely lose the urge but can fight it it off. I hope to be there too.

  11. Queen Victoria says:

    Dear Sir,
    It’s almost a year now since you’ve posted your start of using Champix. How has it been for you and did you go through the entire 3 months?
    I want to use it but I have hyperthyroid and I’m already irritable as it is. I’m sure it’s all lies too. 🙂 Could you please let me know of your Champix results? It will be very much appreciated.
    Thank you and Happy New Year!

    • Bruce says:

      Queen Victoria,
      I was able to stop on Chantix until I returned to America and cut myself down to one a day instead of the prescribed two. With the lower dosage I would have a few cigarettes a day while working. The VA would not give me Chantix since there are stories of depression and suicide while on the Chantix. They give me welbutrin and nicotine patches. It is working and I have been totally cigarette free for 4 months now. They never worked for me in the past, but I think with my reduced dependence if cigarettes it works.
      What you need to do is control the triggers and find a pacifier. Eating it not the answer but need something for the oral fixations. I use the plastic sticks from a brand of lollypops to hold and chew on.

  12. Christian George Morales says:

    Hi Bruce, I hope that you could still remember me. Im George, the front desk guy from Marco Polo Davao? How are you and your wife? I hope that you guys are doing great..

    • Bruce says:

      George,
      How could I forget you. You are one of my friends at the Marco Polo and someone I always enjoyed seeing. You are also so professional and friendly.

  13. NEN says:

    My trainer has been smoking for a while and started chantex then stopped. So you can start it again after you quit?

  14. far says:

    hi, i was searching for a forum related to champix but for users in the Philippines when i found ur site. Im on champix day 4 now but i havent touched a cigarrette since yesterday, i still have the craving. Did you have any symptoms during the days u were taking them?

    • Bruce says:

      Far,

      For me, Champix / chantex worked well. I had no symptoms and kept off cigarettes until the VA will not prescribe it and put me on Welbutrin and patches. This does not work to well and I cheat. I soon will use my medical insurance through my job to get another doctor to get the prescriptions again.

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