Help for Traveler who smokes?

Old Sep 9th, 2004, 04:44 PM
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Help for Traveler who smokes?

In a couple of weeks I will be surprising my sister with a trip to the Grand Canyon. If all goes according to plan she won't know until she's at the airport that she's going.

Problem is, she smokes - heavily when in an environment that allows it. I think the excitement of the trip will get her through the first couple hours, like sitting through a movie, but as a former smoker myself I can see that hours 3 through 7 might prove a little, shall we say, tedious for her.

Any suggestions for things I/she can do to help make the flight less of a torture for her?

(Ps. It's been more than six years since I had to think about this - quitting was the best thing I've ever done and the truth is the reason I quit was it was a pain to smoke and travel!)
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 04:52 PM
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It really hurts to read this request. I lost my dear sister last year to small cell lung cancer which resulted from a lifetime of smoking. It doesn't happen to all smokers, but, when it does, it is a terrible way to die.

I know how hard it is to quit. I smoked for 25 years before quiting in 1985. But I think the only kind thing to do for loved ones is to stop smoking.
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 04:54 PM
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A travel "care package" with nicotine patch and some chewing gum? Or nicotine chewing gum? Dramamine or other meds that make people sleepy?
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 04:58 PM
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I also quit. Smoking and travel don't mix these days.

I used the Nicoderm patch and it worked well for me, some it doesn't work well for though. Buy the step one box, about $30 if I remember correctly. It's worth a shot, good luck!
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 05:08 PM
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Check out a product called Endit at Amazon.com and also available in drugstores, WalMart, etc.
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 06:42 PM
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Quitting is always better than smoking, but your sister is not likely to quit en route. Nicotine replacement therapy is probably a good bet to maximize her comfort. The patches are OK (get the 21 mg. strength if she is a heavy smoker) and the nicotine chewing gum - though nasty tasting to many folks - can also help. The aerosol nicotine replacement product is still prescription only. There is also an over the counter product called Stonewall hard snuff (www.hardsnuff.com) that several smokers I know have reviewed well. It is basically a mint flavoured pellet that one lets dissolve in the mouth; it delivers a dose of nicotine to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
And - sorry, can't let this pass! - if any of these work well during the trip, it could just be an opportunity to dicuss quitting altogether. There has been a lot of scientific work done, and health care providers are finally considering the evidence and seeing this for the addiction that it is rather than considering it a character flaw. Most smokers would like to quit, but don't belive it is possible. Evidence shows that it can take 5 -7 attempts before a smoker quits for good - so praise each attemtp even if it is nothing but one step closer to the final one.
(OK, soapbox now stowed.)
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 06:50 PM
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We have a niece in law who has just had a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy. She continues to smoke with the knowledge of how dangerous it is.
I am so sorry for those who try to quit and find it so hard.
Perhaps if this trip makes smoking very hard for your sister, she will find that she is slacking off one how much she smokes and that will give her the push to be able to stop.
I would definitely encourage her to use Nicoderm patches and anything else that will help.
Better that she is uncomfortable from Not being able to smoke than being sick from being able to smoke..
Best of luck to you both~
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 08:36 PM
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She may benefit from an antianxiety drug, or whatever they are called. Zanax, I think.
I know an elderly woman who takes them when she travels because she smokes AND is terrified of flying ... which makes her want to smoke even more.
For her this has worked better than OTC stuff.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 02:40 AM
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Thanks so much for the great suggestions. I knew about the patch but there are products available I've never heard of, such as Endit and Hard Snuff that might help reduce the mental/physical discomfort.

Thank you so much!

I really want her quit and encourage her to do so every chance I get. She did make her first attempt last year. I just don't think this trip is the time to make it an issue. I want her to be able to relax and enjoy herself - this is the first vacation she'll have had in more than fifteen years.

I have booked us into all non-smoking rooms, and she'll be okay with that since like most smokers she's become accustomed to having to go outside to smoke.

Now I feel like I have some ideas to help make the seven hour flight (which might raise her anxiety levels on its own) a little less of a struggle.





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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 04:06 AM
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About 8 years ago I realized I had accumulated a lot of airline points. I asked my best friend (she and I have been close since high school, which is - oh, a couple of years now ) if she would like to go to Australia with me. I had enough points for the two of us as well as an invitation from a friend who had moved to Tasmania. My friend was delighted at the prospect, but she was also a heavy smoker. The idea of spending a day and a half either in the air or in a non-smoking airport lounge was pretty scary. So I told her: "No quit, no trip. Period." She thought this was shamelessly manipulative, and I agreed. She got the patch a couple of months ahead of time, and she quit. She was on the final patch of the 3-patch series while we were headed across the outback towards Uluru. Amazingly and wonderfully, she has stayed quit and is determined never to start again. We had a great trip, but more importantly, I still have my close friend around for quite a few more years.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 04:22 AM
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Meesthare - while I'm glad that your ultimatum worked out in the end, I would have found the "no quit, no trip" comment really offensive and condescending (sounds like you're speaking to a child). I wouldn't recommend such an approach to anyone who is trying to encourage a relative or friend to quit smoking.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 04:34 AM
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It may sound a bit callous, but consider not making this your problem -- let her sort it out. Your last comment may be the key: that it became a PITA to travel as a smoker.

For one thing, you talk about "hours 3 - 7" as a four-hour trial for her. If this is in an airplane, she can't smoke anyway. If elsewhere, she probably won't be far (unfortunately) from a place that sells cigarettes, and she can always ask to stop and get some.

It's very kind of you to try to anticipate her "tedium" (withdrawal) as part of the gift of your surprise trip, but surely you don't need to actually buy and provide the "drug" yourself?
 
Old Sep 10th, 2004, 05:15 AM
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If she knew she was going on this trip I'd assume that she would come up with ways to deal with it and wouldn't give it another thought. I don't want to make it easy for her to smoke, or even enable her smoking.

True she wouldn't be able to smoke on the plane in any case. But she won't know that she's going until we get to the airport (she thinks she's dopping off the hubby and me) so she will have had no time to arrange to have gum, or patches or anything else. I want to make sure I've thought of, and as is possible, planned for her travel so it is comfortable and enjoyable.

(Remember too I will be sitting next to her for those 7 hours and she already does that "endearing" leg bouncing when she's anxious. Maybe I should try to score som Zanax for me ;-))
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 05:24 AM
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tom42 - considering that I was about to spend upwards of $5000 in addition to a gazillion airline points, I didn't feel like sitting next to somebody who was having nicotine fits for 30 hours straight. I had no intention of putting myself through that. If you find that "offensive and condescending," then I promise I won't invite you to come with me on any major trips in the future.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 05:39 AM
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DO NOT USE THE PATCH! Unless your sister is going to quit, do not use the patch for this short trip.

Once you put the patch on, you cannot smoke for 24 hours. Smoking while using the patch can cause you to have a stroke. It happened to my aunt.

I used to be a heavy smoker and quit almost 2 years ago.

Your sister can use the nicorette gum on the plane to get her through the cravings.

Cross country flights used to be hell for me until I started using the gum.
 
Old Sep 10th, 2004, 06:52 AM
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GoTravel - sorry for your aunt's problems, but "the patch" has been clearly demonstrated to increase the chances of a smoker quitting and does indeed work fine to manage withdrawal symptoms. Yes, one should not smoke while wearing the patch - the "24 hour rule" you cite, though, is not supported by evidence, it is hearsay (no matter who said it). The patch releases nicotine into the body continuously over time, not in a single dose, and it is also continuously removed from the body just as when the source of the nicotine is a cigarette (or cigar). Without trying to blame the victim, it is more likely that your aunt's stroke was the end result of prolonged nicotine exposure rather than an acute reaction to the patch. The patch may not have helped, but it wasn't the sole reason for the stroke, and this incident should not be used to discourage use of what has been shown to be an effective treatment for nicotine addiction.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 07:03 AM
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You missed what I said. My aunt had a stroke because she smoked while on the patch. It clearly reads on any nicotine replacement patch box the warnings of smoking and using the patch at the same time. Possible stroke is listed as one of the warnings.

I used the patch when I quit smoking and could not have quit without the help.

The OP is worried about her sister for a couple of hours not looking for ways to quit smoking. In that case, she should not use the patch for the flight.
 
Old Sep 10th, 2004, 07:47 AM
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Not yet mentioned here is a new nicotine replacement lozenge called "Commit", I think. I used the patch, the gum, hypnosis, the nicotine inhaler, and the lozenge before I quit last December after 30 years of smoking. The only thing that worked for me: wellbutrin, which btw was prescribed for depression. I just no longer wanted to smoke. Almost unbelievable, but it worked. Back to your question, I think the commit lozenge would be the handiest and easiest way to travel and still get the dose of nicotine required. This is the first time I've ever admitted to anyone that I quit smoking by using an anti-depressant, but, hey, I'm just glad I quit.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 07:48 AM
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Looks like the best suggestions seem to be that temporary over-the-counter mint snuff/pill or whatever that was.

And - best of all - surprise her with a "couple hits" of Xanex. (And yes, for you too.) I'm sure she'd get a kick out of the whole thing knowing that you cared about her 'condition.'

Also, it's all in how you present it.... "Hey Sis - I even gotcha' a couple a hits of Xanex... and a couple for me too. Won't this be fun?!?!" Then have a good laugh together and take a nap. LOL I'm sure you will have it all figured out in the next couple of weeks.

-Lemonade out of lemons, I guess.
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 08:29 AM
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Haha Paul! LOL! The new mother's little helper! Hope it doesn't give us the munchies!

Doxungirl - On my second attempt to quit I also used wellbutrin (marketed as Zyban for quitting smoking) and it was as you said - almost easy. That is easy by comparison to my first attempt two months prior using only the patch. I remember on Zyban having a cigarette and saying to myself afterward, I think that was my last cigarette. And it sort of miraculously, it was. I stayed on Zyban another couple weeks and then went off it. While on the drug I also had a MUCH reduced desire for coffee. The coffee urge came back after I went off the drug but the cigarette urges were pretty much history. I remember thinking - It can't be this easy. I was a 25-year die-hard, pack and a halfer of menthol 100's! That was six plus years ago and life is SOOOOO much better as non-smoker. Besides at my husbands suggestion, I wrote myself a $20 dollar check a week for a year as a reward!

But now back to the issue at hand. I called the sister's doctor today to make sure there wasn't something she was taking that I would want to somehow make sure she had with her and asked about the non-smoking issue. The nurse said there is also a water with nicotine replacement...???...guess I really need to pop into a drug store.

All of this planning aside - my real strategy is going to be to keep shoveling Reeses' Peanutbutter Cups into her. ;-)
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