Quitting tobacco – the $135.00 blood pressure check.

As my friends know, I have been a long-term snuff and snus user.    It was never uncommon to find 30-40 cans of Skruf snus in my freezer.

I’ve known for a long time that I’ve needed to get off of the shit.   Even though I’ve been ordering the “safer” tobacco from Sweden for over a decade, it’s still a known carcinogen.

Over the years, I’ve had at least 5 successful quits.   The longest of them lasted 6 months.    The shortest has been a week.

In May of 2015, I had a physical where my doctor was talking to me about quitting using Chantix.   It was in March of 2016, I finally tried the drug.  My doctor had told me that I could continue to use snus for a month while on the drug.   Sounded pretty good to a non-commital quitter…

Chantix is a nicotine antagonist.   It basically prevents the nicotine from binding to the nicotinic receptors in the brain.   It does this by binding to them first.   It’s also supposed to stimulate a little dopamine help with the quit.

What I found is that while on Chantix, I basically got nothing out of the tobacco.   Chantix forced me to go through the withdrawl.   It was three days of hell.   I stuck it out because I’m tired of the addiction.   From there, it got easier.

I started the Chantix on March 21, 2016.   I consider March 27, 2016 to be my quit date because that’s when I threw out the 34 cans I had in the freezer.   It was pointless to keep using the lip turd when I was getting absolutely nothing out of it.

Today marks 4 weeks 100% nicotine free.    It gets easier.   I still chew gum, but not nearly as seriously as I did when I first started the quit.

My doctor wants to see me once a month now.   The only thing is, my health plan changed for the worse this year.   I go to the health center on campus.   Every single visit is costing me $135.   I paid that to get the prescription and paid it again to do a one month follow up.

At this point, it’s simply not worth it to pay $135 for a blood pressure, temperature, and weight check.

My doctor has never dealt with someone who uses smokeless tobacco, so she’s been  very intrigued how my experience is both similar and different to someone who smokes.   I’m happy to help with her research, but I don’t think it should cost me $135 each time.

It’s part of what’s broke with the American health care system.   They don’t charge for results, but bleed you slowly with every single visit.