Friday, March 7, 2014

Cold Turkey Lung Cancer

This is why THEY oppose smoking by we the sheeple.

TL;DR Synopsis: If you are a long time cigarette smoker of 20 or more years or you know someone who is, and you or the person you know is contemplating quitting, DO NOT QUIT COLD TURKEY. You are far more likely to experience sudden onset of fatal lung tumors, than if you taper off slowly! If you are already in your 70's and have been smoking your whole life, you probably shouldn't even try to quit at all.

Mandatory Disclaimer: The author of this site is not engaged in rendering professional advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures, and suggestions contained within this work are not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician. All matters regarding your health require medical supervision. I shall not be liable or responsible for any loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestions within this blog. You, as a reader of this website, are totally and completely responsible for your own health and healthcare.

I used to work for a man who smoked from the age of 13 until he died from lung cancer at 73. Probably most folks are related to or know of someone that had a similar story regarding smoking and lung cancer.

Everyone knows cigarettes cause lung cancer, right?

I am now of the opinion that this is only partially true.

See, the man I used to work for had gone to the Doctors after his 73rd birthday for a full body physical. As a life long, retired US Navy man, he had the full coverage and access to the entire medical services and health care provided by the Government. He had blood work, urinalysis, prostate exam, etc.

The Doctor was astounded that he was in such good health for a man his age. Paraphrasing what the Doctor told him after all the testing results were in: "You are in such great health, if you would only quit smoking, you might very well live to be 100!"

For the last 10 years or so, this man had switched to buying bulk organic, roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco, and smoked about 8-10 a day. He did have a smokers cough, but nothing too bad. He told me that once he had switched to the organic RYO, he no longer woke up every morning hacking and wheezing for 10 minutes or so just to clear out all the darkened mucus that accumulated in his respiratory system while he slept, like when he used to experience when he was a pack a day chain smoker of a popular Big Tobacco brand cigarette.

But inspired by the great health report from his Doctor, he finally decided it was time. He quit cold turkey.

One week later he went to the hospital with pneumonia. Chest X-rays were negative, he just had fluid in his lungs.

One week later, the hospital sent him home to recuperate after a round of antibiotics appeared to treat it and his lungs somewhat cleared up.

One week later he was back in the hospital with a "pneumonia relapse." This time, chest X-rays showed massive tumors in both lungs.

One week later, he was dead.

I did not understand how a man given a total clean bill of health just a month or two prior, could suddenly develop lung cancer so fast.

So I do like I always do when I encounter an enigma that bothers me during sleepless bouts of insomnia, staring at my ceiling and contemplating such thoughts...I started googling.

The following article is a fair representation of the types of articles I found on the first few pages of results - Spontaneous Smoking Cessation Before Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Introduction: We have observed that many patients with lung cancer stop smoking before diagnosis, usually before clinical symptoms, and often without difficulty. This led us to speculate that spontaneous smoking cessation may be a presenting symptom of lung cancer.

This is the general approach I found in numerous articles. Many lung cancer patients quit smoking cold turkey, without much problem (so much for tobacco being as addictive as heroin or crack cocaine...), and with no symptoms of lung cancer whatsoever before they decided to quit.

Conclusions: These results challenge the notion that patients with lung cancer usually quit smoking because of disease symptoms. The hypothesis that spontaneous smoking cessation may be a presenting symptom of lung cancer warrants further investigation.

In other words, it appears to be the consensus view of the Big Healthcare and Big Science researchers that the decision to quit smoking cold turkey is a symptom of the onset of lung cancer... that they seemed to "sense" they were about to develop cancer, so they intuitively quit cold turkey.

As always when it comes to discerning modern science reporting and peer reviewed publishing, the very first thing you must always look for is correlation versus causation. All these reports I read seemed to focus on abrupt smoking cessation as a correlated symptom.

After all, it's already accepted as scientific fact that long term smokers get lung cancer, right?

But then I found this article on the back pages of my google search that appeared to make the case that abrupt cessation may in fact be the causation of lung cancer!

The clinically high correlation between smoking and carcinoma of the lungs has been the focal
point in societal campaigns against the habit and the tobacco lobby. In an overview of per-
sonal history in a number of lung cancer patients locally, we are struck by the more than
casual relationship between the appearance of lung cancer and an abrupt and recent cessation
of the smoking habit in many, if not most cases.

The association is more than just casual-development of cancer within a few months of eschewing cigarette smoking. Over a period of 4 years, a total of 312 cases were treated for carcinoma of pulmonary origin: of this number, 182 patients had quit smoking within 5-15 months prior to their being diagnosed with lung cancer. Of the 182 patients 142 were male and 40 were females, with ages ranged between 47 and 74. Each one of had been addicted to the habit for no less than 25 years, smoking in excess of 20 sticks a day. The striking direct statistical correlation between cessation of smoking to the development of lung malignancies, more than 60% plus, is too glaring to be dismissed as coincidental.

It is our premise that a surge and spurt in re-activation of bodily healing and repair mechanisms of chronic smoke-damaged respiratory epithelia is induced and spurred by an abrupt discontinuation of habit, goes awry, triggering uncontrolled cell division and tumor genesis. In normal tissue healing, anabolic and catabolic processes achieve equilibrium approximately 6-8 weeks after the original insult. When an imbalance occurs between these phases occur in the healing process, disruptions in repair limitations occur leading to tumor genesis this sequence is best exemplified in the formation of keloids from scars.

Nicotine stimulates corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) besides increasing the level of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), both of which interfere with immune systems. Abrupt withdrawal of the addictive drug could trigger derangement of the ‘smoking-steroid’ conferred immunity, priming the healing lung epithelia to dangerous levels uncontrolled cell division.

I'm wondering if this man I used to work for had never listened to his Doctor and never quit smoking....or if he had simply weaned himself off slowly, would he still be alive today?

Perhaps. There are no guarantees in this life, other than the fact that we are all going to die someday.

Needless to say, I know what I think about this topic. If you've been smoking for a long time, and you decide to quit, there are a few things you should probably consider before you do so. Quitting smoking after habituating your body to regular dosing of it for a long period of time, is no doubt a major stress for even an otherwise healthy body to handle. Abrupt cessation after decades of usage is undoubtedly a shock to the body, and one who decides they need to quit, should make sure they are in otherwise good health, not trying to recover or repair from some other major health event or condition, and to slowly taper down over a long period of time.

But if you're like Beatrice Langely, the lady pictured at the top of this post who started smoking at 8 years of age, and you're still puffing away on your 100 birthday, at this point it would be pointless and needlessly stressful to try and quit. If it 'aint broke, don't fix it. If you're one of those who is living a paradoxical life of longevity as a smoker, you may as well stick with your "habit" until the very end.

What do you want to bet Beatrice Langley has outlived a Doctor or two that got after her to quit smoking over the past 90+ years?


Ryan said...

Keoni, your theory may not be a dumb as it sounds.

My own mother smoked from age 16 to 67, when she quit cold turkey. One can scarcely imagine the smokers hack she had.

The stress of the whole thing caused her to have a stroke, which led to years in the nursing home.

As bad as the smoking was (she was like a heroin addict with her cigs) quitting was worse.

I wouldn't be surprised if she loosened up arterial plaque with her violent hacking. Likewise, I would not be surprised if a person succumbed to cancer due to the horrible stress resulting from cold turkey.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking the same effect may apply to emphysema. I had a friend who smoked for years, quit and developed emphysema within a couple of years of quitting.

Before he quit, he was fine...

Anonymous said...

Wow! I spent some time yapping with a guy one time. He was a fan of something call "new German medicine" or something like. He raised some history of various illnesses and treatments and what this article is saying strongly correlates to the NGM hypothesis.

One example he gave was soldiers returning from WWI. High occurrence of tuberculosis hit post-war productivity. WWII comes along. "We can't have that! Inoculate for TB." Soldiers come home with high occurrence of lung cancer. Idea posed then was that these soldiers were conditioned for high stress physical activity, including increased lung capacity. The body had to do something with the extra cells/tissue and illness was the result.

Oh, for shits and giggles, if quitting smoking is a symptom of cancer, and the doctor recommends quitting smoking, it is logical to suggest that doctors cause cancer.

Anonymous said...

Interesting theory, Keoni.

On a related note - and this is just anecdotal - but I had a coworker a long time ago who was a smoker when she got pregnant. Her doctor told her to quit right away, so she stopped cold turkey. She had a miscarriage shortly thereafter and started smoking again, until she again became pregnant. She quit AGAIN cold turkey and miscarried yet AGAIN. At that point she decided not to quit smoking if she got pregnant again. I thought that was insane, but she ended up getting pregnant a third time and giving birth to a healthy baby the next year.

Obviously pregnant women shouldn't smoke, but it might be interesting to learn if gradually quitting is better than cold turkey if you are a pregnant smoker. Food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, that last comment is from me, Sunshine Mary, I forgot to sign my name.

Anonymous said...

Back in my college days, I used to watch reruns of the 'George Burns Show' at midnight while drinking Jack Daniels before going to bed. I always consided George a role model: always with a hot babe and cigar and martini until he died at age 101.

Once I remember George Burns at some awards ceremony with a young woman on his arm and some dopey media tard asked: 'George what's the secret of your amazing longetivity?' George replied: 'Ignoring all the warnings you guys give and having fun instead.'

Man, did they cut to a commercial break in record time! LOL

Johnycomelately said...

Philip Morris
Cellulose Acetate Fibers and Carbon Particles Released From Cigarette Filters

It's the filters that end up causing smokers who stop smoking to get ill. Cellulose fibers buid up in the lungs but are partially removed by the phlegm created by smoking.

When the smoker stops the phlem extraction mechanism (coughing, spitting) is halted and the layer of mucous is reduced and the fibers become fully lodged in the lungs.

Anonymous said...

I am actually considering taking up smoking because I am beginning to believe it may actually be protective to your lungs - provided you roll your own and don't use filters or smoke a pipe. I have a history of pneumonia and lung infections and igA deficiency (no protective immunobodies in respitory mucus or linings).
Have you come across any research suggesting any protective benefits to smoking?

- James

Justin said...

My mother quit smoking in her early 50's, after it hit her that HER mother died of lung cancer in her early 50s. The process was really tough on her lungs. She struggled with asthma for a time afterward.

I remember thinking that was pretty weird, why quitting smoking would cause asthma. She had asthma as a child, but never as a smoker, then asthma again after she quit....

The asthma went away eventually, and no lung cancer, thankfully.

Keoni Galt said...

@ Ryan - Yeah, I do think a person who's smoked for decades will actually get sicker from quitting a heavy habit cold turkey than slowly tapering over a long period of time.

@ javaloco - It's not that Doctors cause cancer, they are just educated to promote behaviors in people that result in cancer - avoid the sun, use sunscreen, avoid saturated fats, and of course if anyone is a smoker QUIT SMOKING is of the utmost importance!!!

@ SSM - You know, I read a few other articles as well about smoking and pregnancy. I don't know what to think anymore. I've known some women who smoked their entire pregnancy and had healthy babies. Not that I would recommend pregnant ladies start smoking or anything like that...but the more I research the topic of tobacco, the more I'm convinced much of the dangers are a) overstated and b) seems more associated with Big Tobacco's products rather than tobacco itself.

@ Johnnycomelately - thanks for the link! Very interesting...fits in perfectly with my hypothesis here as well.

@ James - I don't know. I've read some research stating that moderate smoking does have a protective effect, as shown by coal miners and asbestos workers. Those workers who smoked where far less likely to come down with respiratory illnesses then those who didn't.

@ Justin - lucky for your Mother, she was able to recover from quitting cold turkey.

Keoni Galt said...

@ james - That being said, why do you think pipe smoking would be as bad as smoking filtered Big Tobacco cigs?

I smoke a pipe or cigars on occasion, and I once in great while inhale a single puff...but generally I don't inhale. I used to never inhale at all....but the research I read regarding the protective response the lungs have when smoke is inhaled made me try inhaling once in awhile to see if i had any kind of reaction to it or not.

Other than an intense nicotine rush, I've experienced zero coughing or congestion or any other effects from the occasional inhalation of tobacco.

Then again....a pack a day cigarette smoker is inhaling the smoke repeatedly and incessantly throughout the day, which is a far cry from my occasional toke.

Anonymous said...

Inhaling the fumes of pine tar or resin is very beneficial for the nose and the lungs.

Unknown said...

The Arndt–Schulz Rule states: small doses stimulate, moderate does inhibit, large doses poison.

I drink one-half glass of wine a day (which stimulates me) a few puffs of a cigar (which also stimulates me) and I eat small meals (again, the stimulation).

I don't think we're made to inhale tobacco in the form of cigarettes. How many people get lung cancer from pipes and cigars? I've never heard of it.

Anonymous said...

@ Keoni: I mistakenly wrote that sentence ambiguously. I should have said "I am beginning to believe it may actually be protective to your lungs - provided you smoke a pipe or roll your own and don't use filters."
Basically, I've come to conclusion tobacco isn't bad but its the crap in cigarettes that makes them stay lit that is bad and if Johnnycomelately is right than filters are also bad.
Also I want to work in the mines (like any typical greedy Aussie bogan) but I have been wary because of my lung problems. I will have to look into this protective link between smoking and coal mining.

@ Bob Wallace: With regard to moderate doses being protective, what is a moderate dose of tobacco, a moderate dose of alcohol and what else is protective in moderate doses but harmful in low or high doses?

- James

Anonymous said...

My grandmother quit cold turkey and was dead within a year, at 70 years of age. She was sick less than four months.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean if I quit caffeine cold turkey it might screw me over as well?

- Kieran

Unknown said...

Actually, things are protective in small doses, inhibited in moderate doses, and poisonous in large doses.

Such substances as heroin and cocaine are concentrated doses, which means they are large doses. It's why small doses, such as coca leaves, have no problems.

I just use very small doses of natural substances. You don't inhale pipes and cigars, you don't drink half a gallon of vodka a day, and you don't stuff yourself every day.

I base it on how I feel long-term.

One cigar lasts me a week, as does a bottle of wine.

SarahsDaughter said...

My dad quit smoking cold turkey about 10 years ago out of fear. He's 72 today and has been suffering progressive COPD ever since. Prior to him quitting, he hadn't a thing wrong with him health wise. Just the fear of what the doctor told him would happen if he didn't quit...which is happening anyway.

Regarding smoking and pregnancy, I smoked during all of mine. The OB/GYN for my third pregnancy was a strong advocate for not putting a body through undue stress during a time when optimal health was necessary. This meant maintaining that which one was already doing. No drastic changes of caffeine intake, smoking or exercise. Moderation, of course, but she was dead set against changing everything when one became pregnant.

Anonymous said...

The obvious truth is that if you live long enough, something will kill you.

Whenever someone dies young the survivors and their lawyers immediately look for a cause. But the fact is that the dead guy simply was on the wrong side of the normal distribution.

Anonymous said...

Have you thought about doing any posts on microwave cooking?

Anonymous said...

Some people do seem impervious to the dangers of smoking. I believe these are the exceptions , some rare combination of genes , luck, and sheer grit.

In light of the evolutionary mismatches that stack up and amplify each other and cause diseases of the body and mind. Tobacco as expressed by natural farming is not the true devil it's been made out to be.

But the simple fact is we don't know how healthy or long lived these people could have been if they'd never become smokers.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought.

The idea that smoking causing lung cancer and the onset of massive open air nuclear testing. Hundreds, if not thousands, of nuclear weapons detonanted and their radioactive particles still in the air to date.

Having a mucous response could help in catching particles, protecting your lungs in the long run.

I always wonder if the Native Americans had lung cancer.

Wald said...


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So, if you see this, and have time, please email me at

I'm the writer of


totenhenchen said...

RE: ‘smoking-steroid’ conferred immunity...

I quit cigarettes after smoking 1 to 1 1/2 packs a day for around 25 years (add another pack for each of many hard-drinking nights). While I quit the smoking cold turkey, I did use Camel SNUS for a couple of months to deal with nicotine withdrawal.

After a year or so my morning hack finally went away, but I found myself catching every shitty little minor chest cold that came around. This was annoying because I rarely ever got sick while I was smoking (I'd be laid up by the flu for a couple of days once every five or six years or so). I also began experiencing seasonal allergies. The only allergy I had before then was cat dander.

I hypothesized that my smoking had somehow protected me from the irritants that cause the allergies and that, since I had been a fairly heavy smoker my whole adult life, my respiratory system had no idea what to do with itself. The steroid-conferred immunity described above would seem to explain what I experienced.

CaseyD said...

The placebo effect is the most powerful natural response to disease. Smokers often are not afraid of death.

jackymiky said...
This comment has been removed by the author. said...

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All the best,

Nicole Lascurain | Assistant Marketing Manager
p: 415-281-3100 | e:

660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 | @Healthline