Scuba diving and smoking

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melissawest

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When I was taking my OW course I asked my instructor if it’ s a massive disadvantage for a smoker like me to scuba dive, he replied “As a smoker you probably won't encounter any medical problems while scuba diving. However some smokers notice they use a bit more air than non-smoking scuba divers.” A voice inside my head tells me there has to be something more into that simplified reply. It is not a secret what smoking can do to the human body and what sort of disease it brings. If you are a smoker, the last thing you would want to read is a lecture on dangers of cigarette smoking; I get you I smoked since 2006. So I pretended I know better and proceeded with my training. I often occasionally see seasoned divers smoking before and after dives, they look perfectly happy, so I said to myself it’s a non-issue.

I ‘m a fairly new diver and as expected I pay close attention to the details regarding my dives. After my first few dives I noticed my air consumption is just at par with others if not inferior. Other times I suck air like crazy and no I don’t flay or fin too much , my buoyancy is good.

My husband and I made a deal to stop smoking together. He did I didn’t. I admired his will and strength to quit a habit that he has since he was 18, he is 31 now. Obviously inspired and determined to do myself a favor I decided to stop smoking. I went cold turkey, no gums no patches, no miracle helper. I haven’t smoke for 3 months now. Naturally I feel happier, healthier and smell way better. No more masking that cigarette smell by putting more perfume or cologne. :dork2:

After 3 months of diving hiatus (mostly because if the bad weather condition) I finally went to a diving trip. And then the most incredible thing dawned to me, quitting smoking made me a much better diver, my air consumption improved significantly!!! 50 minutes dive time, 25 meters max depth, surfaced with still almost half tank of air remaining!! I can’t be happier  All 3 dives I did that day showed impressive amounts of air left, in my standards that is.

MORE AIR = MORE TIME UNDERWATER!!!!! :D

Apologies for the novel, I just feel the need to share my story to my fellow divers.

p.s The picture I got below is worth all the hassle of quitting smoking
 

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buddhasummer

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When I started diving I smoked so had no real comparison re gas consumption, then I stopped smoking but also my diving experience increased so hard to tell which improved my breathing more, but Ill guess it was more experience. I have recently started smoking again and the big thing I now notice is if theres a swim to the descent line Im puffing like crazy and it takes a few mins to slow my breathing down, once under water don't really notice any difference in air consumption, but I imagine if i encountered strong current things would be different, ditto surface swim. I need to give it up again, actually cant believe I started again. Stupid. Im about to do a months diving in Indonesia from beginning of November, so really wanna stop by then, but no day seems like the right day. Yes smoking is not a good dive buddy. :depressed: Congrats to you and your husband giving up is not easy.
 
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Torben

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First congrats on quitting.

I have been working for some years in the scuba industry, and smoking since the beginning. After a years break form diving (not voluntary) I'm back as a non-smoker as well. But I must say I can't feel the big different, my air is pretty much the same. So the story (my course director told me this as well) dos not seem to have much truth. The smoking didn't make my air better at least.

And after quitting, I have my scene of smell back, and food tastes better. At least a bit. :wink:

Good luck to all who is considering quitting.
 

vladimir

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Congratulations, Melissa. Based on Scubaboard anecdotes, diving has inspired a lot of people to lead healthier lifestyles, whether by losing weight, quitting smoking, or having a more informed view of risk in general. Based, again, on what I have read here, there is not a lot of evidence that quitting smoking improves air consumption measurably, though it does seem like a reasonable expectation. Perhaps it depends on how aerobic your diving gets. There are some larger risks to smoking, like an increased potential for trapped gas in the lungs, that should be good motivation to quit smoking.
 

BCSGratefulDiver

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Congrats on breaking your addiction. The true benefit of your decision to quit won't happen at age 31 ... it'll happen closer to age 61, when you're able to still do active things that your smoking friends just won't be able to do much anymore because of COPD or other smoking-related diseases.

Think of it was a retirement plan ...

... Bob (Grateful Diver)
 
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melissawest

melissawest

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Thanks for reply everyone.

As to what attributed to my improved air consumption; it can be that my experience increased so naturally my air consumption is way better or my decision to quit smoking helped my breathing.... whatever it is definitely helped me a lot. The confidence this brought me is immense, certainly I will continue improving and will continue diving for as long as I can :) that;s the plan anyway.... to have my husband as my dive buddy makes scuba diving more enjoyable :)
 

DivemasterDennis

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Any reason to quit smoking is a good reason. I don't think there is any question you will do better at ANY physical activity as a non-smoker than as a smoker. That's really the point. I am sure the effects of smoking on air consumption vary from person to person based on a number of factors including how much you smoke, how long you have been smoking, etc. I am just excited for you that in addition to all the other totally positive things about diving you are now enjoying, it was your catalyst to stop smoking! Thanks for posting you story- maybe now you will get credit for another person(s) quitting!
DivemasterDennis
 

buddhasummer

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Any reason to quit smoking is a good reason. I don't think there is any question you will do better at ANY physical activity as a non-smoker than as a smoker. That's really the point. I am sure the effects of smoking on air consumption vary from person to person based on a number of factors including how much you smoke, how long you have been smoking, etc. I am just excited for you that in addition to all the other totally positive things about diving you are now enjoying, it was your catalyst to stop smoking! Thanks for posting you story- maybe now you will get credit for another person(s) quitting!
DivemasterDennis

I can feel some credit coming Melissas way...
 
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