I will let you in on a little secret.. I used to smoke.
In early summer of 2014, I got a terrible respiratory infection, and I decided I’d had enough – I wanted to quit smoking. It smells awful, tastes horrible, makes me sick, and it’s expensive, not to mention the risks of smoking-related health problems, like cancer.
I had read about vaping, and a shop had opened up near my house. One sunny Saturday morning, I stopped by and had a chat with the owner. I walked out with an electronic cigarette, or an e-cig, and a couple of bottles of the liquid nicotine, otherwise known as e-juice, or e-liquid. I was excited. I was finally going to become a non-smoker.
Little did I know, I would fail. I would try repeatedly to make this e-cig work for me, and it never would. I tried different juice types and flavours, as well as different strengths of nicotine, and nothing did what smoking did for me. Because I was reluctant to spend a lot, I set myself up for failure. This went on for about a year, and I kept feeling more and more defeated. I was almost convinced that vaping just wouldn’t work for me.
A visit to a different shop changed my mind. I walked out with a variable wattage device, and it was like a whole new world.
I went from an e-cig, which topped out around 3.5 watts, to a device that allowed me to choose my wattage, up to 30 watts total. Suddenly, e-juice tasted amazing, and I was getting the nicotine I needed to start replacing cigarettes here and there. After six weeks, I had managed to cut down to three “analog” cigarettes per day, and I was feeling pretty awesome. Not only was I saving money, but I didn’t smell so much like an ashtray.
The first cigarette of the day was the hardest for me to give up. It was a huge part of my morning routine, and I am not much of a morning person. I needed that first cigarette. On July 6th, I woke up and went outside to smoke my favourite cigarette of the day, and it was terrible. It smelled horribly, and tasted even worse. I put that cigarette out after three or four drags, and I knew I was done.
I have not smoked since.
I smoked for 20 years. I watched people I loved die from smoking, and I just kept doing it. Because it was easy. Because it was impossible to quit doing it. I had resigned myself to a lifetime of horrible health, and ultimately, an early death, all because I picked up a stupid habit as a kid, and I couldn’t get control over it. I tried the patch, the gum, the inhaler – everything. Nothing worked.
Until now. I have been a non-smoker for over two months. I have been around smokers and not once felt tempted. For around $100 in start up costs, I was able to kick a habit that was costing me over $300 per month. I have a quit smoking app on my phone that tells me how I’m doing, and as of today, I have saved myself over $700, and I’ve not smoked over 1,700 cigarettes.
I feel great. My heart rate is almost normal again. I have fewer headaches. I can breathe. I have taken up running. I’ve actually lost weight. And everything tastes amazing. All because of a simple little device that runs quite a bit like a battery operated toaster.
Vaping is an extremely effective means of quitting smoking. Every day, I read stories of people who were in the same boat I was, and they were able to quit smoking because they found vaping. Every day, thousands of people all over the world quit smoking thanks to vaping, and word is spreading fast.
Did you know that those other smoking cessation therapies are something like 5% effective? Did you know that smoking has been found to be about 1000x worse for your body than vaping? Did you know that most studies are finding vaping is almost totally harmless?
A typical e-liquid for vaping contains just four ingredients; nicotine, vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, and flavouring. There’s absolutely nothing harmful there. If you’ve ever been in a hospital, you’ve probably inhaled propylene glycol. It’s pumped through the ventilation system to kill germs, and it’s a major ingredient in asthma treatments. Glycerin is used in fog machines, so if you’ve ever been to a concert, I bet you’ve inhaled that, too.
Compared to the myriad chemicals and poisons used in cigarettes, the amount of damage I’m potentially doing to myself while vaping seems negligible. I’ve suffered no side effects, aside from quitting smoking, and it made the whole process of rejecting the garbage in my lungs almost easy.
In fact, it’s made quitting smoking really easy, too. And it’s been suggested that there is no risk of “second hand vape” affecting non-vapers. I’m still waiting for more study on the subject, so I vape outside more often than not, but imagine being able to get your nicotine fix anywhere, without hurting anyone.
According to a recent study, if the toxicity of e-cigarette vapor and cigarette smoke is compared on basis of the same smoking parameters as well as the same number of puffs, the cell viability is about 4.5–5 times lower and the oxidative stress levels 4.5–5 times higher in combustible cigarettes.
Yes, I’ve given up one habit and replaced it with another one, but at least I’m not smoking.
So if you’re thinking about quitting, find a reputable vape shop and ask them questions. When you’re done, find another shop and ask them the same questions. Do some research. Comment on this post with questions. Learn what you can, compare the risks, and see if vaping interests you.
Right now, I’m vaping a mango and lychee fruit juice at 6mg of nicotine, at 18 watts. I’m satisfying the need for nicotine in my system, the psychological aspect of the habit of smoking, and it feels really comparable to smoking when I inhale and exhale. I was a mouth to lung smoker, but I’ve become a straight to lung vaper. It tastes incredible, too.
A few days ago, I was getting out of my car and a man approached me, asking for a light.
For the first time in my life, I got to say, “Sorry buddy, but I don’t smoke.”
IMPORTANT: The photo used for this post was taken from the Wikipedia article on Electronic Cigarettes. Credit for the photograph goes to Michael Morrow. We apologize for unintended copyright infringement and thank Michael for the ability to share his work. Beautiful photograph, Michael.