- Created: 01 November 2010
I started smoking when I was 12 years old. By 40 the morning hack is so bad I can easily throw my back out and wind up at the chiropractor. No kidding. Every cold turns into a near pneumonia upper respiratory infection that takes a week to get over. Not to mention that once you have kids you start to realize that being around to watch them grow up is pretty high on your list of priorities.
I quit before, for 5 years. Problem is, quitting is kind of a long road. You quit, your skin crawls for a while, you get fat, eventually the cravings go away and you get over the hand to mouth addiction, and you resume a normal, tobacco-free life. For me that process is somewhere between 18-24 months. I quit last January, because I had made a promise to my son, who was three when I made the promise, that I would. I did. I made it 8 months. I was over the physical addition, but not the other stuff. Let me tell you, I am pretty laid back. I work in Corrections, you pretty much have to be. It's a negative environment and more often than not your job is to get difficult people to do what you need them to do. It's one of those professions where almost everyone uses tobacco. Sunflower seeds weren't an adequate replacement, not to mention that that much sodium makes your blood pressure skyrocket. Chewing gum helped some, but you chomp on gum all day long and A) it's somewhat unattractive, and B) your jaw hurts at the end of the day.
The big problem is eating. My appetite doubled, and I took to eating a second dinner around 9 or 10 at night. Not a snack mind you, that's why the wife dubbed it "second dinner". At 40-something taking off 20 pounds is kind of a challenge. I really felt like I just couldn't afford to put on another pound.
Another side effect of cessation was my temper. Remember I said I am laid back? Well, for the last 8 months I was a dick. Short tempered, given to yelling at my 5 year old, who I love more than anything in the universe, short with my wife, and generally withdrawn from friends and family.
So I broke down a couple weeks ago and bummed a smoke from a kid at work. You know how this plays out, right? I bought a pack that day. I was addicted again within 48 hours.
I felt pretty defeated having just thrown away 8 months of being off nicotine. I mean really, personally down. I let myself down. I let my family down. However, it only took about two days and smoking felt like hitting a home run again. The cough came back, almost immediately. Coughed so hard I threw my back out to the point of irregular heartbeat, which I hadn't experienced at all for a few months.
So I had already been looking into the electronic cigarette. For those of you who are unfamiliar, an electronic cigarette is a device that consists of a battery, an atomizer and some sort of reservoir for nicotine juice. The juices themselves are made of propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine and food flavorings. I found ECF, which was a Godsend because it is such a great repository of knowledge regarding all things vaping. I read and read and read and then asked some questions. I ordered some hardware and some juice, and after I'd been smoking again for a week it showed up in the mail.
I put it together after charging the batteries overnight and the wife and I both tried it. The first words out of her mouth were "Get me one.". It is extraordinarily like smoking a cigarette. The taste, the throat hit, the feeling of fullness in your lungs, the clouds of smoke (vapor in this case), it's all there. In fact it's better, because the flavors are much, much better than inhaling some smoke. I quit tobacco that day. Within a couple of days I noticed that I no longer was coughing, and my chest didn't feel tight by the end of the day. Plus, the flavors were so good I was enjoying vaping in a way that I hadn't enjoyed smoking for years.
Now let's get this straight. Vaping is not like eating organic produce while doing pilates. It's still a nicotine delivery system and nicotine is a vasoconstrictor. So is caffeine, so to put it in perspective, the worst thing about nicotine addiction is not the nicotine itself, but the tar, the CO2 and the carcinogenic toxins produced by burning tobacco. The electronic cigarette, or PV (personal vaporiser) as they are referred to by people that use them, is an extraordinary way for people who can't or aren't willing to quit tobacco to finally succeed. It is a much healthier addiction than tobacco. It is far more enjoyable. It doesn't trash your respiratory system. It won't give you cancer or emphysema. It's still nicotine, but put in perspective nicotine is the least of your health worries about using tobacco.
The wife's hardware should be here in a day or two, and she is quitting tobacco. I never thought I'd see that. I quit, and I do not think about tobacco at all. This is better. It's more enjoyable. It isn't just an ok substitute, it surpasses everything I liked about smoking tobacco. At some point down the road I can use this to wean myself off nicotine altogether if I choose to, but in the meantime I am really enjoying it, and not having it impair my respiratory system the way tobacco does is HUGE.
If this sounds good to you, go start lurking at ECF. Ask questions. The people there are great. There are also many great videos and reviews on YouTube that will be of use. If I can get one person to give up tobacco and start vaping I may have saved a life, so I have no problem recommending vaping to people that use tobacco. If you have questions, please use the comments or the contact form on this site and I will gladly take the time to answer them. Look for some juice and hardware reviews from me in this space, but to start off with I just wanted to share my experience about vaping.
Vaping: A Safer Addiction originally published on my personal blog pseudoexpert.com 25October2010