(and you can too!)
By Michael L. Craner
In January 2014, I quit smoking for the last time. It was really easy, once I figured out what worked for me. That only took about 20 years. I smoked a carton a week for nearly 23 years. My longest quit time was around 3-4 days. All the other attempts failed within 24 hours.
I tried counseling classes, the patch, the gum, cold turkey, fried bologna, even hypnotism. Finally I just quit trying to quit. I learned it wasn’t the nicotine that had me, it was the whole package of having something in my hand, the taste, and the feel of the smoke going down my throat and coating my lungs with tar. I decided that if I was ever going to quit I’d have to find something that could replicate all of that effectively.
It was probably around 2009 or 2010 that I tried my first e-cigarette. It was the kind that look like cigarettes and had the glowing light at the end. It tasted horrible, when it worked, I spent more time charging it and replacing the tiny cartridges than actually vaping. Plus the nicotine level was so low I’d vape for a few minutes, then light up a cigarette. Plus the cartridges and parts were all proprietary and only available online. In 2011 I tried another brand, but same crappy design and same results, more wasted money.
In the late fall 2012 I was introduced to the other kinds of e-cigarettes. The kind where you buy the batteries, tanks, and e-liquid in a multitude of flavors and nicotine strengths. Plus, I could now find everything I needed in most smoke shops and vape shops started popping up in every strip mall. E-liquid was even becoming available at gas stations, markets, and truck stops. I thought if I had one chance left, this was it.
So I got set up with my first vape “pipe” as I like to call them, and realized I’d need to hook myself on it to be able to switch, so I started out with the strongest strength of nicotine I could, which was 24mg. I had just bought a carton of cigarettes and I hate to waste anything, so that week I smoked and vaped off and on. That one carton lasted me nearly 3 weeks, where I typically went through one a week, or more. By my last 3 packs I was really wanting to just toss them and just vape! It was that easy, and that fast.
January 13th 2014 was my last cigarette, and other than the odd dream over the next year where I dreamed I was smoking. I woke up feeling guilty until I realized I hadn’t really been smoking, it was easy and without withdrawals.
I felt like a new man, soon I was breathing better, feeling better, sleeping better, certainly smelling better. My sense of smell slowly started to return, I began to notice I could smell someone smoking in another car with all my windows rolled up! Furthermore, I didn’t crave it, I hated it!
Statistics are coming in that show those who want to quit are more than 50% more likely with vaping than by any other means, so this is a huge breakthrough. The variety of hardware and e-liquid can seem overwhelming, but talk to someone who has quit with vaping or a good vape shop and they can help you find what will work for you. The best part is you can start for less than that next carton of cigarettes, and save well over half the money you would have spent smoking going forward.
Some of my concerns were safety and sanitation. First, is vaping safe? In my opinion, introducing ANYTHING into your lungs other than fresh air can be assumed to possibly cause health problems. So no, I don’t think it’s safe, I would never recommend a non-tobacco user to start vaping, even nicotine free. However, I think most people can vape with no side effects as long as they aren’t in a perpetual fog of nothing but vape. It most certainly is safer than smoking, which is why I very highly recommend smokers to switch. With vaping you don’t get tar, or the hundreds of toxins and carcinogens that are found in tobacco smoke. You get a small handful of ingredients that are heated to the point of vaporizing, much like a humidifier, not burning. The burning process is what creates a lot of the carcinogens.
My doctor, a real MD, actually told me to my face that as long as I never go back to smoking that he would be just fine with me vaping. He even told me I needn’t worry about trying to ween myself off of the nicotine in the e-juice. I had already eliminated all the bad stuff. I have significantly reduced my nicotine levels, I don’t intend to vape forever, but for now, I’m enjoying it and just going with it.
There has been a lot of bad publicity come out lately saying that vaping is no safer than smoking, and this has been proven to be a huge lie. I’m not going to go into all the finger pointing and accusations about why anyone would lie about this. That information is out there. Facts are facts, and the fact is that vaping is far safer than smoking, and the most effective tool ever to quit smoking.
My other big concern is sanitation. We carry our vape pipes in our hands, put them on counters, in pockets, in purses, in cases. We put them on the table at meal time and on the bar at happy hour, we may even take them to the bathroom. Then we put them in our mouths. If you don’t keep it clean, you will get sick. Imagine carrying your personal spoon around with you everywhere you go and using it, but never washing it. You wouldn’t do that would you?
That’s why the only vape pipes I’ll buy are the kind made of glass and metal and can be fully broken down, soaked in alcohol and dried thoroughly, and change my coils/atomizers every week or two. Spend just a couple extra bucks to get something you can clean rather than opting for the cheaper “starter tanks” that are plastic and/or sealed to the point where they can’t be cleaned well inside and out. Those are great to try out and see if vaping is for you, or to take camping and then throw away.
The variety of styles and features of hardware makes vaping even more fun and something for everyone, so there is no reason you can’t make the switch and enjoy it like millions of others and improve your health and save money all at the same time.
This is my testimony and opinion about smoking and vaping. I am not a medical practitioner, and I speak only for myself. Seek out other opinions and do your own research if you are unsure. I’m merely sharing what worked for me and how happy I am with the results.
And finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t offer my thanks, and recommendation to the great folks at Offbeat and Unique Vape Shop in Gilbert, AZ. Their friendly and knowledgeable owners and staff have kept me on track and excited about vaping. They can help you find the right equipment and quality e-liquids at fair prices as well as answer all your questions or find the answers for you. I go past dozens of other shops to see and do business with them. Plus they’re local entrepreneurs, who support other local businesses as well. This is their passion, not just their jobs, and as their name implies, they aren’t like any other vape shop you’ve seen. You gotta stop by and visit to see what I mean.