One Year Smoke-Free
by, 05-02-2014 at 11:59 PM (283 Views)
Well, it’s been a year since I last sucked on a combustible. I wasn’t planning to quit; I had, after all, been a 1-4 pack-a-dayer for 35 years. And I liked it.
I started smoking as a kid, blessed/cursed with a super-sniffer, which made the world an often unpleasant place. The kids I hung out with smoked things that, for a normal person, should have prevented nausea. I had the opposite reaction, so tobacco became my defense, when in their company. Then it became my defense against smells everywhere. If I wasn’t smoking, I was taking shallow breaths, spaced as far apart as possible. I was already a tightly-wound ball of stress, so not breathing wasn’t particularly helpful. Another “win” for smoking.
There were attempts to quit; “cold turkey” (which was okay until I realized I wasn’t breathing often enough to prevent dizziness, headaches and holy cannoli- ANXIETY attacks!), using patches (Oh, the rashes! And then the scars! I took to cutting the patches into triangles, with which I made festive “tattoos” that took years to fade away. The itching finally defeated me.), hypnosis (I suspect that you REALLY have to want to quit to make this work for any length of time), lozenges (they were HUGE and took ALL DAY to dissolve, so I took to quartering them for comfort and having meals without wasting most of the lozenge languishing in my cheek… and I still wanted the activity of smoking enough to smoke a couple of coffin nails a day) and of course, the year my father spent battling lung cancer SHOULD have been inspiring, but instead, the stress and then the grief drove me to smoke MORE.
Enter the E-Cigarette. It came to the bar with a friend of mine, and I was instantly intrigued; nicotine delivery with the activity (breathing!) of smoking! Oh joy! I could once again enjoy my scotch and nicotine together in the bar! And I could still smoke the combustibles whenever else I wanted…
I found ECF, and burrowed through the wealth of knowledge here. Days later, I had decided on my starter kit, so I ran down to my neighborhood smoke shop to find my Holy Grail.
It wasn’t there.
Undaunted, I resolved to order my kit online, and since I really, REALLY wanted to play with an e-cig right then, I went ahead and bought a starter kit that my friend at the bar recommended/used for the interim. It has proprietary threading and the cartos aren’t refillable, so I knew it was going to be “gifted” to my friend when my HG arrived, but I was riding on momentum. And why not? It was a good enough experience to bolster my determination to order my HG, knowing that it would be easy to replace at least a few of my combustibles with vapor.
By the time my HG starter kit arrived (a mere week later!), I had 2 packs of cigarettes left. I tore into my kit and happily started vaping all the different flavors, in an attempt to find THE tobacco flavor that would replace some/most/all(!) of my combustibles. In addition to the pre-filled cartos, I had ordered some blanks so I could fill them with e-liquid from another vendor, just because I could. I love options, and mixing different flavors appealed to my need to tinker/tweak/create.
When the cigarettes were gone, I kept thinking that I would pick up another pack “tomorrow”, but a week passed without a cig stop (literally FEET out of my way to work), so I purchased a single cigarette from a friend, just to see if I even wanted to smoke anymore. I smoked the whole thing, but it was a struggle. It just tasted bad.
Another week later, on May 1st, I purchased another cigarette, lit it, and took a drag. Yuck! I was officially done!
Like most smokers, I thought I would need a “tobacco” flavored e-liquid to effectively satisfy my cigarette addiction. Having tried a few from my chosen equipment vendor’s sampler pack, I settled on one that seemed to agree with my tastebuds the best and purchased a 30ml bottle.
At the same time, I was experimenting with all sorts of non-“tobacco” flavors (and another “tobacco”) from another vendor. I liked the idea of mixing different flavors to suit me, since ECF had taught me that my perception of flavors would evolve as time away from the combustibles passed. I was also determined to avoid the dreaded “vape tongue”, by changing flavors throughout the day.
I don’t particularly like sweet food/candy, and believe that everything really IS better with bacon or butter, so imagine my surprise when I discovered (thanks to random freebies) that I enjoy vaping things like Caramel Candy, Cinnamon Roll, Black Licorice, etcetera, and Bacon ended up being a super-occasional vape (mixed with Dark Chocolate and added in small amounts to Sticky Bun). I can’t seem to vape anything even remotely buttery, but fruit that I don’t eat is stunningly vapeable. Single note e-liquids are fun to mix together in various combinations/ratios right in my mini-clearos or even cartos. This has been a thoroughly enjoyable adventure, and I find that my “tobacco” e-liquids are more and more neglected as time passes.
These days, bakery flavors rule the morning, fruity or minty or fruity AND minty flavors perk up my afternoons, and savory/spicy/nutty flavors accompany my evening single malt. And that could change next week. Because it can.
I think that had I wanted to quit smoking when I started vaping, I would have needed at least 24mg/ml nicotine content in my first order. Since that wasn’t the case, I ordered 18mg to start, and after I ran out of cigarettes, vaped up a storm (or at least storm clouds) for a couple of months. As my consumption dropped from 6ml to around 4ml per day, I ordered some 12mg e-liquids to mix with the 18mg to see what would happen.
I vaped more, and then I vaped less, no combustibles needed.
I still have a couple of 18mg e-liquids that I haven’t diluted yet, but I have recently begun ordering 6mg to throw into the mix. I haven’t wanted a combustible, but I DO vary nicotine content to match stress levels, tapering down in the evenings to encourage sleep (insomniac, here).
I don’t know if I will ever drop to 0mg, but as always, I appreciate having the option.
I consider myself very fortunate indeed, to have been introduced to the vaping world at a time when equipment development had progressed to the point that I could choose low maintenance, unfussy and reliable equipment to make harm reduction relatively stress-free. And progress continues at a breakneck pace, now that vaping is recognized as a viable industry, and creative people innovate all over the world!
Many here love their mods, rebuildable attys and fabulous drip tips, but I just wanted a cig-alike, and lucky me, progress didn’t leave the cig-alike in the dust.
Over the past year, I have been able to enjoy a nice progression of reliable equipment that became more advanced as I gained experience. Each order was motivated by an “I wonder if…?”, followed by “Hey! New shiny!”. And it has been inexpensive enough that I’ve been able to buy kits for numerous friends.
I really like that all my bits and pieces (except chargers) work with all my other bits and pieces. There is no waste; all the bits get used through their expected lifetimes. And shiny new bits and pieces keep appearing on the site. Plus all the usual reasons for having a preferred vendor… That I found through ECF.
I’ve read a bazillion posts about better breathing, higher oxygen absorption, better stamina, clearer lung x-rays, etcetera, but I haven’t seen any posts about the wacky effect vaping has had on me.
When I started smoking, I had a 2 octave (16 note) vocal range. By the time I started vaping, 35 years later, I was down to 2 raspy little NOTES. I hadn’t had a working radio in my first two vehicles, so I hadn’t paid attention to the changes in my voice. I bought my current car in 12/2000, and it has a working radio, so I got to see how much my range had diminished and continued to diminish over the next 12 years. I thought I’d never sing to the radio again.
Now, one year later, I’m back up to 1½ octaves (12 clear notes)! Yep, I’m THAT weirdo, flying down the freeway, singing at the top of my lungs, once again. Because I can!
Thank you, ECF, moderators and participants, for making this forum such a valuable resource for all things vape-related. You have done brilliant work, building a real community that provides up-to-the-minute information for any and all who seek answers, activism, comfort and encouragement.
Will I ever smoke again?
Not as long as I can vape!
Would I ever quit vaping?
Remember my stupid super-sniffer? It’s now more sensitive than ever, and flavored vapor helps me cope with a stinky world.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
LINKS TO MORE WORDS
About My Preferred E-Liquid Vendor
About My Preferred Equipment Vendor