I am not a smoker. I never have been, and I never will be. I hate smoking and tobacco products with an intense passion.
Nevertheless, I am HIGHLY IN FAVOR of SMALL-BATCH, INDEPENDENT VAPING PRODUCTS.
Growing up, both of my parents were full-time smokers, and my step-mother smoked occasionally. I grew up breathing their second-hand smoke. My teachers would check on me periodically out of concern that my clothing smelled like smoke, and did that mean I was a teenage smoker? No, but many of my friends were. (I even refused to date a guy in high school just because he was a smoker. It made him want to quit, but years later he still hadn’t, because cigarettes were just too addicting.)
As a result of all of this second-hand smoke exposure, I am highly sensitive to second-hand tobacco smoke. I am the only one of the 5 children in my family who has never smoked or done any other recreational drugs. I am the only one who managed to resist the results of pre-addicting second-hand smoke in my everyday environment. As far as we can tell, it’s only because I’m a singer, and the rest of the family is not. Doctors just automatically prescribe me asthma medication, because it is so well known that children of smokers usually develop asthma.
Now none of my parents or siblings smoke anymore, and far fewer of my friends do. This is because most of them have switched to vaping. The vast majority of them have switched to the kind of vaping that uses these dorky-looking, personalized, re-useable vapers, and small-batch vaping solutions that contain a mix of nicotine and other secondary tobacco compounds (if they contain the nicotine at all – some don’t). Something that is especially important to me is that they buy the re-useable devices and small-batch vaping solutions from these little, personal, independent companies that care a lot more about whether their products are useful to their customers than their profit margin. We’re not beholden to Big Tobacco’s coercive deceptions that addicted most of my family anymore, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Even better, not a single one of these mixtures has ever caused so much as a twitch from my allergies. I can BREATHE now, no matter what the heck my friends and family are inhaling. And I've noticed - so can they! They're not breathing all that tar anymore. Neither are my nieces and nephews! The next generation isn’t being subjected to involuntary addiction.
I never thought I'd be grateful for a tobacco product, but I have to say, now I am grateful for small-batch vaping.
The reason small-batch, independent vaping is SO important is that it's not just nicotine my family and friends need from tobacco. They're self-medicating in a manner pharmaceutical companies and supplement suppliers have strangely yet to acknowledge. (I guess it’s a regulation problem, or something, but I think this method has huge potential and I wish more was being done with it.) Vaping gives the body access to compounds that are poorly absorbed or entirely unavailable via other methods.
So, for example, my Mom needs to choose exactly which of the various compounds in tobacco she is actually going to inhale to counter the effects of severe depression and crippling anxiety, neither of which have been effectively treated with mainstream pharmaceuticals – and yes, she’s been trying my whole life. Tobacco compounds have proven to be a key part of her self-care regimen, which became very obvious when she tried quitting smoking with nicotine-only weaning methods, including vaping when it first came out, and failed miserably every time. It was a huge source of conflict between us for most of my childhood and early adult life. As a child I felt horribly, personally betrayed every time she tried to quit smoking cigarettes and failed again because the alternatives didn’t address her needs.
Without access to small-batch tobacco, my Mom quickly ends up back on traditional cigarettes, breathing tar, emitting smoke into the surrounding air, and setting off my allergies, and I go back to mostly avoiding getting near her. This is because the nearly useless, mass-produced, fake-cigarette style vapers that the Big Tobacco companies put out (which I'd frankly prefer never to give money to ever again for any reason thank you) don't contain most of the necessary tobacco compounds. They only focus on nicotine, as though nobody who smokes could possibly have been drawn to any of the other hundreds of natural compounds in the tobacco plant.
Well of COURSE they focus on Nicotine - it's what their business is grounded on. They've spent decades breeding tobacco plants that are artificially high in the compound they believed was the most addicting, in order to make sure their customers never stop smoking! They don’t want competition that actually pays attention to what is good for their customers; they want the government to make it so that they can have the customers do what THEY want. Big Tobacco’s only priority is to continue lining their wallets!
And sure, for people who only smoke because they're addicted to nicotine, nicotine-only vaping (or sometimes gum or patches) can help wean them off. But that's not everyone - as far as I can tell, that's not even most smokers anymore. Maybe it was back when Big Tobacco had everyone convinced that smoking is cool, but nobody thinks that anymore. They certainly don’t think it about indie vaping, which is the most ridiculous looking self-care activity I’ve ever seen. Seriously, anybody who CAN quit with nicotine treatments alone already has quit, and nobody is in any danger of take up vaping for the sake of appearances.
(Well, actually, those little disposable “e-cigs” the mainstream companies produce look almost exactly like regular smoking, with all the “cool” social connotations built up in the media in previous generations. Just without the benefit of being biodegradeable when you throw them carelessly on the ground like the rebel-without-a-clue that you’d have to be to still be giving them money after all the damage they’ve done, when you have real alternatives. But at least they’re less likely to start wildfires, I suppose…)
So, I understand that the last question is of added flavors. I honestly don't understand what the big deal is here. Medicine has added flavors all the time, and we don't worry that this means our children will break into the medicine cabinet to drink all the cherry-flavored Ny-Quil (ewwww). That's because all the flavors do is moderately mask the nasty taste of medicinal chemicals, and as far as I can tell, that's all they're doing in vaping solutions, too.
The people who vape aren't vaping because vaping is the next cool thing. They're vaping because they NEED what's in the vaping compounds to live happier, healthier lives – or in some cases, to live at all. The flavors just make it tolerable to taste.
The rest of us really, really need them to be vaping instead of smoking, so we can BREATHE.
Please don't take my Mom's medicine away. Please don't make her go back to smoking traditional cigarettes. Please don't make me go back to breathing second-hand smoke. If she has to choose between a slow death from lung disease that makes everyone around her sick too, or a faster death from depression, I'm afraid of which one she'll choose.
There are no right answers for us if you take away small-batch vaping.
Thank you for listening,