Where to start? I quit analogues on June 9, 2011. This after 35 years of smoking those dam things. I had tried a number of other NRT’s to no avail. The patch, the gum and even a try with Champix. My aggression levels went off the chart with Champix. My family begged me to go back to the analogues.
June 9th was different. I went in with that cocky cigarette smoker attitude. “Hey check this out, I can get my nicotine …. I don’t really have to quit and if I don’t like it I’ll just go back to the smokes.” I had read just enough to know that it was also going to be way cheaper than smoking analogues and I wasn’t going to suffer any of the ill effects I had in the past trying to quit. Turns out that I was able to stay off the analogues without much effort, I just took to vaping right away. Not without some problems however. My first ‘kit’ wasn’t the greatest. The batteries didn’t last long and failed. I started out vaping just PG and developed a cough that went away when I experimented with PG/VG mixes. I had issues when I went outside with the old smoker clique, the smell of analogues still gave me cravings. Along the way I modded a few USB pass-throughs. This was insurance in case I had more battery issues.
Point being is that I was determined now not to go back to analogues.
I work in an office environment. Cubicles. I started vaping right at my desk to avoid having to go hang with the analogue smokers. For the first couple of days I was very stealthy about it. I began to realize that there was no appreciable odor, no lingering clouds and that my cubicle mates hadn’t ever once said anything. They had no idea that I was vaping at my desk. At first anyway. As time went on I began throwing caution to the wind and just vaped whenever. Some of my colleagues started asking questions. I was only too happy to tell them about vaping and the fact that I had given up all those thousands of carcinogens that analogues had. This was a much healthier way of getting my nicotine and I was working towards even lowering that level of consumption. For the most part I was encouraged. “Way to go Lawrence.” “Keep it up!” “Weird how I can’t smell anything unless I’m standing here when you do it.”
A full three months went by and then one day, the person in the cubicle directly in front of mine was walking by as I blew out a huge cloud of vapor. Oh my [insert your religious icon here] all hell broke loose.
She started to cough, gag, sneeze … you name it. She went home that day because she had been ‘exposed’ to toxins. Where to .... had she been for the past three months? Didn’t ever seem to be an issue until that moment she saw the cloud of vapor!
That same day I was called into a meeting with HR, my manager, a union health and safety rep and union reps from both unions in my workplace. By this time I was ready to deal with this sort of thing, or so I thought. I had read all the material that I could on vaping, e-cigarettes, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, nicotine, casaa.org, vapersclub.com. I was on the boards chatting it up with fellow vapers, I was pushing the envelope in public places, vaping in my dentists office, vaping at the pub …… but nothing prepared me for the ignorance I was about to face this day.
“We have a strict no smoking policy in the workplace”, “I wasn’t smoking” I tried to explain but there was no way in hell I was going to convince them otherwise. In fact I had this HR wonk trying to tell me that e-cigarettes were more harmful than real cigarettes?!? What further burned me was that two union reps were just as clueless and did nothing to come to my defense. If I wanted to continue to ‘poison’ myself I would have to do it with all the other smokers outside.
“The Health and Safety committee would usually follow the recommendations of the authoritative source which we believe is Heath Canada. I quote;”OTTAWA - Health Canada is advising Canadians not to purchase or use electronic smoking products, as these products may pose health risks and have not been fully evaluated for safety, quality and efficacy by Health Canada.Health Canada Advises Canadians Not to Use Electronic Cigarettes - Health Canada Advisory 2009-03-27
These products come as electronic cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos and pipes, as well as cartridges of nicotine solutions and related products. These products fall within the scope of the Food and Drugs Act, and under the Act, require market authorization before they can be imported, advertised or sold. The sale of these health products is currently not compliant with the Food and Drugs Act since no electronic smoking products have been granted a market authorization in Canada.
In recent months, a number of electronic cigarettes, cigars and pipes as well as cartridges of nicotine solutions and related products have been marketed in Canada, and through the Internet. Most of these products are shaped and look like their conventional counterparts. They produce a vapour that resembles smoke and a glow that resembles the tip of a cigarette. They consist of a battery-powered delivery system that vapourizes and delivers a liquid chemical mixture that may be composed of various amounts of nicotine, propylene glycol, and other chemicals.
..... That wasn’t the way I had pictured this turning out. I had had great reception on the vaping issues everywhere else I brought it up. What was up with this? How was I going to deal with this huge bureaucracy? I was one employee of 16,000 employed across the province.
Stay tuned …..
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