Friday 20 May 2016

My story - Smoker to vaper.

I was the kind of smoker who would deliberately smoke more on no-smoking day. I would flick V's at anti-smoking public health messages and turn TV programs over that were nagging me to quit. I knew the risks, and I accepted them. I knew that smoking would kill me, and I didnt care.

But the thing is, you see, I liked smoking. Thats hard for some people to hear, but its true. I liked it. I like that taste, I liked the feel of it in my mouth and in my chest. I like the way it burned my throat. I really liked that. I enjoyed it, despite what tobacco controller will tell you about it just being satisfying cravings - they're wrong. I enjoyed every one of them, and I was on 30 a day and had been smoking since I was 15.

I had tried to quit for financial reasons, and once managed to stop for a whole year before coming back to it. But it was torture - I was awful. I was angry and hostile, and I would snap at everyone who crossed my path. Pharma products like patches and lozenges were useless, they did nothing for me. It was, without question, one of the darkest periods of my entire life, and once I had returned to smoking I swore I would never put myself or those around me through it again. I was a smoker, and I would remain that way until I died, period.

One day, almost exactly 3 years to the day ago, I was shopping in Tesco with my wife when we went to the tobacco kiosk to buy more Golden Virginia and she pointed out these things called "electronic cigarettes". She suggested I tried one. I refused, as they looked like a gimmick, with their glowing tips and realistic cigarette looks. But the seed was planted. I went home and started to google about them.

What I found was startling. The evidence seemed to be that these "gimmicks" were hugely safer than cigarettes, and that *all these people* were using them and had stopped smoking. I had to find out more. I joined a few message boards and started asking questions of the people who were using them. I researched different types and models, and learned the different techniques you needed to get the most out of them compared to smoking. And then I ordered a starter kit.

When the kit came, I was quite impressed. It was two batteries, long stainless steel tubes with a glowing button on them, and two tanks, along with a few bottles of what they were calling e-juice. It all looked remarkably good quality, and indeed it was. I discovered that the batteries had been supplied fully charged, so I filled up a tank with 24mg/ml liquid and gave it a go.

I coughed my lungs up. Weird.

I tried again, this time using the techniques I'd learned on the message boards. It was still quite rough, but yeah, I could get used to this. So I persevered, and used it throughout the day.

Before I knew it, I had gone the entire day without having a single cigarette.

This was remarkable! I picked it up again the next day and continued using it, all the time waiting for the terrible cravings, the anxiety, anger and hostility to return - and it never came. I was totally symptom free. This was as easy as switching cigarette brands.

After a month or so I found that the 24mg/ml juice I had been using was too strong for me, so I bought a lower strength, 18 mg/ml. I knew nicotine in itself was not a danger to me from my research, so I stayed with that, and was fine. I still wasnt smoking.

When I smoked, I suffered from regular migraines, and would catch just about every bug that was going around. I was taking sick days from work numbering in the double figures, year after year. Since switching to vaping, not only am I breathing much easier and capable of taking more regular exercise, but my overall health is much better. I very rarely get migraines now, and I've only had 2 colds in the last 2 years.

Its now 3 years later, and from the day I opened the starter kit to today, I have not had a single puff on a cigarette. And I wasnt even intending to quit - I just wanted to try them. The same thing is happening all over the UK, all over the EU and all over the world.

Why on earth would anyone want to restrict access to that?