My journey to becoming smoke free

One Year

One year. ONE YEAR! I have made it one full year smoke free.

At 12:15pm on 2/22/12 I started with my V2 ecigs and now, a year later, I couldn’t be happier about the results. Let me tell you about it.

It has been a great year, but there have been some challenges along the way. In spite of those challenges I would recommend switching to anyone who smokes.

Now, when I say “smoke free” that’s not technically 100% true. Over the past year I have bought, as closely as I can remember, about four packs of analogs. When my kit arrived I had three or four analogs left which I smoked over the course of my first two weeks. I also bought a pack there in the beginning as a kind of crutch. As anyone who has smoked can attest, one of the worst parts of smoking is the urge to have a pack with you at all times. You are planning to buy one before your last pack is gone. So I bought one “just in case”. I smoked some of them, even though I quickly had come to hate the taste. That pack lasted me over the next few months. My next (and last) two packs were purchased due to power issues, one of the downsides to ecigs, which I’ll describe later. The first time was pure user error – I forgot my charger at work on a Friday. An ecig battery without a charger is about as useful as a car without gas. You ain’t goin’ nowhere. The last time was when my charger, for some reason, didn’t seem to want to charge. But that has been it for the past 365 days.

Before I weigh in with all the positives, let me be honest and describe a few negatives.

  • Power – as I mentioned above, when you are out of power, you are out of luck. You need to have enough spare batteries, and the means to charge them, to make this work. Which leads me to the next negative.
  • Standardization – There isn’t any. The number of configurations is amazing. It makes finding something that suits you easier, but that is countered by the incompatibility of one setup with another. There are three major components to any ecig system, the battery (or power source), a place to hold the liquid, and a heating element to turn that liquid into vapor. The parts are not interchangeable from system to system. There are inside threads and outside threads, and threads of different sizes. There are containers of different sizes and heating elements that require different ohms and watts and things that make you think that you need an EE degree to operate. That’s before you even start talking about DIY mods.
  • Availability – Currently the majority of ecigs and accessories are purchased online. While the option to purchase ecigs from retail stores is increasing rapidly, there is nowhere near the options that are available for analogs. When you can find items you are faced with the standardization issue and quality that can be all over the map.

The overwhelming positive is the utter lack of desire for an analog cigarette. As long as I have a charged battery and a filled cart I have never thought, “I’d rather have an analog instead.” Of course there are many more positives.

  • I feel better. Reputable ecig companies make no claims about the health benefits of switching from smoking. I certainly don’t have the medical background to say that I am healthier, but I can tell you with out a doubt that I feel better. The first thing that Cindy noticed was that my persistent coughing had stopped. I noticed that I didn’t tire as quickly. In short, I just feel better.
  • I Smell. Wait, that didn’t come out right. I can smell things again. That can be good and bad, especially when you have an eight year old boy living in the house. I am still struck by this when I smell a freshly mowed lawn or orange blossoms.
  • Things taste so much better. That may not be the best thing for a fat old guy like me, but I sure do enjoy tasting food again.
  • I’m a rebel! It’s kind of fun to vape in a store or restaurant. I’ve received some strange looks, but in the entire year not one person has said a word. That was probably the hardest thing to overcome, vaping away in the aisles of Wally World.
  • Variety – For the most part I stick with my menthol flavored liquid, but I love trying all of the many options that are available. Fruit flavors, food flavors, more flavors than you can imagine, and even a few that are too weird for me.
  • $$$ – One of my prime motivations for switching was financial rather than physical. And the savings have been tremendous. I wasn’t the heaviest of smokers, probably a little under a pack a day. Even my cheep-o brand was costing me $25-$30 a week. When I realized how much that added up to in a year, I was motivated! I have a spreadsheet that tracks my costs and calculates my savings. I don’t have it here at home, but the last time I updated it my projected savings for the year was about $850. That’s huge.

That’s my first year wrap up. If you are a smoker and your looking for a way to stop I really recommend giving ecigs a try.

Going forward I want to continue to educate others, and work to keep the government from doing anything stupid with regards to vaping. As I wrote in my comments to the FDA,

The positives of electronic cigarettes are many, and I ask that you cautiously and honestly consider their benefits when adopting any policies related to their use. Please do not regulate them out of existence, or make them difficult to obtain or less attractive to use. I don’t want to go back to smoking, and electronic cigarettes have made that possible.

On to year two.

Cross-posted at bRight&Early.

This Time It’s Personal

On February 22nd I get to celebrate my first anniversary of being smoke free. That was the day my electronic cigarette starter kit arrived. I had try to quit before, on my own. That didn’t work at all. Switching to ecigs has worked, and it’s worked amazingly well.

So, leave it to the government to want to screw that up.

Section 918(b) requires that the Secretary of HHS, after consultation with recognized scientific, medical, and public health experts, submit a report to Congress examining how best to regulate, promote, and encourage the development of “innovative products and treatments (including nicotine-based and non-nicotine-based products and treatments)” to better achieve the following three goals: (1) Total abstinence from tobacco use, (2) reductions in consumption of tobacco, and (3) reductions in the harm associated with continued tobacco use.

Many people will react with a “so what?” Well, it’s government regulation, and we already have enough of them, and this time it’s personal. Here is what V2, my distributor, has to say on the subject:

This added regulation could have a negative impact on the availability, accessibility and cost of V2 Cigs and other e-cig brands’ products.
But you can make sure that your opinion is heard!

If V2 Cigs electronic cigarettes have made a positive difference in your life, please share your story with the FDA. Ask them not to implement additional regulations which would limit your ability to obtain V2 Cigs.

Read the notice of public hearing on the FDA website. You can click on the blue Comment Now button in the upper right corner of the FDA’s site to submit your comments through Wednesday, January 16, 2013.

Your opinion matters! This is your chance to make a difference for the entire electronic cigarette industry. Visit the FDA Website today and encourage your friends to do the same. Together, we will be heard!

Quite frankly, I don’t trust the government to get this right. Some of the advantages of vaping include

  • Being able to vape where you can’t smoke.
  • A near endless variety of flavors. Everything from tobacco and menthol flavors, to coffee, chocolate covered cherry, fruits, mints, and some that I wouldn’t even want to try. I mean, I love bacon, but I wouldn’t want to vape it.
  • A big, big money savings. Of course the government is going to want to tax these products even more than they want to regulate them.I saved nearly $1000 so far. I’m sure the government wants a part of that. A BIG part.

All of this is on top of how much better I feel. Ecigs are not marketed as a healthier alternative to smoking, but the pure fact is I feel 100% better since I switched. I can breath easier, walk further, do more without feeling exhausted.

If you’re a smoker I do encourage you to give ecigs a try. I suggest V2 (Use the code MyVaporLife at checkout for a discount!) because that’s what worked for me, and I’m an affiliate. You can also search for ecigs, but I urge you to do your homework. There are a few scams out there. Be very cautious with “free trials”.

Here is the comment I left at the FDA site:

I am a 57 year old male, and I don’t know when I started smoking, other than it was sometime in my thirties, but I do know when I quit – February 22nd, 2011. I had tried to quit previously on my own, using the patch, and with gum. None of those methods worked.
On 2/22/11 my electronic cigarette starter kit arrived. Since that time I have smoked two and a half packs of regular cigarettes – the half pack I had left when the starter kit arrived, one when I was still starting with the e-cigs, and the last one when I forgot my battery charger at work. All of that was within the first month, so I can honestly claim to have been smoking free for more than 10 months.
I can personally tell you that I can breathe easier, exercise and work around the house without getting so easily winded, taste and smell better, and I greatly enjoy the nearly $1000 that I’ve saved. I am convinced that e-cigs have improved my quality of life and that I would not have quit any other way.
I urge you to take a thorough and honest look at the science, and to include in your evaluation the positive impact electronic cigarettes have for so many people. In my office alone four (out of five) smokers have fully replaced traditional cigarettes with electronic ones.
Most of all I urge you to NOT remove or regulate the positives that I, and others, find so attractive about e-cigs:
• The variety of flavors that are available
• The low cost relative to traditional cigarettes
• The ability to vape whenever and wherever I want
• The ability to use a product that has, in my personal experience, allowed me to stop smoking
In my opinion, removing these incentives will do greater harm than good. I am convinced that should e-cigs become harder to obtain, or less attractive to use, I would in all likelihood return to smoking. I am sure I am not alone in this belief.
The positives of electronic cigarettes are many, and I ask that you cautiously and honestly consider their benefits when adopting any policies related to their use. Please do not regulate them out of existence, or make them difficult to obtain or less attractive to use. I don’t want to go back to smoking, and electronic cigarettes have made that possible.
Thank you.

Cross posted from bRight & Early.

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My Vapor Life Forums

I have added a forum here at My Vapor Life. It is built on bbPress that is now a plugin integrated directly with WordPress. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Let me know if there are any issues, too.

UPDATE: It helps if I allow people to register. You can now. Ooops.

A Forum Worth Checking Out

ecig advanced

I know I haven’t posted here as regularly as I should, but I certainly haven’t given up on the place. I did want to pop in and let you know about a new ecig forum I discovered. If you’re looking for good vaping discussion check out the Ecig Advanced Forums. They are a terrifically friendly group. Look for me there as vaporjim.

Kentucky Researcher Urges “Third Way” for Nation’s Smokers

Here is some audio you really need to listen to from WKU Public Radio via “Duir” on the V2 forum:

Brad Rodu says it’s time for the public health community to re-think how it looks at the smoking debate in this country. Rodu is head of the Tobacco Harm Reduction effort at the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center. He says for too long the smoking issue has come down to an all-or-nothing wager: smokers are told they either have to give up cigarettes, or keep smoking and die.

Dr. Rodu says smokers can get their nicotine fix without the disease-causing agents found in cigarettes. He says e-cigarettes are one viable option. This is the complete, unedited interview between Dr. Rodu and WKU Public Radio’s Kevin Willis.

National Vaping Day – USA

Thursday, March 22nd, is World Vaping Day. Vapers from around the world will be celebrating and showcasing this smoking alternative. In the US the event is being promoted by CASAA. Here is part of the National Vaping Day — USA story from the World Vaping Day website:

Electronic cigarettes are a completely different approach to addressing the concerns about the cost and health effects of smoking. Until now, the focus on quitting smoking has been on ending nicotine dependence, yet billions spent on nicotine cessation products has resulted in very low quit rates. Nicotine gums, lozenges and patches that require eventual abstinence; and pills that attempt to make smoking unpleasant for the smoker completely ignore the social and behavioral aspects many smokers enjoy and do not wish to give up. It is a myth that most smokers “want to quit.” In truth, most smokers simply realize that they probably should quit. Therefore, not only do those products fail to help 93% of the time – even for smokers who actually do want to end nicotine dependence – they are completely ignored by the millions of smokers who enjoy smoking for reasons beyond nicotine use. Electronic cigarette use – or “vaping” – addresses smokers’ needs on multiple levels, rather than simply focusing on the nicotine.

{snip}

Take the opportunity to participate in the National Vaping Day 2012. If you are a smoker and haven’t tried e-cigarettes yet, there are inexpensive disposable brands, which are available online or even at your local Walgreens – now is the time to give one a try! If you are already an e-cigarette user, this is a great day to talk about how you made the switch to friends and family who are smokers. Post about it on your social networks. Show a co-working smoker at work your e-cigarette or even a a stranger standing outside in the cold. National Vaping Day is the day to let the world know that you are a vaper!

I encourage you to visit the World Vaping Day website and take a look at the resources they have to spread the word about vaping. They have a PDF for health professionals, drop cards (pictured below) that you can print from there or here to hand out to the curious, and many other ideas.

What ideas can you add for Vaping Day? The comments are open.

I Went For A Walk Last Night

Last night when I got home from work I did something I haven’t done in a really long time — I went for a walk. On purpose. In part I was able to do that since it gets dark later now, but a big factor was putting analogs down three weeks ago.

I want to get into better shape. I’m 56 years old and I’d like that number to go higher. I’m not in bad health, thank God, but I’m a long way from where I’d like to be. Several weeks ago I was pushing the youngest on his bike, trying to teach him how to ride. I couldn’t run behind him for any distance what so ever.

When I would try to get in shape in the recent past I was held back by shortness of breath. Last night I walked just over a mile and I could breath when I was done. The extra pounds I’m carrying around are still a big part of the problem, but now I feel like I can get in a bit of exercise without feeling as if I’m drowning. I want to increase the distance, and at some point start running again.

One mile and one time probably doesn’t sound like much to many of you, but when you haven’t been able to do so for a while it feels like a very big deal.

St. Patrick’s Day Sale

V2 Cigs - St. Patrick's Day SALE - 15% OFF Storewide - March 17th, 2012!

World Vaping Day…and a new poll

Just a really quick post to tell you about a new poll and World Vaping Day. I will have a full post on the event later today, but while you wait please vote in the new poll. Here is just a bit about what this is about:

Let’s celebrate the first World Vaping Day – a worldwide event recognising the phenomenal success of the new alternative to smoking!

Mark your calendars for March 22, 2012! Check back here for details soon.

Two Weeks

My starter kit arrived two weeks ago and I could not be happier with the outcome. It has really been an educational 14 days.

What I’ve Bought

  • Standard Kit
  • 10 Limited Edition Carts
  • 1 10ml bottle of Menthol Juice
  • 20 Pre-filled Carts
  • 1 Sampler Pack

The last two items should arrive today! I am very anxious to check out the sampler pack.

The bottle of juice I purchased from a local e-cig retailer. Refilling my pre-filled carts was easy, although the bottle design wasn’t that great. Instead of a dropper the entire bottle was a dropper, kind of like eye drops. It felt like the drops were too big. That may not make sense to you, but that’s how it seemed to me. The flavor is fine, although at 2.4% it’s a little stronger than I really want. I just needed some to tide me over until my V2 order came in. I had a long road trip on Sunday and I knew I wouldn’t make it on the pre-filled carts I had on hand. That brings me to my next point.

What I need

  • More Batteries – Two is nowhere near enough.
  • Another charger – very possibly more than one more.
  • Some blank cartridges.
  • Juice – some good quality and a bit of a variety.
  • Storage – I’m thinking about something like a tackle box to hold everything.

Just to wrap up my two week (and two day) post, a few impressions of how it’s going. I love the fact that I am starting to smell things again. That doesn’t include the cat’s litter box or my almost eight year old son. I haven’t noticed any great increase in breathing, but I’ve been fighting a really nasty cold. Best of all, I haven’t felt a need for an analog the whole time. I did smoke the three or four I had left, but I really wasn’t happy with them at all. And that’s good.

One last thing, I created a spreadsheet to track my progress. I’ve been analog free for 15 days. In that time I would have spend $46.56 for 240 analogs. Instead I’ve spent $184.15 which includes shipping and, of course, my starter kit. As of today I am $137.59 in the hole. The good news is I have my sampler pack, 15 unopened menthol, and a half a bottle of juice. I shouldn’t have to put out any large amount of money very soon.

While I had this post sitting around my order came in. I dove into my sampler pack last night. I’ll let you know what I think of the different flavors in another post.