My journey to becoming smoke free

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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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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.

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.

Day Three

Well I am into day three, getting close to 72 hours since my last analog. The short version is that I am very pleased with the results so far. I haven’t felt any desire to smoke a regular, analog cigarette the whole time. Now three days isn’t a long time, I realize that. Still, I am amazed at how well vaping on my V2 makes my cravings go away. There are a few things that seem to make this true. I’m sure the nicotine plays a part, but the action of having something to hold and draw on plays a big role as well. You sure don’t get that from a pill or patch.

There are some big differences, too. My vaping patterns (for lack of a better word) are different from my smoking patterns. I’m still finding that I am vaping more often, but with bigger gaps between puffs. With an analog I would smoke one cigarette in about 8-15 puffs over ten minutes or less. With my e-cig I take a draw or two and then a several minute break.

For the most part I’ve been using the manual battery. If you’re not familiar with e-cig batteries there are two main types, manual and automatic. With the automatic you just draw like you would with an analog. With the manual you push a button on the battery part prior to your draw. I like them both, but the reason I’m using the manual the most is that Cindy has laid claim to the automatic!

There is a great post on the V2 Blog that describes some of the Symptoms you may experience when you start using electronic cigarettes

When you begin using electronic cigarettes as a tobacco alternative, it’s common to experience symptoms as your body reacts, adapts to the changes and rids itself of the chemicals present in tobacco smoke. Some symptoms will come and go over a period of a few days. Most are gone within a few weeks and everyone’s experience is different.

I highly recommend that article to anyone who is quitting.

I am waiting on some of the Limited Edition carts I ordered from the V2 forums. I ordered a five pack of Vanilla Mint (24 mg) and Benson and Hedges (5 mg) for Cindy. They should be here today or Monday. They’re coming by USPS, but for some reason the route goes from Miami through Montgomery Alabama before it gets back to me in Central Florida. Why? I have no idea. I just hope they get here soon so I can try my new flavor. Soon I’m going to try re-filling my own carts. One thing that has surprised me is that vaping is as much hobby as it is a smoking alternative.

There is one humorous down side: My “let me finish my cigarette” excuse is gone.

Finally, let me tell you about some mistakes that can be made. I’ve heard several people describe starting to light their e-cig. Heh. One that I’ve done while riding in the car or sitting on the computer is put the wrong end in my mouth. That will really make you glad it wasn’t an analog! One big no-no: When you’re done don’t flip it out the window.

Well, that’s about it for day three. I’d really like to hear from you. Comments are open.

It’s Here!

I spent a good part of the morning hitting the refresh button on the FedEx tracking website. Finally just before noon the notification switched to “Delivered”. That’s when I headed out to lunch.I ran home, opened that package, and found everything I expected: Two batteries (1 automatic, one manual), 10 cartomizers (5 menthol, 5 congress), USB charger, wall charger, instructions.

From reading the information on the website and in the forums I knew that the batteries are shipped with about a 50% charge. They need to be charged for a few hours before use, so naturally I popped the covers off a cartridge, screwed it on to a battery, and gave it a try.

The first carto I used was the Congress. I gave it to Cindy to try, hoping it would mimic her regular brand. I wasn’t sure how much she would like it, or how willing she would be to use it. The short version – she wouldn’t let me take “her cigarette” with me to work.

I hooked a menthol carto up to the other (manual) battery and vapped away on the way back to work. Once I got there I did hook the battery up to the charger and gave it a good three hours charge. It was a very unusual feeling to be sitting and “smoking” at my desk.

There are a few things I’ve found myself doing that are different from smoking analogues. I find myself puffing more, but slower. In other words, I take more draws on the eCig, but they are spaced much further apart. With the analogues there was always the idea of getting as much as possible from each cigarette, so there wasn’t a lot of sitting around. With the eCigs I can wait a minute, or many minutes, between drags. It’s not like it’s going to go out. [Side note: I hated what they did to regular cigarettes that would cause them to go out if they sat too long.] At this early stage I’m really analyzing every puff. I’m sure that will go away over time.

The verdict, so far, is that I like it. I haven’t had an analogue since around 12:15pm 2/22/12. There’s a marker. Let’s see how far I can take this.

Today’s the Day!

{EAV:326e06434179c011} Note: this code is to show Empire Avenue that this blog really exists.

My starter kit should arrive today. It could have been delivered yesterday, but the note on the FedEx tracking site said, “Package not due for delivery”. So let me get this right – my package was there, but since I only paid for two-day shipping they weren’t going to get it to me sooner? Oh well.

Of course I’ll be at work when it arrives. That leaves me two options. 1) Wait until I get home tonight (about 12 hours from now) or 2) Take my lunch hour, run home, grab the package, and run back. It’s about 30 minutes each way so I’ll have to hustle. I’m leaning toward option 2.

Here’s some news for any of you who are thinking about ordering – as an affiliate they’ve created a special discount code for me. Anyone who goes to the V2 website and places an order can use the word “lakelandjim” at check out to get a 10% discount on ALL V2 Cigs merchandise, including kits, cartridges, and accessories!

Well, it’s time to get the kids ready for school and myself ready for work. I’ll have pictures, I promise.

My Vapor Life

I’m not sure how you found this place, but I’m glad you’re here. My Vapor Life is a place for me to share my journey away from smoking. I tried “cold-turkey” and was pretty successful for a while, but ultimately went back. Now, I’m ready to try something new. Let me tell you about it.

I work for a fairly large company. There are 400 or so employees at my location. I work in an office with five others. Four of those five are smokers. Most of us have tried to kick the habit, in one way or the other, with various degrees of success. As I mentioned, I tried just quitting back in July of 2011. I did surprisingly well for a month or so, but at the first sign of stress (our only car died) I started back again.

Several months ago my boss tried electronic cigarettes. He found them for sale at the local flea market. He had some success, but the quality was poor to say the least. Then someone (I don’t remember who) tried V2 brand. A second, and then a third, ordered kits. They’ve been very happy with the results.

Yesterday I ordered my starter kit. It should arrive sometime this week. In future posts I’ll tell you how it goes. Follow along. If you’d like to join us just click on one of the links.

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