June 19, 2017

I first started smoking to fit in and feel like I belonged, mainly because all my friends were smoking. Unfortunately, during this time of my adolescence, I became addicted to drugs. Alcoholism had also taken place running with me through my 20's and into my mid 30's. Eventually, I reached a plateau. I turned my life around through breaking a cycle of drinking and drug addiction. I had the help of a couple 12 step fellowships that kept me on track. What I found was my addiction to tobacco became the deepest and proved to be the toughest consumption of them all.

I smoked cigarettes for close to 30 years and have had countless failed attempts using virtually every method of stopping, some of these methods I tried multiple times. Sometimes I had success for periods of time but had never been able to put a year behind me. I always went back to the cigarettes and felt really defeated by the obstacle tumbling me into addiction. When I had first seen vaping, it was at a few of the 12step meetings I attended. Shortly after, my girlfriend came home with a couple of the new "Vape pens”, I found that they made me cough hard and were extremely unsatisfying. Soon after I just gave them up and returned to smoking.

A few years ago, I managed to stop smoking again and enjoyed 7 months off cigarettes only to wind up starting again, this defeat really demoralized me and my spirit. I felt hopeless trying to stop cigarettes and began feeling them slowly stealing my breath from me. I was working midnight shifts at the time and an old friend of mine worked with me, he was vaping, but on a newer style device. I asked him every night if I could have a pull off his vape and he always obliged. A lot of my coworkers had been vaping for over 5 years and were successful in their abstinence from cigarettes. I questioned all of them about their experiences and how they remained off of the cigarettes while using their vapes.

I became inspired and made the decision to vape full time. I bought a half decent set up that allowed me to take nice big draws and I found it to be quite satisfying. Comparing this new feeling to the older vape pens were very opposite, the older vape pens felt like sucking on an empty coke bottle. So, from there I had found my solution, I began to learn about vaping, battery safety, how to build and wick, ohm's law, and other common-sense approaches. I wound up becoming quite an avid and adept vaper, confident in building complicated builds, my coworkers now came to me for advice, and I could provide them with answers.

The obstacles I now faced were mainly haters and rumor mongers (don't those blow up? OR they give you popcorn lung OR they're more harmful than cigarettes - this one usually comes from the smoker of the bunch) Today it's been almost 2.5 years tobacco free, my first six months of vaping I had a few cigarettes here and there but now I find them disgusting. The flavors available are the key to my abstinence as I could never bring myself to vape a tobacco flavored e-juice. I prefer strawberry flavors, I love custards and some fruit flavors. I don't think they should be sold to anyone underage or even marketed in that direction, even if the tobacco companies have done it for years themselves,

I think the biggest issues the industry faces are, being lumped in as a tobacco product, negative press from uneducated vapers not following battery safety rules. Big Tobacco is also a problem because now we are hurting them and the government, which they are in bed with. I believe we need to educate people who are thinking of making the switch and try not to over complicate what we need to tell them. Vaping can be as simple as it needs to be, and for me, it has been the only thing that has worked long term for myself. 

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