Did you ever get to a point in your life where you look back and think “boy, if XYZ hadn’t happened how different would my life be? I did that recently, and it shocked me to think that a new piece of technology had legitimately saved my marriage, and probably my life.
My wife and I were both heavy smokers. In the ’80’s we were averaging 1 1/2 packs a day each. Our walls were coated in a thin layer of tar, the inside windshield of my car was always filmy, coughing and (ahem) throat clearing were morning rituals and the expense was crazy.
We moved to a new place in about ’91 and swore we wouldn’t smoke in it. After a few weeks of living in the garage we finally made the committment to quit…yet again. We went together to the doctor, got the patch and held on for dear life.
The white knuckle affair lasted a few weeks and then we started to adapt to this strange new world. It was great. Food tasted better, our throats were clearing and I was finding change in my pockets in the morning, unspent from the day before. We did really well and my wife remains free to this day.
I lasted a few years and never actually felt right. It felt like something was missing and I resigned myself to the fact that I could and would live with that feeling. Eventually however, I was in the right place with the right people that gave me the chance to sneak “just one”. The end.
Even though the first taste was horrible I was amazed at how quickly the cigarette vanished in my hand. Once it was done I vowed never to do that again but in the back of my mind I know I was plotting to get near someone who smoked so I could have another. Within weeks I was buying my own and back down the hole.
I carried on in spite of a big fight with my wife and the knowledge that I was turning customers off by the smell of it on my clothes. I’d make the big effort, patch or gum, but over and over I returned to smokes. I honestly believe that a huge part of it is NOT the nicotine, but the act of smoking itself. I really enjoyed having a puff while considering a problem or when I wanted to sit down and relax.
Since my wife hadn’t left me yet I figured I was home free but then one night blood appeared in my urine. A trip to the doctor confirmed cancer of the bladder and I was told it could be removed and I would be discharged on the same day. It was my first time in surgery so I was apprehensive but afterwards I was told the operation was a success.
I stayed quit for a few more months and then again succumbed to the call of cigarettes. I knew that smoking was the major indicator for bladder cancer recurrence but I figured the chances of it happening twice were so remote, and it was probably from the years of heavy smoking and now I was down to only 4 or 5 a day, etc.etc….
I swear to you I am not a stupid person. I know how ridiculous it sounds and I’m a bit embarrassed to be sharing this but of course my next checkup wasn’t good and I was back in the operating room and again within weeks I was smoking yet again!
After my third surgery (the second tumor was benign but the third was again malignant) my mouth was sore from chewing nicotine gum and I was losing fillings from the constant suction in my mouth. I also used the inhalers but like I said, it wasn’t just about the nicotine. I was really missing the flavor and feel. I had heard of e-cigs here and there and remembered a friend had tried one a while back that he had picked up at the drugstore. They did not taste great to me and were very expensive (and contained no nicotine).
Of course sooner or later we all turn to Google. Not knowing much about e-cigarettes made it hard to find the first couple of sites in Canada (at that time the borders were locked down pretty tight for anything as ominous sounding as e-cigs with nicotine). I’m not sure what search words I finally used to track down a site that would ship an e cigarette and nicotine e-juice to me but I found some and placed an order. Back then you couldn’t use a credit card for an online vape shop so we had to do this complicated interac exchange online to get my money to them without waiting for snail mail and chequing.
My first order took about 2 weeks to arrive from Ontario and was a huge disappointment. I had ordered a “beginner” kit and it was less than satisfactory. Why would anyone assume a beginner would want crap? I continued using it while I tried to figure out why I barely got any vapor, let alone flavor, and my Google lessons continued.
I decided if it took so long to receive an order my next search would be within BC. Because I knew more of the terms and knew basically what I wanted I was able to find one fairly quickly and settled on an EVOD and a matching EVOD battery. No more kits for this cowboy! To my surprise the BC order arrived in 3 days and it all looked great until I went to charge the battery. My “kit” battery charger didn’t work with my new EVOD so there was that.. Plus shipping.
In spite of the frustrations they had me at the word vapor. Once I had a workable unit I was ecstatic. I had a real decent tasting vapor and absolutely Zero desire to smoke. Just like that. After 15 years of having an itch I couldn’t scratch, there it was. I was satisfied..
But more importantly, through it all I had to get my wife on board. I Googled every study and shared them with her. Even the very worst study confirmed it was about a hundred times safer than smoking, and the more I learned, the more I heard about people just like me. It seems there’s a percentage of us that really appreciated the ritual and taste of a “smoke” and love to vape,. Most of us receive far less nicotine while vaping then we did when we smoked and yet our tendency is to reduce the strength as our vaping experience matures.
With about 18 months of smoke-free life behind me and a happy wife, I can truly say that vaping is something I am grateful for and intend to continue indefinitely. No smoke, no foul odors, no side-stream effects (from the published reports I’ve read..some would argue otherwise) and about 10 or 15 percent of the cost of smoking, it’s my very un-guilty indulgence. And if I hadn’t stuck with it after that first disappointing starter kit, my life, if I still had one, would be very much lonelier.