No matter who you are or whether you are an ex-smoker or not,
If you’re in the U.S., over the age of 10 and fogging a mirror…
You’ve heard about this vaping thing.
You may be totally pissed off and judgemental about it (as a non-smoker who is dead-set against anything that even resembles smoking) and I get that. Anytime you are looking in from the outside of another human’s plight (having never walked a mile in their shoes) it’s easy to judge and look down your nose at others reactions, losses and addictions) and just…scoff.
I mean, it’s not hard to understand why non-smokers, and committed smokers alike, would believe the fear propaganda over vaping that the media and Big Tobacco are pumping out into the airwaves these days. It seems like there is another headline story every day about how “vaping kills.” I mean, when the media (funded by Big Tobacco) and your State (again..funded by Big Tobacco) put out these heavy duty “Public Service Announcements” about how bad vaping is…they’re only doing it to protect you right?
If you are buying into any of this madness and are committed to holding on to those belief systems…we should simply agree to disagree here and now, and then you need to just click the little “x” and be on your way to the next “just say NO to vaping” rally in your area. However, if you smoke or if you or someone you love has a smoking-related illness like cancer or emphysema, just know that I was just like you and now I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore and I have committedly put a stop to The World’s Worst Family Tradition! I can breathe again, I can walk up stairs (without dropping a lung) again, and I can do those things (and more) because I found and chose vaping instead of smoking. For the first time since I was 12 years old I am nicotine-free. And because of these gifts, I will do my damnedest to convince you and others of the benefits of vaping over smoking and of the harm-reduction in making the choice to vape instead of smoking tobacco.) Still, here??
Ok, now that they’re gone…let’s talk seriously about this “vape” thing. I was a nicotine addicted smoker since…well…BIRTH. I came into this world, born of my Mom’s 1968 (totally unaware) nicotine-riddled uterus, into a cloud of Winston smoke and sat there breathing the only “air” I knew exclusively for the first 5 years of my life. It was the late 60’s and early 70’s…(No one knew.) My mom was an amazing mother. She would’ve given her life for me any time…any day. Babies and kids (with GREAT MOM’s) sat in smoke-filled rooms all day every day until they went off to school. I had a few years of clean, fresh air until I hit the ripe old age of 7, when my older, next-door neighbor had me stealing cigarettes out of my parents packs and meeting her and my other neighborhood friends in the woods to smoke. I WAS 7!!! I took 2 drags of that nasty thing and was SO sick when I got home that my mom was ready to take me to the Emergency Room! I fessed up (before she got me in the car) crying…begging and promising I would NEVER EVER do it again…and I was sure I was telling the God’s honest-truth. It held all the way up until the next time (I was probably 9.)
Welcome to 1981-82, when kids weren’t cool unless they were smoking. Back then we could buy smokes at 16 y/o and pass as 16 y/o by the time most of us were 13 y/o and back then… no one was checking ID! It was a totally different world.
I was fully addicted to smoking by the time I hit High School and I remember being SO psyched that we had a smoker’s patio off the cafeteria! As I said, it was a totally different world back then. Nowadays, we know too much. There’s so much information that we are afraid to eat (most foods), we’re afraid for our kids to go out and play…we’re afraid to (fill in the blank)…it’s a VERY different world we live in now, and some of it I resist and resent…(but gaze right and see me…at age 14, fully and completely addicted to nicotine, smoking a half a pack a day…and you may agree that there’s good reason for at least some of these newly found fears and subsequent changes. When we broach the topic of smoking tobacco, nicotine addiction and the gift of vapor – I’ve got alot of experience with these topics and therefore carry VERY strong, passionate and biased opinions on them. So, pardon me while I step up on my soap box and lift my megaphone.
By the time I was 24 years old I had buried both of my Grandmothers, My Grandma’s sister (who helped raise me), and…my Mom. She was only 46. Her dad dropped dead of a massive heart attack in front of her when he was 47…when she was only 12 years old. She, 34 years later, had a massive heart attack in bed next to my dad minutes after she dozed off to sleep. He called me in a state of dread and panic)because well, I was 911.) I was an EMT on Newtown Ambulance and lived 3 mins from their house. I ran out in the snow in bare feet and I will never forget his words: “I can’t wake up mommy and she’s making funny noises.” I called 911 immediately and told them I’d meet them there and literally flew to my parents house, green light flashing, and 6 months pregnant…flying up my parents drive way and up the stairs to her bedroom. I pulled my (blue) mother off of the bed and did CPR til the ambulance arrived. I knew she wasn’t coming back the whole time. The CPR I did was to save my Dad, he needed to know we did all we could (and honestly…so did I). All of the matriarchs in my family were dead by the time I was 24 years old and the were all dead from smoking-related illnesses.
I was very broken and very alone (being an only child) in my grief and there was no one left to help this Humpty Dumpty put her pieces back together again from those years of loss after loss. What I can tell you for sure is, the damage showed up in countless ways over the next 20 years of my life. The other thing I can tell you is, I knew I wanted to put an end to the horrific family tradition of dying very young in front of our children . I didn’t want to drop dead in front of any of my kids in my mid-forties and I most certainly didn’t want to raise them as addicted smokers!
Fast forward to my 43rd birthday, I’m working from home, stressed out of my mind by a business project that exploded. I’m burning through 2 packs of Newports a day and I look around and see everyone in my house was smoking cigarettes. I stopped in my tracks and just took it all in and I knew it was an epiphany. I needed to
make a change now. I wasn’t doing this to my kids or their kids. I had to stop smoking and I needed help. I didn’t know what to do (because I didn’t know anyone who had successfully quit smoking in my circle of influence, so…I GOOGLED. I had seen and tried an e-cig 6 months prior (my son had brought it home) and although it didn’t work well, I knew I loved the idea and I knew the technology was improving fast. I went looking for reviews and found one that seemed like it had pretty impressive reviews, bought it, tested it out, loved it and that Christmas I bought them for EVERYONE in the house. It was the “ciga-lite” version of vapor – 101 stuff. It wasn’t the end of tobacco for me, but I was down from 30-40 Newports a day…down to only 5 cigarettes a day. It took me over a year to stop. I probably never would have without stumbling into my first official “vape shop” while we were working a consultancy contract in the Houston area. One of the guys at work over there had a mod set up and took us all down on a field
trip. I walked out with a Vision Spinner and a proper tank and REAL eLiquid (not a pre-filled cartridge with a battery that dies a little more with every drag). I sampled the eliquid and found the flavor that did it for me and the shop owner made sure I walked out with enough nicotine to replace how much I was getting with smoking and I kicked the tobacco habit that very same day.)
Within a month I knew I was going to make it my trade. Why? Because I could truly believe in what I was doing!
Since then (June 2013) my family has been full-time in vapor and eLiquid manufacturing as our life’s work. We walked away from everything we’d ever known and made the decision to re-invent ourselves as vapor professionals. The beautiful community we are now a part of is comprised of a million other stories…just like ours…and it is an industry of passionate believers.
I will be writing more on this topic because I love my family and I know you love yours. I am SO grateful for the invention of vapor and eLiquid and for the people who have worked side by side with us fighting for the salvation of this industry against the powers that be. I am committed to paving the way to a healthier reality for my future generations and for this amazing technology that is saving so many lives and helping the tobacco addicts on this planet to actually QUIT SMOKING. I will fight for this industry and to end the worlds worst family tradition: Tobacco-related Death.
Thanks for reading, keep on vapin…
“The academic research and evidence suggesting e-cigarettes are at least 95 percent and as much as 99 percent healthier than combustible cigarettes continues to mount. Despite the potential boon to public health, tax-hungry lawmakers and fraudulent “public health” groups have waged a war on vaping, pushing for excise taxes on the products throughout the U.S.”