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How and Why One Mom Started Vaping (an e-cigarette love story)

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After re-reading this post for typos and grammar, I feel it sounds like an advertisement or “sponsored” post for vaping or a vape company. It is not. This is an unpaidfor piece based on my experience for the purpose of helping someone who might be int he same position I am right now and wondering if the change is possible and how difficult it might be. I purchased (and was not reimbursed for) the products I talk about owning in this post.

I have been trying to quit smoking for years.

Even during this horrible winter, I’ve stood in front of my house or right at my back door in flip flops and a coat shivering while I puff my way down another dumb cigarette in a couple square feet of shoveled out clear space. I’ve hated myself, I’ve sworn I’ll never do it again, and I’ve tried to keep it as secret as possible. People tell me awful, private stories of their dead loved ones as I wonder how to get out of the conversation without being completely insulting because it seems like I’m the only one in the conversation that knows I’m not going to become a born-again non-smoker from detailed stories of cancer deaths. I mean, seriously, if horrible stories and pictures were going to get me to quit, they would have already.

Then I talked to a super-amazing Facebook friend about Chantix. I talked to her about the side effects and how they affected her and the people she knew who had used it to quit. She felt – even when she got the prescription – no hope it was going to work. She had accepted she would never quit. As we talked about it, she shared she was over 40 days smoke-free and doing fine.

I decided this was the solution. I became absolutely ecstatic about it and convinced Mr. Brickie to join me on this amazing journey to clear lungs and a non-smokey life. He was really supportive and almost immediately joined me in my hopeful feelings about quitting smoking with this wonder-drug. We made doctor appointments and looked forward to getting our new prescriptions and starting our new lives.

The day of our family appointment (we took the kids in for flu shots and immunizations in addition to the magical non-smoking solution) the weather was insane. It took us almost two hours to get to the appointment that should have been about 25 minutes away. We drove past cars in snow banks and a half-turned-over mini bus (all receiving aid already) on what I was thinking of as an Epic Journey to Stop Smoking (I was like Odysseus of the Chicago Suburbs) and when we got there everyone felt like we had just gone though this harrowing journey. The girls talked about how difficult it was to see through the windows for the snow and we held hands on our way into the office and the warmth and salvation that would be inside.

“What?” the doctor asked when I told him I wanted a prescription for Chantix. His immediate reaction was a puzzled, “What?” and when I went to repeat myself he interrupted me mid-sentence to say, “I heard you, I just…why would you want that?” I told him I couldn’t quit and I was just so done and I needed to stop. He told me there was a black box warning on Chantix and that it made someone schizophrenic and that even if he was still handing out prescriptions for Chantix (which he was most certainly not) he wouldn’t give them to me because I would probably kill my family.

“Uh….I wouldn’t kill my family.” I said.
“Like a mama hamster.” He said.

hamster-bebehs-delicious

I got a little sniffly because I’m sure he didn’t realize he was dashing my very important dreams. Like telling a 12 year old she won’t ever meet, much less marry, Justin Beiber. I totally interrupted him in the middle of his whole “people with anxiety absolutely cannot take that medication even when it didn’t have a black box warning” to whine like a frustrated child when I said, “Then what am I going to do?”

“Get an e-Cig. They have the same quit rate as the Chantix anyway and they won’t make you kill everyone you love.” (My doctor is hilarious and a totally decent human being and even kept me from losing my children and getting arrested that one time. I know I’m making him sound like a jerk but he was laughing when he said the stuff about killing everyone. He didn’t (mostly) really think I’d kill my whole family.)

I was all, “You mean like a blu?” and he was like, “Yeah or whatever, just get the nicotine in without the other crap and even if you can’t quit doing that it’s a hell of a lot better than regular cigarettes.”

I had tried an e-cig years ago when they first got all popular and they looked like cigarettes. It was heavy as all get out, you couldn’t hold it between your fingers, and you had to sort of unscrew the two pieces to be able to take a drag that was remotely near the way it works with my regular smokes. I blew out atomizers (the little heating elements that turn the nicotine liquid to vapor) and it became an unsatisfying, expensive hassle really fast.

I did some research and found that the new e-cigs (or e-cigarettes) have a little hole at the tip to allow for the airflow so you didn’t have to partially unscrew them and you wouldn’t blow out the atomizers as fast. They were a little lighter and with some finagling I could hold one between my fingers.

This is When the Whole Thing Gets Interesting

I was searching for tips and tricks (like I do with any new product) and found out people were replacing the absorbent material in the little cartridge with Lipton tea bags so they would hold flavors not offered by blu. I was curious so I did some YouTube searches on this e-Juice he was talking about in that video.

It was like being dropped into the middle of some Alice in Wonderland scenario where people are puffing clouds like the caterpillar and talking about flavors like Afternoon Tea (flavor: black tea, cream, and sugar) and Unicorn Blood (flavor: strawberry & milk) with the option of having multiple levels of nicotine.

People are smoking out of things that look like mini-hookahs. It’s crazy. The colors and the styles and the YouTube videos of people making their own coils and modifying these things like Xzibit on that show where they put Xbox consoles and big screen TVs in Honda Accords.

Here is one of the beginner videos I saw that made me feel like I might be able to do this thing:

I gotta tell you, there is a ton of lingo and learning it all is tough. But the cig-alike is what a blu is and he shows a lot of different styles and there are a lot of links in the comments so it might help if you’re looking for that kind of thing. Also, you can search YouTube for vape, vaping, vaporizers, and then just put “review” or “beginner” and you can find information that’s helpful.

Back to the multiple levels of nicotine. I think it’s important because when we tried this a few years ago we got the “High” level of nicotine and it gave us headaches (and him a stomachache) almost immediately. It was really a rousing non-success. They even come with no nicotine at all in order to be able to wean yourself off of the drug. I think they came with no nicotine back then, too, but it wouldn’t have mattered because you have to get the vapor in order for your brain to stop bugging you to smoke a cigarette. The smoke, for me, is more important than the nicotine.

One of the most prevalent arguments I’ve run into is that with the fruity, candy flavors they are targeting kids. You know, the way being able to buy whipped cream and birthday cake flavored vodka…oh, wait….that’s right, they aren’t. Also, while I’m not going to tell you that when they’re 18 I want my kids to start vaping (I don’t want them to put anything unnatural in their bodies) but if it’s a choice between tobacco and it’s thousand grody ingredients and vaping there really isn’t a choice.

I was talking to my cousin last night and asked her to visit a vape shop with me (A vapor lounge, it’s called…so chic…lol) so I could check out the flavor bar and try some new flavors. She was a bit hesitant because she kind of got the vibe like I was trying to get her to quit smoking (I wasn’t) but I had a thought and said, “No one likes the taste of tobacco. It’s comforting, it’s what we’re used to, but man, if I could snap my fingers and make my analog cigarettes grape flavored, who wouldn’t do that?”

So she’s at least willing to go with me, so that’s cool. I just don’t like to do new things alone. Mama hamster anxiety levels make it pretty much impossible.

We started with a kit that included a complete little setup and Mr. Brickie and I chose a grape flavor to start our journey with. Try it out without telling anyone so if we hated it we wouldn’t be seen as failing at quitting yet again.

This is the video I’m going to be looking into next if we decide to move on from the eGo-T we are currently using. We have three tanks running right now.

  • The iClear 16 tank has an 18mg nicotine grape flavor in it.
  • The Kanger Pro Tank has a 6mg nicotine level cherry in it.
  • The Kanger Mini Protank II (v2) has a 0mg nicotine-free watermelon flavor in it.

The only one I can smoke as long as an analog cigarette is the 0mg watermelon. The others would give me a headache far too quickly. We got the three levels so we can switch as necessary to make it through the cravings we are anticipating (but may not happen) more easily. The key to success is being prepared, right?

As for Mr. Brickie’s tummyaches, they are gone now. It might be due to how the eJuice is made now or it might be because it has a higher Vegetable Glycerin (VG) content to Propylene Glycol (PG) content. (Video on PG vs. VG | Good description I found on a Website)

So You’ve Been Poor and Smoking? You Awful Person!

I know that being poor and smoking makes people mad.

Many people have done their best to tell me what’s what about how much I spend. I even have a couple apps for that, even though it’s in my budget and I already know the amount.

First, my habit costs Mr. Brickie and I less than a dollar a day … combined. I have been rolling my own for years. For us, quitting means spending more money than smoking. Either in munchie food, soda pop, a nicotine alternative, or whatever other thing we do. Unless I was perfect and amazing and just quit and nothing else changed, even temporarily.

Yeah, if that were possible I would have done it already. Trust me, I tried.

For me, for my husband, we started young and there’s this thing called “addiction” that is so easy to ignore if it hasn’t been personally experienced. Some people can quit and be a little bugged and persevere and suddenly think everyone else can, too, because they did.

But now that’s changing. We feel really good about this. When we took our first few puffs of the grape flavor we didn’t touch a regular analog smoke for over an hour. It was a revelation. We were satisfied without smoking. From here out we will probably only buy the 0mg nicotine because we only have the two with nicotine for the occasional craving to just get past it. We have this all planned out for maximum potential success.

That being said I can’t wait to order the juices that taste like Swedish fish and Starburst. You don’t have to be a kid to love candy, just ask anyone who looks at a martini menu!

Other Resources

If you are considering vaping, try to find a local shop by searching Yelp for Vaporizer (You are going to run into a lot of head shops, y’all…just roll with it. Nice people, even if you look like the a minivan driving mom like I do.) and I cannot recommend the E -cigarette Forum highly enough. I’ve learned so much in a short time with them and they are so nice. Seriously. Great people.

The YouTube channels of IndoorSmokers, GrimmGreen, and pbusardo have been so helpful. I’m sure there are others I just haven’t found yet.

On Twitter? Look for #vape #vaping or #ecig #e-cig to find some more information.

Last But Not Least

There are a lot of vaping stores online. Some are good, some are bad, some sell legit stuff, some sell clones or knockoffs. Make sure you know what you’re looking for or do a search for the store name and “review” to make sure you are ordering form somewhere legit that will ship before the turn of the next century. These searches are how I originally found the e-cigarette Forum in the first place. Lots of reviews, lots of people helping people.

There are a few published studies I also read before making this leap. I do not plan on listening to any voices who make their money from tobacco, because I have no use for that kind of bias in opinion. (Of course, if someone from the ACA, the AHA, or the ALA published the results from a scientific study I would totally read it and listen.)

If you would like to check out an extensive list of the studies that have been published on vaping and e-cigarettes, you can visit that site which has links to all of them. If you would like to read up on current policies, legislation, and myths you can find that kind of thing over at CASAA.org.

I don’t plan on taking this thing into stores or restaurants. There is too much controversy and not enough knowledge for me to take that kind of risk. When I go somewhere, I will just leave it in the car and have it outside the car if that’s necessary. I have a sneaking suspicion it won’t be necessary for very long at all.

I really think this is going to work. I am so happy and relieved.

bird-end-fin

 

 

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