If you are reading this article than in all likelihood you have just started your own journey towards quitting smoking. You probably have just been told about ‘vaping’ and are looking for more information on precisely what this means and what it is. If on the other hand you are not a smoker and think ‘vaping’ is cool… do us all a favor and take up a different hobby. It is pretty much the definition of insanity to purposely addict yourself to any drug for no better reason than looking cool. This goes double if you are underage.
Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), commonly referred to as Vaping, have gotten off to a rather rocky start here in North America, however they are easily one of the best – in our opinion – risk mitigation tool for smokers. Their lack of toxins – when used properly – combined with excellent nicotine uptake make these tools are great way for smokers of all ages to finally be able to kick the monkey off their backs (eg oxfordjournals).
The reasons for quitting smoking are as varied and numerous as the users themselves. For some it is because they were just tired of smelling like an ashtray. Others because the health concerns. Others still because they no longer wanted to be treated like 3rd class citizens and punished with ‘sin’ taxes by the government that is supposed to be for the people by the people.
Regardless of the reason for why, most have tried all the other ‘legitimist’ options like nic gum, nic patches… and not a bloody thing worked. This is because cigarette smoking is not just one addiction but two. There is the physical addition to nicotine, and the other is mental. This second addiction is actually the toughest one to kick and the reason why gum and patches don’t work as well as they were ‘supposed’ to. So much so that when first released the Nic patch was supposed to be the silver bullet cure! Same for the expensive, horrible tasting, gum. Unfortunately, while it does satiate the need for nicotine it does nothing for the mental aspect.
The mental addition is actually easy to describe. Think about smoking. Imagine smoking a cig for a moment. The feel of the cig in your mouth. The very feeling of sucking in the smoke through the cig. That hard almost harsh, yet oh so ‘delicious’ hit in the back of your throat as you inhale the hot smoke. Then the release of the smoke as it curls up and out your mouth and nose. Congratulations. You now probably want a cigarette now don’t you?! That is the mental addiction.
This is why ENDS or vaping devices can be effective as you can get that same oral fixation as with a cigarette, that same feel in the back of your throat, the same exhale… even the same nic hit. But all without the hundreds of toxins! It still is not as safe as not smoking – as putting anything into your lungs is not as good as just putting fresh air in there… but it is safer than a ciggy.
Over the next few pages we will delve deep into the why and how’s of this growing phenomena but before we do, let’s start with the why there is such a backlash and why you probably have heard more bad than good about this sub-culture… and make no mistake it is a sub-culture with its own rules, terminology, comradery… and irrational ‘haters’. So over these next few pages we will take you through a quick rundown on this sub-culture so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not this is the right choice for you before you spend a dime.
It seems that there is a very vocal group of people, of all ages, who simply loathe the very sight of someone vaping. Outdoors, indoors, a block away. These people simply see red when they see someone else enjoying a vape. The reasons why there is such a backlash is numerous but boils down to four reasons: D&D, and TnA. Get your mind out of the gutter. We don’t mean Dungeon and Dragons nor busty booth babes. Rather we mean Dollars & Douchebags, and Taxes and Eh-holes.
Right now the quit-smoking industry and its accompanying horological quit smoking aids is a multi-billion dollar industry. It is no secret that big pharma easily has one of the most advanced and deep pocketed propaganda machine ever created. Quite literally these companies convince untold millions every year that they cannot live without X miracle drug… even if they did not realize that had a problem is cures beforehand! Vaping represents a major competitor and potentially large loss of profits to these companies who have invested a lot in stop smoking aides. This is why billboards have been popping up with countless anti-vaping propaganda.
This issue alone would be bad enough but unfortunately cigarettes are also a multi, multi-billion-dollar industry and the fact that their next generation customers are opting out is bad for their bottom line. These companies have literally spent decades commissioning ‘studies’ that show everything from why smoking was not harmful… to now showing vaping is harmful. Recently we have seen studies prove that there are countless carcinogens in vaping… but when you look closely at these studies in order to get said results either outlandish conditions are required… or the use of cig backed ‘cig-alikes’ are needed (journals.plos.org). This is the douchebag component… and when combined with the money involved the end result is a rather negative opinion in people who have never even seen someone vape. They simply believe what they see on TV, in print, and -our favorite- social media sites filled with horror stories of the ills of vaping.
Unfortunately, these companies alone are not the end of the problems for this fledgling industry. Governments also hate Vaping as it represents a significant loss in taxes (US Fed made 8.5B and the states racked in a combined 16.8B in 2013 alone). There is a myth that smokers cost society a lot of money due to end of life problems. The reality is smoking kills quickly and early (http://www.nytimes.com). This means that the amount of money collected via ‘sin’ taxes is usually be a lot more than the cost of health care latter on for said smokers. More importantly this is money collected that is spent for schools, fire-departments… and pork barrel spending now.
Some governments have gotten so desperate lately that they have created vape killing taxes. For example, the state of Pennsylvania in an effort to bring in a mere extra 13million in taxes just levied a 40% wholesale tax on the vaping industry in PA… and yet Cigars are exempt from tobacco laws in that state. Why did they do it? Our opinion is that it is because cig ‘sin’ taxes brings in 400million a year to the state of PA, and anything that is a risk to that money source must be stopped. Lives destroyed in the process be damned.
Sadly, vape’ers themselves are also to be blamed; or rather a small portion of it are to be blamed. Commonly called ‘cloudbros’ or ‘hipsters’ are also a big problem. Many people’s only experience with vapers have been a negative one. Cloudbros ‘smoking out’ a non-smoking room, Hipster vapers making unsafe unregulated devices that blow up… and then release pictures of themselves in the hospital on to social media sites. These are all problems that create an extremely negative opinion in the minds of the general public. Yes, this is why we can’t have pretty things as this highly visible minority mess it all up for the rest of us.
Why are we saying all this? Because ENDS may indeed be a great solution, but before you start down this path you have to realize that it is not going to be all sunshine and roses. There are plenty of anti-smoker eh-holes who will give you a tough time. There are plenty of hipsters who will make you look like a douche. You will be glared at by idiots… even if you are being very careful where you vape so as to not disturb others.
We personally think that it is worth the effort and worth being good ambassador’s on behalf of vapers everywhere. But before you spend any money you need to think long and hard about taking up this ‘hobby’. It is highly addictive. Not only because you will still be consuming nicotine… but in all the vaping possibilities it opens up to you! You know you have an addictive personality so don’t be surprised if while you may save money vs. smoking… you may end up spending more as you gain a massive collection of devices and find out exactly how deep this rabbit hole goes. So be warned. Don’t start vaping just because it is a cheaper alternative to smoking.