I started smoking when I was 14 years old. I’m 39 now. I had gone back and forth between a half pack a day smoker to a pack a day smoker and sometimes even a 2 pack a day smoker. I had tried quitting a few times over those 25 years cold turkey or using patches and it never worked. For the past few years I’ve hated smoking because I finally got it into my head that I was killing myself and I got mindful enough that I could feel the negative effects of it. Always lethargic, bad complexion, empty wallet, all the stuff that comes with cigarettes. Most of all, it just wasn’t satisfying anymore. I liked the routine of going out on the porch every morning with my coffee and cigarette. I just didn’t like the cigarette anymore. I liked the routine.
My father was a lifetime smoker and one of my best friends. Last year he was diagnosed with stage four esophageal and stomach cancer at the young age of 66. I knew I didn’t have much time left with him so I ended up hanging out with him a lot more than I ever have, even when I lived at home with my parents. We both knew that his smoking was likely a major cause of his condition but never really talked about it. I kept on telling myself, kept on telling my wife, that I would quit because I didn’t want to follow in his footsteps and get a way-too-early death sentence. But how could I quit when most of our good talks and interactions involved sitting around smoking cigarettes? Cigarettes were a large part of our father/son bond, and they had been since I was 17 when he caught me smoking in the garage one night.
He passed away on July 13 2017, almost exactly a year after he was diagnosed, after a hard-fought battle with an unwavering foe. I didn’t have my smoking buddy anymore and I went up to nearly 3 packs a day for a few weeks because what do you do when you are grieving and don’t know what else to do? Sit on the porch, think, cry a little, and chain smoke. Then was my chance to quit but the habit just got worse. I felt like shit, I lost weight because I was smoking cigarettes instead of eating meals, and it was putting a burden on the household.
My wife and stepson were away for four or five days in August and I had a lot of time to think (and watch cartoons and eat junk food and drink cheap beer) because there weren’t any distractions or big responsibilities. I decided I had to quit right then but was terrified of going cold turkey. I had no idea how to quit but I knew I had to do something immediately.
I was out of cigs on August 9 2017 and went to my local tobacco/beer/vape shop for a couple more packs. I passed by the vape display and thought nothing of it because I knew nothing about vaping other than those awful blu ecigs I had tried a few years back. I asked the clerk for two packs of american spirit light blues and told him it was hopefully my last couple of packs ever. He guided me to the vape section and educated me about how it works, the benefits, the dangers, the ejuice flavors, everything. I walked out with a Smok Alien 220 kit, 60ml of Cloud9 Squatch Call 6mg, and one pack of cigarettes.
I traded off cigs and vapes for the next couple of days until my cigs were gone. I smoked my last cig at around 7:00pm on August 11 2017.
I quit smoking cigs in about 48 hours because of vaping. I’m down to 3mg of nic in my juice right now. I can taste, breathe, and smell. I have energy. I’m not hacking up a half pound of garbage every morning. My skin looks good. My hands and feet don’t look green because they have actual blood circulating through them. I’m happier. My allergies have gone from crippling to only mildly crippling.
My wife loves that I quit cigs but she’s not a fan of my vaping because she hasn’t educated herself. But I’m okay with that. She’s seen the improvement in my health and general outlook and that’s fine with me.
Vaping made me a happier, more productive, healthier person. I have a long way to go until the smoking funk gets out of my system, but I’m comfortable saying, even after a month off cigs, that vaping saved my life.
EDIT: I’m already mixing and want to start building coils. I feel like I’m in too deep after only a month, but hey, I’m a tinkerer and want to see what I can do to both save money and improve my vaping experience.