Switching From Smoking to Vaping [MY PERSONAL STORY]

How I Started Smoking

I started smoking when I was thirteen years old. Why so young? The answer is: my girlfriend at the time. Tracy was older, more sophisticated than I (she was fourteen), and she smoked. That teenage, hormone-fueled decision let to a 30-year habit that I thought I would never break. Even at thirteen I knew it was bad for me. That didn’t matter. My friends smoked, my old man smoked, both my sainted grandmothers smoked (and one was a nurse!) and I liked smoking. No, I LOVED smoking. I loved the way it tasted, I loved the way it made me feel, and I loved the feeling of community and camaraderie amongst my fellow smokers. There was this “Us Against the World” mentality that really appealed to the rebellious teen that I was. Plus, there was a cool factor to it – something I desperately needed as a geeky theatre kid who was really into being on the stage.

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Fast-forward 20 years. I am living my dream and on tour in Jekyll and Hyde: the Musical. I landed one of the principle male roles and I had this gorgeous quartet I got to sing in the second act. Suddenly, I started noticing that I was having trouble maintaining breath support. I had to gulp down air more frequently and it was throwing my timing off. By the time I made my exit I was sucking wind and having trouble catching my breath. So I went and did what every smoker does when they feel they can’t breathe…

…I went out the backstage door and lit up a cigarette.

When I Knew Smoking Was Killing Me

That was the day I knew something was wrong and that smoking was killing me. Even worse, it was threatening a professional career that I busted my ass to build since I was 8 years old. If I can’t breathe, I can’t sing. If I can’t sing I can’t make a living. A change needed to be made and made quickly if I was to have a shot at reversing the damage that had been done. I crushed my pack of cigarettes and flushed them down the toilet. “NO MORE!” I cried in defiance. That day I quit cold turkey and swore I would never smoke again.

Yeah, that lasted about a week. Apparently I’m not such a ray of f-ing sunshine when I’m niccing. My mood was so foul that my roommates actually went out and bought me cigarettes saying, “We don’t care about cancer – we just can’t deal with you.” So I tried the nicotine gums. They tasted awful and I was chewing through a pack of them in a day trying to calm the raging nicotine monster roaring inside my head. Next came the nicotine replacement patches. They tasted WORSE and no one could underthand a word I wath thaying with one of those on my tongue. Finally someone showed me how to wear one properly and I thought I was on my way to quitting! No dice. My skin didn’t react well to them and the next thing I knew I had a red blistery mark on my arm where the patch had been. Now I was desperate. I had to quit smoking but everything I had tried so far had failed.

Switching From Smoking to Vaping

That’s when I discovered e-cigs. Nowadays there are quite a few bad ass Starter Kits that are beyond impressive (see below!). But back then, product was pretty primitive in comparison. In 2007, we really only had one option – Cig-a-likes. You’ve all seen them. They looked like a cigarette and they used the old non-refillable cartridge system. I did some research and bought one of the popular brands at the time. I remember being SO excited the day it came in the mail. I opened the box, read the instructions, charged the battery, and hit it for the first time.

Heaven. Pure heaven. As the rush of nicotine washed over me, I remember the sensation of my sanity being restored. The Raging Nicotine Monster inside of me had received its sacrifice and was sated. Villages were no longer in danger of being razed to the ground. My roommates no longer had to sleep with baseball bats under their pillows. The pets even started coming out from under the sofa where they had huddled together in terror for mutual protection. I could be around other people again and they were no longer in danger. I could have my nicotine without over 2,000 cancer-causing, lung-destroying, breath-stealing chemicals. Switching From Smoking to Vaping changed my life.

That was ten years ago and I have been smoke-free ever since. I have seen the evolution of this industry and every day I am excited and impressed by the ever-growing innovation.(My Current AMAZING Alien Mod). From Cig-a-likes, to the first MAP Tanks, to RDAs, I see an industry truly dedicated to creating better products to help folks like you and I get off tobacco and stay off. Now I can’t even stand the SMELL of tobacco cigarettes much less the taste of them. I have been tobacco free for a decade and now, according to my doctor, I have the lungs of a man who has never smoked in his life.

Switching From Smoking to Vaping has been a godsend to me. May you and your journey to quit smoking be as blessed.
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