My view ...

The private blog of Andy Prevost. My experiences, my words. On any topic ...
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Smoke Cessation

Smoke Cessation. Quitting Smoking. Butting out. I think I started looking for ways to quit smoking not long after I started. I was a teen and the very first shirt I bought with my own money got a burn hole from a cigarette ember. Nice big hole too with darkened burn mark edges.

You could always tell who the smokers were. Burn holes in shirts, coats, jeans. Look at the gloves ... burn marks on the fingers. Same with cars, burn marks in the seats (if you got lucky, you could wipe it away quickly, burn your fingers, and only have a char mark on the seat ...).

Most embarassing burn mark? Brand new girl friend and I was smoking in her parents' house. I was laying down in the living room, ash tray close by ... and the cigarette slipped off the ash tray onto the carpet. Oh gawd, oh gawd, oh gawd ... what the hell do I do now? Not only was this a new relationship, it was one of the first times at her house ... and a brand new carpet too. Most embarassing. Not sure why, but they didn't kill me. And, for some odd reason, they let me marry that gorgeous girl too ...

Over the next 40 + years, quitting smoking became a joke. I had all kinds of people wanting to support me to quit smoking.

"How's the smoking coming along?", they would ask. My reply was the joke: "Coming along fine, just fine. It's the quitting part that has me stumped!" ... really funny.

Smoking took its toll. For at least the last twenty years of smoking, I was coughing regularly. Coughing in the morning brought up some interesting colors. I was in the corporate world and had some brand new suits I only wore once and burned holes in them. New white shirts and ties with burn marks, worn only a few times. I think back to having meals and drinks with customers and being the first one to light up. Gheez, what the hell was I thinking. Ruining my health and offending my clients. And that didn't even open my eyes to the smoking issues.

What eventually opened my eyes to the drastic health issues was being diagnosed with diabetes type 2 and Idiopathic Chronic Pancreatitis. Research shows that smoking is a cause of pancreatitis – mine is diagnosed as idiopathic (meaning no known cause), but I am fairly certain smoking was the cause.

I never succeeded with any smoke cessation strategy. I took seminars lasting up to 8 weeks in a group "buddy" setting. I end up quitting for a few weeks, and then light up again. That seemed to be the way it always worked. Quit for a few weeks and start right back up again. I tried cold turkey, Champix, hypnosis, Zyban, acupuncture, Nicorette patch, Nicorette Gum, Nicorette Inhaler (well just about every Nicorette product made including the lozenges, etc). Nothing worked.

That is, until I discovered a vaping kit that a local vape shop clerk taught me how to use. The clerk showed me how to fill and refill the atomizer, change the coil, start and shut down the battery, press the fire button, inhale, etc. The clerk even helped me pick the right e-liquid, nicotine strength, and quantity to start with.

Since that day, I haven't had a cigarette. That was years ago and I have gradually reduced the nicotine strength. 

Vaping is not promoted for smoke cessation. I know of no manufacturer or retailer that will claim vaping will help you quit smoking. Quite the contrary, it is promoted as an alternative to smoking. A healthier alternative. There are only four ingredients: Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerine, flavorings, and nicotine. None are carcinogens. Is it healthy? Not by a long shot, healthy would be to just breathe air. But it is healthier than smoking. Far more healthy.

I vape for quite a few years and enjoyed it. It only took a few weeks after I started vaping to get my sense of taste and smell back. Only a few weeks to improved sleep and more energy. Only a few weeks to start feeling "different" ... better blood circulation, lower blood pressure. And no more burn  holes (no combustion).

I am now at the point where I still vape. My E-Liquid only has two or three ingredients now (no nicotine). I've broken the nicotine addiction, but still enjoy the different flavors. Quite frankly, I'm not sure if that is because I am diabetic and enjoy some of the sweet fruit flavors. I suspect it has a lot to do with it. But, I am also vaping a lot less than I used to. I used to go through three or four batteries each day. Now 1 battery will last more than 1.5 days.

I know the government doesn't want to hear about vaping and how it can help you quit. Vaping wasn't designed to help you quit, it was invented by Hon Lik as an alternative to smoking (for this father). All of us vapers have used it that way – as an alternative to smoking. I know many vapers that have completely switched from smoking to vaping and never touched another cigarette after switching. I know many that have completely eliminated nicotine too. Many still vape and many have quit vaping altogether.

It really doesn't matter if you switch to vaping or are a dual user (smoking and vaping). Vaping is tobacco harm reduction. Each cigarette you can avoid saves you from 7000+ nasty chemicals and 70+ known carcinogens in tobacco cigarettes. Each time you light up a cigarette, cigarillo or pipe, you are accelerating your expiry date. Avoid just one cigarette, and you add a few minutes to your life. Time that you will get to spend with your spouse, kids, and grandkids ... and likely their spouses too.

You won't get governments or health agencies to help you quit. Their strategies are the pharmaceutical solutions that have a success rate less than 7% after one year. That's the best they can do ... and it's also the best they WANT to do. There's a lot of money being made on pharmaceutical solutions – they cost you and your insurance company more than tobacco products. There is no incentive for governments to get us to quit, the bulk of money tobacco products are sold for go directly to government. More than 66% in Canada and nearly the same in other countries and jurisdictions. Governments are reliant on tobacco revenue – so much so that they will block strategies that do work to help  you quit smoking.

I chose vaping as an alternative to smoking, I used vaping to quit smoking, I used vaping to quit nicotine on my own time line. In my first year of vaping, I saved over $3000. I saved even more every year after that – money that went to fund vacations, toys, and enhance living. Money that I did NOT contribute to government tobacco revenue. Money, I am proud to say, that stayed with me.

Vaping can work for you too.

Categories: Tobacco Harm Reduction

Comments: 1 Comment

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Comment

  • Comment by Ray Yeates on 8 July 2016 5:52 pm

    Astounding testimony Andy! Thanks for sharing. May I share this in THRA's upcoming Newsletter? Again, Thank You.

    >> REPLY: Yes, Ray, feel free to share.

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