My view ...

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

Zero NIC

Many years ago I chose to use electronic cigarettes as an alternative to smoking regular tobacco cigarettes and cigarillos.

I initially started with a kit and a tobacco E-Liquid that had a taste similar to my regular cigarettes. At the time, I was smoking about 30 cigarettes a day (a large pack of 25, plus five more – on average). The vaper that helped me pick a starter kit suggested starting at 24 mg/ml nicotine strength. That's what I started at. About one week later, I reduced that to 18 mg/ml. I think the initial strength of nicotine was too high, 18 seemed to be ok for my needs at the time. I also switched to fruit flavors. After about five days off of the tobacco products, my sense of smell and taste returned. The tobacco flavor I had picked initially no longer appealed to me ... but quite a few of the fruit flavors available did.

Over a few years, I managed to further reduce nicotine levels. When I was at 12 mg/ml, I had a "mini-stroke", a TIA. The doctor suggested dropping the nicotine level down (nicotine is a vascular constrictor) ... I did the next day, down to 6 mg/ml. Now I was at one-quarter of the nicotine strength I had started with, and in roughly one year. I even made an attempt to drop to zero nicotine ... but an unfortunate and rare issue cropped up: in my case, nicotine withdrawal increased insulin resistance (that's the exact opposite to what is supposed to happen). Despite theĀ  high blood sugar levels, I persisted at zero nicotine for over 10 weeks. I was concerned enough at that point to re-introduce nicotine to get my blood sugar levels in control. I returned to 6 mg/ml and blood sugar levels returned to normal. After much research, I decided to wean myself off of nicotine by reducing the nicotine levels slowly and over a longer period of time.

The first drop was to 3 mg/ml. That lasted for about nine months and then dropped to 1.5 mg/ml. After about four months, I dropped that to 1.0 mg/ml. And after a few months, dropped to 0.75 mg/ml. Again after several months, I dropped that to 0.5 mg.

At each increment downwards, there was really no change in how I felt, or increased desires for nicotine. There was an adjustment period where the amount of E-Liquids increased. That leveled off after several weeks, though, and returned to "normal" E-Liquid consumption.

After only about one week at 0.5 mg/ml, I decided to complete the journey and switch to zero nicotine.

As I write this on June 14 2016, it has been exactly one week ago that I switched to zero nicotine. Over that week, I tested blood sugar levels more often – and the result has been absolutely no change in blood sugar levels: they are at acceptable levels (meaning nearly normal for a diabetic).

What are the next steps? I'm not sure at this point. I have handled the nicotine addiction portion of smoking to a point where I no longer need the nicotine. With all my other health issues, though, I'm not sure how much effort I want to put into dropping the entire physical manifestations of vaping ...

I do want to point out that nicotine is additive, but it is not harmful. There are quite a few health benefits to nicotine. Here's a few links where you can consider these benefits:

You decide for yourself ...

Categories: Tobacco Harm Reduction

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