Post by Patrick Torsney on Jul 8, 2013 18:43:44 GMT
JULY 6, 2013
Vaping, not smoking
A blog about a different type of technology this time. One that’s had a very profound impact on me: the electronic cigarette
I stopped smoking and began vaping on Saturday 6th April 2013, when a good quality electronic cigarette (‘ecig’ or ‘ecigarette’) I had ordered arrived in the post. I haven’t looked back. I am much fitter, healthier and feel considerably better all round compared to when I was smoking. It was relatively easy to do I’d say. Yes, it required a desire and conviction, but nothing like the level I thought it might. It has also saved me a significant amount of money and I am no longer a creature of ritualised habit – a cigarette at the bus stop, outside the shop, immediately after a meal (and before) or when in any kind of stressful situation or when needing to concentrate
After smoking fairly heavily for over 20 years, I am now something I thought I would never be: a non-smoker. Statistically speaking at least, my likely lifespan increased significantly on the 6th April this year
There are approximately 1.3 million vapers in the UK (compared to 9 million tobacco smokers) and this number has been growing exponentially. The vaping sphere is a bit of an unknown to outsiders and comments such as “It’s still smoking though isn’t it, you’re still blowing smoke out” are understandably common (and wrong). Here’s my take:
there is no tar in ecigarettes, which clogs up your lungs and kills you
e-cigarettes do not contain the thousands of toxic chemicals present when inhaling tobacco smoke, which will kill you
nicotine (usually present in ecigarettes) is a stimulant, much the same as coffee or tea and has comparable effects
you can vary the nicotine strength of your ecigarette to suit or you can leave it out entirely
you can reduce the strength over time to wean yourself off nicotine altogether (which is what I am doing)
you are not blowing out smoke – it’s vaporised liquid, a steam/vapour
it doesn’t smell unpleasant, in fact quite the opposite
there is no known secondary inhalation risk from vaping as there is in passive tobacco smoking
my worst case scenario is that I will be vaping for the rest of my life as opposed to dying from smoking tobacco
What is vaping?
Vaping is a physical alternative to smoking that provides you with comparable effects to smoking tobacco but with vastly reduced risks to your own health and the health of those around you. The vapour you inhale is the product of combusting liquid commonly referred to as ‘juice’ or ‘e-liquid’ within an ecigarette device. The inhaled vapour contains the following, in varying degrees:
nicotine solution in varying strengths
diluents: this makes up the bulk of the juice – propylene glycol (PG) and/or vegetable glycerin (VG). The higher the concentration of PG the stronger the throat hit, the more VG the more vapour produced
distilled water may occasionally be present too
You would usually buy e-liquid already made up but you can easily make your own by buying the constituent parts and mixing it up yourself if you want to save money and/or enjoy experimenting. It’s worth stressing however, that nicotine is poisonous and should be treated with care, especially in its highly concentrated – before diluting it – form
Why is it so effective at stopping people smoking?
My view is that common nicotine replacement products such as gum and patches do not address the behavioural aspects of addiction to smoking. Note I said addiction “to smoking” there and not “to nicotine”. The act of vaping is physically similar to smoking, even to producing smoke-like vapour. Vapers are still free to follow the same routines as smokers as and when they choose eg going outside for a vape along with smoker friends who are going for a cigarette. In this sense it provides an effective substitute for both the behavioural and social act of smoking whilst also addressing the underlying physiological nicotine addiction
My personal experience was that when I first began vaping I continued to follow the same routines eg vaping on a morning with a cup of tea before I did anything, vaping after meals and so on. As the days and weeks went by what I found was that I just got out of the habit of following these routines. They became irrelevant, even to the extent that now if I forget to take my e-cigarette with me when I go out it’s just no big deal
I also very much enjoy vaping in a way I never experienced when smoking tobacco! It’s totally different to smoking and very pleasant, especially when you have a nice set up and are vaping a particularly nice juice
Are there health risks?
There isn’t much research available on the health risks of vaping given it is a relatively new phenomena. However, contrary to what various regulators and the big pharma and tobacco industry lobbyists would have you believe there is some, and what there is is both robust and particularly striking. If you are interested, watch the whole of the video at the end of this post, especially from this point here (YouTube video opens in a separate browser window). The video is an abridged announcement of the results (published June 25th this year) of the ECLAT Electronic Cigarette Study (“Efficiency and Safety of an Electronic Cigarette as a Tobacco Subsitute”) headed by Dr. Riccardo Pelosa from the University of Catania in Italy. Dr. Michael Siegel from the Boston University School of Public Health also discusses the implications of the study from the perspective of public health
I’m a smoker and want to give it a go, where should I start?
Good on you. The first thing I would say is don’t spend tons of money at the outset; there are countless options and things to choose from – work out what you like and what suits you gradually – experiment. Start with a kit, something that gives you everything you need from the get go. Spending anywhere between £20 to £40 will get you a very good ecigarette kit, including USB charger, a bottle of juice and other peripherals. For reference, the first 10ml included in the kit I bought lasted me just over 10 days. Assuming a cost of £4 per 10ml, that equates to a cost to vaping of 40 pence a day, or £2.80 a full week. Compare that with what you spend on cigarettes if you are a smoker
Where should I buy from?
It’s up to you, but after experiencing both good and bad online sellers, you could follow my personal recommendation of starting your journey with ecigwizard. They’re very reputable, deliver exceptionally quickly, have good priced products and an excellent customer service team. They are by far my favourite vape shop at the moment. I’d suggest you register first as this attracts special discounts and makes shopping with them much easier. They also run a decent loyalty programme which means you earn points as you spend (and also for registering) that can be set off against your first or future purchases
If you got something out of this blog and you want to be nice then when you register stick my email address in the 'referred by' box - email@example.com Thanks, that’s very thoughtful of you!
Psst! Special tip: when I registered I received an email a short time after giving me 20% off my first purchase with them so, after registering just wait a short while before actually buying anything (check your junk mail). You can’t sniff at 20% off, especially if you decide to spend a decent amount
In terms of kit to buy, here are the best contenders in my book
The bundle, which is exceptionally good value at £19.99. I paid about £48.38 (!) elsewhere on a similar kit when I started:
The Premium version of this bundle is also decent at £39.99. It includes two of the devices so you can either have a spare for yourself or two of you can both kick the habit together
You could also have a look at the Olympian Imist, which again gives you two devices. It’s a more powerful battery so will last you longer in-between charges but is also way more expensive at £51.59 (and you need to buy juice on top). Personally, I think this is one to avoid and if I was going to spend this kind of money I would buy a mod and all the things I’d need to go with it (see below). So, I think one of the two I’ve already mentioned would be a better way to go. I myself also prefer the cartomisers the bundles above use too (the bit that takes the liquid), as I think they would be easier to maintain than those in the Imist. I’ve never tried the Imist type though so, if you do decide to go for this one make sure you watch the video at the bottom of the page so you know how to put it together and maintain it
If you wanted to jump straight in at the deep end (you risk drowning!) then have a look at the mods like the Lavatube variable voltage, or the ZMax (even better) or the Tesla. If you have money to spend, you could always buy a Provari, the highest and most consistently rated ecigarette device there is, coming in at around £175! Bear in mind though, assuming you don’t already have them and were starting out at the top so to speak, you would also need to buy appropriate batteries, a charger and a cartomiser or tank or whatever you wanted to screw on the top to hold your juice + eliquid to go with your mod
Good luck! I may do some follow up blogs at some point and talk in more detail about the various paraphernalia in a bit more detail, especially the mods and repairable atomisers, the vape shops (good and bad) and so on. OK, I appreciate the vast majority of my readers work in the legal profession but, it might be an interesting diversion from what we normally talk about!
I would like to dedicate this post to my beautiful five-year-old daughter, Ruby. On the 17th March this year as we were walking home together Ruby said to me that she didn’t really like me smoking and thought I should stop as it might make me “poorly” one day. I ordered my first ecigarette online the next day. Love you angel x
Press Conference: Announcement of ECLAT Study Results, June 25th 2013