Here’s What Happened When I Quit Smoking and Started Vaping
In the beginning
Long before I quit smoking, I started smoking at age 15. Even before that, I grew up in a household where both parents smoked regularly in the house as well as our family vehicles. By the age of 18, I was up to a pack a day, despite knowing that virtually every deceased relative on one side of my family died from a smoking-related illness. It didn’t take long to start noticing more and more the physical symptoms often experienced by regular smokers.
I knew what to expect. Around the time I started smoking, my mom quit. She actually became the chairperson for my county’s Tobacco-Free Alliance. I now had her lectures and literature as well to regularly remind me of the harm I was doing to myself. I quit smoking multiple times as an adult but was never successful on a long-term basis.
It didn’t take long to develop the famous smoker’s cough when I woke up each morning, but I powered through. I started wheezing a little bit more on the basketball court, but I powered through that too. Started having shortness of breath sometimes at work, but I could still manage. I tried to tough it out and continue leading an active lifestyle.
In 2008 at the age of 25, I started working full time as a professional musician. I played a little trumpet and was the lead singer for a ska band that toured the West Coast, mostly in bars and nightclubs. Believe it or not, smoking was still allowed in bars virtually everywhere in my home state of Oregon. I sometimes enjoyed the luxury of being able to smoke on stage when I felt like it. The downside was that every breath I took all night brought in a lung full of everyone else’s smoke.
After singing for three plus hours in a room like that, the effect is definitely something that you notice. I had written several songs that really challenged my abilities as a singer. I figured out pretty quickly that sucking in all that smoke was taking a toll on my ability to sing high notes as well as get through longer phrases without taking a breath. It was frustrating at times, but again I just powered through it.
Smoking cigarettes: SO expensive!
As most people know, being a professional musician is only a lucrative job for a very small number of people in the field. I was definitely not one of those people. The financial strain of being a heavy smoker was hurting me worse than the health problems were. At certain points I was probably spending at least 25% of my monthly income on cigarettes, and that bothered me more than anything.
In 2009 Oregon banned smoking in bars. That took care of my second-hand smoke issue, but my own smoking was still taking a serious toll on my range and endurance as a singer. This was especially true when we were out on tours and long road trips, as I tended to smoke even more at those times.
Of course there was the social cost to contend with as well. Many people seemed not to like my constant smelling of tobacco smoke. I also found myself having to frequently leave pleasant social situations in favor of finding a designated smoking area.
In 2010, I altered my lifestyle to become a bicycle commuter, electing to no longer own a car. I rode a lot and got into good physical condition fairly quickly. Despite losing a bunch of weight and adding muscle, I could still easily see that cigarettes would never allow me to reach my potential in terms of physical fitness.
E-cigs arrive on the scene
I still remember the first time a saw an e-cig. I was doing some shopping at the largest mall in Oregon, and I had been putzing around there for quite a while. Suddenly I realized that I was absolutely dying for a cigarette, but I was a very long way from the nearest exit. As I started power walking for the parking lot in order indulge my habit, I saw a girl exhale a cloud of smoke right in the middle of the mall’s main walkway. A glance revealed that she was smoking a cigarette.
Whoa, that lady is pretty hardcore, I thought to myself. She just does whatever she wants. As I walked by, she approached me and asked if I would like to try some of what she was puffing on. Of course she was vaping an e-cig, not smoking a cigarette. This was a totally new concept to me. My expectations were low, but I gave it a shot. I was really surprised at how vaping gave me such a similar feeling that of smoking.
She touted the convenience of being able to vape indoors and explained that there were various health benefits. I was definitely intrigued; then she mentioned the cost. She was selling e-cig starter kits that were priced at around $200, not in my price range. I thanked her for the information and the interesting experience. Then I went outside and smoked a cigarette or two.
How I quit smoking
It was two more years before I started noticing that friends and acquaintances were starting to join the vaping trend. The startup cost had become a lot more manageable, so I got online and ordered some equipment and some juice. There were no vape shops where I lived at the time.
Making the transition from smoking to vaping was pretty easy for me, especially when compared to the frustration and futility of trying to quit using other secation products or just going cold turkey. The only real challenge was making sure I kept my batteries charged and kept juice in ready supply. At first I was occasionally still buying cigarettes as a backup. As vaping products became even cheaper and more available, that became unnecessary for me. As I write this, I can’t even remember the last time I had a cigarette, but it has been a very long time.
Recently VapeBlock has made it even easier for me to stay in constant supply of my favorite flavors and vaping products. I can quickly and conveniently place orders from a number of different manufacturers. It’s also a good way to browse the latest options and deals available on the vaping market. I can access it from my Android device, and it’s also available on Apple products.
Part of the initial appeal for me with vaping was the having the option to taper down. Progressively lowering the nicotine level in your vape juice is a good way to wean yourself off of the chemical addiction. At first that’s what I did, moving gradually but fairly quickly from 24 milligrams of nicotine down to 12.
I’m confident that I can keep going down to 0 mg if I choose to. For now, though I’ve decided to continue with my present level of nicotine consumption. I realize that nicotine by itself presents its own risks to my health. The obvious health benefits I received when I quit smoking, however, make me feel OK about indulging my nicotine vice for a little bit longer.
The difference was like night and day almost immediately. As a singer, I noticed an improvement in my range and stamina right away. I could sing higher notes and had more air support behind my lower notes. I could sing my guts out in longer recording sessions without my voice giving out, and I didn’t have to stop the recording sessions periodically to leave the studio for a cigarette.
As a bike commuter the improvement was obvious also. I have more energy than I did as a smoker. I started getting out and riding trails in addition to my regular commuting. My lungs feel a lot less restricted than they did before I quit smoking.
The financial benefit has been really amazing. The cost of my nicotine habit is literally one tenth of what it was with cigarettes. Being able to shop around and price compare through VapeBlock has helped with that as well. Since I quit smoking, I have really enjoyed the freedom fresh perspective that has come with better health, and the extra money in my pocket has helped me enjoy it all the more!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of vape-block.com.