Abi Cottrill

I started smoking at 14, and was an occasional smoker for the next few years, it was when I was 17 that I started smoking on a daily basis. I enjoyed smoking, I smoked for 23 years, and except for a couple of half hearted attempts to give up I smoked daily though not heavily. I liked the way it broke up my day and gave me those little rest breaks, chill out time to get my head together or to zone out. Each time I tried to quit (normally due to pressure from my then husband) I missed what smoking did for me, I found life far more stressful and I missed the effect nicotine had of making me more focussed in some way.
Now I am no idiot, I knew smoking was doing me harm, but I had pretty much resigned myself to dying from a smoking related disease, the benefits I gained outweighed the dangers I perceived (though this might have changed as I grew older).
I bought my first ecig for a laugh, I had no intention of quitting smoking, though I did think it might let me cut down a bit. I had heard of ecigs from a work colleague and my hairdresser, and thought little of it until I was passing a shop in a town centre that had a ego/CE4 and two juices for £10 advertised. It was cheap, and I thought it would be a giggle to try a few flavours. When I walked in the shop I thought the tobacco flavours would be where it was at, but I didn’t like any of them, after a mammoth tasting session I walked out with Honeydew Melon and Cherry flavour and still had zero intention of quitting smoking.
So I smoked when I wanted to smoke and vaped when I wanted to vape, and 10 days later I had my first smoke free day in 20 years. I just forgot to smoke, the vaping hit the spot so well, that I didn’t even realise I hadn’t had a cigarette until I reached for my tobacco at 11 o’clock at night and it was still where I had left it the previous evening.
I didn’t quit smoking, I switched to an infinitely preferable way of enjoying my nicotine and my way of life. I have done the research, I know it is better for me, but if it didn’t hit the spot that wouldn’t really be relevant. I’m not a vaper because it is healthier or cheaper or smells less, though all of these are true. I am a vaper because it is better. As I write this I haven’t had a cigarette for 15 months, and I don’t see myself ever going back. It would be like throwing away my phone and going back to semaphore.

Abi Cottrill
Bradford, West Yorkshire