I started smoking casually around 16-17 with some friends at school, and socially smoking in the pub. Splitting a pack of 20 with at the pub on a Friday night soon developed into a light smoking habit. I didn’t smoke openly in front of my parents (though I’m sure they knew), so when I left the nest to go to university I was free to smoke as I pleased and was doing so regularly. There was nothing social about it, 90% of my friends there were non-smokers.
Fast forward 10 years and I was smoking about 15 roll-ups a day (20+ on a pub night). At this point I was starting to get the nagging feeling that I had been doing something I knew was very unhealthy for a decade, I was approaching 30, and I really should try to cut down. I had never attempted to quit because I liked smoking, had no acute health problems, and probably because deep down I thought I couldn’t. The fact that I was a smoker was starting to bother me, but not enough to do anything about it.
Then in late Aug 2013, I went to the US for the wedding of an old friend from university. Smoking in the US is a massive pain in the arse. I was getting pretty pissed off with not being able to smoke in a parks, on beaches, in beer gardens or on the hotel room’s balcony. There was a big group of us there, a reunion party from the university years, and my friend’s girlfriend (both medical doctors) had recently quit and was using disposable cigalikes. This was the first ecig I’d ever seen, and I was interested – not because I thought „now I can quit“, but because it could be used more or less anywhere and I wouldn’t have to be constantly looking for smoking areas. Of course the disposable cigalike was pretty awful, but it could keep me amused until an opportunity to smoke presented itself.
When I got back to the UK, I started looking into ecigs a bit more, and bought a V2 cigalike kit and a couple of packs of cartridges pretty much immediately. My intention wasn’t to quit, my primary motivation was to have something to use in pubs with no smoking area, or when it was raining (I was living in Scotland at the time), and also to cut down a bit. My smoking immediately reduced by ~70%, which I was surprised about. I continued reading about ecigs, 3 days later I found a local shop and bought a Kanger T2, an ego battery, and some RY4 liquid (don’t remember the brand). I have not smoked since and I didn’t even touch my stash of duty free tobacco, which I gave away a month later when it was clear I had no desire to smoke it (I had a drag on a cigarette out of curiosity about a year ago and it was horrible).
I got interested in the technology, started rebuilding protank coils about 3 months into vaping – now 2 years smoke free I have a little collection of mods and RTAs, and I’m starting to experiment with DIY juice.
One thing I’ve noticed is that most of the people who successfully transition to vaping are those with an interest in the technology. The ones who want to tinker and tailor their vaping experience to get the most satisfying vape they can. The ones who keep smoking are those who have no interest in the DIY aspect of vaping, consider replacing a Kanger coil head too much hassle, and stick with cigalikes or disposable tanks (e.g. CE4). It is sad that it looks like these generally ineffective devices may become the best available option for new vapers in the near future. It will be a sad day when the health of smokers is finally sold off to the highest bidder, and what could have been a true revolution for public health and the human race’s war against cancer is sacrificed so that some jobsworth, penpushing, shitbags can feel a little bit more self righteous, and a few psychopathic fat-cats can buy a few more fast cars.