Laurie Flanders

+++ PERSONAL HISTORY +++

My name is Laurie, I am male and I was born in London in 1964, over 50 now! I am a Supervisor in the Manufacturing Industry in Sydney Australia. I started smoking when I was about 12 and was a packet a day smoker for over 30 years. Both my parents smoked all through my childhood, my first smokes were stolen from them. My Father gave up smoking after a heart attack in the early eighties, but my Mother never managed to. She died from Emphysema in 2003.

+++ HAVE I TRIED TO GIVE UP BEFORE +++

I have wanted to give up smoking for many years. I remember the first time, saying to myself “there’s no way I’m paying $2 a packet”…….lol! It next became a priority when I had children in the early 90’s. I tried to give up cold turkey a few times, with some success. I could always manage to stop for a week here, a couple of weeks there, until I underwent some kind of stress. This would always send me running for my smokes, and the relief I felt when I got some was immeasurable. I tried gum, lozenges and patches and they never worked. I tried Champix twice! I never had any problems with feeling sick or suicidal while using them, and they worked quite well while I was taking them. But it was the same old story when they ran out, at the first sign of stress I would buckle and run for a smoke, and one is all it would take to be straight back on a packet a day! I’m weak, I know!

+++ MY VAPING JOURNEY +++

My Vaping Journey started at a market one Saturday in 2011. I noticed a stall selling, what I now know to be cig-a-likes or 1st generation devices. I am very much a “Tech Head” and an “electronic cigarette” appealed to me on many levels. I purchased one and it was not cheap at $50. I was instantly converted and gave up smoking almost immediately – for a while. I was soon disillusioned, the battery in this thing would only last a couple of hours, and it seemed to take longer than that to charge! The cartridges were another hassle, they only last half a dozen puffs and were difficult and messy to refill. Then my battery stopped re-charging at all and I decided that smokes were a much easier option. I never gave e-cigarettes another thought until I went on holiday to Hawai’i in 2013. I saw many people in Hawai’i using a much larger device which sparked my curiosity. I wrongly decided to hold off buying in Hawai’i due to the whole 110v-240v thing but was intent on doing some research after returning to Australia.

After returning to Australia I hit Google and found Aussie Vapers Forum. I lurked there for a few weeks, doing my research before ordering an iTaste VV/VW V3 starter kit (a 3rd generation device), and some pre-mixed e-liquid. I started Vaping on 6/8/2013, stopped smoking completely on 10/8/2013 and have never looked back. Whats more it was easy – very easy (for me).

If this was the only equipment available, I am sure I would be quite satisfied. But it’s not! It wasn’t long before I got curious about 2nd generation devices, a new world of Mechanical Mods, RDAs, RBAs, Kayfuns and Gennies! Soon, my new found disposable income was being consumed by, what had now become, my new hobby. Thankfully my new addiction to vaping gear has calmed down a bit. I am now moving slowly back to 3rd generation devices, they are just a bit more “high end”.

It was not long after I stopped smoking that I saw the changes happening. First I got my sense of taste and smell back, that was quite a shock! Then I noticed that when I went to bed I was no longer wheezing. I no longer feel like I’m going to pass out after walking up a steep hill. Bouts of cold and flu are far less frequent, (touch wood). I have not felt this well since I can remember!

The only other thing that needs mentioning is the ultimate control you get over the amount of nicotine you ingest. By mixing your own e-liquid, you choose the concentration. I have been slowly dropping my nicotine intake from 24mg/ml, 2mg/ml at a time, when I mix a fresh batch. I will continue to lower my intake for as long as I can without feeling like I need a smoke. Whether I get to 0mg/ml remains to be seen.

++ WHAT WOULD I LIKE TO SAY TO NEW VAPERS ++

In my opinion Vaping is the only alternative nicotine delivery system that satisfies all four types of addiction that cigarettes create. Firstly, I am getting the Nicotine I crave. Secondly, I get the physical, “hand-to-mouth” action that mimics smoking. Next is the tobacco taste in my mouth that I used to crave after food, coffee, chocolate etc. However, now my taste buds are working again, I don’t vape tobacco flavours anymore. And lastly, I don’t have to change my routine, I can still hang with my mates in the “Designated Smoking Area” and not be tempted.

Please Please Please do all your research BEFORE you purchase anything!

The hardest part of Vaping is finding the right flavours, especially when it comes to Tobacco flavours. Do not expect any Tobacco flavours to taste like your smokes, they never will. The key is persistence, as soon as your brain starts to associate the nicotine “hit” with this new behavior, and this new flavour, you WILL get used to it and enjoy it! Buy plenty of flavours in small quantities first so you do not get stuck with litres of e-juice you do not enjoy. Also make sure you start with high nicotine content. At least 24mg/ml for a pack a day smoker. This will ensure you do not crave smokes and soon the new habit will replace the old. Feel free to reduce your nicotine once you know you will not go back.

Make sure you have a backup, and a backup for your backup!

Make sure you educate yourself on correct battery safety!

I cannot tell you that Vaping is entirely safe, I can only tell you what my body is telling me, I feel much, much better now than when I was smoking!

Vaping is not for everyone, my partner tried it and she said it made her feel sick? If Vaping is not for you, please do not stop trying to give up smoking.

+++ WHAT WOULD I LIKE TO SAY TO THE GOVERNMENT +++

I cannot understand the hypocrisy of the position of World Governments and Organisations on Nicotine and e-cigarettes, unless it is being driven by the dollar!

If this stand against e-cigarettes is being made because they are not PROVEN to be SAFE, then ban e-cigarettes, but only after you ban cigarettes, as they are PROVEN to be LETHAL!

Please please ensure enough research is carried out before making a decision on banning e-cigarettes.

Know that banning e-cigarettes will force thousands, if not millions of Vapers back to traditional cigarettes. But not me, I will turn to the Black Market that will flourish.

It is my hope that this testimonial will have positive influence on someones future decision, be it a new Vaper or a Polititian

Thanks for listening
Laurie (Sydney’s Western Suburbs)