Mike Felling

My story is that when I was 11, I asked my Dad what’s it like to smoke a cigarette. Being that he was from the „Eisenhower“ generation, he gave me one, showed me how to light it and how to inhale (his thought was I would get sick and never want one again). But I have been around smoke and breathed it since I was brought home from the hospital so, while it made me cough, it didn’t make me sick. Thus started my habit of being a smoker. By the time I was 16, I was a pack a day smoker. By my mid twenties, I was finally paying attention to the problems that come with smoking, particularly the shortness of breath so I decided to quit. I tried nicotine gum (by prescription – in those days it was not over-the-counter), then patches, then anti-depressive medications and „cold turkey“. None worked for more than a week, but I continued trying them (averaging 3 methods a year) until I was 47. So, roughly 60 tries and 60 fails (that does wonders to a person’s self-confidence). I had tried an e-cigarette around 2007, but it was inefficient and tasted like a dirty dishrag so it went in a drawer to be forgotten as another failed attempt. I had resigned myself to die a smoker and made my peace with it. Then my wife developed a bad cough – you know the kind, the one that you know is painful to have because it’s painful to hear. She didn’t notice that it happened when I lit one up near her, but I did, especially in a confined space like a room or a car. I determined to smoke outside from now on – while living in Arizona, USA, and knowing summers of 115 in the shade were rapidly approaching. I was not looking forward to it but it was for my wife, and I would do anything for her. Then, by sheer chance at an outdoor event, I saw a guy using this odd looking device and asked about it – it was a second generation vapor product, and he told me about the company he bought it from and that they were opening a B&M store in a couple of weeks. When they opened, I visited, asked about newer e-cigs and bought my first eGo-C kit and liquids. That first week, I went from 1.5 packs a day to 1.5 packs in a week (because of the brand, this is like 3 packs of Marlboro Reds). After a week, I adjusted my level from 16mg to 24mg and haven’t smoked a cigarette since. That was about two and a half year ago and the only time I have touched a cigarette since has been to throw a pack that I found in a storage room in the trash – an act unthinkable when I was a smoker. As for my wife – her cough cleared up within days of my switching to vaping – including in confined spaces, almost as if by magic. Vaping has no adverse effect on her at all. After 36 years as a smoker, I have health issues that will never get better and I will pay the price for my mistakes. But with vaping, I can still get my nicotine without it harming my wife. So, how has vaping changed my life? It made it possible to still have my nicotine „dependency“ without it costing years off of the life of the ONE person I love more than any other – my wife. Many so-called health experts have asserted that vaping is harmful, to the user and the bystander. But my home life tells a different story altogether. The irony is not lost on me that it is them, in their campaigns against vaping, that are now the ones that are „blowing smoke“.