I pop one betwixt my lips. Flick … light … draw. A cheery, orange-red glow washes over the room, and there, in the quiet solitude of my inner sanctum, it feels as though I’m channeling Salinger. The smoky exhale pulls toward the ceiling fan, dances its last jig, and dissipates.
And then … fifteen additional minutes of gurgling and hacking finally come to an end with a sputtering cough.
This has been my routine, my ritual, for more years than Carter has liver pills. It’s my French whore’s breakfast. And it’s killing me. I want to quit. I want to survive the Year of the Writer … and many more.
Never mind the reasons for smoking: parents, relatives, and everyone in the Mad Men world of mine who smoked; summers spent cropping, looping, hanging, and grading tobacco on the neighboring farms in North Carolina; the need for acceptance in some bohemian high school clique. Forget all that. Bottom line is — I smoke because I like it. Or at least I did. Now it has become an over-a-pack-a-day monkey-on-my-back.
I’m a firm believer of moderation in all things. God wants for our enjoyment, and most “bad” things aren’t bad for you until done in excess, and then they mutate into one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Lately, little-by-little, I’ve spelunked down the cave of gluttonous indulgence and need to put a stop to it. It’s been a long time coming.
The first hurdle was chilling out on the bottomless pots of coffee, which were making me edgy and bitchy … or maybe it was from living with two edgy, bitchy women. Regardless, I made the switch to Folger’s Half and Half (half decaf, half caf) on the first of the year. On occasion, I’ll treat myself to a full-bodied real cup, and am perfectly fine with that.
Cigarettes were another issue.
Dubbed as “the safe cig,” the e-cigarette dispenses small amounts of nicotine in water vapor, therefore, one no longer smokes, instead, one “vapes.” The e-cig is more or less a personal nicotine vaporizer. There is no tobacco, tar, smoke, or any of the 4000 toxic chemicals found in a conventional cancer-stick.
But then came the FDA warnings concerning the vaporizing agent used, erroneously claiming it to be Diethylene Glycol (DG), a carcinogen found in anti-freeze, when in fact, it’s perfectly safe Propylene Glycol (PG) or Vegetable Glycol (VG) that provides the atomizing effect.
And they even confused the glycols. It is Ethylene Glycol (EG) that is an additive in anti-freeze, not DG. DG is actually a humectant for tobacco products, already found in 100% of regular cigarettes and 1 in 18 e-cigs. Where there’s nicotine, there’s DG.
But DG is found in many other consumable products, including toothpaste, aspirin, mouthwash, wine, cough syrup, fog machines, and the like. An excellent article written by Lew Rockwell, The E-cigarette vs. The FDA, alleviated my fears, and on the eighth of January, I bought my first disposable electronic cigarette from the convenience store.
It was $5.00, and claimed to be the equivalent of over two packs of smokes.
Taking it home and inhaling my first vape, I’ll have to honestly say, “Not bad. Not bad at all.” However, in my ignorance of e-ciggies, I bought a “light” as opposed to “full-flavor,” and I’m your typical, full-flavor Marlboro Man. Back to the store for a regular.
Disposables were a good testing ground to see if they were even a possibility in helping me quit. Would I take to them? At first the weight required some getting used to, as they are a little heavier and thicker than tobacco cigarettes, but after a couple of days, felt as natural as the real.
So, effective that Tuesday, six days ago, I became a member of The Vaping Squad. Sounds like a new entry into the YA vampire genre, doesn’t it?
I allow myself one tobacco cigarette in the morning and one at night and twain the two, take a few
drags vapes from the e-Tron when the urge is great. Perhaps it will come down to one “natural” smoke after each finished novel, like James Caan’s character, Paul Sheldon, in Misery. I don’t know, but I’ve noticed that a couple of vapes is all that’s needed to satisfy me, unlike a whole tobacco cigarette that ribbons away into the air between puffs.
I’m off to the store today for another one. The first lasted this entire time. Score!
But disposables are almost as costly as a regular pack of stogs. Research and more research (there is a plethora of information out there) opened up a vast market of vaping paraphernalia heretofore unknown to me.
There’s a whole world of rechargeables (most economical), of flavored liquids, personal carriers and lanyards that sport your vice like an amulet. Starter kits that range from $40-$180 and more, as well as USB, wall, car, and portable chargers. What’s a new Vaper to do?
I quickly learned that most of the “informational” sites that offer comparisons are actually company-owned websites with a bias toward their brands, but after perusing through literally hundreds of blogs, found an independent site with a fellow vaper, a vapress, I suppose, called,
For some reason, I trust her. She even states that she is a professional writer who admittedly:
“receives compensation from some of the companies whose e-cigarette products I review. Above all else, however, I am committed to providing the most accurate information possible and perform comprehensive testing on every product reviewed. If a product warrants a negative or neutral review, I will review it in that fashion, even if an affiliate relationship exists.”
Sounds pretty damn trustworthy, in my opinion. Driving this honesty home was the fact that she was personally researching the e-cigs on her own before ever soliciting her writing and reviewing services to the different companies. As writers, we have to do what we can to make a buck. Heck, if you’re testing out different brands, why not write about it and query the manufacturers?
And plus, she’s a damn good writer.
Her personal recommendation out of twenty-eight reviews?
Okay … I’m chuckling over the concept of a Version 2.0 cigarette. The starter kits range from $24.95 for a single rechargeable e-cig w/USB charger to the
$179.00 $159.00 Ultimate Kit (marked down) which they tout, “comes with all the gadgets.”
And there are coupons! I seek out bargains.
For now, though, the three
smokers vapers in this household will settle for the kit one step above the single cigg-e:
Another chuckle over needing a “User’s Manual.” I mean, that’s nice to have because these e-Trons didn’t come with squat, leaving me to blindly figure them out, but still … digital cigs. GUFFAW!
Once these kits arrive, we should have exhausted our current carton (get it? exhaust?), and become new converts to the Church of Immaculate Vaping.
As long as this helps me quit smoking. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.