My Journey from Smoker to Vaper

You may have seen in the news that Vaping is once again under threat from being banned. You may have read our previous article ‘World Health Organization sets Out To Ban Vaping In The UK’, if not we recommend taking a look to see the full details, to summarize, WHO is due to speak to the UK later this year to discuss banning “open vaping devices” which means, refillable tanks, pods, RDA’s as they see these to be dangerous as users are free to add any substance they wish inside of the liquid chamber.  This logic of theirs could however apply to pretty much everything in the world, I’m sure we’ve all heard of some very unfortunate stories of people turning up in A&E because they haven’t consumed the product in the correct way.


Why do people smoke? 

Most people start smoking in their teenage years or as a young adult, people don’t just wake up and decide they want to try smoking. There’s a few reasons why teenagers and young adults start smoking, first being that teenagers often rebel against their parents and taking up smoking is a very common thing. There is also peer pressure that is a major factor that causes people to start smoking and then the one that I am sure a lot of us feel so foolish for, smoking because it looks ‘cool’.

Unfortunately I personally was one of those kids that thought smoking made you look cool. I remember the first time I tried a cigarette, I was 12 years old and a school friend of mine had pinched some rolling tobacco, papers and filters that belonged to his father. We took probably 10 minutes to make possibly the worst looking roll up that’s ever been made and then we both tried it. After lighting the cigarette, I instantly regretted it, it tasted absolutely disgusting and the coughing fit seemed to last forever whilst every cough seemed worse than before. We passed it back and fourth despite us both clearly hating it but we had already spoken about how other people will see us smoking and know that we are cool. Talking about this and remembering what we thought as kids is incredibly cringe, and wish that back then I had the knowledge of the effects of smoking I have today. Though even as kids we knew smoking was bad for you, we were just focused on looking grown up and ‘cool’.

This wasn’t just a one off occasion, we continued taking tobacco out of my friends fathers tobacco pouch. My friends parents didn’t notice that he was smoking as they were regular smokers in their home but my parents on the other hand noticed it straight away. Of Course I was punished and told about some of the dangers of smoking but still I was more concerned about being popular. My way of not getting caught was taking deodorant out with me, more than likely it was a can of Lynx Africa I had received at Christmas and a spare jacket for smoking in. It took a few weeks but we then got to a point where we didn’t cough any more, this ultimately led to us smoking more frequently. Now at this point we were then having to steal more tobacco which led to suspicions so we had to find a way of buying our own. Making pocket money was fairly easy for us, doing chores around the house, washing the car or cutting the grass was easy and then we would just have to wait outside a shop to ask someone to buy us a pouch of tobacco. 

After a year of smoking, my friend and his family were moving away, this meant that my smoking buddy was no longer around, so did I quit smoking? I thought I may as well stop as I didn’t want to smoke on my own but this didn’t happen. I started going through withdrawal and even for a teenager my mood swings were crazy.  I suffered from typical symptoms of quitting smoking


The Side Effects of Quitting Smoking

When you quit smoking the side effects can be extreme for some people. It is not uncommon to feel like you have the flu when you are going through withdrawal, this is due to the way smoking affects every system in your body. Quitting smoking means that you are not getting your hit of nicotine and your body needs to adjust to this.

These are typically the most common symptoms:

  • Headaches and Nausea 
  • Tingling hands and feet
  • Coughing and sore throat
  • Increased Appetite and associated weight gain
  • Irritability, frustration and anger
  • Anxiety, depression and Insomnia

 

As a teenager who already was going through changes in the mind and body, going through nicotine withdrawal was very difficult. I constantly felt ill and so the only way to feel better was to continue smoking. I was then at a point where smoking wasn’t about being cool, it was now a necessity for me, I couldn’t go about my day without having a frequent cigarette. Throughout my whole time at school, smoking controlled me. I would smoke on the way to school, smoke on my breaks and lunch, on the way back from school and then even in the evenings I would sneak into the garden to smoke. 

Fast forward a few years to when I was 16, I dropped out of school after doing my GCSEs and I started a job in a call centre, this was a 6 month temporary contract that a friend of mine had managed to get for me.

I was all of a sudden earning a lot of money which meant that I was able to buy cigarettes with ease. At this time I had moved to Super King cigarettes just because they were longer and I was typically smoking 30- 40 cigarettes a day.  As I grew up in a family with barely any money, I was very careless and was like a kid in a sweet shop. Every time payday came I spent all my money on clothes, CD’s, DVD’s, alcohol and cigarettes. Although I knew it was a 6 month contract, I was young and stupid and didn’t think much of finding another job for afterwards, I was too busy finally being able to buy anything I wanted. Once the contract ended I was unable to afford my horrible habit and this was the 2nd time that I attempted to quit smoking. 


What Are The Best Ways To Quit Smoking? 

I attempted nicotine patches and nicotine gum but this didn’t help, it just wasn’t the same and didn’t feel like I was getting any nicotine. I also struggled with the habit of either rolling or holding a cigarette, as most ex smokers will probably know this is one side effect that frustrates people. Even flicking the ash off a cigarette is a habit and I found that I would often mimic this habit with a pen or pencil subconsciously. Whilst looking in the Pharmacy I came across herbal cigarettes, I thought this would be perfect, I could use a nicotine patch and also use a herbal cigarette so that I still had the feeling like I was smoking properly. I can assure you this did not work and I also managed to annoy many people with this. The smell from the herbal cigarettes was horrendous and after 2 weeks I gave this up and went back to smoking. 

Again I’m going to fast forward many more years. I had attempted going cold turkey a few times but this never worked, I could last a day or two but then the cravings became too strong. I must have been 25 or possibly 26, I spent Christmas at my sisters house and she had known that I had wanted to quit smoking for a few years. I opened my present from her and my face lit up, she had bought me a vape kit and some E Liquids for me. I had heard about vaping but I was concerned about the safety of these because I had heard bad things from the media and I didn’t want to try anything that could be dangerous, yet I continued smoking. I was eager to get this set up so I opened my brand new Innokin vape kit, primed the coils and filled the tank. I remember the first juice I had was Charlie's Chalk Dust Vanilla. 

I loved the flavour and I actually ended up easing myself off cigarettes by also vaping, I cut down on smoking probably 50%. I unfortunately kept having problems with my coils burning out, this gave me a lot of frustration as I didn’t know if this was due to bad coils, bad E Liquids that I was buying (as I was buying cheap stuff online) or whether it was down to me not  using it properly. I had no understanding of vaping and I didn’t know anyone who vaped so I was searching online for help and advice. Due to my frustration with wasting money on coils and juices I did go back to smoking once again. I kept my vape device but it sat in my room collecting dust. 

It was about a year later that I was speaking to someone who had been vaping a few years and they let me try their device and oh boy was it good. They gave me lots of advice and I ended up spending a bit of money on getting some new vaping hardware. With  their help I picked up a SMOK vaping device which was the Smok Alien, an RDA and also a tank, unfortunately I don’t recall what brands these were. They also gave me some of their favourite E Liquids to try and to my surprise I wasn’t facing the same problems as before. I learnt how to use RDAs and how to re-wick and make my own coils and till this day I am still using RDA’s. Over the past 5-6 years I went through an obsession with buying lots of new devices, RDA’s and RDTA’s,  I loved having a variety of devices that I could switch between. 

I personally find RDA’s great and very cost effective but I have in the past year taken a liking to new POD devices such as the Voopoo Drag X and also the Smok Nord 4. I love the pure ease of filling the pods up and going about my day. Over the years I have tried many different flavour groups of E Liquids but my favourite one is Tobacco flavours, not because it reminds me of smoking but I prefer the taste than that of sweet E Liquids. Many people think Tobacco E Liquids taste like smoking but it doesn’t, you don’t get that nasty burnt stale smoke taste in your mouth. Tobacco flavours are actually mixed with many other flavours, Tobacco Bastards E Liquids have a wide range of Tobacco E Liquids mixed with other flavours such as; mint, coffee, honey, bourbon, whisky and many more flavours that makes each bottle unique.


Why should you stop smoking?

The biggest reason why I knew I had to quit smoking was because of my health. I knew that I was becoming very unfit and unhealthy, I was struggling to breath just walking up stairs, running or even a light jog to catch the bus or train was completely out of the question. 

For years I had hated smelling smoke, some may think this is weird for a smoker but I hated my room and clothes smelling of smoke. Even partners over the years had always complained about my disgusting habit because I smelt like an ashtray. 

Once I had finally quit smoking I could finally be free. I had become fitter and was able to start jogging without becoming so easily out of breath, I was unfit due to the years of not exercising. One thing I was surprised about was my sense of smell and taste started to get better. I didn’t actually know that smoking damages your taste buds but luckily they have now regained which means I can appreciate food and drink again. 

Stopping smoking is helpful in improving quality of life and health long term, the benefits of not smoking are endless. There are many ways of quitting smoking and some methods may work for you, some might not but trying different methods is the first step to living a smoke free life. If you are looking for more information you can read our article ‘Vaping Vs Smoking’.

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