How to Put Down The Cigarettes and Pick Up The Vape

This is not a blog post about quitting smoking — I’m hardly the poster child for that. I quit cigarettes between 2001-2015. That was back when the only options were taper down, cold turkey, the patch, or the gum. This is a blog post about all the things I wish somebody had told me about quitting cigarettes by way of an e-cig.

Thankfully, it’s 2016 and there’s a new method for getting off the cigarettes — vaping, or e-cigs. I started smoking again last summer and a month into it my friend said, “Enough. Don’t buy another pack of cigarettes today. I’m coming over and I’m bringing you a vape.” I haven’t bought cigarettes since. I started on 12mg of nicotine and am down to 9mg a year later. I’m being honest. I’m not ready to quit completely yet. But I don’t want to smoke cigarettes either. I believe you can decrease nicotine as fast as you want — or as slow. I am going the slow route.

I’m not going speculate about whether vaping is “good” or “bad” for you. I’m also not going to blog the dangers of e-cigs exploding or catching on fire. I’m not going to argue with anyone about whether e-cigs are still “smoking” or that they are still “bad” or “wrong.” Plenty of blogs and articles have already been written about that.

What I would like to offer is some encouragement and some tips based on what worked for me. reason being is I find myself telling smoker friends these same things over and over.

Here’s what I don’t like about smoking cigarettes:

*The smell
*The cost
*Having to dispose of butts, empty the ash tray on the patio, smoking in my car
*Having to go outside to smoke cigarettes when I am at home (I refused to smoke in my house)
*Obvious health issues

What doesn’t change with a vape:

*I still have to go outside to smoke when at work or in public places. Society sees it the same as smoking cigarettes
*People still think you are “smoking” and “have a bad habit” so you’re still going to get flack from friends, coworkers and relatives.

Here’s what’s better about switching to an e-cig:

*The cost of the habit goes down after you invest in proper equipment
*No bad smell
*No butts to dispose of
*Plenty of good flavors available
*I can do it at home and indoors on bad weather days (hot and humid or blizzard conditions)
*I feel better and breathe better

And now, the drawbacks of vaping:

*The initial investment is hefty; be prepared to spend around $70-100 to start off
*It can run out of charge
*You can break a glass tank
*You can run out of vape juice at a bad time (like when I’ve left it at home and forgot to fill the tank)
*You may not find it as satisfying at first, or may do it “wrong,” resulting in discouragement and a return to cigarettes

How to get the most out of an e-cig:

There are a few truths about vaping regardless of what style e-cig you choose or the brand of the device. First, it’s not the same as smoking cigarettes. Don’t try sucking in your cheeks like you would with a cigarette. The e-cig has a button you push that makes the vapor flow into your mouth. You don’t have to do any sucking here. Don’t go nuts like you’re a frat boy ripping a bong hit. You’ll only rip up your throat.

That brings me to my second point — your throat is going to hurt the first day. Cigarettes have tar, which produces spit, which keeps your throat lubricated. Despite being “vapor” an e-cig doesn’t contain tar (or anything moisturizing) and therefore doesn’t produce spit. So you’re going to dry out your throat. You’re going to have to drink a lot of fluids when you start vaping. I see so many people quit their attempt at vaping on their first day because of this! So drink something. Make it something good — not Mountain Dew. Get a damn glass of water. You need it anyway.

The learning curve with e-cigs:

Second, you don’t need a lighter to smoke an e-cig. That’s a great asset. But you do need to know how the thing works so you can trouble shoot it and use it to your best advantage. The other reason people give up quickly? “I took a hit and it tasted gross!” A good vape shop will teach you these tricks like mine did. (Shout out to Lucky’s Vape of Wichita).

You know how a cigarette is made of paper with a filter? With the e-cig, the vapor is pushed through a coil that has cotton in it. Electricity hits the juice, vapor is made and pushed through that cottony coil. All the parts are metal. So a fresh new e-cig needs to get past that nasty, hot metal flavor which feels like it’s burning your throat. You should never taste this! Here’s the way to get around it. Fill the tank, put a few drops on the cotton, and then let it sit a few minutes. The vape juice needs to soak into the cotton. You can also prime it by sucking air through the coil with ten quick breaths —without pushing the button. I find that filling the tank then letting it sit a few minutes to soak in is perfect.

Bam! No gross metal taste. Now you know what to do. You can switch from cigarettes to an e-cig successfully as long as you do it right! No excuses.

I recommend the Apsire brand vapes because those have worked great for me. My friend first gave me a simple, small, inexpensive pen-style vape. That got me started for the first two weeks. She also gave me two flavors to try. In two weeks, I bought a larger Aspire vape with a metal tank. I found the tank would last three months at a time because I’d wear out the threading taking it on and off to refill it. But it always held charge all day and was just the right size to fit into the pocket of my scrubs at work. (Replacement tanks cost me $10 each).

I gave that vape to a friend who isn’t ready to give up cigarettes but doesn’t want to smoke them inside around his small children. He doesn’t love the vape as much as cigarettes, but as a single dad, he can’t go outside and leave the kids unattended for a smoke break. So it gets him by while the kids are awake.

Now I have a bigger Aspire vape. It’s the Aspire K4 and I love it. It gives me a bigger hit which kept me satisfied as I went down from 12mg of nicotine to 9mg. It has an all-glass tank, but the store sells rubber protectors to go around that. This model also comes with its own rubber protector in the box. I find this model easier to refill and it holds more juice. I can last a whole day on one tank. Some days I vape more than others. I am finding myself “needing” it less on some days now.

I’ve seen friends try to buy cheaper off-brand vapes with poor results. They usually don’t hold a charge and need constant charging.

As for the flavor thing, I was surprised to find I like the fruity flavors. Some of my favorites have been mango, orange, mango mixed with hibiscus, and mocha. Hibiscus on its own isn’t as good as I thought it would be. Khali Vapors' Hearst Castle is my all-time favorite flavor in premiums. I usually buy the house blends at Lucky’s. One day a week they do buy-one-get-on-free on house blends. I bought two large bottles over a month ago (50ml I think) and I still have plenty left. I spent $27.

The cost of vaping:

So instead of spending $7.50 every other day for Marlboros, I spend $27 for over a month. I am finding the coil in my Apsire K4 is lasting a long time without needing to be replaced. I replaced the coils in my old, smaller Aspire vape every two weeks at $2.50/pop. You can buy those at 5-for-$10, even on Amazon. I usually spend around $60-75 on the e-cig itself. Hit the sales. Shop for vape stuff at your local store and earn discounts. And ask them stuff about your model! I’ve gone into the vape shop a few times saying, “What is wrong with this thing? I don’t know what I did to it.” They always answer my questions. Now I’m paying it forward in hopes you’ll ditch cigarettes for the vape.

Once I dropped the cigarettes, I immediately felt better, breathed better and had more energy. It’s cheaper and easier in the long run to vape. I am not tethered to Quick Trip to buy Marlboros and lighters. I wish e-cigs had been around in 2001!

Questions? Leave them in the comments. I also want to hear about your experience.

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Written by blogger Heather Larson. This blog is in no way a replacement for a physician's advice. Please seek medical help from a licensed medical professional as needed.

(Blogger did not receive any product in return for this posting).