To begin with, let’s ask ourselves why do we smoke? What makes us reach for something that harms us? Why are we willing to spend colossal sums of money on cigarettes when we all know that they are bad for us?
The main reason why we keep smoking is nicotine craving. It is this strong need to smoke that makes us reach for yet another cigarette. Anyone addicted to smoking knows this awful feeling when you run out of cigarettes and cannot easily buy a new pack. The first minutes after smoking that last cigarette aren’t that bad. You had a smoke just a moment ago, there’s still enough nicotine in your body to get you going. But what next? As time passes, the nicotine level in your body drops. The substance that stimulates you, raises your blood pressure, makes you feel good is being used by your body. All those pleasant effects you were feeling slowly go away and what you start to feel is this huge craving.
I don’t know about you but I always start looking around for cigarettes. Maybe there is one left somewhere. Maybe there’s some in my pocket or my bag or maybe there is a forgotten pack on one of the shelves. It doesn’t have to be a full packet after all; maybe I left some opened after I was cleaning last time. It’s enough if there is just one cigarette left. That’s all I need… just one… Can’t find anything… oh well, life goes on… Wait! Maybe there is one single cigarette somewhere. So I begin to search again, looking in cabinets, on shelves, the fridge. No, I don’t keep cigarettes in the fridge but sometimes I like to hide one on top of the fridge so that it’s not easily accessible, for a rainy day. If I manage to find a cigarette that’s great, but if I don’t… I guess every smoker knows what’s next… No matter how hard you try to fight it, the nicotine craving will force you out of the comfort of your home and on the road to get yourself a pack of cigarettes.
A new pack, the first cigarette, relief. You can finally light it up, inhale deeply, slight feeling of vertigo, then the second cigarette straight away to get your fill. When the nicotine level is normal again you can go back to regular life. But sometimes this thought makes its way into your head and you start thinking: “it would be great to quit”.
It is a difficult decision but the time comes to quit smoking.
At first you try to persuade yourself that you are only a social smoker, and that you just enjoy it but can stop smoking whenever you wish. Unfortunately, once you get hooked on nicotine, it is extremely difficult to free yourself from this addiction. A lot of people try to limit the amount of cigarettes they smoke for health reasons but for me the financial aspect was also crucial.
Most often we try to limit ourselves at first and smoke less. Then we try out nicotine patches, gums, appetite suppressant pills. Then the time comes for unconventional methods: hypnosis, bioresonance therapy, acupuncture. You spend whole days searching the web for new ways to quit smoking. The hours spent commuting, the time wasted in various therapies and more and more money spent on pharmaceutical products and so called specialists. And… no results. It doesn’t work for me. I have tried more than a dozen different methods with various results, but I have always ended up going back to smoking. I had managed to quit for two – three weeks, once I even quit for 3 months, but the craving for a cigarette has always been stronger than me. Every time someone lit a cigarette next to me I would start to breathe deeper, just to smell the sweet aroma of tobacco better. I always hoped that this feeling would go away with time, but the few people I know that had managed to quit smoking have shattered my dreams. As my good friend, who smoked his last cigarette over 20 years ago, says: “once an addict, always an addict”. It is the same story with cigarettes as with alcohol and drugs; it’s hard to quit but very easy to start again. Even after over 20 years of not smoking my friend likes to be in the company of a smoker, just to smell the tobacco.
My first encounter with an electronic cigarette was a few years ago. If I recall correctly, one of my customers was attempting to market e-cigarettes on the British market back in 2008. He gave me an electronic cigarette to try out. It was a gadget that looked like a cigarette but was made of plastic, was much heavier than the real thing and had removable cartridges in place of a filter. Did I stop smoking then? To tell you the truth I didn’t think this gadget had much in common with a cigarette, apart from the way it looked and the way you use it. I was smoking it for two days between regular cigarettes until I used up the cartridge. After that I was glad to just go back to smoking the real thing, thinking that I had tried yet another gadget that didn’t work.
A few years later, when new versions of e-cigarettes reached the market and vaping (short for “vaporizing”, name used for smoking electronic cigarettes) became trendy I wasn’t even considering trying it again.
However, one day a friend, who has been smoking e-cigarettes for a few years, offered me to try out his new gadget. Even though it looked nothing like a cigarette, it produced a generous amount of thick, sweet smoke. Imagine my surprise, when the first thought after I inhaled was “Wow! This is really good.” I am not saying it tasted exactly like a real cigarette, but it did taste good. Still, even then I didn’t consider changing my habits. When my friend offered to lend me one of his older models of electronic cigarette and a bottle of e-liquid, I was very skeptical about it. And so the gift went straight to the bottom of my drawer.
A few months passed and the day came. Out of cigarettes, shops closed, the search. I didn’t manage to find any cigarette that time and the e-cigarette in my drawer was very tempting. Why not, I thought to myself. I filled up a clearomizer (small container consisting of e-liquid and the heating element for vaporizing) and inhaled the electronic vapor. I was surprised to notice that my nicotine craving was gone and after a couple more drags I was experiencing the familiar feeling of vertigo and then relaxation. I spent the whole evening smoking my e-cigarette and kept on in the morning, which led me to an idea that maybe it is worth trying switching to electronic cigarettes. A few days passed and the nicotine craving didn’t return. I started looking for more information on vaping and it turned out that it is actually not only much cheaper (a bottle of good quality liquid costs between £4.49 and £5.49 on average) but also, as studied have shown, much healthier alternative to a regular cigarette. In an average tobacco cigarette there is more than 4000 toxic and carcinogenic chemicals that are harmful to human health. The most dangerous are: acetone, ammonia, arsenic, benzopyrene, butane, vinyl chloride, hydrogen cyanide (prussic acid), dimetylonitrosamine, phenol, cadmium, methanol, naphthalene, naphthyloamine, pyrene, carbon monoxide, toluene, toluidine, carbamates. All of these chemicals along with the smoke are inhaled by smoker and people around directly into their lungs. There are the following health effects of smoking tobacco: diseases of larynx, bronchi and lungs, low colds resistance, the body’s efficiency decline, heart and blood vessels diseases, tumors. The e-cigarette is devoid of almost all substances listed above. There is nicotine in both types of cigarettes, but it’s possible to eliminate it from the e-cigarette. E-liquid, on the other hand, is usually composed of just few ingredients: glycerol, glycol, nicotine, ethanol (C2H6O), water (H2O) and flavor aroma, all of them used in food products.
The method of supplying your body with nicotine is exactly the same as in tobacco cigarette; nicotine in the form of vapor is inhaled and gets into our circulatory system producing the same effect as when smoking a regular cigarette. If we remove all of the negative effects of smoking tobacco then it really seems much healthier. On the side note, it’s worth mentioning that nicotine itself has documented positive effects on our bodies: it improves our concentration and enhances memory, among others. Naturally, we need to remember that nicotine is also a highly toxic substance. Introducing too much nicotine into our system can lead to overdose and even death.
I could go on forever listing all the positive effects that switching to electronic cigarettes has on our bodies but it’s a topic for another post. To sum up, I am pointing out just a few here that are most obvious: e-cigarettes are healthier than tobacco cigarettes; they don’t smell that bad and our clothes and things don’t stink of cigarette smoke. Moreover, studies show that there is no passive smoking effect. And we can change the flavor of e-liquid any time we want.
To finish, if you’re still not persuaded that electronic cigarette is better and healthier than tobacco cigarette, I suggest you do a simple experiment at home. You will need a tissue and two cigarettes – one tobacco and one electronic. It is very simple; just inhale cigarette smoke and exhale through the tissue, then repeat with e-cigarette. You will find the answer on the tissue. You can judge for yourself which one is better for you.