Editorial: E-cigarette vapor offers big pluses over smoke

I quit.

Well, not really. Or did I?

It’s hard to say, and different folks have different thoughts about it.

I had four cigarettes left in my last pack on March 9. I smoked all four of them here and there over the next week just to use them up, and I tried another a couple of weeks later. Other than that, I have not had tobacco smoke enter my mouth except perhaps some secondhand smoke.

I switched from breathing the smoke from burning tobacco to the vapor of a nicotine solution on March 4, delivered in the form of an “electronic cigarette.” I had ordered some e-cigarettes but had some initial difficulties with them, so I smoked most of four packs of Camels between the day I got them and March 9.

But since then, I’ve resolved the difficulties and haven’t looked back.

I’ve “vaped” everywhere, indoors and out, mostly just to see what reaction I can get. Most folks are unfazed and have already heard about e-cigarettes. Some even know someone who has switched from smoking to vaping. Now and then, someone will react to the fact that I’m “smoking” indoors, then curiously ask about it.

The e-cigarette consists of three basic parts, a battery, an atomizer and a cartridge filled with what’s called e-juice, the nicotine solution.

I heard about them from another smoker last year while waiting for an order at A&W. Since then, I have read all I can about them and watched videos, wondering whether it could actually replace my smoking addiction.

While wondering whether the propylene glycol-nicotine mist was safe to inhale, it finally dawned on me, after much reading about the substances, that I was worrying while continuing to inhale more than 4,000 chemicals and more than 40 carcinogens in my smokes. The nicotine solution also contains glycerin and flavoring. Propylene glycol is the same stuff used in fog machines. It also shows up in food and medicine.

That hasn’t stopped health Nazis, bureaucrats, politicians and the FDA from trying to end a good thing. Oregon Attorney General John Kroger has been among the Democrats across the nation to get in the way to protect the health of all Oregonians, invoking the “for the children” clause in the matter.

If he and his fellow politicians and bureaucrats were really interested in smokers’ health, they would get out of the way. Anyone who thinks e-cigarettes are not safer than smoking tobacco is clearly an idiot.

E-cigarettes come with all of the benefits of quitting smoking, and the dangers of nicotine are the tiniest fraction of the dangers in a cigarette.

Yet Kroger, the FDA and others insist that if I am going to use nicotine I must smoke it, use expensive patches or gum or simply quit. I’m sure none of these folks are idiots. The only conclusion I can draw from their reaction is they have an addiction to either tax revenue or simply controlling the lives of others. Neither should be acceptable in a politician or bureaucrat.

Ironically, one of the many pathetic excuses for taxing tobacco has been to encourage smokers to quit.

Fortunately, neither the FDA nor Kroger have managed to keep us from getting our hands on the product yet; and I am enjoying the benefits of my habit without most of the drawbacks. I’m not saying it’s safe. It is unclear, but it’s definitely safer €“ maybe as safe as a heavy caffeine addiction.

It has been an amazing transition. I smoked roughly 25 cigarettes a day, sometimes more and sometimes less. At $4 to $5 for a pack of 20 €“ which was mostly taxes. You can figure out the rough monthly cost of a smoking habit. This will probably cost on average less than half that amount.

I have never had a desire to quit nor have I ever tried since I started smoking 20 years ago at the age of 18. I always enjoyed smoking. I didn’t switch because I wanted to quit but rather because I believe it’s a healthier choice than smoke. Initially, with a faulty atomizer, the part that heats and vaporizes the e-juice, I found that it might only mostly satisfy my smoking habit and that I would have to smoke a couple of cigarettes a day to manage.

I was wrong. I ordered additional atomizers and found out what it was really like. Not only was it adequate, I prefer it. It tasted better once I got used to the flavor. I had no desire to smoke a cigarette except some nostalgic longing for an old friend but not one I plan to entertain.

I’ve always known quitting smoking would result in a variety of positive effects. We smokers hear about them incessantly from nonsmokers.

I was surprised at the intensity of them and how fast it came. Within a day, the rattle in the lungs was gone €“ for good. Smell and taste were much improved, although with some of those strange scents out there, I’m not sure it’s a benefit. I was surprised to start awakening easier, completely alert in the morning, even with less than eight hours of sleep. I breathe easier and don’t find myself short of breath.

And I still use nicotine.

If you’re a smoker, don’t wait. Do it. Make the switch. If you find it doesn’t satisfy you, you’re probably doing it wrong or have a bad atomizer. I worried most about whether it would be enough like smoking that I would be able to stand it. It turns out, once I got my e-cigarette working and got used to the flavor, that I like it better.

If you want to give it a shot, I’m using Cloud 9 at cloud9smoking.com, but there are plenty of other brands whose products are probably just as good. If you use the same brand, when you order, enter my username, “Xanthus,” for a 5-percent discount that applies to you and me.

Any smoker considering this is welcome to e-mail me at [email protected] for information. I’ll be happy to answer questions about what I’ve learned.

Additional information may be found at e-cigarette-forum.com and ecigarettes365.com, which also has a buyer’s guide where you may learn about a variety of reputable brands.