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avatar Crollo 14th April 2017, 07:19 AM

Something I'm trying to wrap my head around...
7 Months ago, August 20th 2016, I quit smoking by trading it with vaping, after 4 years of smoking.
First few months I noticed I wasn't having the miraculous health & mental improvements that you hear about from ex-smokers and quitting smoking catalogs. The way I understood it at the time was that I would feel like a non-smoker but with the stimulant effect of nicotine.

Fast forward 5-6 months and I'm definitely not feeling all that much better (or even different) than I did while smoking, and through a few quit attempts I'm almost certain the nicotine itself is to blame.

While I don't believe vaping is the horrible devil that certain people seem to try and make it out to be, I'm not entirely certain about the peachy image that people try to make out of it.
Any negative experiences with it (such as mine, more on that later), seem to be argued almost exclusively with anecdotal evidence (you're stupid and don't know how to use a vape, you must have health problems unrelated to vaping, etc), with no consideration that perhaps vaping itself may contribute negative side effects.
The positive experiences are also almost entirely anecdotal: "I feel better"; You've been smoking your entire adult life, so how can I define exactly what "feeling better" means exactly?
Does feeling better means you're just happy to not be hacking up a lung, regardless of how both the nicotine and the delivery system (inhaling vapor particles comprised of pg, vg & nicotine) affect you? Or do you somehow know what it is like to have lived as an adult for any period of time, for some stupid reason took up smoking and then finally took up vaping, before sharing your experience?

Now what's been bouncing around inside my head is this:
Smokers are the most common type of addict. They will lie, blatantly ignore all types of evidence that they are harming themselves, defend their habits to a great degree of irrationality, and change their lifestyles and goals based on the physical and mental limitations imposed by smoking.
I have heard many stories about people's experiences with vaping... I also vividly recall many stories about smoking years ago. Hmph...

Now where this becomes interesting for me is that despite the claims of "feeling like new" I've heard so often from vapers, there is a very distinct disparity between said vapers I've met, vs non-smokers.
I worked in a vape shop for a few months and met quite a selection of vapers, and not a single person I've met has stood out to me in any regard... While the non-smokers (other than the ones who handicap themselves by being greatly unhealthy in other regards) I've met have always stood out to me greatly with their energy and "sharpness", even if they aren't strictly "healthy".

But finally, ask a vaper if they consider themselves an addict.
Many of them will (and I have heard it myself as well) claim that vaping is much healthier than smoking and that they only continue to vape because they enjoy it (which indirectly says they could easily quit if they wanted to, although I've also heard that part said directly many times as well).
Now, tell a vaper about how you left your vape at home and often they will completely reverse over their previous statements and join in with how nervous, anxious and stressed they were in previous situations where they couldn't vape for some reason or another.

So I ask two questions: Have we simply created a more digital addiction that solves none of the problems from before?
And can we say with certainty that vaping can even approach the quality of life of a non-smoker?

And with all that said,
April 14 2017-I quit vaping.
I look forward to the next few days of absolute anxiety hell from nicotine withdrawals... Thanks for reading. :)

Comments

avatar Crollo says: 14th April 2017, 07:34 AM
And for the record: Even if the delivery system of vaping is proven to not cause any noticeable effects on your health, the withdrawals of nicotine are bad enough that you should not take up vaping nicotine unless you have to. It is an addictive drug and withdrawal is very unpleasant and disruptive, both physically and mentally.
avatar Jessie says: 14th April 2017, 07:36 AM
I have more or less never seen nor heard of vaping at all in the non-internet world. I don't know if it's just not a thing around here or what.

I dunno. It all seems silly to me. Every kind of drug, licit or not. I don't know how or why anyone gets into them. Perhaps I'm just lucky enough to be able to view it from a impartial stance. None of the people I associate with smokes, drinks particularly regularly and/or heavily, or does anything else. Maybe some regular coffee/coke drinkers, but that's about it.

It's possible all that just means I'm the least qualified person to discuss this.
avatar rufee says: 14th April 2017, 08:40 AM
Well you are inhaling a drug, that said and i'm just basing this purely from a logical sense is that when you smoke you inhale a plethora of other toxins such as carbon monoxide where as vaping has less? (again have not done any research)
avatar Archie says: 14th April 2017, 13:08 PM
Oh wow, Jessie; it's everywhere here.

Drugs can be amazing and drugs can be terrible. I was lucky(???) enough to have a mother who smoked 20 a day for my entire life, so I got a pretty big disincentive to start. I saw how unhealthy it was making her - how out of breath she was getting just climbing the stairs, etc.

That said, I'm no stranger to weed, a (very) rare pill or two and certainly no stranger to alcohol.

Whether it's seeking highs, escapism or comfort, I can completely understand how people get addicted.

What really shows character is knowing when you're addicted and doing something about it.

Crollo, I'm very impressed at how quickly you didn't allow yourself to be fooled that you were feeling better. That your replacement was a completely healthy alternative. You recognised that it was still harming you and you're taking steps to cut it out completely. That takes real balls. Proud of you, man.

I couldn't even get my mum to start vaping, let alone quit nicotine altogether. Don't smoke, kids.
avatar JeffMOD says: 14th April 2017, 13:42 PM
My Dad has smoked since he was 14 (and swears he's not addicted), so I have the same disincentive towards cigarettes as Archie does. (I've also never personally felt the need to put drugs of *any* kind in my body - I stick to food and drinks with occasional alcohol, and if I can avoid taking over the counter stuff, I try to as well - if I have a cold I usually just drink a lot of fruit juice, and if I'm in pain I tough it out. Bad experience with Tylenol as a kid.)

Vaping... annoys me. I can totally get behind someone trying it if they're looking to quit smoking, but in my experience (which, granted, might be a bad sample size since I'm a university student) most people who vape do it to "look cool" instead of for a practical reason. And "looking cool" apparently means blowing a giant cloud of vapour into other people's faces. Combine that with the lack of regulations for what you put in it leading to the use of things like Diacetyl and other substances that are safe to ingest but not to inhale, the cases of vaporizers exploding in people's faces due to shoddy build quality, and statistics that indicate vaping might be leading to more cigarette smoking, I'm not overly impressed with the practice.

That said, good on you Crollo for trying to quit smoking using it, and also for realizing that it wasn't working for you! It's gonna be hell for a while, but keep at it - Once the nicotine is out of your system and the withdrawl is over, I'm sure you'll feel a lot better.
avatar Striker says: 14th April 2017, 14:53 PM
I always understood that cigarettes are addictive, but somehow I feel that it's a bit of bullshit. I've tried my first cigarette at 18 and did not feel compelled to smoke more. It only happened when drinking but even then, very rarely.
Right now I have a pack that I bought in December and still did not finish. I keep it for occasions and stuff( also, they're fancy ones with cloves). Usually when I get the curiosity or craving I smoke 3-4 puffs and then get rid of it. I feel that it can be addictive, but usually after I light one I reinforce the fact that they absolutely taste like shit after 3-4 puffs.

I don't know man. I'm not blessed with extreme will power, it's just simple common sense to me.

Vaping is like having a glass of wine while walking on the street - you don't do that. You go to have some drinks with your friends in a nice place with a cozy atmosphere and smoke some hookah. There are lots of flavored non-tobacco alternatives if you want.
avatar rufee says: 14th April 2017, 15:05 PM
I never understood how they can be addictive, the smell is just horrible. No one in my immediate family is a smoker and iv'e tried some cigs before and usually take a puff once or twice per year, but get disgusted every time.
If they smelled good like lets say gasoline then yeah i would have smoked myself to death.

And as Jeff pointed out vaping is more like a "cool" statement now when cigs were when you were a teenager, depends on the country though.
avatar Shepard62700FR says: 14th April 2017, 22:22 PM
Vaping is also common in France.

I remember when I transfered to a new highschool during one of my education years ago, the group of friends I met were all smokers and cigarettes and such were a common subject of discussion. It was quite hard to get myself acquainted with them so I did tried to smoke one and I didn't had the "need" to smoke another one.

One of my step-sister was a smoker but stopped because my bro isn't smoking, love can sometimes change the mind of a person.

If you have a girlfriend (or boyfriend) that has a strict zero policy on alcohol, cigarettes and vaping, don't do any of these under his (her) back. Trust me, you would be amazed how much damage to the person you love for years.
avatar Jessie says: 14th April 2017, 22:50 PM
I had one puff from a cigarette about four years ago. It was as bad and unsatisfying as I imagined. Smoking is such a weird, artificial thing. Is there ever any kind of instant appeal to someone who hasn't smoked before? I feel like it's one of those things that no-one would ever be compelled to get into if there weren't other people around them already doing it. (Like religion.) And I've certainly never thought that was a good way to base life decisions.

"If you have a girlfriend (or boyfriend) that has a strict zero policy on alcohol, cigarettes and vaping, don't do any of these under his (her) back. Trust me, you would be amazed how much damage to the person you love for years."
Seems like that should be obvious, but I guess addiction is a wicked mistress.
avatar DiscoStu says: 14th April 2017, 23:15 PM
It would appear that most people are simply misinformed about it. That it can help you quit smoking is only because since you're the one filling it with whatever mixture you chose, you have the ability to reduce the dose of nicotine in it over time, eventually consuming zero nicotine and getting yourself out of nicotine addiction. It's not healthy, it's just less unhealthy over time if you do it that way. If you don't, then yeah, you're just wasting your time and health with a fancy trinket thinking it's healthier when it isn't.

Congratulations on not letting it win.

As for the people I know who took it up, I haven't been paying attention lately. I'll ask them if it's working out for them.
avatar Crollo says: 15th April 2017, 01:32 AM
I'd like to thank everybody for the comments and clean (given it's somewhat of a controversial subject right now) discussion.
There seems to be quite a few (dangerous) misconceptions being held here which I will try to address to the best of my knowledge.

Addiction: Of course it's bullshit that they're addictive substances. You can absolutely stop whenever you want to, but you don't want to right now. Or later. Or ever.
You tell yourself that if you ever get any side effects you will stop. And then you get bad side effects, so you tell yourself that you'll work through it instead of trying to quit. After a while you start thinking that the side effects aren't so bad, and you certainly don't have to quit. Sure, maybe a few things are more difficult to do, but it's not that much worse, right? Do you see the problem?
Addictive drugs are absolutely not addictive... until you're addicted. Nicotine rewires the brain so that it gives you pleasure on using it, and discomfort upon withdrawing. You become a different person without even realizing it.

You cannot theorize addiction any more than you can theorize anxiety. You may think that you can simply "calm down", but once you find yourself within an anxiety attack... Your reality changes.
All of your usual logic ceases to work, and the anxiety feeds on itself, spiraling you into even further panic upon realizing that you can't calm yourself down. It is a hell I wouldn't wish on somebody I hated, and from my experiences with it I am almost convinced it is a living entity of it's own.

Addiction is very much the same... You cannot theorize about it because you haven't experienced it. The pleasure it gives you, that you have willingly chosen to (stupidly) experience begins to dig deep roots in your brain, and you soon find yourself willing to hold onto that easy pleasure for a long time. But try to go without it and you will find a hell of anxiety, mental disorientation, physical sickness and so on.
If it was easy, then there would be exactly 0 smokers left after they started having negative side effects like hacking up a lung every morning. But there becomes a point of addiction where it's actually easier to deal with bad side effects than it is to go through withdrawal.

At this point of addiction, as far as your brain is concerned, the nicotine is the only thing that gives you pleasure.
So you can try all you want to apply any logic you want, your brain will win. The mental disorientation from withdrawals will make you lose sight of what you really want (to quit), nothing will feel good or "right", and soon you are easily worn down, and your mind will do what it does best: It will take over the show and do what it believes is best for you...

Addiction is a very real thing, and it is not to be taken lightly. Nobody who has been addicted ever intended for it, and many of them viewed addiction in the same ways that are expressed here. I can see myself saying these things 5 years ago, and that is very unfortunately ignorant. :/
avatar Stojke says: 15th April 2017, 06:38 AM
My father was a heavy smoker for 40 years, 3 packs a day minimum. Quit one day few years back just like that.
avatar Ghost129er says: 15th April 2017, 08:45 AM
I get it, you vape.

(in 4 da memez)
avatar 2muchvideogames says: 17th April 2017, 06:39 AM
my mentor says that the chemical itself(e.g. nicotine) is only 10% of the contribution to why someone would be addicted. I think it comes down to your core personality: some people have an 'addictive mentality' who will generally be addicted to something very easily. The way I was told was these people are almost always suffering some kind of anxiety or are prone to it, so they need some thing to depend on, and addictive substances are one of these things. However, the addiction concept goes far beyond just drugs. It could be anything: games, TV, OCD, shopping, stealing, sex, the feelings of starting a new romantic relationship, the list goes on...
avatar Tetsu0 says: 17th April 2017, 19:25 PM
A friend of mine started a vape juice company a few years back. Unfortunately there was some new law passed that made it near impossible for her to keep the shop running so she had to shut it down. They made their own juice from all natural stuff. They extracted the nicotine from tomatoes somehow and used fallen fruit for flavorings and such. Apparently it didn't clog up the vaporizer or mod or whatever you call it. That sounded like an amazing alternative to smoking to me.

She vapes because she runs 18 hour shifts on an oil rig and it helps keep her awake.

As far as addiction goes, I'm pretty addicted to world of tanks. I play every chance I get, when I'm not playing, I'm reading about strats or watching videos or even just thinking about it.
It's gotten to the point where I have to schedule other stuff to do so I can get things done. Then I fill up any unused hours on the game. It's sickening because I rage pretty hard sometimes but I still can't walk away until I literally need to sleep else I'll be a zombie the next day.
avatar Archie says: 17th April 2017, 21:46 PM
*glances from side to side and pretends he was never addicted to Dota 2 in the same way
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