Sunday, April 10, 2016

My 3 Year Anniversary Of Quitting Smoking

So today is my 3 year anniversary of quitting smoking. For the benefit of my readers who may still be smoking I will repeat my story.

I smoked for 20 years. I smoked on average 1 1/2 packs a day, though there were days when I would smoke up to 3 packs a day and especially if I went out for the night. I would classify myself as a chain smoker. About 4 years ago I started to develop heart murmurs. During an episode I would feel like I was going to faint or even die. The scariest episode occurred while I was on a nightly walk a couple of miles from my house. I had to take baby-steps all the way back home and as luck would have it, I did not have my cell phone on me at the time. I literally felt like I was going to drop dead and all I could think about was who was going to be the unfortunate person to discover my body.

In April of 2013 my grandmother passed away due in part to her COPD from decades of smoking. I have lost many loved ones from smoking-related illnesses. A couple of days later my uncle gave me a disposable e-cig to try. With the first puff I knew that I would quit cigarettes. I was right. It's now been 3 years and I've not once relapsed.

The benefits from vaping are so numerous that there really is no reason or excuse for a current smoker not to transition. You are addicted to nicotine, not to the cancer causing tar from cigarettes. Even if you never develop cancer you can still die from COPD, and trust me, it ain't pretty. It sneaks up on you. One day you will be perfectly fine and then the next day you will have your first symptom. Once diagnosed there is no stopping it. It will just continue to get worse with time. Quitting smoking may halt it's progression but you will never go back to being normal. So it's important to quit smoking before you develop any symptoms and not wait until it's too late. Because the sad truth is that not everyone gets a second chance.

As far as benefits go, my breathing is vastly improved, no smoker's cough, no coughing up a lung upon waking, and I do not smell like an ashtray. I now realize how bad smoker's smell. You stink. It's bad. You can't smell it because you are used to it but everyone around you knows you smell like shit. My heart murmurs have disappeared. I can run upstairs while before I would be out of breath just climbing them. I don't get sick easily now. Before it seemed that every winter I would get a bad lung and/or sinus infection that would take weeks to recover from. I don't have to go outside in the blistering Summer heat, pouring rain or bitter cold anymore. I don't even have to go outside period. In fact, most of my friends and family actually love my vaping. I tend to favor flavors that smell good and so I always get compliments. My favorite flavor is cotton candy. On top of this vaping is by far less expensive than smoking. I went from spending like $50+ a week on cigarettes to like $7 a week for e-liquid. There's not been one single drawback to date. My transition was incredibly smooth.

I still have dreams of smoking. My dreams are very vivid so almost all of the senses are there. I can feel the cigarette, taste it, smell it even. In my dreams I normally smoke and enjoy it and then right before waking it dawns on me that I had quit smoking. I feel guilty and beat myself up and then upon waking I feel stupid as it was just a dream. However, and interestingly, this does not translate for any desire to smoke a cigarette in waking life. I find cigarettes to be disgusting and I don't think I could even tolerate one even if I tried. Cigarette smoke gives me severe headaches and allergy attacks now. I go to the casino a lot and I have to make sure I take Tylenol and allergy medicine before going. I hate it but it does give me an opportunity to talk to smokers about vaping when the subject comes up. I'm often asked, especially by older people, about my e-cig and if I like it.

One of the concerns I had as a conjure worker involved blowing cigarette or cigar smoke for the spirits I work with. I was concerned that my spirits would not be able to adjust to me no longer smoking. I did not want to continue to blow tobacco smoke for them if I wasn't using myself. So I went to each one and told them that I was no longer smoking and would gladly blow vapor for them. To my surprise every single one of them was fine with it.

If you are a current smoker and are considering transitioning to e-cigs, do it! Go to a local vape shop and let them hook you up with a decent model. Try the flavors and settle on some that are appealing to you. You will thank me! To help with your transition, I recommend you first use e-liquid with a high nicotine content. This will help wean you off of cigarettes. Later you can step down to a lower nicotine level. Also, and this is important, every time you get the urge to smoke a cigarette you must vape. That way your body associates vaping with the urge and it becomes natural to you. Stick to that and you should have no problem transitioning.

One more time, if you are ever caught in a dilemma about whether you should vape or smoke remind yourself that you are addicted to nicotine, not to cancer-causing tar. You don't need cigarettes. You can be fully satisfied off of e-cigs. I should know. Before I quit my assumption was that I was just going to die from smoking-related illnesses as I had previously attempted to quit numerous times but failed. However, fate intervened. E-cigs saved my life and they will save yours. Happy vaping!




3 comments:

  1. Congratulations on three years! I have 16 years two months under my belt and I still haven't stopped having smoking dreams. I too have the guilty feeling. I think I have these dreams to reinforce the fact that I am no longer a smoker.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I had a close call last night. I went out to the club and I dropped my e-cig and it broke. So I had to go without it for the rest of the night. People were offering me cigarettes left and right but I managed to decline every single one. However, the first offer was the hardest to resist. I came really close to doing it.

      Delete
    2. Well congratulations on your will power!

      Delete