The Vice That Keeps on Giving: Electronic Cigarettes

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For  over two years I have been a non-smoker. In 2011 I purchased my first electronic cigarette (“e-cigarette”), quit my cigarette habit, and started “vaping” instead. I fancy myself sort of a trend-setter because back then e-cigarettes were still relatively obscure, whereas now they have evidently gained popularity because I see people puffing away on them often. If you want to call it a vice, then by all means, go ahead; it is a comparatively benign and affordable vice- and one I don’t intend to give up anytime soon.

I switched to vaping because I like the flavor. Initially that was my only reason. A friend of mine let me try his coffee-flavored e-cigarette, and I was hooked. I never really enjoyed the taste of cigarettes, and definitely hated smelling like smoke (I like to smell fresh and clean!) I do like to keep my hands busy, and I get some kind of fetishistic enjoyment of producing profuse amounts of vapor. Plus, the novelty of being able to vape inside never gets old to me.

When I first started using my e-cigarette,I had done some research online, but found the “vaping community” to be a little over-zealous for my taste, with talk of 10-hour battery life and how to produce the most vapor. I like to keep things simple, hence my e-cigarette setup is pretty basic, and I haven’t really endeavored over these years to change it very much.

I get a lot of questions from strangers when I vape in public, so I decided to use my blog space today to do a little Q and A that will hopefully satisfy some people’s curiosity. Mind you, I’ll keep it simple for now, but am happy to answer any other questions readers might have.

  1. “Does it work?” It would depend on what is meant by that question. People ask me this question often, but the answer would depend on what your goal is. For me, I never wanted to quit the habit of smoking; I just wanted a more enjoyable flavor and to be able to live a life without the intrusiveness of cigarette smoke. In that capacity, it has worked for me. If your goal is to quit smoking altogether, I cannot personally speak to that, but I do know other vapers who have done it.
  2. “Do you/ can you smoke that anywhere?” Kind of. A lot of the appeal of e-cigarettes is that they are minimally intrusive in that puffing on one produces only water vapor when you exhale, and they are mostly odorless (although sometimes people around me report a pleasant scent coming off mine). However, I try to be sensitive to non-smokers by only vaping outside, in my bedroom, or when I’m with a friend who doesn’t mind. That way I avoid conflict and questions altogether.
  3. “How long have you been doing that?” About two and a half years.
  4. “Does it have tobacco in it?” No, there’s no tobacco in the liquid that produces the vapor. The liquid does contain nicotine unless you opt to purchase the kind of liquid that has none at all. The liquid does not contain any of the tar or harsh chemicals that are found in cigarettes.
  5. “Can  you put [marijuana] in there?” I don’t know. I have never tried, and I don’t use marijuana. You would have to do some independent research to determine the answer.
  6. “What flavor is that? It smells good!” Okay, I was just kind of joking about the “It smells good” exclamation, but I do get that sometimes. I vape mostly on fruity or coffee-flavored liquids. Right now, I’m doing black licorice in one of my e-cigs and strawberry in the other.
  7. “I saw on the news the other day that it might be bad for you, and all that [e-liquid] is made in China. What do you think of that?” First of all not all the e-liquids are made in China. Not too long ago I purchased some that are manufactured in Corona, CA. Secondly, I have no health problems to speak of, and my blood pressure is normal. I don’t cough up phlegm in the morning either. I think it’s safe to say that e-cigarettes are a healthy alternative to the killer cancer sticks, so I’m not worried about it.
  8. “Is it cheaper than smoking?” Yes. I spend about $50 every other month or so to replenish my e-liquid supply (the e-liquid is poured into the cartomizer and is what produces the vapor). To purchase my start-up kit back in 2011, I spent about $80.

So there you have it. I just couldn’t come up with another two questions to make it an even ten, since eight questions is pretty much the extent of discourse I tolerate from strangers, being as introverted as I am. Hopefully this will satisfy some of the curiosity out there. Again, I’d be happy to answer any other questions in this forum.

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