My 1st Month of Vaping

I realize that there are probably a million articles online regarding e-cigarettes and the act of “smoking” (<<<I put that in quotes, because you actually aren’t burning anything) them, which is called vaping. So why add one more to the mix? Well I find that most of the articles are not un-biased, in that they have sponsors giving them money (or freebies) for reviews. Either that, or the information is generic and geared more towards educating others instead of talking of personal experiences. And finally, most of the articles and bloggers tend to be for or by moderate to heavy ex-smokers. After running through a few vape pod kits and getting some experiences out of it – here’s my take…

Why I Started Smoking

I’ve never seen myself as a smoker. I tried my first cigarette as age 12. I would hang out with friends who smoked and they would offer one to me. I most likely wasn’t inhaling back then, in that I never felt compelled to buy my own pack (well, have an older teenager buy them for me more accurately). However the story changed a bit when I went to college.

College for me was a time experimentation for me. It was the first time that I really starting drinking alcohol (in high school, I had tastes of drinks…but never my own drinks), first time taking drugs (mainly marijuana and pills, but a bit of dabbling in harder stuff as well), and first time of partying hard (pre-gaming, partying, passing out, getting up, starting all over again, etc.). Cigarettes were around along with coffee to perk you up out of your haze. Even with regular indulgence of cigarettes, I rarely turned to them outside of the weekends (which was party time). That’s when I discovered clove cigarettes. Smoking regular cigarettes can eventually lead to taste and hearing loss, read more from these sonus complete reviews.

I loved my clove cigarettes. They tasted good, they burned forever, and they were high in nicotine…meaning that one would go a long way. I was in Daytona Beach, FL in the late 1990s, so the availability and variety of clove cigarettes (which were really popular among surfers) weren’t lacking. However I left Daytona after a year, and in Pennsylvania, they weren’t easy to get. I switched to smoking ultra-light menthols, first Malboros then Capris/Mistys.

For the next decade I pretty much stayed to smoking socially. In bars, at parties, in a crowd. Rarely would I smoke at home or in my car. A pack of cigarettes would last anywhere from 4 days to a week for me. For this reason, I doubt that I’m truly addicted to nicotine. I’ve gone through months on end of not smoking in fact. Ironically, I feel that the 2009 US ban on the sale of flavored cigarettes, including cloves (but excluding menthols) pushed me towards the use of regular cigarettes. For me, cloves were like milkshakes, and cigarettes were like milk. A milkshake is an indulgence, and hits the spot. But if they aren’t available, you want the closest thing. And since it isn’t as “rich”, you are ok with taking more than you intended…

Why I Started Vaping

I’ve never been opposed to smoking really. I grew up with my Grandfather who smoked Pall Malls by the pack when I was younger. He collected cigarette lighters (we had thousands of them in the house) and everything about smoke culture, from the ashtrays to the ads, seemed glamorous. Even so, I never saw daily smoking, or any type of addiction to be my kind of thing. It’s just not in my personality.

In the past year, I’ve found myself smoking more…even marginally so. For more than a decade, I rarely went through more than a pack a week. Now I was picking up a pack every 4, sometimes every 3 days. Why? Who knows exactly. I’ve been under stress, due to health issues, a bout of unemployment, had me turning to cigarettes more. Then working in a high rise in a cubicle, where a savored daily escape is a cigarette break with co-workers.

A month or so ago, I noticed a soreness in my throat in the morning. I would find myself budgeting money for cigarettes. I would get on the elevator with others who had smoked, smell the scent of cigarettes, and wonder, “Do I smell like that?”. I got mildly annoyed with cigarette ashes on the outside of my car (which is white) and losing lighters all the time. But I think the final straw was to notice an slight yellowing of my teeth from what I’m guessing are cigarettes (although it could be coffee…who knows). I knew that the benefits I was getting from smoking wasn’t worth all this.

I had seen other people at work with electronic cigarettes (or ‘e-cigarettes’). However after some quick research, I felt completely overwhelmed. I’ve talked to people who used the disposables from the gas station, like Njoy. However they didn’t seem to be worth it price-wise. Njoys cost more than a pack of cigarettes. Yet I wasn’t sure if I would like it, and most said they didn’t last as long as a pack of cigarettes. I spun my wheels some more. Smoking may affect your body in a lot of negative ways, obesity is on the main consequences, check these proven weight loss reviews.

Then about two weeks ago I received some coupons in the mail for a free Vuse Vape NZ and a pack of refill cartridges. So I figured I had nothing to lose. I picked one up and while I wasn’t blown away, I was on to something. Compared to my regular cigarettes, I found the Vuse to be way too strong. However I loved the convenience. I loved not needing a lighter, a ashtray (or a window to ash out of), or having the smell of a smoldering cigarette.

So I decided to really take the leap, and started to look into vaping.

If you drink and smoke cigarettes and you have severe hangover symptoms, you might want to cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke on the days you drink heavily. The nicotine may be contributing to the intensity of your hangover symptoms.

Alcohol drinkers who smoke heavily on the same day they drink heavily are more likely to experience a hangover the next day than those who do not smoke. Those hangover symptoms are likely to be more intense depending on how much you smoked during the day, researchers have found.

At the same number of drinks, drinkers who smoked more were likely to have more severe hangovers.

A Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University study of 113 college students over an eight-week period examined the effect smoking had on hangover symptoms. The study participants were controlled for other factors, such as past-year drug use.

More Severe Hangover Symptoms

Even when the participants were controlled for age first smoked regularly, the frequency of drug use, type of drug involvement, gender, or smoking status, the results of the study was the same: heavy smoking caused more severe hangover symptoms, fortunately the hangover patch really works.

For the sake of the study, “heavy drinking” was defined as having five or six beers over the course of an hour, which would result in the students having an estimate blood-alcohol concentration of 0.11.

Unsure of Nicotine’s Role

The researchers found that the most intense hangover symptoms were not caused simply because the students smoked more when they drank more. Those who consumed the same number of alcoholic beverages had a more intense hangover if they smoked more.

The researchers are not sure why the combination of nicotine and alcohol causes more intense symptoms, but they suspect it is related to how both drugs release dopamine in the brain.

Other studies have shown that smoking and drinking at the same time actually boosts the release of dopamine in the brain, so nicotine and alcohol are somehow connected in how they affect the brain, researchers said.

Hangovers Can Be a Safety Hazard

Researcher Damaris J. Rohsenow, Ph.D. said the danger in more severe hangovers lies with how a hangover can affect your attention and reaction time.

He suggested that those with a bad hangover might not want to drive or work in safety-sensitive occupations while experiencing hangover symptoms.

Ciga-likes, vs. E-cigarettes, vs. Mods

While I’m a complete newbie to the world of vaping, my un-expert opinion has led me to the following:

Ciga-likes are the e-cigarettes that are most often found in gas stations and the like. They can be either disposable or rechargeable. Some, like the Njoy, look pretty close to an actual cigarette. Others, like the Vuse I had, are more like pens. However they are all long, relatively slim and cylindrical. I first considered buying a ciga-like from Halo, the G6, to replace the Vuse. However, I also had my eye on the tank systems, and while you can outfit the G6 with a minitank, I could get an actual tank system for less money. And the economics of the endeavor are slightly more important to me than the aesthetics. Overall though, I find the ciga-likes to be more limiting (in regards to flavors, for convenience, you are limited to the cartridge, or cartomizer flavors available for your model), higher in nicotine (again, due to limited availability in refills), and more expensive. They also do not produce as much vapor as the Dieses Produkt, for example. Although depending on the brand, this difference can be negligible. Ultimately they aren’t for me, but they are great for those who either want an e-cigarette as a backup to smoking actual cigarettes, or want to have an e-cigarette that doesn’t look so odd to others.

Electronic smoking device usage is on the rise. Vaping is gaining popularity with younger patients who have never used nicotine products before and are now trying flavored electronic cigarettes.

I recently caught an episode of a popular sitcom in which a teenage daughter candidly admitted to her mom that she had tried a vaping pen. Her mom got very upset, and the daughter had no clue why her mom would be so put off by it. I thought to myself, “What do I know about vaping, and why is this a prime time storyline?” So I began to research, and I discovered that this is a controversial issue both nationally and worldwide. Vaping is gaining popularity, and young people are being exposed to it while not being fully aware of the consequences to their health. A recent study conducted by Monitoring the Future conducted a survey of 44,000 students last year spanning from 8th grade to 12th grade and discovered that the rate in which vaping products were used doubled in one year’s time.1

Times are changing

“In the late 1990s and early 2000s, some states implemented comprehensive smoking bans that prohibited smoking in most workplaces and all public places, including previously exempted bars and restaurants.”2 Cigarette smoking has been decreasing since laws were enacted that banned smoking in public places. Use among middle school and high school students has been steadily decreasing since 2014 due to education about the harmful effects of tobacco. This has left the consumer market wide-open for alternative uses of nicotine. Electronic devices are promoted as a less harmful alternative with fun flavors for recreational and social use.3

In 2019, the FDA took steps to restrict the sales and marketing of electronic smoking devices to minors. “Some people have suggested that use of e-cigarettes by young people might ‘protect’ them from using cigarettes further down the road. There is no evidence to support this claim. Some studies show that nonsmoking youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco cigarettes in the future than nonsmoking youth who do not use e-cigarettes.”4

Vape trends

Vapor lounges, sometimes called vapor houses, are popping up everywhere—in big cities, small towns, shopping malls, strip malls—usually centrally located in heavily trafficked areas. I passed by one vape shop next to a game store and video arcade in my local community, clearly attempting to attract young people. Consumers can purchase their favorite flavors from coffee to maple syrup all while relaxing and vaping in plush lounge chairs indoors. Electronic cigarette users report using energy drinks while vaping. Some vapor liquid contains substances such as caffeine and ginseng for an energy boost or as an alternative to non-nicotine vaping.5,6,7

Risks of vaping

Electronic cigarette users may experience xerostomia and increased risk for tooth decay as a result of the vaporized liquid entering the mouth. Aerosols from vaping irritate the lining of the mucosa and are absorbed into the buccal mucosa and the pharyngeal tissues. According to the British Dental Journal, e-liquids from electronic cigarettes create an aerosolized cariogenic vapor delivered directly to the mucosa and hard tissues of the mouth, bonding with streptococcus mutans. That process, along with a dry environment, creates a perfect breeding ground for a biofilm matrix to bloom. Make sure you visit dr homan omaha ne periodically. 

Similar to tobacco cigarettes, smoke-free vaping devices have chemicals manufactured into them that cause irreversible damage to the human body. Much research is being conducted on the effects on the oral cavity; however, we must wait for long-term studies that show the vaping effects on epithelial tissue.8

The Halo G6 “ciga-like” e-cigarette. This really caught my eye first. But at $44.99 for the starter kit, $3.99 for the minitank, and $5.99 for e-liquid, all before shipping; I realized that I didn’t want to invest so much into something that I might be upgrading from eventually anyway.

E-cigarettes with the tank system are more flexible and more economical in the long run. I ended up going this route. Initially, I was going to order a starter kit from Apollo, but realized I didn’t have the patience to wait for it in the mail, so I went to a local vape shop instead. My initial cost was still a little higher than planned. I got an 1100 mAh eGo style battery, a basic disposable CE4 tank (or clearomizer as they are called), a USB charger, a case, and 3 bottles of 10mL e-liquid for about $50. However I lucked out and a friend gave me their Bulldog e-cigarette kit and then I found an online special for 2 10 mL bottles of e-liquid for $0.01. So I now have two batteries, 3 tanks, and 5 bottles of e-liquid for less than the cost of 8 packs of cigarettes. Not bad!

The ‘eGo’ type battery and disposable tanks. This is basically the setup that I have

Mods are advanced PVs (personal vaporizers) that I’m really not interested in at this point. They are fully customizable, but I have no desire to create huge vapor clouds, or carry around something that rivals the size of a time capsule in my purse. And that’s really all I’ll say about that. This is how Blast auxiliary works.

These are “mods”, or advanced e-cigarettes (personal vaporizers really). You can go really crazy with customization and cost with these. I have little knowledge about these, and quite honestly I don’t see myself becoming interested in them down the line either.

The Economics

This is my biggest draw to vaping. I really don’t like having to choose between buying a pack of cigarettes and having lunch money for the next day. Yes, buy opting to buy locally, I didn’t pay rock basement prices on my kit. However having someone to talk to and show me the basics was worth it. I find most online calculations of the savings to be pointless for me, in that they assume that you are a regular smoker, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. So here’s my own calculation:

Annual cost of cigarettes: $690

Annual cost of lighters:    $  50

Total: $740

Not a ton of money, but still, money down the drain ultimately. Now, I have no idea exactly how long these batteries will last, or what my e-liquid costs will be exactly, but here’s my projections so far:

Start-up costs: $50

Replacement batteries: $80

Replacement clearomizers: $75

(for the batteries and clearomizers, I’m going by local retail prices; but great deals can be found on eBay, and if I buy online, I’ll probably pay 1/2 as much)

Now e-liquid use will be hard to guage. I vaped a lot yesterday, but only went through about 2mL of liquid. So even with “heavy” use (for me), it will take me 5 days to go through a 10 mL bottle. So let’s say I’ll go through 70 bottles a year, at $7.00 per bottle (I’ll subtract out the 5 bottles I already have though):

Annual e-liquid costs: $455

Total: $660

So as you can see, it’s not a huge savings annually for me, but it is something. More important, I can indulge in nicotine without the inconvenience and health issues associated with smoking. And that ultimately makes it worth it.

The Logistics

I find that the world of e-cigarettes and vaping can be overwhelming. The E-Cigarette forum has been very helpful, but like most popular forums, you definitely have that purist/enthusiast crowd that promotes their opinion as gospel, and really want to steer you a certain way. The biggest things for me are costs and convenience. I would save money by not using disposable clearomizers, but I can’t see myself being bothered changing out the atomizers and wicks in the tanks. I would rather save by finding deals on batteries and e-liquid. Check out the latest okinawa flat belly tonic reviews.

I find that vaping is similar to clove smoking in that a little goes a long way. With a cigarette, you have this thing that you feel compelled to smoke from start to finish. Sure, there have been times that I’ve lit a cigarette, had my full before it’s done, so I put it out and put it back in the pack. However I hate the smell of having a half burned cigarette in your pack. It’s also incredibly inconvenient to go all the way outside from the higher floor of a high rise office building to smoke a partial cigarette.

With vaping I’ll take 3 or 4 puffs and be good for a while. Unless I’m “smoking” with others. Then I’ll puff until they finish their cigarettes. So far I’ve been fine with this, and using less than a 1.6 mL clearomizer a day of 12mg (or nicotine) e-liquid. Compared to what I’ve read on the forums, I’m a pretty light vaper.

When I got the Vuse, I honestly coughed from how strong the vapor was and how harsh it was on my throat. However I adjusted. I don’t know if it was because my body got used to it, or I adjusted my inhale technique. I know with the Vuse, my first drags were too big. With e-cigarettes it’s best to suck steady and long…not hard. My new setup produces a lot more vapor than the Vuse did. Now I take a drag until I can feel the “hit” at my throat. I then stop, inhale a bit to the lungs, but let the majority of the vapor swirl around my sinuses, throat and nose. It’s kinda hard to explain if you’ve never smoked before. But with a cigarette, you have this “pull and push” thing going on. You suck the smoke into your lungs, hold it, then force it out your mouth (rarely did I blow cigarette smoke out my nose, although I know a lot of people do, especially those who smoke full flavor cigarettes). Vaping is more like breathing. I let a good amount of vapor come out my nose. With the flavors, I tend to enjoy them more that way.

E-Liquid and Nicotine

I’m far from being an expert in this area, but one of the more frustrating points so far in regards to e-cigarettes is the ongoing comparison between them and cigarettes in regards to nicotine. On one hand, I understand it in that many (most?) people are looking into e-cigarettes and vaping as a smoking cessation tool. Nicotine withdrawal is real, and they are looking to minimize this. However I’ve found most articles and opinions written on the matter to be either off-base, or completely irrelevant to me.

I’m not a doctor or a scientist, but I do believe that nicotine addiction is not just about numbers, but also about the delivery method. With cigarettes, the nicotine enters the bloodstream at a much faster rate. While smoke and vapor may look similar to the eye, on the molecular level, they are different. So while my Mistys had 1.1 mg of nicotine per cigarette, to say that my 10 mL bottle of 12mg nicotine e-liquid is equivalent to 109 cigarettes (more than 5 packs) is not the full story.

In a nutshell vaping is a less efficient means of nicotine delivery. I think this explains why many ex-smokers find themselves chain vaping and/or attracted to mods, looking to get huge vapor clouds. To get the nicotine buzz associated with cigarette smoking, you have to up the levels on your e-liquid significantly. That’s why I think the e-cigarette brands in gas stations, like Vuse, have such crazy nicotine content levels (Vuse for example has a whopping 48mg of nicotine, or 4.8%) in their solutions.

While I don’t have an assortment to sample (all of my e-liquid is 12mg), it is my humble opinion that the nicotine effects the throat hit of your vapor. My e-liquid is from Mr. E-Liquid and Mt. Baker. I’ve vaped an entire tank of the Menthol Light (which I like the best out of the three menthols from various brands I’ve sampled), and I’m now working on Apple Rings. I think both taste nice. They aren’t knocking my socks off in amazement, but it’s much better tasting than cigarette smoke. Improve your indoor air quality with blast portable ac.

Assorted e-liquids. Prices vary widely, but on average it runs about $6-$7 for a 10mL bottle. I only use about 2mL per day, but the average among ex-smokers seems to be more like 3mL. I find that your equipment effects consumption as well as your own personal habits. If you want to make your own, you can save a ton of $$$ (obviously).

Public Opinion, Health and Conclusion

Overall I’m looking forward to vaping and leaving smoking in the dust. I love being to have an e-cigarette in the car, in the bedroom and at work, without having to worry about smell and burning stuff. Yes, it is insane regarding the amount of information and supplies out there regarding vaping. In addition to the e-cigarette forum, I found some great websites such as the Guide to Vaping, Vapegrl, Spinful and Cocktail Nerd. Many e-cigarette manufacturers have informative sites too, like White Cloud and EverSmoke. But keep in mind a lot of these reviews and articles are sponsored or have the ulterior motive 0f steering you into buying their product. So after a while, I began to see a lot of what I read online as an FYI instead of gospel.

It’s also maddening to see all of the misinformation out there regarding e-cigarettes, and the current move towards either more regulation or outright bans. If you read between the lines, almost all of the health warnings against e-cigarettes state that “more research is needed” and that the studies they are basing their findings on are limited. It’s the same arguments people make against marijuana smoking. In all honesty, vaping most likely isn’t safe. Neither is driving, eating food with preservatives or undergoing chemotherapy. It’s most definitely safer than smoking cigarettes, that’s for sure. Complaining that e-cigarettes provide a gateway to cigarette use is also a cop out. The first widespread use of e-cigarettes in the United States happened at the earliest in 2008. I doubt that in those 6 years, a definitive study was ever done to state this. It’s just pure speculation. There are places online where you can find some pertinent information about vaping and the industry, like Vapor News, the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, and the CASAA.

For me the only downsides of vaping have been the feeling of being dehydrated (vaping dries you out due to the propylene glycol that’s in e-liquid), and the potential to spend a lot of money on equipment and gadgets related to vaping. However I see it as a good excuse to up my water intake, and exercise some skills in regards to searching for deals and being smart about what I buy.

**Note – there are no sponsored links in this post and I’m not an affiliate. Therefore I get no kickbacks or anything from any product or company I’ve linked in this post!