Monday, September 30, 2019

My Vaping Story


Why I Support Vaping


On August 7, 2015, my life was irrevocably changed.   On that morning I woke up unable to breathe, gasping for breath, and positive the end of my life was coming that day.  Two weeks prior to that date, there were noticeable changes that alerted me something was wrong.  I was beginning to aspirate food into my lungs every two or three days. I coughed any time I tried to talk. Those things combined into one visit to the hospital that would make me rethink my life completely.


When I arrived at the hospital I couldn’t breathe, think of a fish being out of the water and you’ll get an idea of what it felt like trying to get any air into my lungs.  My blood pressure was severely elevated, my chest felt like I was having a heart attack, and I knew unless something happened immediately, my life was over.


Let me backtrack a little so you can understand what led up to this moment.  Thirty years ago I became a smoker.  It started with just sneaking cigarettes, I was only sixteen at the time, to a full-blown habit where I was smoking a pack a day.  That escalated over the years to become a two-pack a day habit, where I couldn’t wake up in the morning without reaching for a cigarette to function.  Coffee, cigarette, and waking up were synonymous.


In February of 2001, I began working as a respiratory therapist.  I saw on a daily basis the devastating effects that smoking would take on my patients and desperately wanted to quit the habit. I attempted everything available during those days to stop.  Nicotine patches, hypnosis, nicotine gum, and then went so far as asking for a prescription medication to help me stop smoking.  None of this worked.  Of course, I tried cold turkey but I wasn’t one of those people that had the ability to give up a lifelong habit that way.  For me, I was stuck smoking, there was no hope for me to ever quit.


On that horrible day, August 7, 2015, I was resting in that hospital bed as a patient instead of the caregiver.  Some of the people taking care of me were former coworkers (I was laid off in 2008 due to cutbacks at the hospital).  Many of them still smoked themselves.  After breathing treatments, multiple tests, I was diagnosed with COPD.  No surprise to a person who’d worked in that field.  I was sent home with nicotine patches and knew from former experience my chances of succeeding were minimal.


As a mother of five children, allowing cigarettes to rob me of the opportunity to be a part of their life was unacceptable to me.  It was on that drive home from the hospital that I remembered seeing one of those strange electronic cigarette shops.  I’d bypassed that place a hundred times on my way to the grocery store and rolled my eyes.  Electronic cigarettes?  What a joke!  That was my thought. Suddenly, the thought wasn’t funny anymore.  What if that was the key to me giving up smoking? Wasn’t it worth a shot?


I remembered a friend on social media that talked about vaping and called her on my phone as I headed into the brick and mortar vape shop.  To say I had no idea what I was doing was an understatement, but she’d been doing this vaping thing for years.  I looked around this place, and okay, it reminded me of some of those crazy shops in Florida that stoners hung out at.  I’m sure you know the type of place I’m talking about.


They were blowing billowy clouds of vape and it took everything I had not to roll my eyes at the scene unfolding.  With my friend on the phone, I walked up to the counter and handed the woman behind the counter my cell.  This friend (who to this day I call my lifesaver), told the shop worker exactly what I needed.  


I pulled in a draw from that tank skeptically and my eyes widened.  This was pretty close to those cigarettes I’d been smoking for the last thirty years as far as flavor, and I walked out of that store feeling like I just might have a shot at quitting with this nifty little setup in my hand.

I threw those nicotine patches in a cabinet once I returned home, and continued using my new electronic cigarette device.  I had purchased a nicotine level in my liquid that was 18mg.  The first thing I noticed was I didn’t have a craving to light up another cigarette.  This vaporized steam gave me everything I needed.  The sensation of having something in my hand, the oral sensation of pulling the steam into my mouth while releasing what looked like smoke as I exhaled, and the relief that I didn’t have to pretend some nicotine patch on my arm was going to take away the life-long habit I had of doing all those things.


Over the next two weeks, I didn’t touch a real cigarette, even if I got a craving for one it was so minuscule it was easy to pick up my vaporizer (electronic cigarette) and put that need away.  In my opinion, those that try electronic cigarettes without adopting this method, have a harder time putting down real cigarettes for good.  Training your brain to see that electronic version as the real thing, in the beginning, is a huge plus.  For me, smoking was a habit and an addiction, both of those things had to be altered for me to make vaping work.


Things I noticed along the way that changed for the better.  After two weeks, I could lay in my bed at night without coughing, I no longer needed an inhaler for shortness of breath, and I could walk around my house without getting dizzy or tired.  My taste and smell improved significantly.  I can’t begin to explain how incredible it was to taste foods properly again.  Fast forward to July of 2017 and my lung capacity, according to the physicians Pulmonary Function Test, and my lungs are normal. This is a personal testimony of how vaping worked to save my lungs.

Now it's September 2019 and the government is trying to take away the life-saving technology that kept me out of an early grave. What I know as fact. Tobacco Cigarettes almost killed me, vaping saved my life. A black market illicit THC product is killing people, and our government, having these facts, mislead the American public making them believe nicotine vaping was responsible for those deaths. Every single day they are changing their story, and another THC illegal vape product is responsible for another death. The pharmaceutical smoking cessation drugs like Chantix are killing people, but they aren't attempting to ban that and have even tried to hide that evidence from the public.




For me vaping wasn't 95% safer than smoking, it was 100% safer. They can feed all the lies they want to the American public, but the truth is I am living a better life thanks to vaping. I find it very suspicious that they call inhaling THC into your lungs vaping because I don't vape pot. No one I know vapes pot. Our government is out of control, and they need to be stopped before they kill generations of smokers. Not only that, by misleading the public to make them think nicotine vaping is killing people, they've endangered people who are using black market THC products, because those people will assume it's okay to keep buying THC just not nicotine, which is ridiculous.

At a local football game a few weeks ago, I had a woman tell me, while she was puffing on a cigarette, that my vaping was killing people. Think about the irony of that for a minute. 450,000 die each year from smoking cigarettes, and now people think vaping nicotine is more dangerous? Our government is failing the people. The FDA, CDC, and HHS, have a lot to answer for, as well as the governors shutting down a life saving technologic advancement, forcing adults to go back to cigarettes. That's not even talking about the legal vape shops being forced out of business.


This is a dangerous precedent, and even our president isn't standing up for the people or business owners. Government overreach like this should be illegal. I could go off on a tangent about how they could misuse their power to ban anything they choose, but that's another issue. Vaping saved me, and millions of others just like me. As an adult, it is my choice to decide what smoking cessation product works for me, not the government.





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