Saturday, March 20, 2021

The Real Story About Vaping


In 2015 I was rushed to the emergency room, unable to breathe, choking as I aspirated food into my lungs, and convinced this was going to be my last day on earth.  I was hospitalized and diagnosed with COPD.  It was singularly the most terrifying day of my life, so I'll never forget the trauma.  The first thought that ran through my head when I could breathe again, was my five children would be without a mother.  After three days in the hospital, I'd had plenty of time to think about my life choices.  

Regret was at the top of my list because I knew at that moment, I'd failed my children who depended on me for everything.  Looking back now, I know I was failed by my healthcare providers as well.  There was an option they never mentioned to me that could have saved me from the diagnosis.  Yes, it was my choice to start smoking in 1985, but when I tried to quit smoking, they didn't offer me all the solutions.  I was told to use nicotine patches, those didn't work.  I was told to try Chantix, which almost killed me after putting me in a state of depression that made me want to take my own life.  Gums, hypnosis, counseling, in the years that led up to my COPD diagnosis for Chronic Bronchitis, none of those solutions worked and I returned to smoking each time.

The miracle cure for me didn't come from a physician, my pulmonologist, or any medical personnel I'd spoken with over the years as I fought to overcome smoking addiction.  What changed my life forever came from a friend I'd spoken with on social media.  She told me how this thing called vaping had helped her finally quit smoking after many failed attempts of smoking cessation.  

At this point in my life, I was desperate.  I couldn't walk to the bathroom without giving out of breath.  I had to sleep in a recliner because I couldn't breathe while lying down.  I didn't want to spend my life choking when I ate, and the depression was overwhelming.  The inhalers I was using would only give me few minutes of relief before the horrible feeling of not getting air in my lungs started again. I'd even lost my singing voice which had once landed me a spot on the Midnight Jamboree in Nashville, Tennessee, and allowed me to tour the United States with a televised singing showcase.  My life was falling out of control and I saw no way out.

I'd driven by a new vape shop in town more than a few times and honestly?  It reminded me of some head shop, and I brushed it off as some joke.  I was forty-six years old, a football/baseball mom, those types of places weren't for people like me.  My COPD diagnosis changed that attitude because I was desperate for anything to help me live to see my children grow up.  I finally took the advice of that friend who told me about vaping.  The day I walked into that vape shop was the last day I ever smoked a cigarette.  After ten years of trying unsuccessfully to stop smoking (I'd spent 15 years not caring to quit before that), I'd finally found something that gave me the chance I needed to succeed.  

The vape shop owner was a man close to my age (46 at the time) and I handed my phone over to him with the friend that suggested vaping on the other end of the line.  She told him what kind of setup to give me, an i-Stick 30 and an aerotank (an older mouth to lung tank).  He walked me through the process of setting it up and filling it with e-liquid (the liquid that is used in a vaping device), and I walked out of that shop using it, and never looked back again.  I'd chosen a custard-flavored e-liquid with 18mg of nicotine in it, and the flavor was really incredible making me want to keep inhaling the sweet taste. 

Anytime I'd think about craving a cigarette, I'd use my vaping device and that desire would go away.  In the beginning, I used it as a lifeline, vaping constantly to keep my mind off the cigarettes that were killing me.  No one was more amazed than I was that this little vaping setup was helping me not want to smoke.  Over the next few months changes were starting to happen, and I finally felt that I found the solution to my cigarette addiction because my health began to improve.

Two months after I started vaping, I was no longer coughing all the time.  I was able to lay down in a real bed, and not sleep upright in my recliner.  I wasn't getting out of breath walking to the bathroom.  My singing voice slowly returned.  The thought about picking up a cigarette was completely gone because I felt so much better.  For the first time since I was seeing a beautiful light at the end of the tunnel and knew I could beat this addiction that was destroying my life.

Six months after beginning to vape, my pulmonary function tests were showing such huge improvements that it was almost like I hadn't been a smoker all my life.  The inhalers were no longer needed, my oxygen levels were in normal ranges, and I simply felt better.  After three years my pulmonary function tests show the same lung capacity of a person that never smoked.  That was supposed to be impossible with COPD, but I'd found a modern medical miracle because of vaping.  In the five years since I started vaping, I haven't had a single diagnosis of Chronic Bronchitis, or Pneumonia.  Prior to vaping, it was every three months I was on medication for one or the other.

This is my real story about vaping.  The one the media doesn't want to be told, or the politicians wanting to be shared.  During my journey into ending my addiction to cigarettes, I've met tens of thousands of people that shared the same success story.  The vaping community became a family as I went through my journey, and I consider every single person that vapes, my brother and sister.  We come from all walks of life, and there are millions of us out there that discovered (without help from our medical professionals) that vaping can save lives.  I've talked to so many COPD survivors that have had the same success I have had.

My advice to you if you're an adult smoker, is to give vaping a chance if you've tried every other product and failed to stop smoking.  Vaping might end up being your miracle cure as well.  These days I'm an advocate for vaping because it's very hard not to support something that gave me the air I breathe back.  If I can help you on your journey to quit smoking, I'm always here.  My vision of a perfect world is where people quit blowing smoke and discover that there is a solution to the epidemic of cigarette smoking.  I support all forms of harm reduction, but vaping was what saved my life.

Reach out to me on Twitter, Facebook, or drop me a message here.  If you want to know how to quit with vaping, I will do everything in my power to help give you the same education my friend gave me many years ago.  You don't have to die smoking cigarettes.  There IS another way.  Thank you for letting me share my story.

All My Love,

Michelle Hughes

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Strawberry Shortcake Keto Egg Loaf - Say What?


Let's face it, there are things you miss when you start doing the Keto diet, but with a little help, you can turn some of your favorite comfort foods into delicious Keto indulgences that don't destroy your carb count for the day.  Strawberry Shortcake Keto Loaf is a delicious way to make your mouth happy and still stick to a Keto lifestyle.  My TOC Flavors have 0 carbs, and TONS of flavor.  You'll feel immortal after making this incredible loaf for your breakfast or even as a snack.  So let's make Strawberry Shortcake Keto Loaf, Tears of Crimson style!

What you'll need:

  • 8 oz of Cream Cheese (room temp)
  • 8 Large Eggs
  • 24 drops of TOC Flavors Immortal Embrace
  • 8 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup of Monkfruit sweetener
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons Lakanto Sugar-Free Syrup
  • 8x8 Pan

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and coat your 8x8 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Mix softened cream cheese,  eggs, TOC flavor drops, softened butter, Monkfruit sweetener, cinnamon until very smooth.
  3. Pour into a prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes (or until the mixture doesn't jiggle when slightly shaken).
  5. Allow cooling for at least five minutes, prior to slicing into eight servings.
  6. You can eat it like this and use your 2 TBS of syrup to top it off OR you can fry this up in a frying pan for a more traditional french toast feel.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

It's Time To Stop Demonizing Vaping!


There are so many times I get discouraged in my battle for harm reduction, that I've wondered if my voice even matters.  I attempted to quit smoking for ten years prior to my COPD diagnosis while trying every pharmaceutical method offered by my physician, and even attempting hypnosis.  I would make it a week or so, then go back to smoking again.  Vaping was my miracle cure, and I just hate that it took being diagnosed with COPD to find it.  I was just like most smokers when it comes to vaping, thinking it was just another idiotic idea to set me up for failure, so I was very surprised when I picked up vaping and never touched another cigarette.  That was in 2015.

As most of my readers know, I worked as a respiratory therapist for eight years before becoming a full-time author.  I watched patients die, suffer, and fight to quit,  just like I had.  If I were back in that field today, I'd encourage every single one of those people to try vaping.  I'm sure I'd be fired, but I'd tell them anyway because I know for certain it works.  I'm not knocking pharmaceutical drugs like the patch, and drugs (even though Chantix almost made me kill myself) if that harm reduction method works for a patient, then, by all means, more power to them.  It failed me.  I am of the mindset that whatever works is the tool that should be offered.  For me, that was nicotine vaping.

I've repeated this story over and over during the last few years, how I no longer have COPD symptoms, and people that are against vaping, call me a liar.  I can tell you without any hesitation this is no lie.  I was diagnosed with Chronic Bronchitis for my COPD diagnosis, and I haven't had that since I started vaping.  For that matter, I haven't had pneumonia either.  Vaping was my miracle cure, so when people refuse to listen, it really breaks my heart.  So many people have been falsely misled to believe that vaping is more dangerous than smoking, and that's just a lie.  America has truly dropped the ball on the scientific discovery of vaping because they've been too busy following incorrect information.  

I strongly encourage you to read the UK Government article released this month about nicotine vaping, and the impact it has shown on smoking cessation.  Please follow this link to read that information: Vaping Better Than Nicotine Replacement  We as a country, should be leading in smoking cessation, but we are dreadfully failing and one of those reasons is because our physicians, scientists, and public health care sectors are not putting their time and effort into discovering how vaping can be a great tool in quitting.   Educate yourself, educate your physicians, educate the public.  Vaping is a great solution to ending the epidemic of tobacco related illness and deaths.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Unmasked - Aurora Paige


Title: Unmasked: A Fairytale Retelling
Author: Aurora Paige
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 4, 2021


A cute and curvaceous executive assistant.

A sexy and smart tech entrepreneur and billionaire.

What happens when their paths cross at the masquerade ball? Will she tell him who she really is?


I’ve dreamt of being swept off my feet by a handsome prince and getting my Happily Ever After, just like in the romance novels I read. But I’ve never had a boyfriend or even been kissed. To be honest, I don’t think guys even notice I’m there. So, when I had a chance to be a mysterious woman at the ball and finally get my prince to notice me, I went for it. And notice me he did. But will he still want me after he finds out who I am?


When I found out my (ex-)girlfriend was sleeping with my best friend, I decided to focus all my attention on my billion-dollar business rather than try to find a woman to settle down with. But at the San Francisco Storm Masquerade Ball Fundraiser, I saw her. The perfect woman I’d been waiting for. When the clock struck midnight, I still didn’t know her name or even what her face looked like, but I remembered the sexy curves of her body. And I wasn’t letting her get away. I needed to know who she was. She would be mine.

UNMASKED is a steamy and sexy multicultural retelling of Cinderella, the original ‘One Who Got Away.’


99c for a limited time!


Free in Kindle Unlimited


My eyes widened. He wants me to go into the office when the door is closed? My imagination went wild as I thought about what would happen behind closed doors.

Marius would lock the door behind me after I entered his office, pushing me up against the wall as he firmly pressed his lips on mine. A passionate kiss that would take my breath away. He would pin my wrists above my head, then kiss down the crook of my neck, down my d├ęcolletage to my chest. Unbuttoning my top would reveal a black lace bra holding up my breasts. His eyes would darken with the intensity of knowing he could claim me and possess me however he wanted to. I’d always complained about doing his tasks and errands, but this would be an exception. I wouldn’t mind following his orders; waiting patiently for him to give me a task that would fulfill all his desires.

“Ella?” The deep, rich tone of a man’s voice startled me and my racy thoughts.

Dammit! It’s Marius.


Aurora Paige is a healthcare professional by day and a FilAm writer of steamy contemporary romance with sassy heroines and sexy heroes at night. Each Aurora Paige story delivers a variety of Curvy Heroines, Multicultural relationships, Alpha Heroes, Steamy Heat, and a Guaranteed Happily Ever After.


Monday, March 1, 2021

Destroying Vaping is All About Blood Money!


Written By:  Michelle Hughes

I've followed policies that deal with vaping since 2015 after it saved my life when I was diagnosed with COPD.  The lies revealed by public health and our government have been staggering to the point of complete disbelief.  From popcorn lung to big tobacco attempting to create a new way to hook the youth on smoking, it's been one lie after another.  Let's not forget how nicotine vaping was blamed for deaths from the black market either.  Time after time, these lies are debunked and the government and media add another lie to make people believe that smoking is even safer than vaping.  I can tell you with 100% clarity, that vaping is much safer.  

The majority of people want to believe in a government and healthcare system that works for the betterment of mankind.  Unfortunately, as we're shown over and over again, it's not the truth.  The government, pharmaceutical companies, and public health only have one goal, and sadly, that's monetary gain.  If you're not someone who has used vaping to quit smoking, the information I'm about to reveal here will be shocking.  It shows the utter corruption of government, pharmaceutical companies, and yes, even public health.  It's not pretty, and you may never look at things the same way again.

The Master Settlement Agreement was reached in 1998 with cigarette companies after it was proven that cigarettes caused cancer and were destroying health.  That agreement would pay a staggering 24.8 billion dollars in state taxes in 2018.  The agreement was put in place to help spread information about how cigarettes were destroying health and stop the targeting of cigarettes toward youth while educating the public about the dangers.  Less than 3% of that money has actually gone toward smoking prevention.  Where it gets even worse, is that states know they only make money if they keep people smoking so they can receive that blood money tax off packs of cigarettes.  In comes vaping, destroying their blood-sucking taxes.

In 2016, when the vaping market was really starting to reach the American people, and getting them away from deadly cigarettes, things turned dark.  Those making money off cigarette sales knew they had to do something to get that death money tax back.  Coming to the rescue of the blood money tax suckers, the FDA!  Since vaping was starting to encroach on their tax money, they needed to make vaping a tobacco product and vilify them to steer more people back to their deadly cigarettes.  That sounds almost fictional, but if you follow the money like I have, you can see exactly what they were doing and how that has played out over the years.

The false lies that vaping was created by a tobacco company, well, it is just that, a HUGE LIE.  The truth is, vaping, as we know it today, was created by Hon Lik, a pharmacist, who created the device for his father that was dying of lung cancer.  There were many others that tried to perfect this technology before and after him but weren't successful.  Read more about the real history of the electronic cigarette here:

Let's get into a list of lies the government,  public health, and media have been called out on.  All of these have been debunked, and show further proof of how far they are willing to go to make sure you don't try vaping and die from smoking cigarettes.

Popcorn Lung:   Dr. Siegel explains this much better than I can, and you can read his article here: but the basic premise of this lie was a Harvard study that research people that worked in a popcorn factory were dying from popcorn lung.  The rumor began that inhaling diacetyl vai vaping was going to give you popcorn lung (even though diacetyl was found much higher in cigarettes and exponentially lower in some vape e-liquids).  The impossibility of a smoker (which again cigarettes contain 100 times more diacetyl than any vaping liquid) getting popcorn lung, was just that, an impossibility.  Even Snopes verified this data and you can read about it here:  Even with that information, many medical websites are still pushing that FALSE information to the public. Such as Healthline. 

EVALI:  Probably one of the biggest lies ever spread by our government and public health was in 2019 when they stated that vaping was killing people by some "mysterious lung disease" which has now been so completely debunked it makes the CDC and others that pushed these agendas look like complete frauds.  What was discovered,  had nothing to do with nicotine vaping at all.  People were cutting THC, (marijuana e-liquid) on the black market with Vitamin E acetate (an oil and oil is never used in nicotine vaping as it is known to cause lung issues).  2,800 cases were reported in 29 states and 68 people died from vaping illicit THC vaping products.  That should also be a wake-up call for what might happen if vaping is banned.  The black market can kill people and driving people towards it is a medical catastrophe waiting to happen! 

SMOKING VS VAPING: One of the biggest lies that have been pushed is that smoking is safer than vaping.  All of this information can be verified here:  the bottom line is vaping is still 95% safer than smoking cigarettes.  There have been 0 deaths from nicotine vaping.  In the United States alone 450,000 deaths are attributed to smoking cigarettes.  Vaping has shown more success than nicotine patches, and virtually every other pharmacy-related smoking cessation product. 

For me, vaping was a modern, medical miracle.  As a former respiratory therapist, I watched my patients die from smoking for years, and I regret that vaping wasn't a tool that I could have offered them since I left the healthcare profession in 2008 to pursue a writing career.  I also regret that I didn't discover vaping for myself before I was diagnosed with COPD.  I attempted using every smoking cessation product available to me, and none of them worked until I finally discovered vaping through a friend.  Physicians should be the lifeline for smokers who have tried other methods and failed and those caretakers should introduce them to vaping.  The lives that could be saved would be staggering if our government and public health would do the right thing and embrace this life-saving technology.

In the United Kindom, they have vape shops in hospitals and push vaping toward their patients as an alternative to deadly cigarette smoking.  America is supposed to be the greatest country on earth, so why are we FAILING smokers?  If you or a loved one are a smoker, I encourage you to reach out for facts (Start at, and not the lies we're being sold for monetary gain.  It's disgusting what public health and our government are doing to this life-saving technology, and I encourage you to share this with as many people as you know to get the truth out.  If our media won't spread the truth, then it's up to us to do it for them!

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