Event Review - Not Exactly Smoking

I've been a smoker for nearly twenty years. If I could go back in time and do things differently, I would pass on that first smoke, because ever since, I've enjoyed a number of benefits of smoking. Those benefits include, but are not limited to, coughing until my face turns red, panting like a fat guy on a treadmill every time I climb a flight of stairs, smelling like dirty sweat socks, and hocking up tarballs that look like they just floated in from the BP oil spill. But that damned nicotine is more addictive than heroin (or so I hear), and every attempt to quit has resulted in me being pissed off for three weeks and then sneaking out at two in the morning to pick up a pack from an all-night gas station, except for the one time I tried Chantix and my wife shoved a pack into my hands and told me to smoke until it killed me.

The thing is, I really like smoking. I know it's all in my head, and I only like it because of the addiction, but so what? If I told you that you only enjoy receiving oral sex because you were addicted, would you stop wanting to get blowjobs? The long, deep breath in followed by that feel of the smoke punching the back of your throat, and then the mellow buzz you get off that first morning smoke - that stuff is nice. It feels good (unless you don't smoke - my first cancer stick included short puffs that made me hyperventilate, then I choked on the smoke and my eyes started running, and then I got sick all over the sidewalk. It's only nice because I've been at it so long. Like I said, I'm addicted).

But whether or not I like it, I still always wished I could quit. I hate that elephant-on-your-chest feeling every morning. I hate not being able to laugh for more than five seconds before I start to cough like I had a wasting disease. I really despise not being able to wear anything twice because it all smells like the bottom of a dirty ashtray. And then, you know, there's the death, which I would rather avoid if possible. The only problem is, I've tried everything. I tried drugs (they caused psychotic fits), lozenges (killer dry mouth), gum (not a good idea to inhale that), and patches (couldn't keep 'em lit). I tried other stuff, too. Nothing worked. So I basically just turned those lemons into lemonade, and decided to be happy because I knew how I was going to die.

And then I discovered the personal vaporizer, also known as the electronic cigarette, also known as the greatest invention of the 21st century. This is a little tube that looks a lot like a long cigarette. It consists of a battery, an atomizer and a cartridge. The atomizer screws into the battery, and the cartridge is full of this liquid that has nicotine and flavoring in it, and when you push a button on the side, it vaporizes the liquid and turns it into water vapor. Then you suck on the thing and pull all that water vapor right into your lungs.

Now, there are several reasons why quitting has not worked in the past. Specifically, I like these specific things from a cigarette:

1) The nicotine. It stops the cravings. It keeps me mellow when I want to get all Hulk Smash.
2) The long inhale. It calms me down and feels good to suck in that much air, even if it is full of cancer.
3) The throat hit. After 20 years, you start to really enjoy that throat punch that says you're about to feel good.
4) The cloud of exhaled smoke. I don't know why I love this part - it seems unnecessary - but I do.

And when I use my e-cig, I get all that stuff. I get the nicotine. I get the long inhale. I get the throat hit, and I blow out plumes of what seriously looks like smoke. So it has everything I love about smoking, but with none of that nasty dying.

Possibly the coolest part is that you can buy the liquid in different flavors. Right now I'm switching back and forth between cappuccino and Atomic Fireball. The taste doesn't really linger, and the vapor has virtually no odor and dissipates almost immediately, so you don't stink like wasted dreams or have the inside of your mouth taste like you've been licking out the fireplace. Compared to cigarettes, it's also a lot cheaper - I can vape for three weeks for what it would cost me to smoke for two days.

As an added bonus, you no longer have to worry about second-hand anything. The vapor is gone within seconds, and doesn't stick to anything, so I can smoke in my house, in my car, and even at my desk at work. I went out to lunch today, and when we got to the part of the meal where I usually excuse myself to go outside, I just whipped out my e-cig and puffed away. If you're worried about getting someone pissed at you, you can inhale and hold it a little, and the vapor will dissipate inside your lungs, which is probably not particularly great, but then again, it's better than deliberately coating your lungs with tar and rat poison. Every year, hundreds of people are admitted to emergency rooms with smoke inhalation. Do you ever hear about ER visits for water vapor inhalation? No, you don't, because that doesn't make you die.

If you don't smoke, just thank your lucky stars and ignore this article. Or better yet, if you know someone who wishes they could give up the coffin nails, let them know about it. But if you smoke, then the odds are incredibly good that you wish you could quit, and if you ever wanted to give up the bad parts without losing the good parts, I cannot recommend these things enough. I am incredibly grateful to the friend who introduced me to them, and I plan on sucking on these things until I'm on my death bed. I haven't quit a damned thing. But it's been three weeks, and I know that there's no good reason for me to buy another pack of cigarettes. I would rather vape.


Vaping kicks ass. Smoking sucks.

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