“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” -Lao Tzu
For the first installment of the new mini-series that began this month, I want to share how I gave up my nasty six-year-old habit; smoking cigarettes.
Before I begin, I would like to say again that I am not a doctor. I cannot tell anyone what they should or should not do (but I think we can all agree smoking cigarettes is a big no-no for anyone). I know that vaping is still a bit controversial and absolutely known medical effects are still up for debate. I just want to share where I am on this journey and why I believe this has helped me. You should not expect these results because each and every one of us is different!
Also, it is mandatory by law that you must be 18 or older to use nicotine products. Vape shops strictly abide by this rule.
Now, let’s get on with it.
About three months ago, my husband was subject to new rules at work. One of the biggest rules he shared with me was that he and his co-workers were no longer allowed to use tobacco products at work. I was really surprised to hear this because almost everyone I knew that he worked with used some form of tobacco. I couldn’t imagine what they must have been feeling when they found out they had to go so many hours without their fix, especially when they were so used to having it up until now. As a smoker myself, I felt their pain.
My husband, however, was never a habitual tobacco user. He was very interested in cigars for a long time, but when we moved he gave that habit up for other reasons. He used chewing tobacco for a while, but since he doesn’t have the addictive personality that most of us deal with (jerk), he never felt the need to continue on with his habit. Tobacco for him was more of a way to stay awake during long shifts, or just give him a relaxed feeling during a hard day.
Myself, on the other hand, needed my cigarettes. If I drank coffee, I smoked. If I was stressed, I smoked. If I was hungry and did not want to eat because I was on one of my crazy crash diets, I smoked. If I was bored, I smoked. I was a solid pack-a-day smoker. I started smoking when I was 16 and worked at a fast food restaurant. A lot of the people there were older than me, and I wanted to make friends with my older co-workers. Pretty much your classic scenario of how one begins smoking.
As I got older and started college, I found smoking as a way to get outside between classes and meet people. I hated the money I was spending by that point, but I wanted to meet new people and get out of the horror show that was my high school career. So, as an excuse to not quit, I said that I only smoked to get outside and meet people. Because asking for a lighter is so much easier of a conversation starter than talking about the weather, am I right?
Well, four years passed and I was still a smoker. I was spending WAY too much money on this habit. Part of me knew I had to stop sooner rather than later, but I always made excuses not to.
I had tried vaping before when my area started opening some vape shops in their hookah lounges (another place I was no stranger to at the time). And I had tried it out, but it never gave me the satisfaction I needed. If anything, the tease of nicotine made me want to smoke more. I would vape for a while and then I was right back off to my cigarette 10 minutes later.
Finally a few months ago my husband decided he wanted to give it a try. We went to a vape shop where we live now and they hooked him up with a pretty decent starter kit, a couple of juices, and a new toy in his hands. I still knew a lot about vaping from when I had tried it a couple of years ago, and I thought I would casually vape with him every once in a while with my old vape. I still never planned on giving up my cigarettes. They were my security blanket. My escape to my balcony when things got too real in my apartment. My excuse to leave any situation I didn’t want to be in. My reason to talk to people. My conversation starter.
Until one day, I ran out of cigarettes in my pack. No big deal, right? Just go waste more money and buy more like I had for the past six years. The only problem was, I had just started work for the day. As I mentioned in a previous post, I work from home. The phones were already turned over to me and I had emails flowing in on this wonderful busy Monday. In my company we work through lunch for the exchange of a 7 and 1/2 hour day rather than 8, so “running out on my lunch break” was not an option.
What I did have, though, was my vape.
Alright, it’s just a few hours, I can make it until the end of the day.
To my surprise, it really wasn’t that bad.
It was not that bad to the point that I decided to take a quick nap after work instead of rushing to the gas station. And, as we all know, my “quick nap” turned in to my husband coming home asking where dinner was. Oops…
As he asked me about my day, I told him that I hadn’t had any cigarettes and that I just hit my vape and I was totally fine for the day. As I was about to ask him to go to the gas station, he got really excited and said we had to go to the vape shop ASAP and get me a new mod with my own juice so I could finally quit smoking for good.
I went along with it. I figured no harm, no foul, I would just get something cheap and when I decided that I couldn’t do it anymore I would just vape with him casually like I always did. I wasn’t really quitting. Just entertaining the idea for a few days until something made me anxious and I would run outside and have my fix.
That was until we got to the vape shop.
He picked out a new starter kit for me because my mod was “outdated”. Which it was, but it worked perfectly fine. I liked the new one he picked out for me, so I figured why not. Then I picked out my new juice. Some sweet as all could be lemon cake flavor. Then my husband in his excitement told them that I was going to quit smoking on a whim that day.
The cashier stared at me. She asked me how much I smoked in a day, what I smoked, all the details about my miserable six-year habit that I wasn’t quite ready to give up. When I answered all her questions, she recommended something a little bit closer to a tobacco flavor. I was never big on the tobacco flavors, so at that point, I wasn’t into it. But she gave me a fruity flavor with an icy finish. I was hooked.
I was a menthol cigarette smoker so that icy finish was just what I needed to give me that feeling of freshness my sweet and dessert-like juice was missing. She also recommended on bumping up to a 6 mg nicotine level rather than a 3 mg. If I was serious about it, easing myself into it was going to be the easiest thing.
Well, $75 later, I was on my quest to give up my nasty little cancer sticks.
Since that day, I have done significantly better than I thought I would. I won’t lie and say I haven’t smoked since. I have. About three weeks after quitting I had a really rough week with some personal issues and decided that I was going to buy a pack. I had one or two a day with my friends that week. I didn’t finish the pack before handing it off to one of my friends, though. The main reason being is because they just didn’t taste how I remembered. They tasted like ash now compared to my cantaloupe ice vape juice. Additionally, I hated having to go outside for my fix now. If my husband and I were in the middle of a really good movie or had company, I started to hate having to excuse myself outside and miss out on whatever was happening. I learned that if I ever did need a minute to myself, I could go outside and not smoke.
I know that sounds totally obvious, but hear me out.
I thought it was the act of smoking that helped me calm down after a rough situation. While I’m sure that little nicotine boost played a factor, I realized that going outside and giving myself time to regroup was all I really needed.
I love the staff and the friends I’ve made at my new vape shop. So, in a way, I am still getting to meet new people and have random small talk without asking for a lighter. I’ve been breathing so much better and coughing so much less. I even feel like I can sing slightly less horribly.
Overall, I just feel better.
My hope is that eventually, I can cut back to a 3 mg nicotine juice, then cut to 0 mg, and eventually break the habit altogether. Because even though vaping is better than smoking, it’s still worse than nothing at all. I’m sure it’s going to be another challenge in the journey I am taking myself on, but after saying goodbye to my addiction to cigarettes themselves I feel like I can take on the World. I realized a strength in myself that I didn’t know I had.
It made me love myself just a little bit more.
And that is where this journey began just five short weeks ago. I am combatting all my demons head-on, and there is nowhere but up to go from here.
I know that even though my generation has cut back on smoking there are a lot of us still out there! If this story made you decide to give vaping a try or you have had a similar experience as me please share that in the replies section below! Also, don’t forget to subscribe via email and follow us on Twitter!
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