From The Desk of Julia Barnes
If you’ve been vaping for a while you’ve undoubtedly heard someone say this to you, “I just don’t want to do this anymore”. Meaning, of course, that they are tired of constantly recharging batteries, filling cartomizers or clearomizers, replacing coils, cleaning battery connectors, and all the other things we do every day in order to keep us supplied with working tools we use to vape with. On Monday, when Cynthia told me this, it was the third time I’d heard it this year. So, the question arises; “Is vaping a way of life or just another a fad?”
It is absolutely a way of life for many people, of that I am certain, but for some vaping is a curiosity, a new ‘thing’, a short-lived interest that fades with time. Like anything else, there are people that make a lifelong commitment to something and there are some that just can’t do it. I don’t have a problem with curiosity or commitment, especially when it comes to e-cigarettes, what I do have a problem with is what these people do when they’ve decided they “don’t want to this anymore”. Do they return to smoking traditional cigarettes or do they walk away from all forms of nicotine consumption?
If a previous Vaper returns to the old habit of smoking tobacco is vaping to blame? Is the constant need to charge and recharge batteries, along with the need to fill and refill cartos and clearos giving certain people an excuse to go back to smoking? I wanted to find out, so I tracked down the other two people who told me that they were going to stop vaping to see what happened. What I discovered is in no way any type of scientific study or an indicator of the larger number of people that quit vaping, but they are interesting nonetheless. – Julia Barnes
Valerie is a 32-year-old secretary living and working in the same town where I live and work. Tracking her down was a simple matter of hitting up her Facebook page and making a lunch date with her. On Tuesday of this week we met at Applebee’s and discussed the reasons why she quit vaping.
From Valerie: “The worst thing about vaping, besides constantly having to switch batteries, was how whatever e-liquid I was using always wound up tasting like s***. I can’t tell you how many different flavors, how many different companies I bought ejuice from. After a while I couldn’t stand what they tasted like. When I was smoking my Salem’s they always tasted like a Salem, no matter what time of the day it was, no matter how many I smoked. Not to mention how f***ing easy it was to buy a pack and strike my Bic and light it up.”
When I pursued her objections deeper I found out that Val had, just a couple of weeks before she quit, switched to a larger battery and clearomizers from vaping a cig-a-like. She never added additional batteries to her first starter kit, and always bought her packs of cartomizers from Walgreens, at $15 a pack. She vaped that way for months, almost a year in fact, but then these cig-a-likes weren’t working as well so she decided to “take it up a notch” and she spent almost $100 on two eGo batteries that came with two CE4 clearomizers, a USB adapter, a wall adapter and a case.
She went through almost two-dozen different flavors of e-liquid from 4 different vendors after she bought the eGo starter kit. None of them tasted like the prefilled cartomizers she was used to, so she had to forage through all those flavors looking for one or two that would justify the expense of the eGo’s. She never did.
Most importantly, when she stopped smoking and started vaping with the small batteries and prefilled cartos the nicotine level was 1.8%. So, all the e-liquid bottles she purchased were the same 1.8% (18mg). The day she called me up and told me she couldn’t do it anymore she completely stopped vaping and never did return to smoking, which I believe the relatively low nicotine level helped. Today she is nicotine free without the need to inhale vapor or smoke. And although she never intended to stop that’s exactly what happened. – Julia Barnes
I would call Valerie a success story. The e-cigarette, for her, played the part of a cessation role in her life and that’s great. I don’t even want to try to understand what happened or what I could have done to prevent it. There is no reason to second-guess Val’s actions because the outcome was a good one. But the next girl I spoke to, well that was much different.
Denise was a whole different kind of Vaper. She would have made a great addition to the staff for a while anyway. Denise was into vaping like no one I had ever met in real life. She had it all; more than a dozen APV’s, all kinds of tanks and other paraphernalia, and a juice collection as big as the one here at the office of Spinfuel. Denise vaped 10ml of e-Liquid a day, on average, and would certainly qualify as one of Tom’s definitions of a ‘pacifier Vaper’. Like Valerie, she told me that she was sick of it all and just stopped doing it.
She didn’t bother to tapper off, or go from 2.4% nicotine down to something like .8% and then off it completely. Denise came home from work one evening and shoved it all into a plastic trash bag, walked over to the apartment building dumpster and threw it in. The next morning, walking out to her car she watched the garbage truck empty the dumpster into the huge container on its back, and as all the plastic trash bags were tumbling into the truck’s container she flipped them off, got in her car and drove to work. – Julia Barnes
Denise is telling me all this over the phone and as she’s telling the story her speech becomes pressured, faster, angrier. She told me that she had probably thrown away a good thousand dollars worth of vape gear and e-liquid and was angry with herself for being sucked in. As she takes a breath and begins in again I hear the click click click of the lighter and the sound of the crackling of tobacco and paper as it begins to burn. Because of my silence I suppose, she said; “Yep. I’m smoking. I’m normal again”.
When I asked her what it was about vaping that became a catalyst to her sudden elimination of hundreds of dollars of vaping equipment and her return to cigarettes her story was completely different from Val’s.
Denise: “You want to know what did it for me? I’ll tell you; it was “X” company. I had gone through a lot of batteries over the past 18 months and for the longest time I was okay with it. I really didn’t care about the money, for a long time anyway.
Then there was “X” company. And they had a sale on eGo batteries so I bought like 6 of them and they were all s***! When I emailed the company, they don’t have a phone number, they said the batteries were checked when they shipped out and they were fine, and because there are no serial numbers on the batteries they would not replace them! So anyway, I’m looking at all this SH** on my nightstand, my dresser, on my desk, in my closet, in the kitchen, everywhere, and it just hit me. WHY? Why am I doing this? For what? For who? So I decided right then and there to just get rid of it all. That night when I got home from work I threw it all away. I didn’t want to go back to smoking, but after a few days I was so desperate for a smoke I drove to 7-11 and bought a pack. I’ve been content ever since. I’m free.” (Really?)
I talked to Denise a while longer and discovered that she was a Vaper who, once and a while, would sneak off to have a smoke during the entire 18 months that she was a Vaper. She also admitted to having a bit of an OCD/addictive personality thing going on, and this was bound to happen at some point anyway. She doesn’t look back, and she never thinks about it. Interestingly, any friends she made while vaping are people she longer hangs out with. Denise is 44 years old, divorced, no kids, and a really good job. (Can’t say where though)
Did we learn anything?
Maybe. One girl quit because she was never satisfied and one quit because she got in too deep and was looking for the slightest reason to bail. The company, a company I never heard of until now, was the “excuse”, not the cause, and while I like Denise a lot, I don’t for a minute think that a real vendor would tell someone that they won’t replace defective batteries that were just purchased because there wasn’t a serial number. So, either she bought them off craigslist or a flea market.
Asking For Help?
Becoming frustrated with just about anything and everything is a normal part of life. Sometimes when someone considers tossing out their vaping gear they could just be frustrated and are asking for help, in their own way of course. If you suspect that to be the case when a friend or loved one tells you they “don’t want to it anymore”, you might consider probing a bit to see if there is some underlying reason that’s bothering them. I would rather spend a little time with someone I know who tells me they might want to give up vaping then to take the risk that someone I care about might go back to tobacco products.
Some of these reasons could be any of the following;
The e-Liquid Excuse – A friend could be going through a period of exploration and hit a bad patch in the road. Maybe they decided to reach out and find a few good fruit flavors, or desert flavors, or whatever, and after dropping a couple of hundred dollars and finding only one or two decent flavors they begin to regret spending the money and wonder if its always going to be this way. You might want to help them find a couple of exciting new flavors. Maybe you have a few favorites your friend has never tried before. Share it. Try to encourage them that there are unlimited choices out there and you’ll help them find some new juice.
The Too Many Choices Syndrome – This is a tough one. Almost every week there are new APV’s hitting the market and if a Vaper is either tired of the one they’ve been using, or is just someone that wants a new toy it can get to the point where they see it as a never ending proposition and begin to regret buying the first one, much less the many others they see in their future.
Technology keeps getting better, and what was a providing a great vape last year still provides a great vape this year, but that new one provides an even better one, however small that might be. I go through that with computers, I used to buy new MacBooks every time Apple upgraded them. Fortunately I could always sell my old one on eBay for about 70% of what I paid so upgrading would cost 30% at most. Not so with wanting to sell few ZMAX APV’s to buy the new eVic. In this case it is vital to help someone like this get on a normal upgrade path.
Yes, you can tell them what computer users tell each other, that the old computer is still as good as it was yesterday despite a new version coming out today. The better way to do it, at this level (sub-$100) is to help them plan new purchases. “If you put away $20 a week you’ll have the money for the new eVic is a month!” Everyone loves new toys, but some people want more than their budget allows and get frustrated when they can’t have it. Acting out can sometimes mean throwing it all away. You can help more than you think.
Bad Decision Dilemma – I knew a guy that managed to sell four VAMOS in New Hampshire and used that money to buy the Joyetech eVic. He’s also a Mac user and loves tech. So buying an APV that hooks into the Mac via a USB port was like melding one passion with another. But, little did he know that when he bought the eVic it didn’t (then) have a Mac version of the software. So what did he do? He was so upset with himself that he bought a pack of cigarettes and destroyed his “211 days without tobacco” record. I had to help him install Boot Camp on his Mac, install Windows on it, and almost everyday for a month had to remind him that a Mac version for the eVic was coming. He had already shown me that the alternative for him was returning to tobacco, so I had to intervene the only way I could. Today, with the Mac version installed on his MacBook Pro, he’s a happy camper.
I think it’s important to realize that just because someone tells you they are sick of “doing it” they may just be in the need of some assurance, and you can help them figure it all out if you care enough. If they are serious, and they want to quit vaping AND NOT go back to cigarettes then by all means don’t stand in their way. But if they look like they may go back to cigarettes, or did go back to cigarettes, then you need to do whatever you can to stop that from happening or getting back on the road to recovery.
Very few people choose e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation method. They switch to vaping because they like to smoke, and they want to do it safely. But its not all rose peddles and ham sandwiches, there is a need for self discipline, a constant reminder that vaping is 1000 times safer than smoking, and that vaping is not a game, it’s a commitment to a better, healthier life. Get frustrated, get angry, but don’t give it up and go back to cigarettes. That’s just dumb. E-cigarettes serve a purpose, and it’s not about being a member of a club or a clique. It’s about saving lives.