Vaping and diabetes- My journey so far – For all the writing our team does on here, we very rarely inject our personal lives into our writing. Sure, you know which writers like certain things, but doing vape journalism can be a little faceless. Today, I’m going to change things up a bit by getting a little more personal about my own journey.
Two years ago, on my birthday, I was diagnosed as a Type II diabetic. Apparently, those pamphlets were right – a life full of fatty foods and alcohol isn’t sustainable once you hit a certain age. In one fell swoop, a long overdue checkup turned into a much-needed reality check – one that turned everything upside down.
At first, after recovering from this pipe bomb announcement, I figured, “Okay, eat less candy, cut down on the bread, move to light beer…”
I was wrong.
Not only did those things have to go, but I also needed to make some significant lifestyle and mentality changes, in hopes that my body would adjust to a healthier intake. Just. Like. That.
I was wrong again.
Vaping and Diabetes for Real
Within days of my newly portioned, monitored and regimented diet, I found myself sneaking around for sweets, in hopes of scratching those itches without damaging my blood sugar levels. And it was only a matter of time before I got caught by my wife. But instead of berating me for a lack of self-control, she just went to my office and handed me my vape mod.
Why? Because I had just gotten a shipment of fruit and cake-flavored e-liquids, all of which closely replicated the flavors I was forced to leave behind. And they also came in RESPONSIBLE, law-abiding, mature packaging that clearly indicated these were adult products, and not to be confused with the flavors the e-liquids were emulating.
My wife gave me a look, as if to say, “Dummy, the answer has been in front of you the entire time.” She also reassured me that if my vape mods could help me stave off smoking cravings all these years, then it was worth a try to see if they could keep my sweets cravings away, as well.
That was the last day I ever ate a piece of candy. And I haven’t even stutter-stepped once since that date.
Don’t believe the negative press about vape flavors…
In the eyes of the anti-vaping movement, this entire industry is nothing more than a plot to lure children to nicotine and smoking, even if they’ve never done either in their lives. People who buy into that have a lot to learn.
As a respected and established resource for the vaping industry, we take exception to how the media portrays these products. Rather than highlighting how flavored vapes offer a pleasurable alternative to standard tobacco varieties, these groups continue to make sweeping claims like, “kids enjoy flavors, so vape companies are marketing to them.”
This is certainly a tired topic, but we’ll bring it up for the sake of argument: By a show of hands, how many adults here enjoy flavored coffee? Indulgent desserts? Flavored cocktails?
Exactly what we thought. I’ve written about this topic before for other vaping websites, but I just have to repeat myself here: We might not be scientists, but we’re pretty sure taste buds and flavor receptors don’t magically transform once you turn 21. Vaping and diabetes cannot exclude any flavor in FDA regulations.
Just ask the adults in the room who still find themselves craving sugary cereals or a bag of Doritos. Maybe we’re not the typical customer base for these items, but we didn’t just stop enjoying them once our calendars flipped to adulthood.
An unfair connection…
Vape product branding, product names and marketing need to be aimed squarely at adult buyers. There is no need for cartoon characters, childish logos and fonts, or any other connections to youth culture. If certain products hearken back to flavors you enjoyed from childhood, nothing on the packaging should reflect anything from a child-focused product.
That hasn’t stopped many fly-by-night companies from using underhanded marketing tactics to push their products. But, if we want vaping to be taken seriously as an industry, these minor-league, low-standard practices need to disappear. There may always be predatory retailers looking to make a quick buck, cream rises and more-scrupulous companies always find themselves standing alone at the end.
While we are concerned about vaping and youth adoption, this isn’t a direct parallel to reducing options for adults. Kids were smoking LONG before flavored JUUL pods hit the streets, even when there was only one flavor available. We certainly don’t endorse the behavior… but we don’t want to be penalized for it, either.
Limiting options for adults who enjoy sweet flavors is not the way to address underage smoking. And neither is handcuffing reputable vape companies who want to provide adults with a pleasurable alternative to tobacco or tobacco flavors.
Just ask this guy, who managed to kill two birds with one flavored stone…
Vaping and diabetes where flavors are part of the progression
When I switched to vaping after a 17-year smoking habit, I started with the tobacco varieties I knew and loved. This was key to giving my brain a connection between the former smoking habit, and the new reality I was giving my body. In time, my brain no longer wanted to light up and smoke an dirty cigarette, and was satisfied taking a few short puffs of the e-cig, satisfying my waning cravings.
I was an ex-smoker within a few months of my first vape. So, as a newly minted diabetic, I figured, “Let’s take the same approach with my sugar intake.”
I had already enjoyed fruit- and dessert-flavored vape liquids, but had never used them as part of a way to quell food cravings when they hit. So, I lowered my overall vaping intake, and only used these particular flavors when I wanted to indulge in sugary treats – usually late at night before bed.
You know what? My brain stopped heading to the kitchen and started thinking about getting a sweet-flavored vape as the reward, instead. It worked almost instantaneously, just by readjusting my internal desire/reward system, and eliminating the choice to eat sweets from the options in front of me. Like I said, I haven’t had a piece of candy or cake since that day, and even better, I haven’t even thought about it.
Now, to be clear, we’re not medical professionals, and you should always seek medical assistance before making a shift in your diet, habits, etc. But while I might not have a medical degree, I’m definitely authorized to speak to you about my own reality.
Within six months of my first diagnosis, a modified diet and exercise program reduced my blood sugar levels to the national average. Within a year, they were nearly ideal – well below the national average, and also below what doctors would consider to be even “pre-diabetic.”
Make no mistake, diabetes isn’t curable by a year of good behavior, and I’ll always have this disease. However, the journey has been made a lot easier by having the flavors I crave available in a format that doesn’t affect my blood sugar one bit. I’ve lost weight, overhauled my diet, and currently enjoy being my doctor’s “favorite” patient, thanks to doing what she says, and finding different ways to enjoy life without breaking the rules I need to follow.
Vaping flavored e-liquids isn’t a cure for diabetes. Or anything for that matter. But it was an important part of a bigger lifestyle and mentality change that helped me right the ship – one that will be taken from me if the FDA effectively bans flavored vape products from the shelves.