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Vape Update: 101 Inhalations

It’s now 101 days since my last cigarette. And vaping is being backed as part of the annual Stopober campaign. Along with Public Health England, NHS Scotland has also stated that e-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco, and around 53% of people quitting smoking last October used them. Despite the fact that some newspapers claimed health advisors were at odds, what the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence actually said is that there’s still little evidence relating to long term ecigarette use, but that advice should be offered on them for people wanting to stop smoking.

So basically, there’s still not a huge amount of information on the potential longterm effects of vaping. But all studies into their immediate effects show that they’re much better than smoking. Although obviously it’s safest not to be inhaling anything.

Which all means I’m still chuffed to be happily vaping away on 6mg liquid 101 days after starting out with 12mg and no more Marlboro.

AspireZelos With Nautilus 2 and Eleaf iStick with Nautilus 2

My Aspire Zelos (right) and Eleaf iStick 40W (left), both fitted with Aspire Nautilus 2 tanks

So what are my latest totals?

  • Around 1,515 cigarettes not smoked.
  • And £757.50 cigarettes not bought.
  • Total cost of vaping kit: Kit (inc 2 tanks) £92. Liquids and coils: £162.48. Total: £254.48.
  • Savings now at £503.02
  • At 10 minutes per cigarette, I’ve regained 252.50 hours. Or 10.5 days.
  • And continuing with a little over 40 push-ups and squats to mean I can take an occasional rest day and still average out on target – 1,602 push-ups and 1,602 squats in 55 days.

So far, the only times I’ve had any issues have been learning to make sure the chimney of the e-cigarette coil is dried out with a bit of tissue if there’s too much liquid in it. And the occasional taste of burning when coils are due to be replaced – I think I’ve now replaced each tank twice in over 3 months. Trying a ‘premium’ liquid which I didn’t enjoy did result in burning through the coil a little more quickly, but even so, another pack of coils for £10 or so should last me until after Christmas.

Being healthier and essentially giving myself a £2,000 payrise for minimum hassle seems to have worked out pretty well!

Looking at prices, it’s getting cheaper and cheaper to try vaping. The Aspire Zelos feels like a marginally better piece of kit, but at under £30 for the Eleaf, you can be up and running for under £50 including a tank. Even if you’re stocked up on duty free cigarettes, it’ll still save you cash fairly quickly.

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Vaping at 90 Days

Bit of a check-in, as today I have now been vaping for 90 days. Which means it’s 3 months since my last ever cigarette, and it’s still going well. I get the very occasional temptation for an ‘analogue’ cigarette every few days, and it’s always late at night when I’m low on nicotine. My brain obviously still psychologically associates nicotine cravings with the final cigarette of the night, but as soon as I vape that goes.

And I’m now converted to 6mg liquid rather than the original 12mg recommended for regular smokers just under a pack a day. I’m still vaping a bit more than previously, but nowhere near the double required to match the nicotine previously – I’m probably vaping somewhere between 20-40% more. But it’s slowly easing off, and I’m enjoying being able to find a slightly wider range of flavours available in 6mg.

And I’m still enjoying improved circulation, particularly in my fingers and toes. Plus I no longer have any kind of cough, or the feeling like I need to hack up a lung in the mornings. No waking up with sleep apnea during the night. And doing daily exercise appears to be working as my recovery time afterwards seems to be slowly coming down. I’m not exactly turning into some kind of athlete, but I’m slowly rediscovering arm and leg muscles. And although I’m way off a beach body, I’ve found that not only are the arms of my T-shirts not quite reaching as far as they used to (spot the tan line), but I did take off my shirt and go swimming in the sea with my son recently… I’ve never been confident or happy with taking my shirt off in public, so that was quite a victory.

Dan_Vaping_September_15

So the totals?

Vaping at 90 Days:

  • Around 1,350 cigarettes not smoked.
  • £675 of cigarettes not bought.
  • Total cost of vaping: Kit (inc 2 tanks) £92. Liquids and coils: £162.48. Total: £254.48. (I’ve just bought 8 more bottles of liquid, which should take me to another 2 weeks+.
  • Savings £420.52.
  • Potentially at 10 minutes per cigarette, that’s 225 hours, or 9.375 days of life regained.
  • And on the exercise front, I’m now just under 40 push-ups and squats per day. Which means I’ve managed around 1,162 push-ups and squats across 44 days. And will now be doing 1,200 per month.

So not bad. Add another 2 weeks of smoking, and the savings will be more than £500, which is a pretty decent saving for something which has made me feel healthier, stopped me stinking of cigarette smoke, and saves me from having to drive to buy cigarettes at 1am in the morning when I’ve run out and most shops are closed.

The worst temptation I’ve got is potentially buying a Direct To Lung kit to produce more smoke and make it easier to switch to 3mg liquid in the future. Mainly for entertaining myself at home by impersonating a choo-choo train, and keeping the more discrete kits (like my go to Aspire Zelos) for when I’m out in public…

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Patagonia ad shows a company taking a stand…

There’s lots of debates about corporate social responsibility, mission statements, and building a business around beliefs etc.

But this advert by Patagonia is pretty clear.

It’s increasingly clear that a company either has an obvious purpose beyond simply existing, or it will forever have to compete on attributes (price, convenience etc) that will be increasingly harder and less profitable due to competition.

The first supermarket had it relatively easy and profitable for a while. Now the margins are slim and there are rivals everywhere, from the low-end to the high.  But it’s much harder to compete with a company that has a clear and evident purpose. Is your outdoor clothing company going to go further in protecting the environment that Patagonia, for example? It’s possible, but it’ll be harder than cloning a jacket and charging 10% less.

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78 Days of Vape

Bit of an odd number, but I haven’t updated on my vaping/exercise progress in a while. Mainly because I took time away from work and the internet while my son visited. So my push up and squat routine continued, but supplemented by visits to the countryside, and massive ice cream desserts.

So it’s 18 more days since my last cigarette. And it’s now 2 days since switching permanently to 6mg nicotine eliquid from 12mg. I’d mixed the two a bit to try and wean myself down in preparation. And then used the wrong strength liquid for a day out with my son and didn’t really notice. Having spent the weekend at the lower strength, I have vaped more, but not double the amount. Halving the nicotine means I’m probably vaping 3ml per day compared to 2ml usually. And that will probably come down soon.

So the totals to date:

  • 1,170 cigarettes not smoked. (Quite a nice big number to encourage me further)
  • £585 of cigarettes not bought.
  • Total cost of vaping so far: Kit £92. Liquids and coils £124.50. Total £216.50
  • Savings: £368.50.
  • Potentially at 10 minutes per cigarette, 195 hours, or just over 8 days of live regained.
  • Plus I’ve moved up to 30 push-ups and 30 squats every day, which works out at about 730 push-ups and 730 squats over 32 days.

And having bought 60 ml of liquid (6 x 10ml bottles for £24 total), that should last me 2-3 weeks. So no need to spend anything else for a bit. That should take my savings towards £500, since stopping smoking under 3 months ago (Based on buying Marlboro at UK supermarket prices).

I’m hoping some studies on the relative nicotine inhalation/absorption will be released between cigarettes and vaping, and also more detailed information on what conditions were actually set. For instance, the newspapers reported a while ago that vaping was apparently as bad for you as smoking, based on the idea that you got as much nicotine from vaping as smoking. Except it was based on 30 minutes vaping vs 5 minutes smoking, and nowhere seemed to actually have info on which strength liquid was used, what strength cigarettes, what wattage, or the average inhalations per minute etc. As someone who could smoke a Marlboro Red in under 3 minutes, and also only ever vapes for 5-10 minutes at a time, it’s a pretty meaningless bit of information portrayed in a pretty sketchy manner.

The actual scientific reviews all suggest that vaping is much more preferable to smoking as a cessation aid or as an alternative. For instance, the Cochrane Review or e-Cigarettes.

 

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60 Days of Vaping

Another update as I’ve now hit the two month mark since smoking my last cigarette. For the last 60 days, I’ve been happily vaping and I’m not even tempted when standing next to someone smoking tobacco.

Which is nice.

I’m still mainly on 12mg liquid, but have been starting to experiment with 6mg during the day, and it’s slowly becoming normal. At some point I’ll need to just make the switch permanently…

60 Days of Vaping Totals:

  • 900 cigarettes not smoked.
  • £450 of cigarettes not bought.
  • Total cost of vaping so far: Kit £92. Liquids and coils £100.50. Total £192.50.
  • Savings: £257.50
  • Potentially: 150 hours of life, or 6.25 days regained.
  • And I’ve also managed 280+ push-ups and 280+ squats over the last 14 days.

So I’m healthier and £250 better off after two months. I’m pretty happy with that!

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50 Vapes of Days

There are a variety of different studies and opinions which try to define how long it takes to form a new habit. From 21 days to 66 or 90, the answer varies. Probably because people do.

So I don’t know how long you’ve stuck with something before it became a natural habit. But I’d be interested to find out. Certainly I’ve found that writing regularly about progress has been helpful, as I’m not someone who finds updating a spreadsheet on daily ‘quantified self metrics’ particularly enjoyable. But weekly updates on here remind me to keep going – even if I might be starting to bore friends on Facebook and Twitter.

So 50 days of vaping today:

  • 750 cigarettes not smoked.
  • £375 of cigarettes not bought.
  • Total cost of vaping so far: Kit £92. Liquids and coils: £88.50. Total: £180.50
  • Savings: £194.50
  • Potentially 125 hours of life, or 5.2 days re-gained.
  • And coincidentally, since getting the inclination to exercise again: 160+ push-ups, and 160+ squats. I can’t be exact as I’ve set my minimum at 20 per day, and anything over that is a bonus.

The savings weren’t as big as they might have been, as I stocked up with a new pack of coils (the first tank I bought finally needed a replacement), and 2 weeks of liquid (but with half at 6mg nicotine as opposed to 12mg). Bit annoying, as my savings would have been over £200 otherwise, but I’ll hit that in the next day. And that’s not counting lighters, or the petrol for late night trips to the corner shop.

I’m still very happy with the Apsire Zelos and Nautilus tank. For reference, I’m using it for Mouth-to-Lung (MTL) vaping and generally around 13-13.5 watts depending on the thickness of the liquid.

Might need to experiment with some new flavours though. It seems that a lot of people like a sweeter taste than me, and I definitely like more fruit and citrus flavours. So any recommendations are much appreciated…

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6 Weeks of Vaping

Just a quick check in to keep tracking my vaping progress. Today is the 6 week mark, or 42 days since I last smoked a cigarette.

Which is:

  • 630 cigarettes not smoked.
  • Roughly £315 of cigarettes not bought.
  • Cost of vaping: Initial set up £92. Liquids and coils: £52. Total: £144.
  • Saving: £171.
  • Health cost of smoking averaged at 10 minutes of lifespan means 6,300 minutes more. Or 105 hours. Or 4.4 days. Likely at a higher level of health.
  • And despite my resistance to mid-life Lycra, I’ve started exercising again. Just the 20+ press-ups and squats per day, but it’s noticeably easier in terms of breathlessness than it was. Although my arms and shoulders are as weak as they were before I started the first time before Christmas.
  • Plus my circulation has noticeably improved, particularly in my feet and toes. No more ice cold feet, or waking up in the middle of the night with cramp in my feet.
  • Finally my sense of smell is now like a cross between a superpower and a Bill Hicks sketch
    “Someone is smoking a cigarette 2 miles away”
    “Has someone 3 houses away used manure on their garden?”
    “Is that a dead body?”

And from today I’m going to be trying a lower nicotine level mixture, moving from 12mg of nicotine down to 6mg during the day. Fortunately with my back up Eleaf iStick as well as my Aspire, I can play around and it’s not a big deal if it doesn’t work out yet.

Eleaf-iStick-40W

So there you go. Expect another update when I get to the 2 month mark.

 

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Will Open Source Inherit The Desktop?

The future is entirely mobile and in the cloud. That’s what every news article and analyst tells me. Desktop computers are only needed by a tiny percentage of people. And we don’t need processing power when our files are in Dropbox, our work is on Google Docs, images are edited in Adobe Creative Cloud, and all our music and video needs are covered by Spotify, Netflix and Amazon Prime. And we can run them all via superfast, completely reliable broadband allowing us to be incredibly productive at the remaining tasks not already performance by artifical intelligence.

Sounds lovely, but it’s not my reality.

The predictions do make sense. And it’s not surprising that cloud-based software-as-a-service has taken off. Why only make a profit on a single sale when you can get lifetime payments via a subscription model without pesky duplication or retail stores taking a cut?

But in my world, I have a standard broadband connection shared with other people in my house. And that passes through some TP Link Powerline adaptors due to flakey wifi. While they give me a stable connection, it’s not the fastest as it passes through 1960s era electrical wiring.

And while I love my phone, I’m either too old or too clumsy to write long passages or edit photos on it. And I’d rather keep it reasonably streamlined with the handful of apps I actually need to use, rather than loading every possible work and pleasure-related service onto it.

Which is why I not only believe Open Source will inherit the desktop, but I’m thankful for it.

Open Source Will Inherit The Desktop

So open source is not a new thing. Open Source software has been around for decades, and has many advocates and users. Examples you may be familiar with include Richard Stallman anouncing plans for GNU in 1983, Linux appearing in 1991, WordPress in 2003, Ubuntu in 2004, OpenOffice which began in 1999 and has been forked into various versions, including LibreOffice in 2010.

Plus Apache, Firefox, Android, and many, many more projects.

And in some areas, open source software is the default. But the typical consumer desktop is still generally either Windows for a PC or Mac OS.

But as the main proprietary desktop software companies increasingly move towards the cloud, that leaves a greater potential for Open Source to fill the void. For example, Microsoft has recently announced the end of MS Paint, and Windows Essentials was retired in January, 2017.

While some of those products have been replaced or integrated into Windows, Live Writer has been forked and open sourced to continue as Open Live Writer for those wishing to continue to blog via their desktop. I already mentioned LibreOffice for those needing a decent suite of office software. And I’ve personally used GIMP for image editing as an alternative to Photoshop and simpler tools – the Gimpshop version might be even easier for Photoshop users to transfer across. I’ve used Filezilla more times than I care to count – I’d be surprised if it isn’t the most used FTP software in the world by now. And VLC Media Player has coped with legally purchased official DVDs that have refused to work via the Windows DVD player for whatever reason…

Even my father appreciated Ubuntu when I installed it on his old laptop, but then again, I was replacing Windows Vista.

The thing is, some of those open source projects are a little clunkier than their proprietary counterparts. Not everything in LibreOffice, or Gimp is quite as intuitive, even thought it’s still perfectly usable when you find it. And there are occasionally driver issues with Ubuntu that you don’t tend to get as often with Windows, for example. When people make software and hardware, they’re used to catering to Windows and Mac first.

But when everything proprietary is moving to the cloud, and ‘normal’ people need desktop solutions, that means greater demand for compatability. And a bigger demand for improving the user interfaces and ease-of-use for all the main open source applications.

Which then makes it easier and more accessible for the next group of users.

Having worked on open source projects, I’ve seen the difference even small changes can make to a user base when a product becomes simpler and easier to use.

You can tell the current audience of Ubuntu by their latest news and spotlight articles, ‘Developing Ubuntu using git’, and ‘Speed up your software development lifecycle using Kubernetes’. Compare that to ‘Windows 10 helps you do great things’.

Whether or not the open source world will take advantage of this new opportunity to take over a still valuable space remains to be seen. But unless something incredibly radical happens with broadband access in the UK, the available bandwith means desktop applications which use minimal data will still be required for a long time yet.

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The Digital Generation Gap in 3 sentences…

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been talking about going to the cinema with my son and my parents. And it perfectly illustrates the digital divide between 3 generations of my family. And it can also be summed up in 3 sentences.

  • The day before we plan on going to see a film, my parents drove 20 minutes to the nearest cinema. And went inside to book tickets.
  • The hour before I planned on taking my son to see a film, I went online to check the local cinema times and available seats. And book and pay online via a credit or debit card.
  • My son expects to be able to get a seat for any film almost instantly just by announcing that’s what he wants to do.

It’s easy to mock my parents spending so much time on a relatively trivial task. Then again, they also had the time to incorporate a nice walk, scope out some local eateries, and have a spot of lunch.

My version is more efficient in terms of time. But less pleasaent. And also more susceptible to the risks of online payments. Plus I didn’t get a nice lunch or any fresh air.

Meanwhile my son currently relies on me to fulfill his demands when he’s staying with me. But given the rise of voice assistants (Siri, Alexa, etc), it won’t be long before his expectations may become normal. (And I should make it clear that he’s not ill-mannered, or doesn’t get there’s a finite supply of seats in a cinema – he’s just increasingly used to games, TV, music etc all being available on-demand in the modern era. So sometimes it takes reminding that spaces might be limited on an opening weekend).

The Digital Generation Gap in 3 sentences

The challenge for any business is to decide which age group they need to serve. Or how to cope with all three demands in the best possible way.

That may mean being able to provide in-person service, an amazing website and app, and also making everything as available on-demand via voice search.

Or it could be convincing me that it’s worth making the trip in person. And persuading my son that the experience is worth any waiting required…

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30 Days of Vapes and Hijinks

Yesterday marked 30 days since my last cigarette. And since then, I’ve gone through various stresses related to work and personal matters. And also managed to go on a couple of evenings in the pub. Yet, despite being in the company of various smokers, I haven’t been tempted…

I’m still noticing improvements to smell, taste, lung capacity and energy. I certainly seem to be able to exert myself more without being out of breath. And I’ve started feeling a strange urge to get more exercise. I’ve managed to avoid any worrying temptation to invest in lycra clothing, but I’m not sure how much longer I can hold out…

30 Days of Vapes and Hijinks

So as a smoking replacement/cessation method, vaping has been really working for me. And although it’s still not good for me, I’m happy with all the evidence of the risk reduced to around 90-95% of smoking. The more I think about what would happen if I had to stop vaping overnight, the more it seems likely I would just stop using anything than go back to smoking.

Which is why I’m looking forward to moving down nicotine strengths shortly. In the meantime, here are some quick scores:

  • Approximately 450 cigarettes not smoked.
  • Cost of 450 cigarettes roughly £210.
  • Cost of initial vaping kit, including back up tank: £92.
  • Cost of liquids and coils per month – approx £40.
  • Various estimates of the negative impact of cigarettes would say you lose between 5-14 minutes of life for each one you smoke. Obviously that’s an average based on typical lifespan etc, but taking it as 10 minutes, that’s 4,500 minutes, or 75 hours, per month. Or 37.5 days per year. By the time I’m around 60, that’s more than 2 years worth of potential extra days.
  • If I never stop vaping, and buy a new kit every year for the next 20 years, I’ll save:
    Cost of 20 years smoking: £50,400!
    Cost of 20 years vaping: £11,440.
    Saving: £38,960

Not rigorously scientific, but good encouragement to keep in mind. I’ve also decided that Peach flavour liquid works particularly well to compliment craft IPA, and without doing a side-by-side test, my one hangover appeared to be much less of a problem to deal with.

One other thing I’ve definitely benefitted from is using some of the money I’ve saved on relatively instant gratification (some much-needed new trainers and jeans). While it’s good to have a longterm goal for savings plans (which I also have), when you’re reinforcing a more positive habit, having some fairly quick rewards definitely makes a big difference.

For the record, I currently use:

  • An Aspire Zelos 50W kit with Nautilus 2 Tank.
  • Back-up Nautilus 2 Tank
  • Back-up Eleaf iStick 40W donated by a very nice friend.
  • 12mg eliquid (roughly 20-25ml per week)

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