post

A Year of Vaping – Not Smoking. Savings Made, Lessons Learned

Last week I reached the milestone of a year of vaping. That means 12 months since I last bought or smoked a full cigarette. I did have a total of about two puffs on a friend’s Marlboro Light around Christmas, and immediately handed it back purely out of preference. I don’t have a problem standing near people smoking. But it’s not something I ever want to do again. Meanwhile I’m still enjoying vaping as I learn new things about it. And at the same time, I’m reducing my nicotine intake.

A Year of Vaping - Hidden in the Clouds

My main aim was to stop smoking. Mainly for my own health, but also for those around me. And in that respect, vaping has worked perfectly. All impartial studies show the risks to me are greatly reduced. The same is true for family and friends. And there have been big financial savings as well.

To put it into context, I smoked for around 20 years. In that time, the longest I managed to quit smoking was a few months. And then fell right back into it. When I couldn’t vape recently due to potential conflicts with medication, it didn’t cross my mind, and even the lowest level of nicotine lozenges felt really strong…

A Year of Vaping – Savings and Stats:

  • 365 days since my last cigarette.
  • 5,475 cigarettes not smoked (average of 15 per day)
  • £2,737.50 cigarettes not bought (average of £10 per pack)
  • Total cost of vaping so far: Kit (inc 2 tanks) £92. Liquids and coils: £534.98. Total: £626.98.
  • Savings after 12 months: £2119.52
  • Average cost of vaping per month: £44.58. And average cost per day: £1.48
  • At an estimated potential of 10 minutes lower life expectancy per cigarette, I’ve now regained: 912.5 hours. Which is 38 days. Or 5.4 weeks of extra time on the planet.
  • Exercise: I haven’t kept up my exercise regime as well as I could have done, although I can definitely run further more easily. And that’s one of my next areas to focus on. In 12 months, I’ve only managed around 7,170 push ups and squats for various reasons, and I should have been closer to 10,000.

Still, saving more than £2000 by doing something which is actually better for me is pretty impressive. And it’s been completely painless for me. I know some people don’t get on with vaping, or find it more difficult. But I literally started vaping on a Saturday night before Fathers Day 2017 whilst still smoking (and drinking some beers at the pub), and the next day I just kept vaping.

 

A Year of Vaping – Lessons Learned and Effects:

I’ve regained my sense of smell and taste, which is handy for cooking. And life in general.

I don’t feel the cold as much. Which means I save on heating bills and don’t get woken up in the middle of the night with cramp in my feet.

And I also haven’t spent mornings hacking up the remnants of cigarettes from my lung, which means I’m a bit less sluggish.

Aside from remembering to stock up on coils and liquid, the only hassle from vaping is spending time researching and debating the health benefits with people who have only accepted some tabloid headlines. With nicotine as an active ingredient, vaping will never be healthy. But all impartial studies have shown it’s 90-95% healthier in the short to medium term. And the biggest health problem I’ve found is remembering to drink enough water.

Meanwhile I don’t build my own custom coils with exposed connections, so the risk of a battery exploding is roughly the same as for my mobile phone.

And the time spent learning and researching vaping has paid off a little. The vaping community is a pro-active one, and recently the nice people at e-cigarette Direct got in touch. They were kind enough to send me a free Innokin Pocketbox to review, along with with new eliquids to try. The full write-up is on Disposable Media, but essentially it’s a pretty decent vape kit for £25. Less than half of the amount I spent to get started. And while I still prefer my Aspire kit for everyday use, it shows just how quick and easy it is to get started now.

A Year of Vaping - Innokin PocketBox

I’ve found almost everyone in vaping has been really helpful.

That includes the staff at Nicogreen in Rochester, Kent. They got me started and had to deal with my inexperienced questions a fair bit. I’d link to their website, but it seems to be constantly offline at the moment. And since moving back to Peterborough, I’ve spent a lot of time chatting and buying new stuff from Central Vape Shop in the town centre, and the Vape Project in Werrington.

It’s also interesting seeing how engaged most vaping companies are, especially when I share anything on Instagram. All of the vaping companies are quick to pick up on anything posted, and often share mentions of their products.

Over time, I’ve slowly reduced the nicotine levels of the eqliuid I use from 12mg at the start. I went through 9mg and 6mg, and have settled on 3mg which is the lowest level usually available. I honestly can’t say if I’ve vaped so much more on 3mg that the actual levels are similar, but it’s coming down a little now. And partly that’s due to finding lots of really good flavours in the last few months.

And new flavours are great. Over time I realised that not only did smoking cause people to move away from the tobacco smell. But as I got older and had more and more parents as friends and colleagues, I understood why some of them weren’t keen on having their children near someone who smoked. I obviously didn’t smoke indoors, or near anyone when outside. But the smell and after-effects of tobacco linger so long…

By contrast, some of my family actually lean forwards or comment on how nice some of the vaping liquids smell. I’m a big fan of I VG, for example, who seem to always have refreshing fruit flavours. Like Blackberg (blackcurrant and blueberries), Blue Raspberry (raspberry,blueberry and mint), and the sadly discontinued Pineapple Blast (pineapple and menthol). Or Nasty Juice, whose Fat Boy Green Mango liquid is perfect with some craft ale. And I’ve recently discovered Zap Juice and their lychee and lemonade flavour, which is lovely, too.

As with vape kits and batteries, by buying from reputable companies and shops, I know that the products are compliant with the new Tobacco Products Directive laws. Which including testing all eliquids for sale in the UK.

A Year of Vaping - Vape Kit and Juice

And for the last 12 months, there hasn’t been any need to leave the house at midnight just to find a petrol station still open and buy cigarettes. Or spending an hour trying to find a lighter.

 

Will I Ever Smoke Again?

Short answer – No!

Even now, I occasionally get a psychological craving if I’m watching television or a film in which people are constantly smoking. But it lasts a few seconds at most, and vaping relieves that urge immediately. When I can’t vape because I’m stuck inside somewhere, or for other reasons, I’ll stick to some of the nicotine mini-lozenges if I really have to. Or just wait, because my nicotine cravings are much less than they used to be, after moving down eqliquid strengths.

Are there downsides to vaping?

It’s still not healthy to be inhaling nicotine, and vaping a lot can lead to a dry mouth and throat. Neither of which is great, but it does encourage drinking more water as a result.

And you do get people who either complain about you vaping in the open air (I don’t vape indoors around anyone). Or those who insist that having given up smoking, you should now immediately give up vaping. I understand where they’re coming from, but there’s no point in rushing to give up everything and relapsing straight away.

The only other downside to vaping is the constant amount of misinformation, often coming from the tobacco industry and studies they have sometimes covertly funded. And the fact it’s mispreported at face value in the media. 5 minutes checking the provenance and actual details of each study, and you find that there’s no evidence of any major health risk, no equivalence to smoking, and no proof that vaping has encouraged any significant number of people to start using a nicotine product if they didn’t already smoke.

There’s a hashtag on Instagram, #vapingsavedmylife. And while I wouldn’t quite go that far, it’s certainly improved it a hell of a lot, as well as saved me time and money.