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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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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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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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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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It’s Great When You Vape, Yeah

So I’ve just gone past 3 weeks since my last cigarette. And I’m still surprised at how easy it’s been. When I’m low on nicotine, my foolish brain still occasionally reverts to thinking about tobacco, but it’s only around half the time. And it goes as soon as I’ve spend a few moments vaping – which is slowly becoming what my lizard brain associates with my addiction.

The plan is to continue on 12mg vape liquid until I associate any cravings with vaping rather than smoking. At which point I’m going to switch down to 6mg during the day, which means I’ll start consuming less nicotine that I would have been smoking in the past.

And I’ve managed to cope with a couple of stressful events without going back to cigarettes. When I did have to go without vaping for a couple of hours due to user error (I thought the tank/coil was faulty as I hadn’t cleared out the excess liquid enough), I managed to get by with a couple of nicotine lozenges until I could go back to my local vape shop and get some more experienced assistance. As a result, I ended up buying a spare tank, so I’m now covered whatever happens – and having learned to mop up any excess liquid from inside the coil after every refill, I’ve had no problems since.

Quick Vaping Financial Summary:

  • 23 days of smoking would have cost me around £161.
  • 23 days of vaping has cost me £128.99. That’s £70 for the kit. £22.99 for the tank, and £36 for liquid. And I still have a few more days worth of liquid left.
  • Next month I won’t need a kit or tank. So the maximum expenditure will be around £36 for liquid and possibly £4 worth of coils. And that’s how much a month should cost me until such time as I need a new box or tank.
  • So that’s £120 saved per month in future.
  • And even in the first month, I’d have saved around £30+, if I hadn’t decided to treat myself to a new pair of trainers as a reward – to be fair, I’ve needed a pair for months…

 

Vaping and my Health?

So far I’ve been breathing a lot more easily, and feeling more energised during and after exercise. And sleeping better – I don’t seem to be suffering from sleep apnea any more. Or getting as many cases of cramp. Which should mean that my circulation has improved a fair amount – it’s hard to tell given the hot weather, but my fingers and toes certainly feel warmer…

I do get a bit of a tickly cough if I overdo a vaping session – but it’s gone pretty much straight afterwards. And I’d had a throaty cough before switching – along with a chesty cough due to all the crud in my lungs. So that’s much improved, although I may have to experiment with different liquids and settings in the future to see if I can find the perfect settings for me.

The best bit so far has actually been the health of others. I always tried to be a considerate smoker, going outside and standing away from family and friends. And I take a similar approach to vaping. But in the past, smoking definitely irritate my family – and one of my parents would constantly be coughing due to an existing lung condition. Since vaping, my parents no longer rush to close any windows to the garden, and my son has told me ‘your breath smells nice’ for the first time since he was born almost a decade ago.

It's Great When You Vape, Yeah

I never looked cool when I smoked. And I don’t look cool vaping. But I have managed to avoid sinking into the world of sub-ohm DTL DIY mod boxes and other complications. I’m sticking with convenience. Plug in the box once every 1.5 days or so to charge it. Fill it up roughly once a day. And each time, make sure I’m sticking some kitchen roll into the coil and mouthpiece to mop up any excess. I should really wipe everything down each refill, but at the moment about 1 out of every 3 refills works fine for vaping without any excess gurgling/spitting issues.

So basically my entire technical support and maintence kit is a roll of cheap kitchen tissue.

What else?

I’m finding the flavours I like (Currently Peach, Strawberry with Lime and Blueberry from the Ultimate Version 2 range). And the ones I don’t enjoy as much (Thought I’d like Rhubarb and Custard much more than I did). And by switching between them, it stops me potentially getting bored of one. But I’ll have to see what else is around sometime soon for a bit of a change.

 

The Vaping/Smoking Paradox:

There is one weird thing about vaping. For some reason, it seems to make smokers go a little defensive. I used to have the same response, dismissing it as for lightweight artisan bearded hipsters. And now just wish I’d switched years ago.

Personally, I don’t actively enjoy the smell of cigarettes anymore, but I have no problem with people smoking next to me. It’d be a bit hypocritical. Plus it’s a handy test whether I’m tempted at all (And so far, I’m not). If people want to keep smoking, then they can go right ahead…

But I have noticed smokers seem keen to pick holes in vaping. Normally saying how they can’t be bothered with all the ‘paraphenalia’ (which seems odd when I can clearly remember last minute trips in the middle of the night to the petrol station for cigarettes, or desperately searching for an old box of matches when all my lighters had run out). Or my personal favourite, which is pointing out that there isn’t any longterm data on the relative health effects of vaping.

So we know that vaping definitely is less healthy than doing nothing at all. Nicotine by itself is relatively harmless in small doses and toxic in large ones. And the other vaping ingredients (propylene glycol/vegetable glycol/glycerol) are combined with flavourings – the glycol element can cause a bit of potential throat irritation, and the flavourings are the relatively unknown quantity in how they interact with the glycol when heated).

But we also know that smoking is definitely and  100% guaranteed to raise your chances of health problems long term. And a lot of that comes from the act of combusting tobacco, and the other additives in cigarettes to make them burn nicely, etc. It’s possible to smoke for years and still be healthy, but we also know it has an effect on those around you via passive smoking, and also means everything smells of stale baccy.

So it does seem remarkably weird when people say they won’t switch from smoking because there’s a potentially small chance of a longterm effect of vaping being discovered. As opposed to sticking with the one which is proven to be potentially deadly in the short, medium and longterm.

Still, at least now I can chuckle about it without coughing up a lung…

 

 

Incidentally, if you’re wondering about the strange title…

 

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The Great eVape – One Week On

Despite the fact I’ll soon run out of terrible puns, I figured it might be worth a quick update on my vaping exploits after the first week. Since sharing on social media that I’d swapped from cigarettes, an ever-increasing number of friends have revealed they’ve been vaping for a while. And the advice and encouragement doesn’t hurt when it comes to switching from tobacco, and then reducing the nicotine levels.

 

Vaping Week One:

The first result has been financial. My starter including liquids cost me £70 (you can get a cheaper deal online, but I wanted to ask questions etc in person). At 15 cigarettes per day on average, and a packet of 20 costing £10.00, the vaping kit will have paid for itself in 9.3 days.

Since then I’ve bought some more liquid flavours, at with 3 bottles of 10ml liquid costing £12. So far, a bottle is lasting me approximately 4 days or so. So that’s 12 more days of vaping for the same cost as under 2 days of smoking. I haven’t needed to replace a coil yet, but estimates are roughly 1 every two weeks, and there’s a spare in the starter kit. So by the time I need more, at around £2 each, I’ll have saved way more than the cost of getting started, and might even invest in a spare tank to be able to swap flavours around more regularly.

The reason for that is that I’m finding various flavours I enjoy, but after 2-3 days of the same flavour, I start craving a change.

Aspire Zelos 50W Starter Kit with Nautilus 2 Tank

The Aspire Zelos start kit I’m using

Second up is my cigarette addiction. Having smoked my last ‘analogue’ cigarette last Saturday, I can honestly say I haven’t been tempted. Even when a co-worker was stood next to me puffing away. When I crave nicotine, my mind does immediately think of cigarettes – but as soon as I grab my vape, that’s replaced by the idea of vaping instead. And slowly the lack of nicotine triggers a desire to vape rather than smoke. That’s definitely a good thing, as despite various debates around the exact health benefit, vaping is certainly better than smoking. And the plan is that once I’ve been using the same liquid for a while, I’ll start reducing the nicotine content.

At the moment, I’m on a 12mg concentation per 10ml of liquid. The plan is to reduce to 6mg or even 3mg at some point.

And in terms of health? It’s still early days, but I’m certainly starting to breath a little better and more clearly. Obviously there’s 20 years of cigarettes to clear over time, but it feels a little easier than when I’ve previously quit using patches or lozenges (once successfully for a long time, and a couple of attempts lasting days). Compared to patches, I’m not missing the psychological benefits of going outside and breathing deeply. And lozenges did tend to have a negative effect on my gums (not too surprising).

I already feel like I’m starting to sleep more effectively, which was one of the main problems I had due to smoking. Aside from coughing, I’d wake up randomly during the night, which I think was probably sleep apnea. That seems to have almost stopped already, along with any smoke-related snoring.

Downsides? I had a slight cough and sore throat before switching, which hasn’t gone yet. So if it’s still a problem in  few days, it might be time for a trip to the doctor to get it checked… And that’s it.

But that’s it. So far, so good. And in addition to better finances and better health, my family and friends have noticed the difference (no passive smoking, no smell of smoke). And I spend slightly less time on a vape break than a smoking break, so I’m even getting some of my day back!

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