Today marks exactly one year since I smoked my last cigarette. After 22 years hooked on the “N,” I am grateful to say that I am finally free from the bondage of nicotine—which means I don’t smoke, dip, chew, patch or even vape.
No Vapes Allowed
And it’s a good thing I don’t because this week Mashable, among others, reported that the city of Los Angeles made a (surprisingly unanimous) decision to ban the use of e-cigarettes everywhere traditional cigarettes are prohibited. The pro-ban argument is that there isn’t enough research on the health effects of e-cigarettes—the same way there wasn’t enough research on the health effects of conventional cigarettes just 50 years ago. Boy, that was quick.
I understand their argument but it strikes me as a little extreme. The first report by the Surgeon General on the health effects of cigarette smoking was in 1964, yet smoking was something done openly on television and in movies well into the 1980s. When I moved to Los Angeles in 1999, you could still smoke in many of the bars. According to the new citywide restrictions, though, the only places left for Angelenos to enjoy their vape will be the comfort of their own homes or special lounges where e-cig aficionados can go to taste different flavors.
The Non-Alcoholic Beer of Cigarettes
Still, I do think there’s some denial around those in vape-land. I don’t mean to sound like a self-righteous former smoker but though I’m on-board with e-cigs being the lesser of two evils, I get the sense that users aren’t fully aware of the fact that a vapor habit maintains and can intensify your addiction to nicotine, especially if you don’t do your research and get the right cartridge to match your accustomed-to nicotine milligram dose. While some vaping advocates claim e-cigarettes are a good way for smokers to quit tobacco, a recent study published in The Lancet actually showed that vapers are only 1.5% more likely to trade their habit in for pure nicotine than people who use the patch.
And let’s not kid ourselves. In the same way that an Oxycontin addict turns to the streets for heroin when they can’t get their hands on a prescription, it’s unrealistic to think that a nicotine addict isn’t going to turn to 7-Eleven for a pack of the good ol’ boys if their cartridge runs out.
I’m not saying there’s only one way to quit smoking. I tried several different methods before I found the one that worked for me. But I think it’s important that we stay informed and are honest with ourselves. So if you’re vaping with nicotine, don’t tell yourself you’ve quit. And real talk? It doesn’t even look cool.
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