Having grown up in an era when smoking was common, I became hooked on nicotine at a very early age. All my life I’ve fought the strongest addiction I’ve ever known. I’d smoke a few years, stop for a few, smoke again, stop again… you get the picture.
This weekend, I made the switch to the “vape”. While I still get the nicotine “bump”, my lungs are already happier. Now when I exhale, it is mostly water vapor. It still isn’t the best thing I can do to my body, but research shows it has about a 1% negative impact in comparison to lighting fire to a mixture of tobacco and 400+ chemicals and drawing that poisonous concoction into my lungs.
My wife and I are ready to celebrate 20 years of blissful (yes, I mean it) marriage. The only thing we’ve seemed to argue about lately is my smelly, dangerous habit. I’ve been so strongly hooked it’s been very hard on her. Having tried the patch, the gum (yuck), medication (made me crazy, literally), cold turkey and other means, I’ve largely failed to “quit”.
We smokers have been harangued, bullied, lectured and strongly prodded to quit. Problem is, those are not the best ways to convince an addict to put the drug away for good. I’ve hidden it from those I love, like an alcoholic hides booze. I’ve lied about it, gotten mad at my doctor for lecturing me, and felt like a criminal for my addiction. I’m frankly sick of the constant combat.
So I’ve moved on to a better “delivery system” (as my buddy Bruce calls it) for nicotine. Starting at 22% nicotine, my “juice” keeps me from lighting up. In two days, I’ve had parts of two cigarettes, and they taste supremely terrible now. I can mix and match flavors and nicotine strengths so that weaning myself off the drug can take as long as I need it to.
It will feel good to finally be free of the stigma attached to being a smoker. No longer will the stench of tobacco invade our home. My lungs are already beginning to heal. I’m happier, and hopefully someday, I’ll be happier.
The main character in the novel I’m writing is a smoker, but it’s set largely in the 1980s, when it was still politically permissible. Maybe he’ll see the “light” as I finish the story…