I've been smoking for about 38 years. I started smoking at around 15. I saw an interesting YouTube video today which pointed out that people who start smoking in adolescence have a harder time quitting than people who start later in life because the brain is still developing, and it's developing with nicotine as part of it's normal environment. I've also been diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder, and depression and mania can both lead to poor impulse control, and smoking in people with a mental illness is a form of self medication because nicotine can alleviate symptoms. All of my previous attempts to quit have failed. My longest smoke free period was for about two years, but that ended with my first acute manic episode.
I bought an eGo kit from a tobacconist a few years ago but the thought of having to order nicotine juice from overseas stopped me from trying to quit with it (even though at other times I've quite happily ordered music gear from overseas). A work mate tried and failed to quit with an eGo, and that was the only example I had. Apart from him I can only remember ever seeing one other person vaping in the wild.
Mania can lead to poor impulse control, but it can also lead to attempts at lifestyle changes. After being brought down from a recent manic episode but still being in a positive mood, I was wanting to quit. I had some patches and an inhaler, but hadn't actually tried. Then one day in late November I found a tobacconist I'd never been to before and went in to check out the price of Manitou Organic (my choice of "healthy" cigarettes). I mentioned that I was thinking to switching to vaping but was put off by the idea of having to order nicotine juice from overseas, and the guy told me that that wasn't necessarily so.
So the next day, with a bottle of black market juice in my bag, I went on a long tram trip to the other side of the city, to the most convenient vape shop I could find. One member of the crisis team that had come to check up on me after I left the hospital had shown me his box mod and told me that vaping had helped him quit, so I was looking for something like that. The helpful lady that served me steered me to the iStick Pico Kit and explained a lot very quickly. I decided to get one of those and she helped me set it up with the juice that I had. I also got an Atlantis EVO Extended Kit and one 18650 battery. I asked about a spare battery but she told me I wouldn't need one.
So I left the shop Sub-Ohming. I had one cigarette left and smoked it later that day, but otherwise vaping had immediately replaced smoking. I had, and still have, no desire for a cigarette and I knew that I could quench any cravings I had. But I have become a direct to lung chain vaper at home. I still like my nicotine.
I had to go back to work for a week before taking holidays, and I went down for a vape as often as I would have had smoking breaks. Two guys who I have seen outside smoking but never spoken to approached to ask about vaping. I was very positive, so maybe I'll be able to convert some others.
On Christmas day our family gathering evolved into a party for the younger generation (and me), and I was at my niece's house for over 12 hours. In the evening I discovered that my Pico was out of charge and I had three cigarettes while it was recharging enough to last the rest of the night. That made me realize the need for backups. This week I ordered another Pico kit, two more 18650 batteries and a Efest charger. I'll probably get a new clearomizer for my eGo batteries and leave them at work in case I forget my Pico.
One of the reasons for giving up cigarettes was the cost, so I didn't want to switch to a hobby that was just as expensive. Since I started vaping I've spent about $500 on hardware and juice, and I've still saved a few hundred dollars compared to what I would have spent on cigarettes. I'm still going back to that tobacconist to for juice, but that will probably change.
I've been on two more long trips to vape shops. I went to one place for some VG and PG because I was looking at YouTube videos and wanted to experiment. I've been using the VG to dilute the 16mg juice I've been getting. I can also get 12mg, which I haven't diluted. The VG was a good idea because when I tried vaping the mint juice I got undiluted it was way too intense and I didn't like it at all, but diluted it has become my favourite. I also went back to the first shop I went to to get another tank and some coils. This time there were only guys behind the counter, and there were guys trying juices and everyone was in black with baseball caps and it was all very blokey, and seemed like the stereotypical vape shop that you see on YouTube. I might be exaggerating, but that's how it felt.
My vaping plans? I'll probably get some more tanks because I like being able to switch flavours easily. I don't really need any more mods, but since many are the price of just a few packets of cigarettes, I might buy something every once in awhile just for fun. I might get some nicotine base to add to juice I can get legally locally. I've discovered a vape store on the same side of the city, so I'm thinking of going there tomorrow just to check them out, and maybe buy some stuff.
As long as I have something with nicotine in it to vape I'm pretty sure I'll never want another cigarette, but I know that if I ever do have one it won't turn me back into a smoker.