Recently, over the course of several months, I’d been telling folks that I hadn’t smoked a cigarette in “six months.” Eventually, I knew what I was saying was inaccurate, but I’d lost track of exactly how long it had been since I smoked.
Then last week, I came upon an old column in our system that I’d written on May 3 about being smoke-free for one, whole month. Finally, I had something tangible to update my math with, and, when I counted up the weeks, I realized I’ve been smoke-free for nine months. By the numbers, that’s about 35 weeks, 250-ish days, about 4,900 cigs, and around $1,500.
I’m deliberate in saying things like “smoke-free” and “without a cigarette,” because I am still using the e-cigarette/vaporizer that I wrote about in May as my cigarette substitute.
I think a lot of folks are quick to judge e-cigarette users, to not give them credit for their time sans cigarettes, because vaping looks a lot like smoking, and, still, little is known about the health consequences of e-cigs.
“That still can’t be good for your lungs,” “Isn’t there still nicotine in e-cigs,” “That can’t be good for you.” I’ve heard all those things over the last nine months. What gives? If I decided to give up dairy, should I expect the same kind of scrutiny when I buy almond milk or soy milk?
Still, there’s not a lot known about how vaping impacts health. I’m happy I wrote in May about what it was like vaping for a whole month, because I can see what’s changed for me over nine months. I wrote about cigarette cravings in May, and about how, even though I was committed to using an e-cig, that I was tempted by cravings frequently.
That’s changed, now.
I’ve always been kind of annoyed by former smokers who, having quit, are suddenly made nauseous by the smell of cigarette smoke, or shoot dirty looks to convey their disgust with someone’s choice to smoke.
But I kind of get that now. Those cravings that I experienced in May after I first made the switch have totally vanished. When I first stopped, their smell would trigger a craving. Now though, I’m a bit grossed out by the smell.
It’s just an anecdote, but that’s one result of my vaping.
The other is my ability to run a bit. I started getting in to running over the summer, on days when lunch-break basketball didn’t pan out. I hated running as a kid, and even more so as a smoker. Here I am, now more than nine months out from my last cigarette, and I can run for more than 20 minutes without stopping for air.
So, here I am again, seven or eight months after writing about my experience vaping with the same message: If you’re looking for a way out of smoking cigarettes, consider using an e-cig. It’s a solid substitute that, if nothing else, will help you remove from your life what we all know is hazardous: cigarettes.