It started with a tweet from Melania Trump on Wednesday. The recent “deaths from vaping” had caught the eye of the White House. Later that day, it became clear. Vaping is under attack by President Trump. He made his statement. Then Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the following.
“The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities,” Azar said in a statement. “We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”
I am a vaper. In February of 2009, I bought a kit called the Njoy Npro. My plan was to start vaping in my truck while I drove. When out of the truck, I would smoke. I did this for a couple of years. However, vaping products got better. Moreover my cigarette use declined as I relied more and more on vaping.
By 2012 my cigarette use had declined from 1 1/2 packs per day to roughly 5 cigarettes a day. I delivered a load in Lansing Michigan. The next morning I had to load in Livonia. My sister used to live in Wixom Michigan. Thus, I made plans to join her for breakfast. However, I decided to skip my evening cigarette after my shower and my morning one when I awoke. That way I wouldn’t smell like smoke when I met her. I would smoke a cigarette when they were loading me.
When I went to get my load it was preloaded. What we drivers refer to as a “drop and hook”. Hence, I just grabbed it and took off for Missouri… without a smoke. Moreover, when I arrived at my destination I realized that I had gone 24 hours without a cigarette. How far could I take this? Well, that was over 7 years ago. Seven smoke free years.
Vaping is under attack, but what about my health?
I want to be clear. You’re better off not smoking or vaping. However, you are better off vaping than smoking. Since it’s an either/or proposition for me, I vape. Remember, my intention was never to quit. I enjoyed smoking. Now I enjoy vaping. Therefore I assume the risks of this like I assumed the risks of that. However, I am healthier.
I could run down the list of changes I have observed. Smokers cough is gone. I breathe easier. My energy level is much higher. The list is long. However, I want to focus on the 2 biggest things I noticed.
1. Muscle cramps.
When exercising prior to the switch, my muscles would get stiff and cramp. I’m told this was due to depleted oxygen levels in the blood. However, about 3 months later I noticed I could go for long walks with no such problems. The benefit continues to this day.
2. Blood pressure.
I never had high blood pressure. However, at my last physical as a smoker my doctor was concerned. He said it was “borderline”. My next physical as a vaper saw it slightly lower. Moreover, within 2 years my doctor declared it to be ideal. I did increase my exercise over this time. However, my diet stayed roughly the same. Vaping was the biggest change. Furthermore, it enabled the increase in exercise.
When I say vaping is healthier than smoking, that is my experience. Recent studies back up my experience. However, these devices are relatively new. There could be long term risks we are not yet aware of. Hence, you are better off doing neither. However if you must do one, vaping is better.
Vaping is under attack.
I’m not angry about this. I understand the concerns. Furthermore, I sympathize with them. I don’t want kids vaping. Products should be regulated to ensure safety. Risk assessment studies should continue. I’m simply asking that you don’t forget about me. The smoker who is living a healthier lifestyle thanks to vaping.
Now, let’s dispose of a myth, shall we? I’ve heard numerous reporters declare that the only reason for fruit flavors is to attract kids to vaping. Nonsense. Do you know what else is fruit flavored? Fruit! Consider this.
That is a PSA from when I was a kid. Similar ones are still run today. So I ask you. If kids devour everything fruit flavored, why do we have to tell them to eat fruit? Clearly, vaping is under attack. Adults love fruit flavors too. Moreover, 97% of vapers don’t vape tobacco flavors. Hence, a flavor ban would push them out of vaping. This would leave them a choice between a synthetic tobacco flavor or smoking the real thing.
Of course kids like fruit flavors. So do adults. Hence, vodkas and other drinks are offered in fruit flavors. Marketing to kids? No. Appealing to adults. Just like e-liquid manufactures.
Despite our best efforts, kids will vape. Unless, of course, we ban vapes in this country. In which case, they will smoke. That is pretty much your choices. Choose wisely.
We should make every effort to keep vapes out of the hands of kids. The government should regulate the vaping products on the market. However, we need to be careful to avoid regulating vapers into smokers. The life you save could be my own, or yours. More importantly, it could be the lives of the kids that we’re all worried about.