I vape. That would probably surprise most people, because I’ve never been a smoker.
Sam (my wife) used to smoke, many years ago, and had been getting tempted to do it again. She wanted to try vaping as an alternative. I’d got into the habit of eating chocolate and other snack food, each evening, which wasn’t good – I was starting to get through a lot of it, and was getting fatter. I thought vaping might be worth a try as an alternative to that.
What Vaping Is
First: it’s not smoking. There’s no smoke. Nothing burns, there’s no fire. There can be nicotine, but doesn’t have to be.
An e-cigarette (I hate that name, but it seems to be sticking as the common name for them) is in two main parts. There’s a battery with the controls attached, and a tank for the fluid, which includes a coil unit and mouthpiece. You press a button, and the coil heats some of the fluid, turning it into a vapour, which you can suck in through the mouthpiece.
The fluids are available in lots of flavours, and can have varying levels of nicotine, including none at all. As with smoking, you can just take the vapour into your mouth, and get the taste of it, and enjoy blowing out the clouds of vapour; or you can actually inhale some or all of it before breathing it out. Some e-cigarettes are made for doing that, some are made for inhaling directly – ‘mouth to lung’ or ‘direct to lung’.
Nicotine or Not?
I started with mostly fluids without nicotine, but I’ve gradually moved to ones with some. I did start using some stronger ones, but moved back to mostly the lowest level ones commonly available – 6mg or 0.6%. As I’ve moved up to bigger e-cigarettes, I’ve also moved to even lower strength juices. Direct lung inhaling really needs weaker juices, so I now vape juices at around 2.5 – 3mg
Nicotine does have some problems, obviously. It isn’t, though, the main risk factor in smoking, though it’s highly addictive, which makes people want to keep taking in the other harmful parts in cigarettes. The NHS estimates vaping to have around 5% of the harmful effect of smoking, so as a light user, I’m not taking a huge risk. In return, I’m eating less of some bad foods, so I’m quite happy with the trade-off for my health.
As a non-smoker, even the very small amounts of nicotine in the 6mg liquids is quite noticeable – it gives me a nice mellow feeling that’s somewhat similar to the first little bit of alcohol. I don’t drink these days, so it’s nice to have something to get that feeling back a little.
I use an app to monitor my sleep, and tell it some of the things I’ve done each day to track if they help me sleep better or worse. Vaping does make me sleep a bit better.
I’ve continued vaping, and have upgraded e-cigarettes a few times, and the reason I keep doing it is that I enjoy it. There are lots of nice flavours, and as habits go, it’s reasonably low harm.