From these ...
... to this.
[ This was written two weeks after I stopped smoking by switching to E-Cigs. I was amazed because I had gone two whole weeks without smoking a cigarette. That had never happened before. Well ... months later ... I'm still amazed ... just not so giddy. ]
There they are. Up there are pictures of my constant friends. I had them with me wherever I went. Every day. For 44 years.
How much did I smoke? I was a typical pack-a-day guy. Sometimes more. Sometimes a lot more. But most of the time I sucked down 20 cigarettes a day. I've read on The Internets that a cigarette lasts about 10 to 13 drags. Let's say 10 puffs per cigarette. So … 200 times a day, 365 days a year, for 44 years adds up to 3,212,000 times I've taken a drag from a cigarette and inhaled tobacco smoke.
When I go out of my way to do something well over 3 million times I think it's safe to say I had more than a habit. To be more precise: an addiction.
I knew I was deep in addiction territory when I was madly searching through the house … again … looking anywhere and everywhere for A Cigarette … and settled for a butt that still had a few drags left in it. I was acting just like Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend all because I ran out of smokes. It was time to face up to the fact that I was absolutely and sincerely hooked on cigarettes. So I quit ... Until the next day when I bought another pack of one of my friends pictured up there.
Here's another mini-drama. Let me set the scene: I ran out of smokes and it was too much of a hassle to go all the way out to my favorite discount warehouse and pick up a carton. I saw a convenience store and walked in.
Normal Person: How much for a pack of Marlboros?
Counter Guy: $7.00
Normal Person: That's insane! No one in their right mind would pay 7 bucks for a pack of cigarettes!"
Me: How much for a pack of Marlboros?
Counter Guy: $7.00
No matter how much cigarettes cost … I was always going to to pay the price. Even though I'd sworn I would never pay more than $2.00 a pack … over the years I shelled out whatever was the going rate.
Time to get a few things out of the way. I'm writing this for anyone who is trying to quit smoking cigarettes or for anyone who knows someone trying to quit smoking. I'm not getting any form of compensation for this. This is strictly one of those "This Is What Happened To Me" testimonials with the hope that it might help. That's it.
I've tried to quit smoking cigarettes off and on since 1974.
For my first attempt I bought a cigarette holder with a dial on the stem. For the first week you set it on "1," the following week you set it on "2," and so on for 4 weeks. The way it worked was with each setting the cigarette holder allowed more air into the smoke when you took a drag. On the fourth week all you would be getting was … air. I don't remember how much it cost but I do remember that the program didn't work. Though the device worked fine ... I cheated.
Then I tried acupuncture. The procedure was supposed to eliminate cravings and withdrawal symptoms. After multiple sessions I still wanted to smoke.
Later on I bought a device that I was to program by pressing a button every time I smoked for the first week. Starting on the second week I was only to smoke when it beeped at me. Then the interval between beeps would get longer and longer apart until finally it wouldn't beep anymore and I wouldn't need to smoke anymore. That was the theory anyway. The device worked fine ... It beeped, I cheated. I kept it safely in my desk drawer. Occasionally I heard it beep. Eventually it stopped. I still smoked.
Then my doctor put me on a special vegetarian diet for 8 weeks. He said that when I stopped smoking after going vegetarian the cravings and withdrawal symptoms would be greatly reduced or eliminated entirely. HAH! Let's just say that the cravings were as bad as if I ate meat every day, 3 times a day, with meat snacks inbetween.
The next time I tried to quit I bought The Patch. After a couple of days I felt crazier than an outhouse rat.
Time to try The Gum. Nicorette. It said "Mint" flavor on the box but that's only because Nicorette's marketing department thought that "Tile Grout" probably wouldn't sell as well. Once again I made it to 4 days before I just couldn't stand it anymore.
A couple of years later I spent $400 bucks on a hypnotist. $200 per visit. The most expensive naps I've ever had.
Every once in awhile I'd try to quit Cold Turkey. The less said about that the better. It made me want to go buy a dog so I could have something to kick. And I like dogs.
Finally last September I knew I had to quit for good no matter how horrible I would feel during the process. Nicorette had a new flavor, Cinnamon Surge, and it actually tasted like cinnamon. I started chomping away.
Nicorette's ad campaign says:
Quitting Smoking Sucks
Make quitting suck less with Nicorette.
And it's true that quitting using Nicorette sucks less than going cold turkey. But ... If you set the Crazy-O-Meter to 10 … and then drop it down to 8 … you're still crazy. Just not as crazy as you could be. And in the Nicorette World … I guess that's called success. Living in a "Sucks Less But Still Sucks World" after awhile put me in a mental state that was definitely No Fun. Going through each day with the consolation that without the gum it would be waaaaaay crazier is a crummy way to count the hours. Which is probably why in the real world the success rate for those using The Patch or The Gum is roughly the same. About 7%.
Nicorette is part of the Johnson & Johnson Group of Consumer Companies and the Nicoderm patch is marketed by GlaxoSmithKline, Aventis and Pfizer. They certainly have the cash to manufacture the propaganda necessary to turn a 93% failure rate into a 7% "success" rate.
Isn't it interesting to note that smokers are shoveled into programs that don't work? If I were to indulge in a little conspiracy theory thinking I might come to the conclusion that tobacco and pharmaceutical companies really don't want people to quit smoking … or quit buying the patches or the gum. Smoking is expensive ... and so is quitting. As long as smokers keep buying cigarettes ... or keep trying to quit ... everybody's happy (making money) ... except the smoker.
But enough of my paranoid digression …
So there I was plowing through each day acutely aware that everything sucked slightly less than it could. Hoo-freakinn-ray. The other bit o' knowledge that goes along with that is I knew exactly how the day could stop sucking immediately. All I had to do was go to the store and buy a pack of cigarettes. After a few blissful puffs however the crushing feeling of FAILURE would once again descend like the anvil on the Warner Brothers cartoon coyote. Oh great. I've failed ... again. And on top of everything else I stink like cigarettes. This Is An Unpleasant Way To Live ... To put it mildly.
Then One Day …
I was listening to the radio when a commercial caught my attention. Smoker's Savior. An electronic or "e-cigarette." According to the announcer it feels and tastes just like smoking a cigarette but since you are only inhaling and exhaling water vapor … no harmful anything!
I wrote down the 800 number but before I called I went googling for Smoker's Savior product reviews. And found them. All bad. Here are a couple:
This product is not only a terrible mislead, the customer service is terrible. I simply asked for info about their free trial ad on the radio, and my credit card was charged twice without my consent. I was told I had 24 hours to decide if Ii wanted to buy or not, and then was immediately charged. i called the next day, and they credited my acct. BUT THEN THEY CHARGED ME AGAIN! I still have yet to receive the product and they refuse to speak to me until i have a confirmation # for the delivery. IT NEVER GOT DELIVERED!!!!!!!!! PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS PRODUCT!!!!!!!!!! IT IS A RIP OFF IN EVERY SENSE!
Smokers Savior is sorry! I ordered this for my husband because they had a "promotion" for 9.95. I asked the sales rep SEVERAL times how much I would be charged and over and over I was told 9.95. I look on my account the next day and see a charge of 79.99. I called customer service to get a refund and was told that the product had shipped already (in one day?). I asked them to pull the audio from the sales call and to refund my money immediately. Now I am told I would need to wait to receive it and ship it back. Well it has been a week since they supposedly shipped it and I still do not have the product. So, I called customer service again today and the lady was rude!
I didn't call the 800 number but continued googling around The Internets finding out and reading reviews about all kinds of e-cigs.
Here's the review that made up my mind to give e-cigs a try:
I ordered on March 3rd and the starter kit arrived on the 6th. I put the e-cig together, took a drag, exhaled, took another, exhaled, and knew that this was not going to be a replay of The Patch or The Gum.
This Was Different.
Felt like smoking … tasted better than smoking, but without tobacco or combustion products, thereby eliminating virtually all of the health hazards associated with smoking. And no second hand smoke because there is no smoke to begin with.
I told my wife it's as if everything I do throughout the day has a muted celestial choir soundtrack in the background. Here I am working … and I don't want a cigarette. Here I am walking up to school to pick up my little boy … and I don't want a cigarette. Here I am doing anything … and I don't want a cigarette!
Let's see now … when has that ever happened? Oh … never!
When you look for something for 36 years … and finally find it … it seems like an freaking miracle!
I met with a friend of mine a few days after quitting cigarettes and showed him my new e-cig. He initially was very skeptical and made fun of it so I brought out my spare e-cig and told him to shut up and try it. He's been smoking longer than I have. And had no intention of giving it up. Ever. The next day he called to find out how to order one. My sister came over for a demo … and ordered a starter kit. And this has happened to every smoker I know that I've showed/demo'd the E-Cig. They all stopped smoking the day their E-Cig showed up in the mail. It's one of the most amazing things I've ever witnessed.
Y'see after a miracle happens to me … I get just a leetle evangelical. I'm not about to rig up a sandwich board and go downtown to hand out tracts ... but if I were rich I'd order hundreds of starter kits, put them in the back of the car, put a couple of speakers on the roof, and do an Elmer Gantry bit to anyone I see smoking.
Brothers and Sisters ... You too can be saved and break free from the clutches of demon cigarettes … just take a couple of drags of this!
If I were to list The Greatest Inventions Ever it'd go something like this: Fire, The Wheel, Disposable Diapers, and E-Cigs.
Now who in the world would be against E-Cigs? They're are waaaaaaay cheaper than cigarettes. E-cigs, The Patch, and The Gum are all nicotine delivery systems but E-cigs are cheaper than The Patch or The Gum. The Patch and The Gum do not eliminate painful withdrawal symptoms and as I'm writing this I've gone over two weeks without cigarettes ... or wanting one!
Do you suppose tobacco companies, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Aventis and Pfizer are paying attention to e-cigarettes?
Hmmmmmmm … could be. I just read recently that a proposed ban on electronic cigarettes is being orchestrated behind the scenes by the pharmaceutical industry.
There I go with my wacky conspiracy theories again.
Here's the deal. E-Cigs enabled me to stop smoking.
I hope you have the same experience I had ... an effortless transition away from smoking.
Finally -- I Quit!
Oh yeah ... If you're wondering about the safety of E-Cigs over regular cigarettes ... here's what Doctor Vapor told me, "Using the E-Cig for forty years does less damage to the body than smoking for 30 days."