Almost exactly 1.5 years ago to the day, I gave up smoking. Whilst I hadn’t been a heavy smoker, I did smoke enough so, that it was an addiction. I had a physical and habitual dependency on smoking cigarettes. I enjoyed smoking and turned to ‘having a ciggy’ at so many opportunities. I’d tried giving up before a few times – adding 1 month every year as my strategy; so year 1, I gave up for one month, year 2 for two months, etc for 4 years at which point I conceded that if I could give up for that long, I could probably go the distance and once I got to the 4 month marker that meant I could smoke again, I carried on not smoking.
Year 1 was complete cold turkey as was year two. Year three saw me going to the doc’s to get a pile of nicotine gum. This did have the effect of reducing the cravings but it wasn’t a nicotine patch on the real deal. Year 4 came along and my cousin introduced me to electronic cigarettes and I immediately thought they were brilliant. Only a smoker will understand this bit – but they actually gave you the ‘hit’ you were craving and the instant gratification. The good thing about them is, unlike cigarettes, they are allegedly non carcinogenic, or a health risk.
What are these e-cigs anyway?
Vegetable Glycerin and/or Propylene Glycol, laced with nicotine and often a whole plethora of flavors from tobacco to Strawberry Kiwi. A drip of this liquid hits a hot heater coil and vaporises. All of this, with a battery to power it, is packaged up in a tube like object. Activation is either automatic, when it detects a suck, or via a push button. The resultant emission looks and feels very much like tobacco smoke, but without the tar, and nasty chemicals that can do you in, yet they do have the crave negating hit of nicotine.
They don’t smell bad, can legally be smoked in pubs (at the landlords discretion) and they aren’t taxed a huge amount like their tobacco counterparts – meaning that the upkeep of such a habit isn’t half as costly as real smoking. Having said that, the guy who sits next to me at work seems to spend half his wage on new vaping gadgets and potions. He was the first in the company to adopt the new format – spending his vape break fielding countless questions about his apparatus. What was then a novelty is now fairly commonplace, as I observed the other day as I looked in on my old haunt that was the smokers shelter.
The above could be to do with a lot of overground press, and stats backing up the things that the vape evangelists were proffering. You’ve got a much higher chance of giving up real smoking using ecigs than you have using any other smoking cessation aid – I can vouch for that. It might also be due to it hitting the high-street; its not just some techy novelty any more, you can wander into a shop, as I did today and choose from a range of off the shelf devices and liquids.
Recently though the government announced that from 2016, the liquid will be controlled as a medicine. This created a polarised reaction. One argument says – good, it’s a poison. It needs regulating. Another argument says bad, it’s going to be a hurdle for people wanting to use vapour as an alternative to smoking tobacco.
Should it be an open market commodity? Should it be taxed by the government? Should it be handed out by the NHS as a smoking cessation aid? How do you think it should be handled? Have your say below!