Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Five Year Journey

As of today, I haven't smoked a cigarette in five years.

But I didn't set out to quit smoking. I became what is known as an "accidental quitter" when I switched to using an electronic cigarette. Before I tried one, I was resigned to being a smoker until I died.

As I reported in my very first article about e-cigarettes in 2009, "Negative Reactions Mystify Electronic Cigarette Owners," my husband and I bought our first electronic cigarettes from a booth at the state fair -- on a lark. The sales pitch that sold us was that the devices were less expensive than conventional cigarettes, didn't contain the tar and smoke that increase the risk of "smoking-related" diseases and could be used where smoking would soon be prohibited in my state. We spent over $200 on two kits. Note that although we'd tried quitting many times before (and I had quit during every pregnancy and while nursing), we did not buy the e-cigarettes to use as an alternative to quitting smoking with gums or patches. We weren't looking for a way to quit smoking. We bought them as a safer, less expensive and  more convenient substitute for conventional cigarettes. It's important to understand that e-cigarettes are not for people who are trying to quit smoking -- they are for those who cannot or will not quit, so they need a safer alternative. Like condoms are for safer sex, e-cigarettes are for safer "smoking."

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