Over the years I have tried to quit maybe four or five times, obviously unsuccessfully. When nicotine replacement "therapies" came out, I tried each one with little success. My best attempt to date at quitting smoking was in 2001 when I lasted 12 weeks without a cigarette on willpower alone.
Now that I'm at home full time, and on a low income, the effects of smoking have become increasingly troublesome. Everything in my house reeks of stale smoke, even though I only smoke in one room of the house. Nicotine stains in that room are beyond embarassing and disgusting and I pretty much gave up redecorating to cover it up as it only seems to last a few months. Being confined in a smokey environment is wreaking havoc on my skin and my health and and spending approximately £160 per month on cigarettes is not really in my budget.
I had looked into electronic cigarettes online around 18 months ago but was sceptical to say the least. I had already tried quitting with the inhalators without any success at all and I didn't believe that an electronic cigarette would be all that much different. However, a friend recently let me try her own electronic cigarette and I was really surprised at how close it came to the real thing. And so I looked around online again to what options were available.
I wanted to find an ecigarette that had options for 0mg nicotine as the overall aim is to quit smoking completely, not simply replace one habit with another (not all sites offered 0mg options). Having previously smoked flovored tobacco via an Egyptian shisha, I was also keen to find an ecigarette option that offered a range of non-tobacco flavours. What I found was that there was a huge variation in price range and options available for starter kits. Still being marginally sceptical, I opted for one of the least expensive kits but also purchased some extra items that would keep me going for several weeks.
Taking the first few "hits" from the electronic cigarette was strange to say the least. It takes a couple of short puffs to get the vapor coming through but after that it's fine. My first impressions were that the tobacco flavour that was supplied with the kit wasn't very nice (more like a melted plastic flavour if truth be told); and that there was very little "throat hit". At first I thought that it was comparable to smoking a lights version of a cigarette brand that I wasn't keen on. However after having a normal cigarette straight after "vaping" to compare, I found that the "throat hit" was actually identical. Going back to the ecigarette, the plastic taste disappeared; I figured that it was due to the "newness" of the atomiser unit and once it had burned off, for lack of a better term, the taste was fine.
Since I hadn't received the kit until after lunchtime that day, I used it to get used to the ecigarette but continued to smoke real cigarettes pretty much as normal.
I began the quitting process in earnest on the second day. I was still getting used to the electronic cigarette but managed to cut down to 7 real cigarettes that day - from a 20-30 per day habit I found that really impressive. Over the following 4 days I stayed at 7-8 real cigarettes per day. I could potentially have smoked fewer than that but I didn't want to push myself too far too fast and set myself up for failure. The 7-8 cigarettes was easy to stick to, it wasn't a number I conciously picked, rather it was where I naturally felt comfortable in combination with the ecigarette.
Observations so far:
What I'm finding so far with the electronic cigarette is that the size is no problem; being only marginally longer than a superkings cigarette. When I'm going out and about I even pop my ecigarette into an old cigarette packet for safekeeping along with an extra cartridge. The weight takes a little getting used to. Electronic cigarettes are much heavier than real ones. This wasn't too much of a problem but occasionally I would leave my real cigarette hanging in my mouth whilst I needed two hands on the pc keyboard for example; but this isn't really possible with the weight of the ecigarette.
The kit that I bought, being one of the least expensive on the UK market, came with two manual batteries. That means that you have to hold down a little button to activate the atomiser each time you puff. When placing the order I figured that that may become a tad annoying so I ordered an additional, automatic battery which activates as soon as you inhale on the cartridge. What I actually found was that both types are completely fine. I actually get a marginally better "hit" from the manual batteries. Two fully charged batteries last me an entire day and the batteries take around 2-3 hours to recharge.
A little extra note here, although I bought the least expensive kit available, it's identical to ones that are being sold at almost double the price on other websites, they even have the same model number.
My kit was shipped for free and I received it within two days of placing the order, as a recorded delivery package. All in all, I couldn't have been more pleased with the process.
Different websites make different claims on how long a cartridge or cartomiser will last/how many cigarettes it's equivalent to. Bearing in mind that my pre-electronic cigarette level was 20-30 cigarettes per day, now that I am down to 3 real cigarettes per day I'm using two x 8mg nicotine catridges in addition. That makes my cartridge use less than £1 per day using the prefilled catridges and could be even less still using empty cartridges and e-liquid. What I will say is that I was a little optimistic in my choice of 8mg catridges and would perhaps have been better starting out with 18mg.
I will add updates on my progress; yesterday for example was Day 7 and I smoked a total of three real cigarettes!! I'm really optimistic for my progress so will keep you up to date. If you want to check out ecigarettes yourself in the meantime, then for the UK I highly recommend Genesis. If you decide to go ahead and order from there, use the coupon code cm75 (case sensitive) to get 7.5% off your order.