Making the Switch: The Journey of a Past Smoker
By: Claire Kirsch
Like many smokers, I started young. At 18 years old I found myself becoming addicted to cigarettes, mainly because I enjoyed the social aspect of sharing a smoke break with others. But I soon noticed changes that I decidedly did not enjoy. I smelled like smoke, I had ash on my clothes, and I found myself constantly carrying gum in an attempt to cover the smell on my breath. Still, I didn’t want to quit. I enjoyed the feeling that smoking gave me, and I enjoyed the conversations that I had with my friends at the smokers’ hut.
But then, all of that changed. People outside of my friends who smoked began to judge me, singling me out because my clothes smelled like smoke. I hated myself for what I’d inadvertently become. I didn’t want to smoke anymore, but by now I felt like I needed to. I tried quitting, tried hiding my smoking from others, but I would always get caught (you really don’t realize as a smoker how obvious the smell is to non-smokers).
My smoker friends and I eventually decided we wanted to make a change, but we didn’t want to go cold turkey. As college students, smoking was a stress reliever, a hallowed ritual of relaxation. So, we sat down and ordered our first vape pen starter kits together. About a week later we had our new Evods and a 6 different e-juices to try. As a longtime menthol smoker, I opted for a mint chip juice. After a bit of struggling to install the pre-made coils, we were in business.
The first couple hits, while awkward, did not disappoint. The flavor was absolutely perfect! It was a few days into using a vape that I realized I hadn’t even thought of picking up a cigarette, even though I had bought a pack when my starter kit came in as a “just in case” backup. I ended up giving the pack away, realizing I had no need for it.
Fast forward almost three years later, and I haven’t once looked back. I don’t need cigarettes anymore. I am not a smoker, I am a vaper. When I made the switch I didn’t anticipate it would last, instead expecting to cut my losses on a fad product that would be as unhelpful as other smoking cessation aids. I didn’t expect my friends to stick with vaping either, nor did I think that one of our professors would be so inspired by us making the switch, that she would decide to abandon a 40-year cigarette habit and switch to vaping.
Vaping has changed my life, and I’m perfectly comfortable continuing to vape. I don’t bash myself for it, nor do I feel judged by others. Other vapers, meanwhile, have been very supportive through my transition away from cigarettes, and they’ve helped me immensely in learning about the massive range of products on the market. It’s so easy to make the change, and it is so worth it.