How E-Cigarettes Make You Feel Bad
It seems these days everyone is jumping on the e-cigarette bandwagon—the debate is swirling back and forth. Are e-cigarettes harmful or good for smokers? If they’re harmful, how much less so than smoking? Should vaping be permitted/banned everywhere/on public transport/in classrooms/hospitals? Should they be regulated, and if so, how and how much?
As an example of this of this pointless debate—and I’ll explain shortly why I think it’s pointless—there’s a video I recently watched in a series on what is referred to as futurism: ‘Here’s How Vaping Really Compares to Smoking Cigarettes’.
To the accompaniment of inane background music, we are informed, together with a barely comprehensible cautionary note, why people use the Juul e-cigarette:
We buy these things because they make us—feelgood (sic). They look sleek, smell less, our friends smoke ’em and we can say that we’re being—better. If we make our decisions based on the things that make us feelgood in the future, are we willing to pay the cost when living on credit—runs out?
This teleprompted rigmarole is delivered by an excitable, oversize glasses-wearing young woman, Alexandra Cardinale, who could never be mistaken for an actress. She emphasises almost every word or phrase by waving her arms around and makes finger gestures for inverted commas. Apart from that, as with so many commentators, she fails utterly to understand why people use Juul, or cigarettes for that matter. It is not because, as she says, ‘they make us feelgood’, although that may be the hope or expectation when people start using ’em.
They continue to use nicotine delivery devices—cigarettes or Juul or other types of e-cigarettes—not because they make us ‘feelgood’ (except immediately after sucking the nicotine-laden fumes thereof into your lungs) but because, unless you keep sucking the fumes into your lungs all day, you feel bad.
This is due to withdrawal symptoms of nicotine. But these bad feelings are immediately relieved, though only briefly, by sucking more nicotine into your lungs. And it is the relief of these withdrawal symptoms that creates the illusion of feeling good, in the same way it feels good when someone stops twisting your arm.
In other words, the reason people continue to use Juul or similar devices is because they find themselves unable to stop, because they have become addicted to nicotine.
And dear Ms Cardinale cannot resist throwing in sensationalist dumbed-down science about free radicles found in cigarette smoke:
…a highly reactive toxin…damaging your DNA and the molecules inside your cells, leading them to die inside you.
Now I’ll tell you why we don’t need futuristic videos reminding us of the alleged benefits of vaping.
There are two problems with smokers being encouraged or even berated to switch to e-cigarettes.
One is the implication that it’s acceptable or part of normal human behaviour to use nicotine as long as it’s done in a less dangerous way than smoking. People enjoy the experience of taking the poison nicotine into their bodies, it calms their nerves, helps them to take a break, aids concentration, overcomes boredom, and abolishes unhappiness.
The other problem is the implication that giving up smoking for many people is too difficult and will probably never be achieved. For these unfortunates, if they’re going to continue in slavery to nicotine, let it be in a way that is probably less harmful. This is a counsel of despair.
Both these notions are untrue. Putting poison into your body all day, as smokers and vapers typically do, is not normal human behaviour: it’s a compulsion due to drug (nicotine) addiction. It’s also untrue, in my experience of successfully treating hundreds of smokers, that quitting smoking or using nicotine in any form is difficult.
It’s easy—as any smoker who takes the trouble to learn the Symonds Method can demonstrate to himself or herself.
Text © Gabriel Symonds