Vaping is Magnificent!
Some illuminating insights can be gained into the smoking problem by different people’s comments on my answer to a question posted on Quora (a US based question-and-answer website).
The question was: What is your opinion on vaping and e-cigarettes?
I answered thus:
E-cigarettes should be seen for what they are: drug (nicotine) delivery devices. There’s enough trouble already with cigarettes. We don’t need another nicotine delivery device!
The confusion around this matter is shown by an earlier respondent who says ‘[E-cigarettes are] almost unquestionably safer than smoking’ and then contradicts himself by saying ‘We don’t yet know what the long-term effects of vaping will be.’
The fond idea that since e-cigarettes are (probably) safer than ordinary cancer sticks, the answer for smokers is to switch to e-cigarettes as a way of continuing their slavery to nicotine; it’s almost a counsel of despair.
It may not be generally appreciated that vapers typically suck poison into their lungs from their e-cigarette devices hundreds of times a day, every day, for years on end.
What fun that is!
One person commented (abbreviated):
So you would rather people to stay on cigarettes than to switch?…If you are a smoking cessation counselor then you must be somewhat aware that nicotine is addictive. “You should just stop” doesn’t work where addictions are concerned. With vaping, it’s much cleaner. Much less toxins. And much less nicotine. And the ability to control that nicotine….We don’t know the long term effects of vaping…I really don’t see how it’s not worth the [small] risk [of vaping] if just stop smoking is not an option. (Emphasis added.)
And another (abbreviated):
Why should I have to quit something I enjoy just because society says I should? Ok so nicotine is addictive…Then what? I’m addicted to nicotine. And sugar. And caffeine…So what? Maybe I misunderstand or maybe I just don’t care but I’m not sure how these facts affect anybody but me. And I’ll be honest with you. I find vaping to be magnificent…So I say yes we did need another mode of delivering nicotine. (Emphasis added.)
I invited the second commenter to explain what she meant by saying she finds vaping to be magnificent.
This is her reply:
Vaping afforded me a way to quit smoking cigarettes with zero withdrawals, cravings, weight gain, any of the negatives. The way I see it it’s been nothing but positive. I save money. Cut way down on nicotine. Food tastes better. I can breath much better. I smell better. It’s just better.
Defensive and illogical
It is interesting how defensive both people are, and in their hurry to rebut my point of view they impute to me things I didn’t say. I certainly do not wish that people should remain as smokers rather than switching to vaping. What I am saying is that vaping is unnecessary. It’s a second-best answer to the smoking problem – and why should smokers have to settle for second best? One could view vaping as almost insulting to smokers: there’s so little chance of them being able to quit smoking without an alternative – the first commenter seems to think that’s not even an option. This is almost a counsel of despair.
I should also like to make it clear that I have never told anyone they ought not to smoke or vape, and if they are happy doing either or both, then good luck to them.
The point I’ve tried to make, though few seem to heed it, is that in my experience anyone can stop smoking easily, without resorting to vaping or other smoking alternative, as indicated here.
Then there’s the illogical point of the second commenter, that because she claims she’s addicted to coffee and sugar, about which do-gooders like me do not complain, therefore there’s nothing wrong with her nicotine addiction.
Coffee and sugar addiction, anyone?
People who enjoy coffee and sugar, as so many people do, are not addicted in any proper sense of the word. I usually take two cups of coffee a day, and like most people I have a sweet tooth, but if I’ve run out of coffee and cakes or chocolates, do I get in panic? And do I need to drink coffee and have sugary foods or drinks or eat chocolates ten or twenty or more times every day? But let the two above-mentioned people try going without vaping even for one day and see what happens. It’s very likely they will be miserable, agitated, desperate for a vape, or be in danger of relapsing to smoking. That is nicotine addiction. Drinking coffee and liking sweet-tasting things even several times a day is not caffeine or sugar addiction, respectively; you can ‘take it or leave it’. With nicotine it’s extremely difficult to leave it, even for a day.
Then we have the good lady’s response to my invitation to say what she means by ‘vaping is magnificent’.
Vaping afforded me a way to quit smoking cigarettes with zero withdrawals, cravings, weight gain, [or] any of the negatives.
So vaping is a way for her to quit smoking while continuing her addiction to nicotine without withdrawal symptoms, weight gain, etc. And on the positive side:
I save money. Cut way down on nicotine. Food tastes better. I can breath much better. I smell better.
Quitting smoking without vaping
What she doesn’t seem to understand is that if she could stop smoking without vaping she would save all her money by not needing to buy any vaping paraphernalia, she would take into her body no nicotine at all so of course food would taste better, and she would smell even better (in both senses of the word).
It may be safer than smoking, but what this good lady and the countless others who have turned to vaping as a way of stopping smoking are facing is the prospect of sucking nicotine-laden vapour into their lungs hundreds of times every day for the rest of their lives.
Text © Gabriel Symonds