My journey into vaping

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I’m a vaping foggy spoonie

I am not a doctor or medical expert, and my opinion should never be taken as medical advice. All of this is my personal experience. My starter guide to vaping can be found here. I’m assuming you’ve read at least that much before you read this.

I really dislike talking about my long term chronic illness here: it is not generally relevant to my vaping journey. It is simply an “embuggerance” and I live with it as best I can within its limits. However I notice that a lot of folk with CFS/M.E/CFIDS/Fibro are landing on my blog because I am a vaper who also lives with one of those labels. So I’m going to look at switching to vaping from that point of view here for my fellow spoonies.

I used to find that smoking eased some of my symptoms, as well as helping with other issues generally. It also seemed to help suppress some of my allergies. I found it very hard to give up smoking either cold turkey or with patches when my general symptom level was high. Giving up when I was on the top of the symptom swing just made me crash. I would go into semi-hibernation and sleep most of the time. This time I haven’t been through a “quit”, I replaced smoking with vaping. I have had only fleeting and minor issues switching to vaping over the last 6 months, and that includes avoiding the problems which used to drive me back to smoking. I had a little flare up of general immune system nonsense in the first week of switching; but it did not trigger a full on energy crash. The way I switched was to pick a day and switch. I simply vape instead of smoking, and I have found that I enjoy it more than I did smoking. I might have been better gradually reducing my smoking while gradually increasing my vape, but the way I did it worked for me. That’s the key though; find the way that works for you. If you have sensitivities, then you need to be aware that there are a couple of factors which could trigger you from vapour.

The first thing to remember is that cigarette smoke contains numbing agents. Vapour does not.

In the first days you may experience a cough reflex due to increased airway resistance caused by stimulation of nicotinic receptors on sensory C-fibers of the bronchi, an effect that is masked by antitussive agents in tobacco. The coughing response ceases within a few days and should not seduce you to prematurely reduce the nicotine content of your liquid. Nicotine has no serious adverse effects, and there is no reason to anxiously reduce the amount of nicotine in your liquids. [source]

The thing is that we spoonies are by nature more prone to get any reaction than our unfogged friends. Anything they can react to, we can do it bigger, better and with added “sleeping for a year now, kthx bye.” So I suggest getting a lower nicotine level than you think you need; you can always increase it later if you think you need a stronger juice.

The second thing is PG level. It is something that you might be sensitive to, and remember that smoking masked allergies for me, so stopping smoking might allow a sensitivity to surface that wasn’t apparent before. I’d suggest at least one 50/50 PG/VG juice, like Steamgunk. To be absolutely sure you might want to get one higher VG juice still. Greyhaze’s VG Cloud Chaser Range or Liberty Flights’ XO E liquid in the VG option. If you’re fine with a standard PG juice then don’t worry about it.

Thirdly we may be more prone to scent and perfume sensitivity. If you know that citrus note perfume sets you off, then don’t for pity’s sake try a citrus flavoured juice unless you’re prepared to deal with possible fallout. Menthol does bad things to me; I avoid it like the plague.

I also find that I’m better on a cotton wick than I am on silica. Most of the products out there aimed at beginners use silica wicks. Naturevape products would be my first choice for spoonie switchers. They use organic cotton wool for the wick in their atomisers, and the products and customer service they provide are excellent.

On the positive side I find a nice chunky personal vaporiser far easier to hold on to. I’m much less likely to drop it than I was a cigarette. I am now safer in that I don’t force myself into a room change when I’m not fit to move just so I can have a cigarette; my pacing is now far more effective. My overall energy levels have gone from 2/10 to 3/10 on average, and although brainfog takes longer to clear when I wake up, the pattern of use from vaping suits me far better than smoking did. I no longer have to smoke a whole cigarette because I didn’t want to waste it. I can take a couple of puffs and put the PV down.

I am also far less likely to set the house on fire or burn myself with a dropped cigarette or a lighter accident. We spoonies have to be extra careful and aware with batteries and chargers in general though. Don’t fall asleep with an ecig on charge. Use only the manufacturer’s recommended charger, and that includes using the correct USB wall plug if you’re not charging from a computer. The same goes for all your other battery electronics too, no sleeping with your phone under your pillow, and don’t let your laptop overheat when you turn it to weird angles so you can see the screen. Don’t mix and swap your chargers, including the wall plugs and make sure things are unplugged and switched off before you go waltz with the insomnia fairy.

I want to mention The Pillow Fort here. These awesome spoonies are spreading positivity all round the Chronic Illness community. Give them some love.


Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.


Wales This Week, Smoke Without Fire?

First please go and sign the petition against the proposed ban on vaping in public places in Wales.

“Wales this week” has demonstrated one thing beyond doubt. They seem to be incapable of balanced reporting, and their lack of research makes a bad job worse. This is tabloid journalism and it demeans the vapers who took part in the program in good faith. Here’s the link to the program.

We start with the Welsh minister for health stating that there is ’emerging evidence’ that states that the vapour from vaping could be harmful to bystanders. There is no evidence that this is the case; any study that has tried to argue that there is has been proven to be not scientifically rigorous. In counter to that point I submit this review on the available evidence:

“Current state of knowledge about chemistry of liquids and aerosols associated with electronic cigarettes indicates that there is no evidence that vaping produces inhalable exposures to contaminants of the aerosol that would warrant health concerns by the standards that are used to ensure safety of workplaces. However, the aerosol generated during vaping as a whole (contaminants plus declared ingredients) creates personal exposures that would justify surveillance of health among exposed persons in conjunction with investigation of means to keep any adverse health effects as low as reasonably achievable. Exposures of bystanders are likely to be orders of magnitude less, and thus pose no apparent concern.” [Peering through the mist: systematic review of what the chemistry of contaminants in electronic cigarettes tells us about health risks. Igor Burstyn] Emphasis mine.

Then we have the results of a poll which suggests that “more than half” of the respondents said they supported a ban on vaping in public paces. How many people were polled? Who were they? How were they selected? Who conducted the poll? What was the wording of the questions used? A nice soundbite, but it has absolutely no substance.

At 40 seconds in we hear that a vaper “claims” ecigs have saved his life. I’ll accept that they have to present vaper testimony as anecdotal, but actually some experts agree, and Professor Robert West would have backed him up with some nice counterbalancing expert opinion at this point.

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Now we have the statutory exploding ecig tabloid soundbite. I’ll come back to this point later.

“This may look like a scene from the past, smoke filling the air as people enjoy a drink in the pub” It’s designed to be inflammatory, but I wonder how many people notice one crucial difference. The vapour isn’t filling the air. The air itself looks clear; there is no residual haze. No matter how big those puffs of vapour are there isn’t the same effect. Were any non vapers in there interviewed to ask what it smelled like? Was it unpleasant to them? We don’t know. Just a shot designed to equate vaping with smoking. The “clean air” act was put in law from scientific research which suggested that second hand smoke was harmful. As there is no evidence to include vaping in “clean air” legislation on health grounds (whatever the Welsh Health Minister says) there is no justification for banning it in public places.

The soundbites from the vapers were fine, but cut short. Most of them tried to explain tobacco harm reduction; the idea that switching to a SAFER (not 100% safe; none of us say it is) alternative to lit tobacco has health benefits.

“The Health Minister is convinced they normalise the act of smoking.” Vaping cannot normalise smoking, because it is not smoking. vaping normalises not smoking. It’s like saying sugar use normalises cocaine use. Like banning water because it looks like gin and vodka. It’s another diversionary campaigning tactic without any evidence to back it up. Utterly meaningless, and with no foundation in truth or fact. “He also says that there is not enough evidence to assume that they are completely safe.” Which misses the point entirely; no one is suggesting that vaping is 100% safe. Nothing is 100% safe. They are SAFER than smoking. We are arguing for harm reduction by switching to a SAFER alternative.

Drakeford says that he “has to proceed on the precautionary principle” But he is both misinterpreting and misapplying that principle.

From the EU guidance to applying the precautionary principal,

The precautionary principle must also seek balance. It must balance out the harm of regulations imposed with the possible harm of no regulations;

Where action is deemed necessary, measures based on the precautionary principle should be, inter alia:

  • proportional to the chosen level of protection,
  • non-discriminatory in their application,
  • consistent with similar measures already taken,
  • based on an examination of the potential benefits and costs of action or lack of action (including, where appropriate and feasible, an economic cost/benefit analysis),
  • subject to review, in the light of new scientific data, and
  • capable of assigning responsibility for producing the scientific evidence necessary for a more comprehensive risk assessment.

“the key guideline is the 4th in the list above: the requirement to apply a symmetric assessment of risks and benefits arising from both regulatory intervention and non-intervention. In other words, if a regulator wants to come down heavily on a product like e-cigarettes because of hypothetical dangers, it has to take into account the lost benefits that might arise if it bans, restricts or otherwise reduces the positive potential of the product.  For e-cigs this is particularly salient as the benefits are to health, not just economic.”

There is no “pile of evidence which suggests that [vaping] may cause harm in the future.” There is a great deal of evidence which suggests that there is a very small risk associated with vaping.  A simple chemical analysis of the system will tell you that. In rebuttal of this point I submit this:

Authorities concerned about our health often request marketing of electronic cigarettes be banned until their safety is proven. To prove safety, one has to prove the absence of harm. So we encounter similar difficulties as described above for proofing the absence of Nessie.

What evidence is required for declaring electronic cigarettes as “safe”?
Electronic cigarettes may be regarded as safe if users don’t experience toxic effects. Since millions of users haven’t suffered any damage so far, this criterion appears to be met. However, there could be subtle chronic effects that become apparent only after a while. To account for this possibility, health advocates ask for long-term studies. But what is “long” (1, 5, 10 or even 20 years?) and for what kind of effects should we look for? [Safety of electronic cigarettes and the Loch Ness Monster Bernd-Mayer]

“In America research has been conducted that suggests that vapour could be harmful to the user” Yes, there have been a few studies which suggests that this could be the case, mostly by Stanton Glantz and his disciples. For a good insight into why policies should not be based on this research I turn to ECITA’s blog. See this post and this post to begin with. Stanton Glantz has also been called out on the so called “gateway” effect. His research has been discredited as utterly inaccurate even by the ACS: Stanton Glantz is such a liar that even the ACS balks: his latest ecig gateway “study”.  For a brilliant analysis of the flaws in that study please also see Clive Bates on the subject.

I support a ban on selling to under 18s with reservations. We give out nicotine patches to 12 year olds. At what age should harm reduction in smokers be allowed to start? Beware the unintended consequences of good intentions.

I agree with the GP’s stance, but think that here is where the idea of harm reduction should have been argued. If smokers switch to a safer alternative, there are health benefits:

Stated estimates for how much less risky ST is compared to smoking vary somewhat, but the actual calculations put the reduction in the range of 99% (give or take 1%), putting the risk down in the range of everyday exposures (such as eating french fries or recreational driving), that provoke limited public health concern. Even this low risk is premised on the unproven assumption that nicotine causes small but measurable cardiovascular disease risk (as do most mild stimulants such as decongestant medicines, energy drinks, and coffee), since such risks account for almost all of the remaining 1%. Perhaps just as important, even a worst-case scenario puts the risk reduction at about 95%, meaning that any scientifically plausible estimate shows THR has huge potential health benefits. There is no epidemiology for the new electronic cigarettes and very little useful epidemiology for assessing long term use of pharmaceutical nicotine products. But since most of the apparent risk from ST comes from nicotine, and the other ingredients in the non-tobacco products are believed to be quite benign, we can conclude that the risks across these product categories are functionally identical from the perspective of THR.


One common misleading claim is a risk-risk comparison that has not before been quantified: A smoker who would have eventually quit nicotine entirely, but learns the truth about low-risk alternatives, might switch to an alternative instead of quitting entirely, and thus might suffer a net increase in health risk. While this has mathematical face validity, a simple calculation of the tradeoff — switching to lifelong low-risk nicotine use versus continuing to smoke until quitting — shows that such net health costs are extremely unlikely and of trivial maximum magnitude. In particular, for the average smoker, smoking for just one more month before quitting causes greater health risk than switching to a low-risk nicotine source and never quitting it. Thus, discouraging a smoker, even one who would have quit entirely, from switching to a low-risk alternative is almost certainly more likely to kill him than it is to save him.  [Source] Emphasis mine.

Rob Heyes’ testimony isn’t an uncommon story. My story is similar, and for more anecdotes you can look at Clive Bates’ blog again.  Where is the humility, where is the empathy? I also agree with him on the harms that could be caused by banning vaping in public places; the benefits to normalising vaping include the ability to vape to get round smoking bans. I’m one person who first tried vaping for just that reason, and I’ve now switched completely. Every day up and down the country vapers are approached by smokers and asked about our gear. I can think of five such stories that I’ve heard in the last month; again beware the unintended consequences of good intentions. The wrong message would be put out by banning vaping in public spaces. The thin edge of the Spanish problem when vaping was discredited there.

Mentioning EU standards and showing juice being made in a clean room was good. A great deal of Chinese made juice is also manufactured to this same high standard. Remember that the e cigarette was first invented in China which is why China dominates the market. Just because it’s Chinese, it does not follow that it is poor quality. There is juice produced in every country that is also of a low standard; Trading Standards do enforce the 17 EU regulations that apply to e cigarettes in the UK. ECITA guidelines keep UK vendors within the law. This is good practice. If you don’t see proper labels and child proof caps on e liquid you see for sale, then go elsewhere and report the trader.

The reporter then buys E liquid from a market trader and asks for OILS. E Liquid is not an oil, contains no oil, and should never be referred to as an oil. Oils are harmful if inhaled. This makes me certain that this reporter did not do sufficient research. They took it to a lab and the “expert” tells us that it’s very toxic, giving an old and disproved LD50 figure. E Liquid in the concentration that was bought on that market stall is as toxic as washing up liquid. Far less toxic than was stated in the program. This is a serious error and should be corrected. There were no contaminants and the nicotine levels were accurate; as I’ve already said Trading Standards should enforce this.

The “new legislation” coming in in 2016 as things stand won’t regulate all nicotine containing products as medicines. This refers to the TPD, under which we see a “twin track” approach recommended to member states. It is a disaster, and vapers all over the EU are fighting it. For more about what it will probably do see my post. When vaping is outlawed only outlaws will vape.

Across the border in Pembrokeshire there should be concerns about battery safety and the suitability of charging units. This is not an e cigarette specific problem. One quick google search pulled up two recent similar incidents not e cigarette related. One was a phone charger on a bus, and the other a mobile phone. These are isolated cases. Meanwhile a quick google search pulls up the 2011 information on smoking related fires in the UK:

Habits such as smoking whilst drinking alcohol in the home or lighting up in bed are responsible for one in three (36 per cent) of all accidental house fires resulting in deaths. [Smoking time bomb: cigarettes the most deadly cause of house fire fatalities]

Isolated battery charging mistakes do not warrant scaremongering over reaction in the press. Please could we have responsible reporting on this aspect of e cigarette safety. Responsible vendors do disseminate this information and in fact e cigarettes are operating as a harm reduction tool in this area too. Trading Standards will also enforce this.

It is difficult to imagine what guidelines Pembrokeshire Trading Standards will put out regarding the TPD; It hasn’t been included in UK law as yet, and having read my blog on the subject you’ll understand that I can’t see a single product on sale today that complies with the TPD.

The letter to the WHO is mentioned. You can read it here, and also read a guide to it here. It is worth reading rather than just being mentioned. The expert you see speaking at the conference on e cigarettes is Professor Peter Hajek; another man who is very much worth listening to. Here you can see him speaking at another conference, this year’s inaugural Global Forum on Nicotine,

The last word is given to Drakeford and he tells us that he is not trying to ban e cigarettes; he is simply seeking to ban their use in public places. I’m going to give the last word here to Clive Bates, who was fighting for my right to a safer alternative to lit tobacco long before I knew that vaping existed. This is from his post: “Turning the tables on public health – let’s talk about the risks *they* create

I’ve had enough of the one-sided conversation about the risks associated with e-cigarettes… poisons, gateways, renormalisation, fires, explosions, MRSA, pneumonia, dual use, undermining tobacco control, nitrosamines, anti-freeze, particulates, heavy metals, dead dog, dead cat…. blah blah blah.

ENOUGH! The public health establishment is conspicuously failing to recognise the risks associated with its preferred policy responses to e-cigarettes: with not having e-cigarettes, with banning snus, with prohibiting vaping in public places, with confusing people about risks, with controlling everything.  They carry on as if these risks are zero or somehow not their responsibility – but they are all plausible and all end in more smoking and more cigarette sales. We need to press them much more assertively on the risks they create and the harms their ideas may do:

  • “do you accept these risks are plausible and can you see how and why they might arise?”
  • “what evidence do you have regarding these risks?”
  • “what make you so confident your policy ideas will not cause more harm than good?”
  • “at what level of risk would you stop advocating these policies, or at least call for more evidence?”

For almost every policy idea there is for regulating harm reduction, there is a realistic risk that it will make things worse for health. And for almost every theoretical risks from vaping, there is a more plausible theoretical benefit.


Banning vaping in public places. Organisations like the BMA, Public Health Wales and Faculty of Public Health seem to have never considered that their policy in favour of banning vaping in public places may diminish the value proposition for switching to e-cigarettes from smoking and cause more smokers to persist with smoking. Have they ever accepted that sending vapers outside to join the smokers may cause more relapse to smoking? Where is their account of the potential lost benefits that might arising from normalising vaping in public places, and thereby encouraging more smokers to switch? They are totally silent on these points, have no evidence to suggest these risks are nugatory and accept no responsibility for the harmful consequences that might arise.


Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.


Anti-smoking propaganda kept me smoking.

It has only been six months since I considered myself a lifelong smoker. I remember the attitude well. In some ways I haven’t lost that attitude at all because I now consider myself to be a lifelong vaper struggling against similar adversity. Whenever a new anti-smoking campaign started, I was aware of the adverts the first couple of times they flashed past on the TV. I’d watch, make a disgusted noise, and light a cigarette. The more outrageous the advert, the more I wanted to smoke. Anti-smoking campaigns always made me smoke more often, and made me even more stubbornly determined that I was never going to quit.

The finger wagging condescending anti-smoking zealots used half-truths and junk science in those campaigns and I recognised it. I understood the deliberate deceit and resented it. I also resented the constant drip of nocebo images that festooned my smoking materials. I understood that these too are harmful; this point is ignored whenever raised. This just served to add to my resentment towards the message and made me dig my heels in even further. They also used horrifying tactics, turning my friends and family against me. They targeted the ‘pester power’ of my children, setting the scene for many family arguments and upsets and undermining my abilities as a parent in a nasty, underhanded way. Society as a whole became hostile towards me. Not towards my habit, but towards me as a smoker. This is now really starting to reap what it sowed as violence against smokers becomes more common. The end does not justify the means; and in fact these tactics did not stop me smoking. They just made my life more stressful, which in turn made me smoke more.

For the last thirty years I have resented the anti-smoking message to the point of swearing out loud at it and physically making rude gestures towards it, even when alone. It has made me that angry. It really has been a huge factor in my relapses as well. When already stressed and angry, the trigger of an anti smoking advert has twice caused my relapse to smoking. Anecdotal? Well, yes of course it is. That does not make it any less true. I see the same horrendous, outrageous anti-smoking propaganda, getting more blatant every day, and I still rage.

First do no harm.


Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.

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And relax. Vape ’em if you’ve got ’em.

I am not a doctor or medical expert, and my opinion should never be taken as medical advice.

I have a large mug of tea and three flavours of vape. My vape probably won’t leave my hand much for the next hour. But you know what? That’s fine. I’m vaping 12mg, and that means that even if I chain-vaped constantly for the next hour which I won’t, I wouldn’t get as much nicotine in my system as I would have done from two tobacco cigarettes. I know for a fact that I’ve never vaped to the point where I was getting even mild nicotine ‘overdose’ symptoms. I dropped my nicotine level because a higher nicotine level became unpleasant tasting, and then I discovered that high nicotine dose cigarettes had that same effect in smokers. I believe that this was that same effect. Smokers already know – instinctively and by habit – how to “dose” themselves with nicotine to satiation from smoking. Changing the amount of nicotine to a dose which was “too high” made the smokers dislike the high yield cigarettes, smoke them less frequently, and dislike the experience. It is not beyond reasonable doubt to expect that vapers will, with experience, learn to titrate nicotine levels similarly when vaping.

Overdose symptoms:

Slight overdosing is readily recognized as dizziness, nausea and headache, prompting users to stop or reduce nicotine intake. Continued consumption of high nicotine doses would result in poisoning evident as severe diarrhea and vomiting. [Source]

So now you know.  I still say that unless you think the amount you vape is a huge issue, don’t sweat it. Bernd-Meyer also tells us that nicotine, while not benign, has “no serious adverse affects” and that we should not “anxiously reduce the amount of nicotine in [our] liquids.” I have found what works for me and stuck with it. If you want to wean yourself off nicotine then do it; but don’t feel pressured to do so. One of the things that sapped the enjoyment from my smoking habit was the constant nagging pressure to cut down. I’m not putting myself back in that same mental place with vaping. One of the best things about it is being able to pick it up whenever I feel like it without guilt or fear.

Think about it for a bit though. If you’re constantly chain vaping and feeling as if you can never put the vape down, perhaps you’re not getting enough nicotine and need a slightly stronger juice. Evidence suggests that nicotine is a substance that we take in to a satiation point.[reference] Surely it would be sensible to expect that if we never get to that satiation point, then we don’t stop vaping. I know I was very concerned about overdose to start with, and that of course made me much more likely to perceive anything I was feeling as overdose. I’m aware that I need to be sure that I’m not downplaying the possibility, but looking at the uptake to serum through vaping, in my opinion and as objectively as I can manage it is highly unlikely to happen.


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The mixologist isn’t in the kitchen right now.

Having got vape mail yesterday I re-wicked the Igo to stick on the new toy. 0.9ohm with cotton wool.  It is a lovely thing, small (in 18350 mode), looks good, producing good amounts of vapour from the dripper, so very little voltage drop. The locking ring was a bit sticky and the fire button a little crunchy, but It was making me smile. But I found myself putting it down and switching flavours, re-wicking again and again. It wasn’t the set up. It was the fact that my two favourite T-juice flavours (made up at my ideal strength & PG/VG from concentrate) were more appealing than everything else in my vape cupboard; I had none of my home made juice left.


The only answer was to get backside in gear and go mixing. I’ve been an amateur cook for years, and I mean for more than 30 years. My mum stood me on a chair at the cooker to make cheese sauce when I was 6, and my brother and I were mum’s assistants from the time we could be trusted to understand simple instructions. None of the family cook to a recipe book; everything has been adapted to taste. I understand flavour, and balance, and subtlety and I mix to suit my own taste. There’s what I like about mixing my own juice, in a nutshell. Crème Caramel, Butterscotch, Maple syrup with a hint of French Vanilla. These juices might – and probably would –  taste terrible to anyone else who tries them, but to me they are just right.

It was after dark last night when I went into the kitchen. My sitting room window was wide open, and my fan was running to try and get a through breeze. I sat in my kitchen work chair, tweaking my recipes, waved a midge away. Checked the list for the next flavouring amount, slapped a midge off my arm. Hold on a minute… midges? I looked up at the kitchen light. It was a seething mass of blood seeking horror. I quietly put everything away, took a deep breath and ran screaming through the biting monsters. I won’t be in the kitchen for a while now. It’s probably for the best. The juice I made will need to steep.


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A tale of two toxins.

This is a cautionary tale of how bad science, a lack of understanding of the facts, and distorting the picture through confirmation bias can have unintended consequences.

Two mystery toxins for you today. One wears a halo, and one has horns and a tail. Both are consumed daily, We regularly feed these toxins to our children, one of them as a treat, and one of them (at tiny insignificant trace amounts that really don’t have any effect) in foods that we consider healthy. Both are highly toxic to animals, and the one we feed our children as a treat has killed many hundreds of pets. Both are alkaloids, and addictive by some standards set for the definition of addiction. I’m going to call them Tee and Enn. Please try and think outside of your knowledge of what these substances are and look at the information objectively, which would you consider more dangerous?

Tee is an alkaloid found in many sweet food products, and is also found in some beverages. It has properties that make it potentially addictive, although this is downplayed and not seen as important. It is a myocardial stimulant as well as a vasodilator, it increases heart rate, and also dilates blood vessels, causing reduced blood pressure. It has potential as a bronchodilator, and is being investigated as a cough suppressant. It is also a diuretic. It is a stimulant similar in effect to Caffeine. It has been suggested that Tee may be a contributing factor to obesity, heart disease and the onset of diabetes, although this is probably the result of the way in which it’s consumed. Many people are treated for allergic reactions to it, overdose is more common than is realised, and it kills many pet dogs every year without hitting the headlines. It is sold without any warning of even trace amounts despite its addictive and allergic potential. No one considers it to be harmful, and no one wants it eradicated from society.

Enn is also an alkaloid is found at trace amounts in foods, most commonly those from the nightshade family. It is most often consumed in ways that are frowned on by society. It is reportedly highly addictive, although it has never been proven to cause addiction or withdrawal when used to treat disease without the other ‘minor’ alkaloids which commonly accompany it. It increases blood pressure and heart rate. It is vasoconstrictive. It is both a stimulant (similar in effect to caffeine) and a relaxant depending on how it is used. It has potential for the treatment of a lot of diseases. A lot of studies link its consumption with heart disease and cancer, although this is almost certainly the result of the way in which it is consumed. Overdose is uncommon and cases of poisoning are relatively rare considering how common Enn is. Any cases of poisoning whether fatal or not hit the headlines with total hysteria. It is sold with huge health warnings plastered all over everything that contains it. There is talk of eliminating it from society altogether, although it can be consumed in ways that significantly reduce the harm of the most common form of consumption.

Given these data I’d consider that Tee is more of an issue than Enn. Tee is Theobromine, the alkaloid active in chocolate, cola and one of the active alkaloids in tea. And Enn is Nicotine and it wears horns and a tail. I have produced a junk science scare piece here deliberately; none of it should be taken at face value in any way. My point is that how we look at the substances around us is distorted beyond reason by our own bias. I am not suggesting that we ban chocolate or put health warnings on tea. What I am suggesting is that we try and step outside our bias for or against a substance and look at new evidence objectively.

Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.


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Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.


The Evoke – too good to be true?

I am watching the Indegogo campaign for the Evoke with fascination. The overplaying of the negatives of wick and coil systems aside, it raises some very interesting possibilities. As the Best Friend is back at work and no longer preventing boredom by looking after me (note that his help is vital, and it was good to have semi-permanent care) I can let it be known generally that I have ordered one of these for him for Christmas. He’s unlikely to get it until January/February, but this is beside the point.

His tales of vaping woe include not being able to taste the flavours in his juice. He can taste juice flavour from my dripper at higher wattages on medium-resistance coils, but won’t drip or coil. Looking at the Evoke system it looks as if I should be able to program the unit to replicate the dripper experience in a system that is as simple to use as his beloved protanks once set up.

But is it too good to be true? Is this the beginning of the 4th generation of vaping technology, or is it a flash in the pan. It certainly isn’t likely to be TPD compliant, which isn’t an issue for them as they are US based. Leak “proof” may be claimed, but if juice can go in, then it can come out unexpectedly. And it really isn’t tamper proof. It can be locked to certain users electronically, but the whole Bluetooth connected microprocessor control is “tampering” writ large, albeit by design. There is no way to make this uniform, or test every possible configuration. Which is absolutely the point; vapers need variability. It does seem to offer the possibility of endless customisation of the vaping experience within a single unit without the faff of rebuilding. Change the settings; win the cloud chasing contest. Change it again and stealth vape. Get home and switch to Genny mode for smooth flavour with a late night beverage before bed. No dry hits, no burning, no fuss… I’m sold on the concept but my cynical side still tells me I’ll believe it when I try it.

I’m intrigued enough by the possibilities to want one of these for myself. The early bird ones have all gone. The standard E-Liquid units are coming in at around (exchange rate varying) £60 +£17.50 flat rate international postage regardless of how many you buy. This isn’t a bad price considering it is the entire unit. The equivalent of a hybrid mod + atty combination with an inbuilt rechargeable battery. Perhaps it is too good to be true, but I think this is where my birthday money is going.


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Day 180. Six months since my last cigarette.

I’m sitting here in front of my computer with my two favourite devices, containing my two favourite flavours of e-Liquid. Every few minutes I take a couple of contemplative puffs, and savour the flavour.  I am waiting for the postman again – just as I was the day I started this blog, but this time I’m waiting without any stress. I have come a long way in six months, but then my mother taught me that if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing properly and I agree with her. I had to really jump in with both feet and discover as much as I could about this amazing hobby, and the not so crazy simpler side of it, in order to be sure that I was giving it the best chance I could to get me off lit tobacco.

I am no longer fighting constantly to reduce a smoking habit that I was being constantly bombarded with negative information and attitudes about. I believe that the demonisation (you can call it ‘denormalisation’ I call it ‘dehumanisation’) of smokers, and the attitude society has to smokers is wrong. If any other portion of society was being discriminated against in the way smokers are, there would be outrage. But the message is that smokers are stupid, and that anyone who smokes deserves all they get. Violence against smokers will increase; it has already begun. This is a very dangerous path and I hate that I ever believed any part of it.

This negative attitude has also skewed research into smoking and smokers in the last twenty years in my opinion. Gradually the prevailing attitude has become smug superiority over the smoker. It is playground bully techniques applied wholesale on society. Of course I am happier not smoking; I was treated as less than human when I smoked. If I had been left alone with my bad habit, I wouldn’t have been unhappy about being a smoker. The label makes the misery; the questions are skewed by prejudice inbuilt to the system. The ecig deniers are trying to apply that same distort, denormalise, demonise, dehumanise to vaping now. It won’t work. In an information age, knowledge is power.

I started this blog with one question in my mind, “Will this work where everything else I ever tried has failed?” and six months later I can give you an unequivocal, 100% certainty that yes. It has. It does and given the right set up and juice I believe that it could work for just about anyone. Without any shadow of doubt in my mind I can say that it has worked for me. If I am allowed the freedom to vape, I will never need to smoke another lit tobacco cigarette. There’s your anecdotal evidence, a testimonial from another biased convert to vaping. I’m going to stop counting the days since I smoked from today because it is no longer relevant. The blog will march on though and my journey will still be documented. As long as there are people out there who want to see what I have to say, I’ll keep saying it.


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Day 178: I’ve been recoiling protank heads.

I got myself a new gadget to help me with coiling. Clip on magnifying glasses. These are magic bits of kit as long as you remember to flip them up whenever you look up, or they turn into the ultimate beer goggles. So I decided to give the protank heads I’ve been saving their long awaited makeovers. It was easier than coiling on an Igo-L, which I consider the simplest rebuildable I own, for one reason. I didn’t have to trap anything under screws. I do still like the mini protanks; I just dislike silica. Put a cotton wool wick in a microcoil in a mini protank and you have a nice simple vape that won’t win a cloud competition, but tastes good and is about as faff free as you can get. Cheap too when you save your dead stock heads, and environmentally sounder to reuse them.

People forget that we’re all individuals, and that what suits me perfectly (my kraken on my nemesis at 1.3ohm with a cotton wool wick today) might not suit my best friend (Naturevape mini on the MVP2 at 8 watts) and that there is nothing wrong with either set up for one very good reason; those set ups work for us. I don’t need a 200w monster when I seldom go up to 15 watts. I don’t need to sub-ohm when I get a great big grin from the taste of my kraken. All I want is the flavour and the vapour and to have it work when I press the button. I’ll do a bit of tinkering and faffing, but I’m not spending stupid amounts of money on something that in my experience won’t improve what I’m using that much. You can use whatever works for you – Kayfun, squape, whatever. I didn’t like them. I’m glad for you if you do; don’t let me put you off trying one. They might be your perfect set up.

I’ll accept that I’m still new, but I am still over the moon with the kit I have now. Yes, I might be female and only nearly six months into vaping, but I know the kit I use and I’m happy and safe with it.

Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

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Day 176: Why should I have to justify my vices?

An on-line acquaintance of mine asked me why I felt the need to write a blog justifying my choice to vape. “You’re a grown-up.” He said, and after having assured him that I wasn’t sitting here justifying it to myself I stopped and thought about what he’d said. He’s quite right. I really shouldn’t have to justify my choice of legal recreational substance, especially when used in such a way as to cause as little possible harm to either myself or those around me as I can. The fly in that ointment is the anti-tobacco zealots. Those who see tobacco as an enemy, with nicotine as its Commander in Chief. The ones with closed minds that no amount of convincing will change. The ones that think vaping is smoking, and that both must be outlawed.

A blog, by its very nature, will always be an exercise in navel gazing as a spectator sport. That said there is a point to all of this. Minority voices have always had to struggle to be heard. The minority is the underdog beating away at solid indifference. Vapers are a minority, and we’ve been described negatively as everything from AstroTurf to cultists to affluent loud-mouths, but always with the underlying tone of condescension. A faint aura of disapproval, the slight sniff to see if anything other than custard or RY4 can be detected on our clothing. We’re the ones who actually use these products, so we are always biased in favour of them. Our opinions are anecdotal and irrelevant.

My ideal world is very probably impossible. I would like to live in a world where my choices are not dictated by the health-nuts’ policy of the month. I would love to live in a world where I was treated as a grown-up and didn’t feel the need to justify nicotine, caffeine or alcohol use given the fact that MY use of these things causes no problems. In fact I’d like the nanny state to butt out and leave me in peace. I’m one of these odd people who will fight to get that peace though, and I cut my teeth in 1990’s Usenet so I’m in this for the long haul with a very thick skin. I’m also in the right. We’ll see who laughs last.

(I apologise for my absence these last few days. I had a bereavement in my extended family – an ex partner of mine – and my health took a dip as a result. I’m back now.)


Please Support the NNA so that their voice for vapers can be heard loud and clear. Add your name as a supporter and then find the Paypal donate button on the right of the main page. Follow @NNAlliance on Twitter.

Medical professionals please see M.O.V.E and add your voice.