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.


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