My journey into vaping


Two years vaping, zero tobacco cigarettes smoked

It is two years since I last smoked a tobacco cigarette. The main reason why vaping has worked to bring me this far is that I enjoy it. I have come down in nicotine levels to 6mg from 36mg in easy stages and I have no interest in reducing that level further at the moment, but then nicotine has never been the issue with smoking. The benefit I get is all as a result of the fact that I’m no longer breathing in smoke and burning particles, no longer breathing in carbon monoxide and all the other products of lit tobacco. My breathing is easier, I no longer need to use my ventolin inhaler, I’ve had no episodes of bronchitis and I can taste my food again; all the benefits of being a non-smoker with none of the drawbacks of having to cease all nicotine use. I was already a nicotine user, so the fact that I still use it is also not an issue. For those telling me that I’ve just swapped one addiction for another, my answer is a resounding, “So what!” because it really doesn’t matter at all, even if I continue to use nicotine for the rest of my life, it is doing me less harm per year than ONE DAY of relapsing to smoking. It is preventing me from relapsing to smoking.

I also haven’t dropped a lit cigarette in two years. Remember how many house fires are still caused by smoking materials? For every scare story about ecigs exploding there are hundreds of unreported deaths and injuries in house fires that are not sensationalised because they aren’t newsworthy, when they should be. In all honesty vaping probably has saved my life. I was a house fire statistic waiting to happen.

In the last two years I have suffered two major bereavements and supported a close friend through a major bereavement and another through a psychotic break. I have survived my (rented) house being completely renovated while I was living in it and I’m about to purchase my first home. These are stressful events in any life, and they hit me as a vulnerable disabled person very hard indeed, remembering that stress levels increase the severity of the symptoms of my chronic illness. Through it all I have not wanted to smoke, because I had a viable alternative that I enjoy more than I enjoyed smoking. The main reason that I enjoy it more than smoking is because of the flavours. Those same flavours that the anti-nicotine puritans say is ‘attracting children’ against all of the research that says that they do not, are the reason why my safer alternative method of obtaining nicotine which is preventing my relapse to smoking is working for me.

So what do you think will happen to me if those flavours are restricted? I will very likely relapse to smoking.

The TPD is also going to cause me huge problems immediately in May. I will no longer be able to buy my eliquids in bottle sizes greater than 10ml. These bottles are too small for me to handle safely. They will also only dispense twenty drops of eliquid a minute, meaning that in order to fill even a TPD compliant 2.5ml tank, I’ll have to sit and squeeze a bottle without moving for well over a minute, whereas now I have a nice big chunky soft squeeze bottle that’s easy for me to hold and it takes seconds to fill my tank. I’ll have to fill more often, from smaller bottles, with more waste, using bottles I can’t grip, that take much longer for me to fill a tank in a way that is practically impossible for me to do.

So what do you think is likely to happen to me in May?

The government don’t seem to realise that the TPD rules are doing actual harm. We need to get this nonsense sorted out, so that ordinary people like me are able to stay away from smoking lit tobacco.

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13 sins from ECigaretteDirect

Over the last 24 hours I’ve been indulging in two new juices sent to me free of charge to review from ECigaretteDirect and I have to tell you, I’m loving every last drop of these two. I tested them with a GS air tank at 1.6 ohm, finding my sweet spot for each juice using an eLeaf iStick 30w. Both of these come in dark coloured 30ml glass dripper bottles with childproof caps, proper warning labels and a textured warning triangle. Batch numbers and a clear use by date alongside nicotine content and PG/VG ratio and last, but not least, an ingredients list and nut allergy warning. This is excellent stuff. I don’t like dripper bottles generally as my sub-ohm tanks have very small filling openings, but these have a slim pointed end to them and I’ve not had much problem filling either my GS air or my GSG3 tank that I’ve been testing to review on Amazon. I would have to decant this to fill my Arctic Horizon tanks though I doubt I’d have any issues filling a subtank at all.


Jack 3 is a beautifully balanced and not too sweet desert vape. The first flavour I taste is buttery toffee popcorn followed closely by banana. Then a subtle cream flavour follows, with a blast of fresh coconut on the exhale. Sometimes I taste a hint of raspberry, but it’s light and just barely there. Mostly it’s the popcorn flavour I remember from those jelly beans that seem to cost more than gold nuggets to buy, alongside that same banana. Imagine putting a popcorn and a banana jelly bean in your mouth and then taking a spoonful of rich extra thick double cream. This tastes better. The sweet spot for this one for me on this set up is 10 watts, at that the throat hit is nice and gentle, but intensifies as soon as you put it up any further. This is 60VG/40PG and it’s smooth, never harsh. Perfect for an evening vape although I admit I’ve been picking this up at all times of day. I don’t get tired of the flavour at all.

Suzy 6 Is a really refreshing long cool summer fruit vape. Like a fruit spritzer with cream soda over ice. In this I taste the strawberry first, fresh and ripe and slightly sweet. Then raspberry and watermelon and a hint of cream soda. The menthol is just there, subtle and understated it just cools the exhale and leaves the mouth feeling fresher. I am not a fan of fruit vapes generally, but this is such a nice blend that isn’t at all sickly, and doesn’t taste as if I’d stuffed half a dozen fruit jellies in my mouth at once. Nothing sickly or cloying about it at all, and it shifts and changes enough to risk taking out without a backup flavour. I’ll turn to this if I have vaper’s tongue, not because it’s strong, but because it’s very, very different. Suzy 6 is a 50/50 blend that seems to sit nicely at 10 watts again in my test setup, a very gentle throat hit again at that power level, but it kicks in satisfyingly enough for anyone at a slightly higher wattage.

I hope that this range is going to be expanded because these first two are absolutely first class. I have found myself reaching for these even more than my beloved caramel over the last two days (it’s taken that long to write this post). These are definitely keepers and I will be buying both of these myself once I’ve gone through these first bottles.  They are priced at £18 for 30ml and I think that’s actually justifiable for juice of this quality.



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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Anecdotal evidence – but this is our truth.

Best Friend and I were discussing the PHE report, and the response of the Health and Safety Executive over coffee at too-early-for-a-Sunday this morning. I was all set to rant against idiocy but he stopped me stone cold in my tracks.

What we have to point out, over and over again, is the simple truth that vaping has worked for us. It might not work for everyone. But you have the ‘vapefam’ to back you up. Tell the idiots until they’re sick of hearing it the simple fact. How long since you started vaping and your best guess as to how many fags you haven’t smoked.

So this isn’t my blog. This is his. Please do as he suggests, just that one simple truth as a tweet. Use #notblowingsmoke and #vaping2015 and just tweet it every now and then, randomly. As he says, they can’t ignore our anecdotes forever.

I have been vaping since: 21/1/14. Cigarettes not smoked: 11590 and counting.

Best Friend has been vaping since 1/2/2014. Cigarettes not smoked: 34591 and counting


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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UK Government should refuse to implement Article 20 of the TPD in light of PHE report

This petition started by the one and only @Hifistud is the perfect way to start putting pressure on the UK government to take note of the PHE report and tell the EU that Article 20 of the TPD should die. Please sign it and spread the word. Thank you.

The UK’s primary Public Health agency, Public Health England, recently published its review of ecigs in the UK. Its findings are now common knowledge, and, frequently in that document, Article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive due for implementation in May 2016 is criticised. We call on the Department of Health and the UK Government to refuse to implement Article 20, as it will certainly result in nett harm to UK Public Health by preventing the uptake of effective ecigs by current smokers.

Linking it again here. Yes, I know it’s another petition. If you don’t like petitions, then write to your MP direct saying the same thing, but please do something to keep the pressure on off the back of the positive press. We can sort other issues out later.


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.


Please don’t try and turn my ecig into NRT

I’m delighted that Public Health England has reviewed the actual data on vaping and actually come up with a sane and sensible evidence based statement. I’m delighted that they’re telling the truth about the relative risks of vaping versus smoking and have not repeated the nonsense claims so often seen in the media. My warning bells went off when I saw that they want to prescribe them on the NHS like the NRT products I know and loathe.

Firstly, as I have said so often on this blog, vaping is not NRT. Vapers who choose to escape the smoke-quit attempt – relapse heartbreaking cycle by using “secret option three” do not use vaping in the same way as NRT. We are told to use NRT products to work through a “craving”. We have it explained to us that these “cravings” are a result of wanting to smoke, and that they pass in 7 minutes. By using distraction techniques or an NRT product we can get through the “craving” and stay off the lit tobacco. Remember that NRT is about 94% ineffective.  All this “doubles your chances of quitting for good” tagline says is that it goes up from about a 3% chance to a 6% chance. No wonder smokers are cynical. Trying to use vaping in this way would not have worked for me. These mythical cravings that I was supposed to be able to stave off like windmills to be tilted at weren’t just cravings. They were a gnawing grinding hunger, a sense of something missing, like a limb, a miserable feeling of loss, of no longer being me. I turned into a brain fugged, depressed, snappy, shrew with the social skills and quality of life of Severus Snape surrounded by dementors.

I needed a direct replacement for smoking that I could enjoy. The flavours, the different set-ups, finding the one that felt best and looked good. The ability to use a vape in the same way that I had smoked – better than smoking for me as it turns out. Regulating it, standardising it, making it medicinal will treat vapers as if they have a disease that needs curing. Not treating us as if we’ve made a valid and reasonable (excuse me while I choke on this swearword) lifestyle choice. Don’t homogenise them, don’t wring every last 0.01% of safety out of them, for the love of all I hold dear don’t standardise them. In short; let them be what they are – a consumer product. Let us choose to use them in the way that works best for us. As Clive Bates says, “What use is a Perfectly safe product that no one wants to use?” and as VIP’s Liam Bryan says:

“At present, vaping is driven by consumer-led demand for new vaping devices and the enormous range of e-juices available. IIf all this innovation is legislated back to drab little medical devices and government approved flavours, as current EU proposals recommend, vaping will lose much of its appeal. The end result will be less smokers turning into vapers, and even current vapers turning back to cigarettes.” [source]

Secondly, don’t shove ecigs and vaping down the throats of smokers. Please don’t attack smokers, who are already demonised and ostracised, with demands for them to switch. Back off. Butt out. Just don’t do it. If vaping had been shoved at me as a quit method while I was a smoker I would have dug my heels in and made rude gestures. Smokers will have the information needed in order to make an informed choice as to whether they want to switch to vaping as soon as the media stop demonising vaping. One of the reasons that vaping has worked so well for me is that it was my choice to switch. I did the research, discovered that vaping could be used as a direct replacement for smoking, and switched. Let this quiet revolution continue with added support. It’s working now; don’t try and fix it.

Lastly, please don’t start guilt tripping successful switchers into nicotine abstinence. We’ve switched, we’ve reduced the harm of the delivery method by at least 95%. We’ve done it by choice and we’re successfully not relapsing to smoking. Again, butt out, back off. Nicotine is not the enemy. You don’t want me vaping for the rest of my life? That really is absolutely none of your business. Once someone is successfully using a harm reduced product there is no need for them to cease use of that product unless they choose to do so. There is no need for them to reduce nicotine levels, unless they choose to do so. My continued use of vaping products is a) because I enjoy them and b) preventing my relapse to smoking. Have you actually read the Carl Phillips study I keep linking to? Please go and read it and understand the logic. One to three months of relapse is the same level of risk as a lifetime vaping; I choose to vape so that I will never relapse.


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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My goal is to never smoke lit tobacco again

I am so tired of reading comments like “the ultimate goal of individuals becoming free of nicotine dependence” [source] because it’s not helpful to me. It negates my choice to use a relatively safe substance which has been demonised by the puritan “abstinence only” agenda so that my achievement in becoming smoke free is tarnished by their, “ah, but you’re still addicted to nicotine.”

So what?

I’m using a method of delivery that has reduced the harm by 95-99% of the risk and I was already nicotine dependant. Just as I am caffeine dependant. That harm has already been done – I am not increasing it. I have proven to myself that I have reduced my nicotine intake to a level that I can live with and as things stand at the moment I do not intend to reduce it further. This is my choice. I do not intend to stop vaping and I do not intend to cease nicotine use for one very good reason.

I relapse to smoking every time I cease nicotine use.

For me vaping not only replaces smoking, it has become better than smoking – in the form of third generation devices, very likely to be made unavailable as of May 2016 when the TPD comes in. Why should I cease something that I enjoy and that is preventing my relapse to a product which I am told kills one in two of its consumers?

I am a Tobacco Harm Reduction anecdote

I’ll state my argument once again for the record. An individual who switches to a reduced harm product that confers less than 5% of the risk of smoking lit tobacco has reduced their risk of death. If I had smoked for one month more (three at most) and then stopped tobacco use altogether and never relapsed the risk to me is the same as continuing the harm reduced product for the rest of my life. [source] Every time I have relapsed to smoking I have smoked for more than three months before another quit attempt. A method where I can prevent that from ever happening again is one which I will not cease to use. I am not trying to reduce my risk to zero. It’s impossible anyway. The risk of vaping is minimal compared with smoking and it is preventing my relapse to smoking while improving my quality of life.

Nicotine is not the enemy and never was.



Propylene Glycol. The facts.

PG is a colourless liquid which is slightly sweet to taste. It is a diol and not an oil. It is an humecant with hygroscopic properties and also has antimicrobial properties.

Time Magazine first reported on studies on PG in 1942, unfortunately paywalled now. It’s used in inhaled medications such as NRT, and is generally safe, although a small number of people may be sensitive to it. But the effects of inhaling it are very well understood. PG is non-toxic when ingested even in reasonably large amounts. PG is easily metabolised by the liver into the products of the citric acid metabolic cycle, which are completely non-toxic. Approximately 45 percent of any ingested PG is excreted directly from the body and never even comes into contact with the liver. The elimination half-life for propylene glycol is approximately four hours, and there is no build up over time. We have some pretty good studies into PG toxicity, although a lot of them are animal studies with the usual problems of correlation to humans from these studies. Read one for yourself that was published in 1947 here.

Quoting from the EPA (PDF)

“General Toxicity Observations
Upon reviewing the available toxicity information, the Agency has concluded that there are no endpoints of concern for oral, dermal, or inhalation exposure to propylene glycol and dipropylene glycol. This conclusion is based on the results of toxicity testing of propylene glycol and dipropylene glycol in which dose levels near or above testing limits (as established in the OPPTS 870 series harmonized test guidelines) were employed in experimental animal studies and no significant toxicity observed.”

“Carcinogenicity Classification
A review of the available data has shown propylene glycol and dipropylene glycol to be negative for carcinogenicity in studies conducted up to the testing limit doses established by the Agency; therefore, no further carcinogenic analysis is required.”

PG is found in a huge variety of products, from asthma inhalers to baby wipes. NRT products to shampoo and toothpaste. Cupcakes, muffins and even coffee syrups. It is pretty much a given that if you’re truly sensitive to it, you’d know already. If you can’t stay in a room where they’re using theatrical fog, then it might be the PG affecting you. If you can breathe without issues or later side effects, you’re probably fine. People who are sensitive to PG should use a high VG juice as standard. Make sure that your chosen ecig will wick a high VG juice though. The most common side effects of PG inhalation are dry mouth, mild sore throat and increased thirst.


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.



Government consults on TPD2 legislation

I need you to clear about half an hour of your time and open this link in your browser. Here you will find an online survey which asks for feedback about the TPD – they call it TPD2 – and allows you to tell them in your own words how this legislation will affect you and others in your opinion. You can safely ignore questions that you don’t have an opinion about and they’ve even helpfully indicated if there are questions relevant to e-cigarettes on the top of each page of the survey. Please tell them in your own words exactly what you think of the legislation; try to do it without swearing and staying as neutral in tone as you can. Tell them honestly and openly exactly what your worst fears are. If you can’t find the words to say what you mean, then go back through this blog and use my words to make your point or leave a comment here asking me to help. This is important. I don’t believe that the people writing the legislation really understand who we are and what we do as vapers. Let’s tell them in such a strong way that we can’t be ignored.


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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I couldn’t have said it better myself

“This idea that it renormalises smoking is absolute bullshit” Deborah Arnott, ASH

Whatever your opinion of the blunt language used, it does make the point that I and many others have been making for a long time. The act of not smoking normalises not smoking. It’s blindingly obvious to anyone who has half a braincell. Those who are so blind they will not see the truth are still accusing us ordinary (and some extraordinary) vapers of being shills and paid lobbyists, with the inference that we’re lying. I can only speak for myself; I have never been paid for vaping advocacy either in kind or with money. I am simply a member of the public, that portion of society who public health is said to serve, and I am telling my story openly and honestly.

It’s about a year and a half since I last smoked tobacco. I am smokefree – if you tested my breath with a CO detector it would register me as a non-smoker. What I can’t get my head around is the way this simple truth is destorted to make me look like a liar. How can I convince Mrs Best Friend to switch to vaping when she reads the scare stories in the press and even her practice nurse has told her that she’s better off sticking with the ciggies? I hear this story so often. I really love this woman, she’s like a second mum to me. She’ll drop everything to come and help me when I need her, yet I hear the wheeze in her breath and the cough she denies having. She sounds like I did a year and a half ago and it breaks my heart. That story is repeated with two more of my friends – these three are long term smokers. They need to see more of us out in the wild vaping and enjoying it and not being put off by politics and scaremongering. Public opinion needs to be swayed, not for any nefarious purpose, but for this one reason; vaping saves lives. Three lives in my own circle of friends, at least another one I can think of. Multiply that up and down the country. Real people, real lives. Enough of the bullshit.


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.


Accentuate the positive

It’s a blistering hot day for me here in sunny Scotland. I’m sitting in a darkened house, with fans moving the air around to give some sort of illusion of cooling. The humidity monitor in my hall has just ticked up to 87% and the air quality forecast is not that good. Once upon a time I would have been carrying my ventolin inhaler around with me and praying I didn’t get an attack; mould spores are something I react badly to and the muggy fuggy damp heat brings the little sods out to attack me. Then it dawned on me. A little simple fact that is oh so very significant.

I haven’t used my inhaler since Christmas.

My vaping set up of choice right now is a Horizon Arctic tank with an 0.5 ohm stock coil in it at 28W on the Eleaf iStick 50w with Health-E-Vape Caramelicious (30/70 PG/VG) at 6mg. I have gone through 60ml of it in a month and just got myself another 100ml of it for July. I’m less stressed and generally have a better quality of life than I did when either smoking or having given up. Even though the last 6 months of the fallout of the death of a close family member I have been less stressed, calmer, breathing better and maintaining a steady (albeit heavier than ideal) weight.

I still haven’t wanted to smoke a cigarette. Not one craving.

All three of my devices ran out of battery on a long car trip. I had no issues waiting until the next morning for a vape – some fourteen hours later. The only fallout from that were a couple of mouth ulcers, something I generally get when I cease nicotine use although I can’t be certain that’s the cause. My fingernails are also still unbitten. That’s the longest I’ve ever gone, through some really nasty health issues and the loss of a close family member and I’m still not biting them. I call that a pretty fair indicator of quality of life.

Quitting was never my best option.

For me continuing use of nicotine by means of a delivery method that is less harmful than smoking is improving both my quality and quantity of life. It really is very simple. Let’s think of the most healthy substance you can imagine. Lettuce – OK there are traces of arsenic in lettuce, but as we all know the dose makes the poison. Lettuce is reasonably healthy. It doesn’t even have nicotine in it although there is niacin, a close cousin. So we take lettuce, dry it and roll it into a cigarette. You can even add a filter if you like. Light the end and inhale (for the love of PETE, don’t actually do this, mmmkay?). I can guarantee you that you’re inhaling carbon monoxide, burning particles, and all sorts of carcinogens. The lettuce isn’t (very) toxic of itself, but setting it on fire and inhaling the results? Very bad idea. We should just eat it instead. Lots of lovely chemicals in lettuce, trust me. I’m a layman. So I’m choosing to use a recreational consumer product in a way that reduces the harm from the delivery method.

Let me sum up.

I’m happier, healthier, less stressed and smoke free. I’ve achieved this without any stress or strain. Pretty much effortlessly. Nicotine really isn’t an issue as long as I’m not setting the stuff on fire and breathing in the result. So where’s my pat on the back from the medical profession and public health? Absent. I didn’t do it by their book you see. While I was away things just started to get silly. There is so little support out there for the things that really, really matter. I know I’m a slacker – this is why I’m not employable, but really guys. The totally Wicked legal challenge, the petition against the utterly ludicrous ban in Wales, the NNA. None of these things are getting the support they need. Get off your arses, get signing, get spreading it. Do it. If you’re all right Jack, I don’t want to know you.


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.