Five Year Vaping Anniversary

The evolution of my vaping experience

The evolution of my vaping experience

Five years. It has been five years since I started to get serious about ending a cigarette habit that started when I was eighteen.
I have been smoke free for four of the five. The picture above is my non-cigarette history starting back in 2010.

The two tubes on the far left were partial successes. I still smoked while experimenting with those…they just didn’t cut the cravings enough.

My first smoke-free gear

My first smoke-free gear

The very first black ecig, a generic EGO battery and cartridge did the trick. I remember that day as if it was yesterday. I took one hit of the ego with attached cartridge…walked to the kitchen with a half pack of American Spirits and crushed them in my hand. I then said, “good fuckin’ riddance” and dropped the mangled cigarettes in the trash. That was how GOOD that ecig worked, and since July 2011 I haven’t had a cigarette…or the craving for one.

Of course, looking back, it didn’t work all THAT well…but it delivered enough nicotine to kill the cravings, and I was on my way.

By 2013, I was using gear that didn’t even resemble a cigarette, and now cannot imagine going back.

Over the course of the years the vaping experience, and the gear have evolved. Better performance, better eliquid, better choices. The community has become very sophisticated, and range from folks like me who just want stuff “to just work”, to the hobbyists who experiment with homemade builds, from the coils that heat the liquid, all the way to the electronics powering the devices, and to the guys who started mini-careers doing reviews of all of this stuff on youtube.

I shout out here to the three guys most responsible for keeping me on track:

Nick Green The first reviewer that caught my eye when searching for information.

Phil Busardo The technical side of things, Phil’s videos drill down the gear like no other.

Dimitris Agrafiotis    General vaping reviews, and the most tireless advocate I have ever seen when it comes to the intricate and insane mess that is regulatory government.  (Sorry Dimi, I couldn’t resist the text color. 😀 )

Along the way I have also been sickened to discover that in my country and around the world, there is a backlash of epic proportions by governments and corporations who stand to lose massive amounts of money because this method WORKS TO GET FOLKS OFF OF CIGARETTES. What a surprise, right?

Groups like CASAA are working overtime to get the message out about the benefits of vaping, and taking the fight to the nanny state governments who are knee jerk reacting to this growing phenomenon.

Now there will be some out there who ask the question, “Well then, why don’t you just quit?”

My answer is simple. “I LIKE nicotine.”  I always have from that first pull on a cig in bootcamp back in 1980. It suited me. Then I discovered the pure unadulterated joy that is COFFEE + CIGARETTES.

Cigarettes have been referred to as “an aide to thought”,  and there is some evidence backing that claim up.

I wanted to quit not because of nicotone, which is no more harmful than caffeine in the doses that cigarettes/ecigs provide…I wanted to quit because cigarettes are FULL of carcinogens and chemicals that ARE HORRIBLE for the human body.

Ecigs/vaping provide my nicotine with four ingredients. Whether they are “completely safe” is irrelevant. They are a zillion percent safer than smoking.

The term for this is “HARM REDUCTION”…a simple concept that the bizarro-world “anti-vaping” crowd needs to figure out. (Some of them won’t because they are financially invested in products that are in competition with vaping…and this is a sad thing.) Getting people off of cigarettes should be the goal, not protecting one’s turf.

I will say one thing here, lest I get lumped in with the nanny-staters myself. FREEDOM means you should have choice. If you CHOOSE to smoke, that is your choice.  When I say, “get people off of cigarettes,” I mean, specifically, to provide a viable alternative. Force is for socialists, fascists and busybodies who think it is their right to force people to do what they think is right.

So here as I start year 6 of NOT smoking, I hope that all of you out there still sucking on the cancer sticks give this alternative a try.

I no longer stink of smoke.

I no longer have ash and stained walls or gummed up windows.

I DO have my lungs back.

I DO have my tastebuds back! (woot x 10 here!  😀 )

I have my NIC.  (For me this is a good thing.)

It worked for me! 🙂

A Vaping Update 6-2-2015

IMG_20150602_230741160_HDR

1. The picture above shows the gear that I currently use…except the sad little black device (Eleaf I-Stick 50watt) to the left. Unfortunately it has a bad switch, causing all kinds of mayhem, so it is joining the “Casey Vaping Museum of Natural History” after this post. Sad, as I really like the heft, feel and display of the little bugger, not to mention 3 day battery life. Ah well.

2. The big boy in the middle is my Vamo V6 variable wattage mod. Stuff comes and stuff goes, and that thing just keeps on working…flawlessly. It is a chinese made device, and from I’ve what I’ve read, a new version 7 is coming out pretty soon with a few additional features such as a pass-thru for charging while vaping, and a few tweaks to the brains.  I’ll probably snag one when it gets to my vendor. They’re very inexpensive. Notice I didn’t say “cheap”. 😉

3. The red unit is my backup.  It is a Kanger IPOW 2 variable wattage unit. It works just about as well as the Vamo. The reason it is a backup? I am not fond of the switch, which is flush mounted and difficult to find unless you’re looking at the unit. This is not a good thing to be doing when driving. Good battery life, easy to read screen, and simple rotary wheel for adjustments that stays put (mostly). Nice device around the house.

4. The tanks. I’m still using the Kanger Aero-EMOW Mega units. They hold 2.8 ml of liquid and are simple to use and even easier to clean. They WILL leak on airplanes unless inverted, but a lot of tanks will do this. Air pressure is a fiend. -heh.

4b. I have purchased some “sub-ohm” dual coils to try as Kanger has made a variant that fits the aerotank line. At this point, other than sucking juice faster, and draining my batteries faster, I don’t see the big deal. I’m not “Mr. Clouds” guy, so at this point, I’m still using 1.8 ohm dual coil atties as my go-to units.  They work, and work just fine.

5. Last on the list this time is that big ol’ tank of juice.

After years of futzing about trying to find an eliquid that just “suits”, this has been my go-to for awhile now. Sweet-Vapes “Mapacho”.

I do NOT like vaping drink flavors, cake or pie stuff, or desserts. If I want that, I’ll go eat/drink the real thing. When vaping, like smoking (when I did the deed), I prefer something NOT SWEET, that gets outta the way and doesn’t make we want to gag after an hour or so…(try eating a whole bag of cookies, or the WHOLE cake to get what I mean). The mapacho flavor here has a slightly citris twang with a bit of tobacco (not cigarette flavor…think pipe or cigar).

I swear that if Dayna, who runs Sweet-Vapes ever goes out of business, I shall cry. I did get her to promise me the recipe though if they do.  heh.

6. Next up on the block. I’m hanging back a bit on buying new gear at the moment. There are a few devices that I’m liking to replace the Eleaf I-stick, but I’m waiting on Dimitris Agrifiotis and Phil Busardo to toss their reviews out. Always trust those two…they will steer you in the proper direction.

7. The drug addict looking syringe and stuff there isn’t. heh. That is a blunt tipped milliliter marked syringe to get juice from the big bottle into the tanks. Really handy as I can get the right amount from bottle to tank without over or underfilling the things.  —I should have put a bent spoon and a lighter there just to freak folks out. snicker—

Thoughts on Vaping, or why I won’t buy a tube “mod” from Kyle Reese.

Another bit for the vaping section of the blog, so a few bullet points on MY thoughts so far:  (which of course means that this my opinion, and we all know what those are like, right?)

First up:  I love Vaping, and after a month of being completely smoke free because of it…I love it.

And the bullets o’ ranting:

  1. Most “mods” (custom made e-cigarette gear) are junk. Or I should say:  crap, crap, CRAP, MEGACRAP!  –this also goes for 90% of the standard junk foisted upon an unsuspecting public as “e-cigarettes” as well.
  2. 90% of said “mods” -good AND bad- look like weird uncle Ned built the stuff in that sub-basement where a certain fictional serial killer whined about putting the lotion on.
  3. In the 21st century most of this equipment is put together with bits of wire and absorbent materials, glue, duct tape, baling wire and is, in general, about as far away from hi-tech as the aforementioned weird Uncle Ned, who thinks email is something you pay extra for at the post office.
  4. MOST of these e-cigarette “mods” are so horribly overpriced as to enter “plaid-speed”. Which leads to point 6:
  5. Vaping can be a very VERY expensive hobby. Think of that word (hobby) as code for “obsession”.
  6. Higher voltage, while giving very “cigarette”-like heat doesn’t necessarily mean a good time.
  7. Higher voltage can mean vaping is similar to inhaling burnt toast. (Not always, but yeah.)
  8. The ECF (the main forum where all the “coool kids” hang out) reminds me of a clique of those who “get it” vs. everyone else. It also reminds me of a lot of West Virginia sometimes. (This is NOT a happy memory.) –please don’t take this as totally bad…lotta’ good info in there, but it has a not so awesome tone…to me.
  9. Most of the innovations in e-cigarettes advances are happening in China and Europe, and not here.  Here in the US it seems like we are just taking existing stuff and ‘tweaking it’, ‘modding it’ or ‘fiddling’.  This point could go on a HUGE rant about what this country is losing/has LOST, but I’ll just leave it here as it is, because it’s pretty self explanatory.  -sigh.

After a LOT of personal research and more than a few $$$ spent on some dodgy gear (love the brits for that word “dodgy”), I have realized there is a reason that while I LOVE the video reviews and most of the reviewers on youtube that are putting their faces and reputations out there, I haven’t broken down and dumped $$$ for this stuff.  That reason is:

V I S U A L

Period.

Currently I use this device, the eGo-T, and not only is it functional and works like a charm (for me) , it is sleek, elegant in its design and hi-tech in its appearance:

What I currently use. A sleek, easy to use e-cigarette system.

 

Most “mods” on the other hand are absolutely ridiculous looking. From uber-steampunk stuff like this:

300+ bucks with all the doodads for that steampunk-about-town panache! Or Darth Vader.

 

…to utterly cheezy (though functional) stuff like this:

35 dollars for about a 10 buck investment in stuff at Radio Shack.

 

 

…AND BEYOND! to absolutely frackingly laughable designs like this buck rogers monstrosity:

or another massive amount of $$$ for some plastic stuff and a stupid interface from the 70's.

 

 

I am a tech by trade, an uber-science fiction/fantasy geek/writer by hobby and a person who would, if I could, live in a time where we as a species have moved on to bigger and better things.

Sticking a tube in my mouth  that looks like Kyle Reese put it together in a cheap motel room in order to blow up Ahhnullld is not sleek, sexy, cool or in any way a desire of mine.

All hope is not lost however. This just might do the trick until I can find an e-cig that is powered by linux:

 

If this works even a TENTH as good as it looks....I'm soooo there.

Oh yeah, and guess who created this one?  Yep, not a US based company.  Oh well, Firefly rocked, so I guess learning Chinese won’t be a bad thing.  🙂

Vaping! Or: How I quit smoking cigarettes!

So. I have again been neglecting my blog. Tweets and facebook tend to do that, and of course while I’m driving about here and there in the Taxi, my droid, while awesome, just isn’t a good bloggin’ platform. But I’m back with a new section for the blog-o-rama. The VAPING section. What is that, you ask? Well this post is here ta’ introduce it!

First off, a bit of background. For the last twenty nine years (that long already?) I’ve been a smoker. Of cigarettes. I started out with the things simply to just stay awake in boot camp when I joined the Navy, and quit for awhile right after. I switched out to a tobacco pipe thinking that would ease me off of a habit I really didn’t want…but…I was hooked on the nicotine, and within a year I was a confirmed smoker.

As the years have rolled on, I have thought about quitting many times, but…I REALLY REALLY like the habit itself. The nicotine helps me think, and the fiddly bits of smoking have become ingrained.

As a normally non-addictive type (no drug abuse, no alcohol addiction, etc., etc.,) what has always griped me about smoking is that the one thing in cigarettes that we smokers are after…and what “hooks” us…is also the one thing in cigarettes that is NOT a “kill you dead” ingredient.

Yep. Nicotine. With this legal product (cigarettes), there about 4000 (not kidding) chemicals and ingredients involved, and a TON of these bits WILL kill you. They are known as ‘carcinogens’, not too mention that you’re inhaling carbon monoxide as well. (think: wrap yer mouth around a car’s tailpipe and inhale while its running.)

From every study I’ve looked at, from every paper pushed out there, even from the flaming wacko anti-smoker crowd, nicotine is about as evil as caffeine in the doses a smoke provides. Its one drawback is that is HIGHLY addictive and about as hard a habit to kick as heroin once begun. The brain/body loves dis’ stuff once its been introduced.

While yes, its technically a poison, you would have to drink a bottle of the stuff all at once in one go for the nasty bits to kick in, and last I checked, that isn’t on my current short term or long term agenda.

So…for the last several years I’ve begun the search to replace the habit or just quit. (I’ve tried cold turkey twice and as for me this was NOT the way to do it.)

I tried the patch. (waste of time as although you get nicotine, you do NOT get the fiddly bits of smoking which are enjoyable to me.)

I tried e-cigarettes…the kind you can get at the mall kiosks/7-11 and smoke shops.

Naming names here: Njoy, BLU, Xhale02, Gamucchi are some of the main culprits.

They were mostly nasty tasting (njoy you listening?), produced almost little to no “smoke” and generally the batteries lasted…er…DIDN’T last worth a crap, and the nicotine cartridges were ridiculously expensive and ran out of “juice” quickly. So…

So…back to smoking. -sigh.

Recently though I ran across a web advert for e-cigarettes again, but it wasn’t one of the bigger rip-off outfits that I’ve just rambled about. It was a review site that put some of the products out there through their paces and wasn’t affiliated with any of them. I started reading…

…and like the tech I am at heart, I really started to investigate the “e-cigarette” scene, which isn’t called that at all. Its known as “Vaping”. As in water vapor which is the “smoke” that you exhale from an e-cigarette. Not only that, but this “scene” is exploding with small mom/n/pop online shops for not just the hardware, but the nicotine juice (called e-juice) that you can puff with these devices.

There are literally THOUSANDS of different flavors/strengths and combinations of juice to suit every taste/style out there, and on top of that, you can mix your own.

I was overwhelmed with information at first, and realized that I was seeing the beginning of a new industry. The last time I saw this kind of enthusiasm and participation was about twenty or so years ago…and it was called “The PC Revolution”. Hobbyists and small time operators getting together to create a new tool…and look what happened with that!

So after much reading, and some trepidation, I followed several YouTube reviewers, watched their videos on the hows whys and wherefores as well as a ton of product reviews, and ordered my first e-cigarette kit called the “eGo”. (This kit only cost me 49 dollars by the way, which is less than ONE CARTON of the cigarettes I was using at the time.)

Pictures here:

So on the top there, you see the kit unboxing, and on the bottom an eGo e-cigarette. The little light there under my finger is a power button to run the battery that powers an atomizer which heats the juice to make the vapor.

After my first inhale on this device, I sat for a moment, exhaled a cigarette cloud of smoke…and got an immediate buzz. I also got a good throat thump (known as a throat hit) just like a cigarette. And the flavor of the juice that I ordered (see pic on top for the little bottles) was….awesome.

I took another hit. Sat a bit staring at this little unit. Then I smiled. I walked into the kitchen, grabbed the pack of smokes sitting on the counter and crushed it in my hand. Then I tossed that in the garbage.

Ten days later I’m still completely smoke free, and vaping has replaced a nasty habit with one that doesn’t stink, doesn’t kill me and tastes…well it tastes whatever I want it to! Kona Cream anyone? Cappuccino? Flue cured tobacco? Honey infused tea? Blueberry Waffles? —I’m not kidding on that last one.

Posts that will follow in this section will include mini-reviews of vaping stuff such as hardware and juices, and a continued diary of me NOT SMOKING.

As a final bit to this, in the last week, I’ve noticed I have my breath back. I am tasting foods and drinks almost as if for the first time. I feel better than I have in literally years.

And the FDA wanted to outlaw this, or control it as much or more-so than cigarettes. –this could loop back to my government is a bunch of morons sections. Thank goodness they lost their appeals on these products, as in my opinion, they have saved my life.

Last final bit, I need to SHOUT TO THE HOUSETOPS a MASSIVE THANKYOU!!!! to:

Grimm Green and Doctor Vapor on YouTube for their awesome reviews and instructional videos on how to “vape”. There are many others there but these two were my primary sources of info.