September 12th 2011 was a big day in my life, that was my first day of not smoking, and the day that I became a vaper. I started experimenting with smoking around the age of 9 or 10 when i would steal cigarette butts out of my Dad’s ashtrays and go in the woods to smoke. At the age of 15 I began to carry a pack and continued to do so for 25 years. Over the course of my 25 years smoking I tried to quit, cold turkey, the patch, gum and pills. The longest I made it was 6 months via cold turkey, and then one day I felt I deserved a treat for doing so well and bought me a single cigarette. That ended that quitting streak, within days I bought a pack. In August of 2011 I began to look into eCigs. I eventually bought a disposable and tried it, and realized there was something to this. Then on Sept 12th, 2011 I found a vape shop in my town and went in to learn more. I walked out that day with an eCig kit in my hand and a new life smoke free. After a few weeks of watching me vape and not smoke, my girlfriend had me take her to that shop, I bought her a kit and she too became smoke free. As of today May 23rd, 2013 we have not had a cigarette since and NO desire to ever light up again. We both started with a standard 808 pen style eCig. Eventually we switched to EGO style eCig, but my curiosity with vaping grew and I discovered mods and rebuildables. For me and like many others vaping has become a hobby. Why did vaping work for us to quit smoking versus the other options out there? Simply put, vaping has given me what I enjoy about smoking without smoking. The act of smoking, now vaping, I find to be relaxing. Non-smokers only feel that we are addicted to nicotine and that is why we smoke, and it couldn’t be further from the truth. As that may play a part of it, the act of smoking is a main reason why i did it. As odd as it may be, I just enjoyed it. The differences I have seen in my life since quitting have been incredible. I breath better, do not get winded walking up stairs, find that I have more energy, no more horrible coughing in the morning, but the best change was sleeping soundly! Now others in my life may say the best change was not smelling anymore. That too I must have to agree has been a huge change. Now I know why people say smoking stinks, it does. That said, no one that I vape around ever comment about it. My mother who never smoked in her life, lets me vape in her house. She is so happy that I have finally given up smoking. I have many friends who have put down the cigarettes and have done so successfully by vaping. And I am sure many of them would say the change it made for me helped to influence them. I have met many ex-smokers since vaping and the funny thing is we all smile. I watched my Dad quit a few times, and he was the typical ex-smoker, angry, frustrated and if he had to quit everyone else should. I do not see that with vapers, we know the struggle it is to quit, but have found something that makes it so much easier, and we are all smiling! Everyday more and more is said about vaping, local and state governments are debating the topic of how to handle it. The sad part is I see that most of these discussions are about taxing it, or banning it, or greatly restricting it. I rarely see any of the decision makers asking does it work. In my town, the Pierce County Health Board decided they needed to act with regards to vaping a couple years ago, and they were positioned to ban it just like King County did. Thankfully that little shop owner stepped up along with some other vapers and opened their eyes to what vaping is. They realized that for lack of scientific data why should they ban something that may work. So they didn’t ban it or tax it, they made some common sense restrictions to allow establishments to decide if vaping would be allowed, and to revisit the topic of vaping every couple years. I couldn’t say how many people now in Western Washington vape instead of smoke, but I know daily more and more make the switch. If the goal is to help smokers quit smoking, then all options should be on the table. September 12th, 2011 will always be a big turning point in my life. I never could imagine a day I wouldn’t smoke, and now I am smoke free! It is my hope that more and more people will discover vaping as an alternative! It works!