I had my first cigarette when I was 8 years old, but I didn’t actually start smoking until I was 14. I started because I wanted a way to escape from stress and emotional pain, and it worked. I smoked between 1 and 3 packs of cigarettes a day from the time I started at 14 until just before my 19th birthday, when I tried some chewing tobacco and got extremely sick from it. I was smoke free (cold turkey) for 9 months, at which time I had to deal the pain of my brother being murdered. I couldn’t handle anything, I was a complete wreck, and most of all a danger to myself. I went to the local convenience store and purchased a pack of cigarettes to try to calm myself down, after quickly smoking the entire pack I had to go back for more and more, and within a day I went from being smoke free to smoking 5 packs a day, which I maintained for almost 3 years. In 2007 I managed to cut my cigarette usage down to 2 packs a day, and in 2008 my fianc??e at the time (now my wife) moved in with me and I was able to cut my cigarette usage down to about 1 1/2 packs a day. In 2009 I ended up getting really sick and was hospitalized for about a week, in that time I was unable to do a lot of things, however the lack of nicotine quickly got to me and I started to lose it again, I even almost became violent to the nurses and doctors. They offered me a nicotine patch to try to calm me down, which overall didn’t do any good, as I was still on the brink of snapping. I recognized the problem and asked one of the nurses to see about getting me a couple cigarettes so I could go calm myself down for a while, and the nurse was nice enough to get me a few, which I was very grateful for. Once all the tests were ran I was officially diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. After being discharged I tried to control the Crohn’s with diet alone, though I continued to smoke 1 1/2-2 packs a day, to no avail. Later that year, after several more flares, my wife gave birth to our son. My son was born with a major health problem, so our funds became stretched very thin to provide for all the things he needed, and my health was fading fast from my own health problems. It was at that time I started looking into electronic cigarettes, as I knew (and still know) that I needed my nicotine to stay calm and together, but I couldn’t continue to smoke cigarettes. I purchased my first ecig which was a Blu in hopes that I would never have to smoke another cigarette again, however this device left me wanting more because the throat hit and nicotine levels were almost none, and the battery didn’t even last 5 minutes before it died. I made it a point to stick with only the ecig, however, I had to find better hardware fast, so I started looking at Blu’s competitors, and eventually found Volcano. With Volcano I started with the components that could be used with the Blu hardware, and as the technology advanced for Volcano I updated my hardware with their newest and better devices. I went from small cigarette like models (Volcano and Magma respectively) to a small cigar sized model (Inferno Tank), and finally to the variable voltage models (Lavatube V1 and V2). I currently use a Lavatube V2 with a 7 mL TubeTank filled with USA made 24 mg nicotine liquid. I vape at between 3.7 and 4.5 volts, and go through about 90 mL of liquid a month on average. So far as of May 2013 I have been smoke free for almost 4 years and have no desire to go back to regular cigarettes, though I also do not have a desire to quit using my ecig and have no current plans to reduce the nicotine level; however in the future I may decide to reduce the level, I don’t know yet.I feel 100% better and have been flare free for almost the entire time since switching to ecigs. As for flavor, the ecigs have a major edge over tobacco cigarettes in that the variety of flavors help to keep interest in the ecigs and help some of us to lose the taste for cigarettes all together. As for big pharma NRTs, I have tried the patch and it didn’t work, I refuse to put the gum in my mouth after hearing how bad it tastes, and the drugs like Chantix I am sorry they need to be made unavailable until they can develop something that has a better success rate without the horrible side effects…. I would never EVER consider Chantix, especially considering I almost succeeded in killing myself once, I don’t need a drug that would even have the slightest potential of sending me back down that road, and as a result I would NEVER recommend anyone ever try it, even if it could work for them… the side effects more than outweigh the benefits the product could give., and I am disgusted at the FDA for approving this drug and for fast tracking it, but yet not approving something that is much safer and more successful than that garbage, and also for many other reasons that I shall not go into because that would take too long to discuss. I am adamantly opposed to any legislation which will harm the ecig industry as these devices have literally saved my life, and have made it so my son doesn’t have to be around someone who smokes heavily all day (especially considering he is allergic to cigarette smoke). I do agree that these devices should not be used by anyone under 18, even if they are using the 0 nicotine liquids (though it is not like I have a lot of room to talk there, as I started smoking before it was legal for me to do so), but for those of us over 18 ecigs can be a life saver and not to mention are not offensive like tobacco cigarettes are. If any government agency or body puts in regulations which drives cost up or limits the availability of these products I would be forced to return to traditional tobacco cigarettes, which my health and my son’s health cannot afford, and my taste buds would barely be able to tolerate, and it is for these reasons I give my story and I hope others give their stories so these people in the government will finally understand how much good these devices can provide, though personally I fell as of lately the government doesn’t care about the benefits of a product or the well being of the people, all they care about is keeping the big businesses rich and destroying anyone or anything that seems to actually help improve our lives, which is why I beg anyone in the government who reads this to prove me wrong and do something that will promote good things like ecigs and other NRTs, and start taking a stand against things that do real harm. I thank you for reading my story and thoughts.