I have smoked cigarettes and used smokeless tobacco for most of the last 25+ years. I began smoking in college and determined that I would quit later and did make some efforts to stop when my children were born and at other times in my life as I got older. I was very familiar with the different health risks associated with smoking versus smokeless tobacco and was intrigued by the presence of e-cigarettes on the market 5-6 years ago (and tried two different brands of products at that time), but didn’t quit smoking as products (additional cartridges, etc) were not readily accessible so the lack of readily available products limited my ability to maintain sufficient smoking substitutes. Additionally, the quality of products available at the time was limited. Product quality and flexibility have increased immensely since that time. Product availability and diversity needs to continue to expand. In the past, I have been a long-term moist snuff tobacco (Skoal, Grizzly) user. In the last 6-7 years, I’ve also begun using snus tobacco (both General and Camel). When I quit smoking at the beginning of 2013, I used a variety of available products including NJOY and Blu (and have used disposables for both and rechargeables). In early February after switching to traditional e-cigarette products, I visited a cigar shop in Santa Fe, New Mexico that sold vapor products. I was interested in learning more and found the videos and online postings about products to be somewhat confusing with use of terminology and jargon in conversation that was unfamiliar to me and, in my opinion, very imprecise in usage (different people seemed to use different terms to describe the same things or used the same terms to describe different things). So, it was helpful to have someone physically show me different products, how they worked and share the experiences of his customers with me. He indicated that he then had 11,000 customers for his vapor products, that revenues were now equal to those he got from selling cigars (and growing), that 100% of them were smokers and that upon using these products they immediately reduced their cigarette consumption by at least 50% and that the percentage grew over time. His wife was a 30 year smoker who had that experience. Eventually she, and many others, found that the thought of tasting a cigarette was extremely unpleasant. The thought of having fingers, hair and clothes that reeked of cigarette smoke became very unpleasant. So unlike other alternatives to cigarettes, these products didn’t just become a weak substitute to satisfy one’s nicotine addiction, but they actually became a preferable alternative. While I recognize that such descriptions are anecdotal and not scientific, my experience over the past five months has been consistent with that experience. I’ve tried nicotine replacement therapy on 6-7 occasions over the years and tried quitting smoking. I’ve tried the gum and more frequently the patch (which I actually prefer to the gum). Neither was satisfying as a product. Neither was enjoyable. They were both just painful experiences in an effort to lessen the nicotine cravings that come with quitting smoking. Neither worked for me. I’ve also used moist snuff tobacco as indicated. Frankly, the nicotine provided via those products was more than satisfactory when not smoking. The social acceptance of those products, affected me in different ways (both negative and positive). First, working in a professional capacity, I recognized that many people found use of the products to be gross. Most obviously, you have to spit. You can get tobacco in your teeth (I was never a big fan of pouches) and you have a big lump of tobacco in your lip (I could never dip Copenhagen because it was too fine … unable to control the dip in the mouth and unable to get enough Copenhagen in to be satisfying – two forces that work against one another). So, the lack of social acceptance of moist snuff hurt my efforts to not smoke because I wouldn’t use the products at times when I needed it. It also helped because privately, I could use the products and learn (unsuccessfully obviously) to go without when in public or with others. Snus and dissolvable products are helpful in this regard because they are discreet and because they are more pleasant to use than the nicotine gum. My own opinion, however, is that snus is more appealing to smokers than it is to dippers. But it does provide some satisfaction. When I quit smoking at the beginning of the year, I found the more traditional e-cigarette products to be appealing. Nothing came as close to mimicking the behavior associated with smoking and providing the nicotine in similar fashion without all the negative characteristics of smoking a cigarette. My experience that I think is common, is that you want to try all the products out there. Clearly, cost is a factor. But the e-cigarettes are not cigarettes. They don’t provide the same experience as cigarettes. It’s very clear. So when you try one that you like, it is still not a cigarette. So, one naturally wants to try all the other alternatives to see what works best for his/her own tastes. The amount of vapor produced, the level of nicotine, the weight/color of the product, the flavor and taste of the product, the battery life and other characteristics all go into the determination in finding a product (or products) that suits one best. My vapor purchase in New Mexico completely elevated my vapor experience. I purchased a Firefly battery (since then also an eGo C-Twist). Larger, more powerful, longer-lasting and rechargeable and some clearomizers and few different flavors. Since that time I’ve visited vapor shops in Chicago, Oklahoma, Missouri, Washington state, Arizona and elsewhere. I also shop online. I have a couple different batteries. I’ve bought products for family members who smoked and expressed a willingness to consider switching. I’ve used tanks and clearomizers. I have tried and purchased many different flavors (in person and online) and would now describe myself as a vapor hobbyist which I consider to be a good (albeit weird to those who don’t understand it) thing. People outside the community don’t understand that switching from cigarettes to vapor does have the capacity to create a hobby that is enjoyable for many, many people and that should be celebrated. It’s a hobby not unlike cigars, wine, scotches, golf or model train collecting. It brings people together in a community with others of like mind. It’s an appealing strength of the experience of choosing vapor over cigarette smoking. I’ve never experienced a fun hobby of nicotine gum chewers. I don’t think I ever will. End of the day, I haven’t smoked since quitting on January 3, 2013. I had zero intention of stopping my use of moist smokeless tobacco but quit that and have no desire to use the products (including at times, such as playing softball/baseball, where I’ve always used the products for decades – longer than the time I’ve smoked). So, although not my intention, I’ve ceased using traditional smokeless tobacco products as well. Note that I do use snus when vapor is not socially acceptable (on airplanes and in business settings). The thought of having a traditional cigarette is disgusting to me. Many people who quit smoking become very sensitive to cigarette smoke. They recognize how much it smells, how it irritates the eyes, gets absorbed in clothes, furniture, carpeting, hands and fingers (including of those who aren’t choosing the activity). Smoke stains your teeth and the smoke isn’t pleasant to anyone other than the currently addicted smoker (and only at the time smoking). Many who switch from smoking to using e-cigarettes and vapor products have the same experience. I have had that experience (though I don’t demonize or hate smokers and support their freedom to make choices for themselves and only wish that they have honest, accurate, scientifically -valid information available to make informed choices for themselves). I switched and switched successfully because I have access to a wide variety of products. I can (and have) tried dozens of flavors to find those that are most palatable to me. And don’t fall for the idea that flavors means appealing to kids because adults like flavors. Nicorette gum comes in flavors, coffees are flavored, desserts are flavored, Tums and Rolaids and Polident (and HUNDREDS of other products) are flavored with chocolate, cherry, strawberry, vanilla, cola, etc… and are marketed exclusively to adults. I’ve never heard anyone accusing pharmaceutical companies of marketing orange Metamucil products to children because they are flavored. Humans, ALL humans, love flavors. The more flavors that are available, the more likely the switch to vapor from smoke will be more appealing and more permanent for the individual, addicted smoker. The more products, colors, batteries and accessories that are more readily available to more adult smokers, the more adult smokers might choose to switch to a different and less-offensive (to others) product(s) because they can find alternatives that are pleasurable to them. At the end of the day, we’ve learned of the many serious dangers and consequences associated with smoking cigarettes. And still tens of millions of Americans smoke. We’ve experienced it. I’ve been with friends and family members as they’ve suffered with smoking-related disease that ended in death. I’ve been to the funerals. We all have. And while it’s important that additional science be promoted to understand the long-term impact of e-cigarettes and vapor products, the dangers of cigarette smoking is a known quantity and limiting alternative products that avoid many of the specifically-identified risks associated with smoking is not only irresponsible, it’s dangerous. If you want to restrict availability of alternative products, restrict their attractiveness, restrict scientific information about them (or distort it) or increase the costs of such products, you are promoting the continued use of cigarettes for the tens of millions of people who smoke and are interested in quitting or switching, as most are. You can’t have it both ways. And I do understand the hesitancy of many to be skeptical of scientific research that may be funded by tobacco companies. But I’d also encourage those same people to be equally skeptical of any research funded by pharmaceutical companies and organizations that are significantly funded by pharmaceutical interests. Is it possible that Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the American Cancer Society, the Heart and Lung Association and various SmokeFree [insert state name] organizations receive funding from pharmaceutical companies or interests? Hmmm … Traditional nicotine replacement therapies have a less than stellar record in helping people quit smoking. I support the free market and companies making a profit, but the research related to many of the products in this area is supported by billion dollar, international pharmaceutical conglomerates that have a vested interest in the outcome of the research, no less real than cigarette companies interest in the outcomes. But at least people are skeptical of tobacco companies. They should have the same skepticism of pharmaceutical companies. In fact, the danger of research funded by pharmaceutical interests is arguably even more dangerous than that funded by tobacco because people assume it’s from a worthy source. Do you really think the manufacturers of nicotine gums, patches, inhalers and oral prescription medications (often paid for by government programs or insurance mandates) want to see people make an informed choice to switch to e-cigarettes and vapor products? Do you think those pharmaceutical interest have the ability to impact the FDA? Do you think they provide funding to groups in all fifty states who work to reduce smoking and now curiously support action to restrict alternatives that people are choosing of their own free will? It’s fair to ask interested parties if they receive funding from tobacco companies. It’s probably even more important to ask those who weigh in from various smoke-free organizations if they refuse any funds from pharmaceutical companies and if they are willing to make their donors public. Sorry for the lengthy treatise. But I’ve switched to vapor, I’m not switching back and I’m excited about it. I hope others have the same knowledge and opportunity to make the same informed (and satisfying) choice I’ve made for myself.