I was a long-term, medium-to-heavy smoker for 23 years. I started when I was 17, and very shortly got up to smoking c. 20 cigarettes per day. I considered cutting down or giving up smoking many times, but never made a serious attempt at this. In retrospect, one thing that put me off was the sheer dullness of the alternatives on offer (NRT patches or gum, cold turkey). I think one thing advocates of smoking cessation fail to realise is that while smoking is hazardous to health, it’s also a highly enjoyable activity, and also a social activity. Indoor smoking bans have emphasised the social aspect of smoking: people go out of a workplace, bar or restaurant, and talk as well as smoking, even though they might be relative strangers. I think campaigns to encourage people to give up smoking miss an important point by failing to recognise this. There seems to be a tacit agreement to censor any acknowledgment of the positive aspects of smoking (as experienced by smokers), in case it frightens the horses or results in off-message. So, in retrospect, this is why taking up vaping has worked so well for me. In February 2012 a work colleague, who’d tried to give up smoking in many different ways over 4 years (but failed), started using an e-cigarette, and gave me a try on it. I was completely taken by surprise, and immediately convinced that this was something I had to do. At last the possibility of giving up smoking seemed real. I ordered my own e-cigarette and supplies. On the morning they arrived, I had a packet of tobacco left over from the previous night. 15 months later, I still have that packet of tobacco, untouched. I’m not keeping it to use it (the tobacco would be unusable by now), but as a token of how easily I gave up smoking. When I look at it, I remember with pleasure how I gave up smoking overnight, and have not even wanted a cigarette since, let alone bought or smoked one. This is in spite of spending time with friends who are smokers, allowing them to smoke lightly in my house, and often going outside for vaping breaks along with smokers. I find that I like the smell of cigarette smoke from people around me, in moderation: it reminds me how much I enjoyed smoking when I was a smoker. But I never feel any desire to have a cigarette myself. Why do e-cigarettes work so well? The answer, for me, is simply that they are enjoyable to use. Inhaling something, feeling a physiological and psychological effect, and exhaling a cloud of vapour or smoke is, quite simply, pleasurable. This was a large part of the appeal of smoking for me; I’m now enjoying this experience through e-cigarettes, but without suffering the everyday and long-term health effects of cigarettes. Of course cigarette smoking involves somatic mechanisms of addiction: when I started using e-cigarettes (immediately giving up cigarettes completely), I experienced some unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal from the many chemicals I was no longer inhaling. (These passed within a couple of months). But chemical addiction is not the whole story. There’s also the pleasure of inhaling something that makes you feel good. And inhaling nicotine makes me feel good. Calling this latter thing an addiction, irrespective of the actual magnitude of its negative health effects, is a category mistake concealing a hidden value judgment. There’s a tendency for anti-smoking campaigners to over-extend the model of harmful, chemical addiction (which of course, does accurately describe something important) to cover anything associated with smoking: its appearance, the bodily actions involved in it, even its historical portrayal. At best this is intellectual inelegance: at worst, obfuscation and the distortion of truth. On reflection, this is why I didn’t make any serious attempts to give up smoking before. The message I was getting completely ignored my own experience, that smoking is pleasurable. Giving up smoking, it seemed, in spite of its proven health benefits, was about giving up a pleasure. E-cigarettes are revolutionary because they break apart this way of thinking. At last it’s possible to enjoy inhaling a relatively harmless drug (nicotine), at a dosage you choose, without also suffering the effects of all the other elements of cigarette smoke. I started vaping using 12 or 18mg/ml concentrations of nicotine. Nowadays I find I’m happy using 6mg/ml liquid. The fact that some vapers use 0mg/ml liquid (i.e. no nicotine at all) proves that the action of inhaling and exhaling vapour is an important aspect of the appeal of vaping – and, by extension, of smoking as well. The effects on my day-to-day health are extraordinary. My daily smoker’s cough has disappeared. My senses of taste and smell have become much more sensitive; I enjoy the smell and taste of food much more. (When these senses started recovering, the effect was so enjoyable as to be even a bit disturbing!). I get tired much less easily. Everyone tells me my skin has a much more lively, healthy colour. My clothes and possessions smell much better. I would and do recommend e-cigarettes to anyone looking to to give up or cut down smoking.