When I was 16 I moved to a new area. I had never been the jock or preppy kind of guy so making friends on the sports or academic teams was (the type of people who usually stayed away from smoking) just not going to happen. It was the eighties and I had the long hair, torn jeans, rocker look. New guy at a new school I found that a lot of people in the same style were asking if they could bum a cigarette. I didn’t smoke at the time but started occasionally buying a pack to have around to use as a conversation starter to help make some friends. Peer pressure 101, it didn’t take long before I was smoking right along with them. I remember very clearly when my father found out he told me sure, right now your doing it because it’s cool and everyone else is doing it but one day it won’t be cool. It will just be something you do that you wish you could stop typical teen…yeah, right I can stop any time I want…..mark one for dad, he was right. 26 years later I was still puffing away and wishing I could stop a pack and a half a day habit. I had tried using candy instead of smoking and failed. I had tried cold turkey, failed. I had tried chewing straws, toothpicks, eliminating one a day, failed, failed, failed. Then my step father gave me an electronic cigarette. He had bought a starter kit and had used it for a few weeks and had completely stopped after 40+ years of smoking. He was done so he set me up with everything I needed and I gave it a try. It was an early model refillable with a fiber packing that you had to juice up and the liquid he gave me was a light menthol. I didn’t much care for the flavor (like cigarettes taste good??) but acquired a taste for it and cut my smoking down from a pack and a half to about 5 per day. I used that for several months as a supplement but it was messy and inconsistent so gradually I drifted back to cigarettes and let the electronic sit in a drawer. About a year later I was cleaning and came across my electronic cigarette. I figured it wouldn’t work but took a drag off of it just for kicks. Sure enough there was still power in the battery and it worked. About the same time my son (who I had shared the same you’ll wish you could stop advice with) came to me and asked if I new where the local vapor shop was. A friend of his had let him try his and he really liked it. We went together. He bought a kit and I bought some accessories to renew my old ones to give it another try. The technology had improved to reduce the need to constantly handle the liquid and there were flavors that more closely matched my brand of cigarette. I began supplementing the electronic at places I couldn’t smoke and over the coarse of about 2 months went from a pack and half to between 3 and 5 cigarettes a day. I couldn’t get past the morning smoke or the ones after dinner. Then I decided that I was going to quit all together. I set a date a couple days ahead and decided that on that day I was not going to start with a cigarette, I was only going to use my electronic. The date came, I didn’t smoke and haven’t since! I use my electronic regularly and have noticed a vast improvement in my energy level, ability to breath, and that things just smell and taste better. Yes I will admit I am still addicted to nicotine but have started to reduce the amount of nicotine in the juice that I use. As time goes on I will eliminate it altogether. I don’t believe that there is a perfect solution that will work over night to make anyone stop smoking. There has to be a want and determination that you are finally done. However, my e-cig has been the perfect solution for me. Once I narrowed down a flavor that I liked (which is not a cigarette flavor) it has made it easy. It provides that something to do with my hands as well as the sensation of inhaling something. My only fear with electronics is that the FDA, tobacco lobbyist or local government eager to find a way to replace the tax base will get involved and make it more expensive than smoking cigarettes or impossible to get them. To anyone out there who is considering an electronic cigarette as a way to quit, you owe it to yourself to try. The benefits of proudly being able to call myself a non-smoker are tremendous. Just know that you will need to find a flavor you like which may take a little trial and error. You will need to get used to hitting it slightly different than a cigarette. And most importantly you will need to actually want to quit.