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Right To Vape is an international database and repository. It contains testimonials of adults who have switched from combustible and unsafe oral tobacco products to safer nicotine alternatives.

The story here pertains to the history of my life. I am not proud of some of my follies, nor ashamed. I do wish to acknowledge that e-cigarettes have saved my health and the path that led to using them is a windy, twisty road. I was born in the early 1950’s, 53 to be exact. I am now 59 about to turn 60. Both my parents smoked and as a child it seemed a normal part of life. Smoking was always what the grown-ups did. I’d be at the grocery store in line with my Dad, and he’d be writing in his checkbook, to buy the groceries, with a cigarette dangling out his mouth, even ashes falling on the check-out stand. Everyone smiling, no problem. When I was 12, the kids some which were older by a year or so, in the neighborhood, thought it would be cool if we smoked. So, we did. We would walk a few blocks to the closest gas station and buy cigarettes for a 25 cents a pack. I didn’t get the feeling that any of us thought we were doing anything wrong. We were trying to look and feel grown up around the puberty age. Guess from what I’ve read that’s somewhat normal and what most adolescents do. Mimicking what most our heroes (our parents) were doing. A year later after a divorce and moving to a new school district, I was adictively smoking. In fact, I think I was up to a 1/2 pack a day. I was already addicted at 13 years of age to smoking. In 1967, the Summer of Love, in Hollywood, Calif. My Father heard about a live-in drug and alcohol detox community called Synanon. It was located on the beach in an old converted mansion. They had what was called a Square Residence program for people with other issues, and so meeting their criteria, we as a family, moved in. My Father, myself and younger sister 20 months younger. At first while in Synanon, in the open community areas, I was smoking it seemed everyone had turned a blind eye to my under aged smoking I was now up to a pack a day. My Mother who smoked, was an uninvolved parent do to her mental illness. She was absent from my childhood from the age of 6 to 15. In those days the late 50’s early 60’s, a nervous breakdown could mean a lengthy stay in a state hospita. Consequently, I was a very grown up at 14 year of age. I was unprotected from my own choice making. The values of the elders were not in harmony with the Donna Reed Show. I was totally addicted to nicotine. On a path, unhindered until…. Synanon, was being pressured by the Los Angeles Social Service Department, to make sure school aged children attended Los Angeles Public School. My sister and myself went to Santa Monica Junior High via the van or Jitney a school just a mile away. The school was 99% African American. That was quite an experience, when most African Americans, at that historical time were angry with our United States government and all of society. Understandably, they still beared the brunt of all the injustices that their American Slave ancestors had endured. With the same injustices still locked in place to some extent. It was odd to be disliked for being white, but it was something I had compassion for, being that my family was Jewish and did not appreciate any form of racism or victimization of minority ethnicity. I did hardly ever feel I fit into any school socially. So, this was even more the opportunity I became a hard-core independant/rebellious adolescent that had a nicotine monkey on her back. It was my solace and comfort and smoking seemed to me to be my only friend. So much so that I took a chance. Walked across the street from the Junior High during lunch, lit up and was caught, and sent to the Principalƒ??s office. (Ouch!)..LOL… Synanon had this in-house therapy called ƒ??The Gameƒ?. Not only did I have a big bad attitude at that delicate age of 13.5 yrs. I was considered to be incorrigible. That is what the Judge said, after two days in Juvenile Hall. How did happen, I ran from the Vice Principalƒ??s office when he left the room after threatening to call Synanon, and I knew they would throw ƒ??The Gameƒ? on me. I had too much rejection, and such low self-esteem that any attack style therapy, caused me to feel deeply wounded. I avoided the ƒ??The Gameƒ? like the plague, a room full 10 – 15 people who centered their critical attention to. Usually an addict, a person who had goofed up. They also would make an addict who slipped, wear a squirt soda pop can around their necks, very humiliating, however, that would supposedly bring their ego down to size, which was thought to be beneficial, but I didnƒ??t think or feel so. So when the Vice Principal left the room, I picked up and RAN AWAY…. physically ran for over 40 minutes, jumping fences, in a complete panic. I headed for Venice Beach, where the hippies hung out. My refuge from Synanon, on many occasions I had secretly walked from the ƒ??Clumpƒ? the Santa Monica Synanon main residence house on the beach in Santa Monica, down the boardwalk to Venice Beach. Mimicking San Franciscoƒ??s Summer of Love, there were cool head shops and hang-outs with music and incense. I loved the whole hippy movement and to me they were my Pied Pipers. Feeling a LOVE and PEACE it was unusual acceptance from my background and very hard to find. Smoking was definitely cool and that was not all…….. Some Hippy acquaintances decided to harbor me and they let me spend the night in their apartment. We were all sitting on the couch the following morning when suddenly a huge loud banging on the door occurred and the door swung open and these huge men dressed in what looked like hunters jackets with guns pointing straight at us….ƒ? YOUR UNDER ARREST!!! They guy who put me up, was wanted by the FBI, for drug dealing and that was only one of his charges. Oddly, his last name was (Lynch).I was handcuffed, then detained ordered to Juvee. Sadly, during the runaway overnight, I could hear my Fatherƒ??s worried yell, (Lisa, Lisa) he seem to know I was there in Venice Beach. This was partly due to my Mother, who finally had been released from the State Hospital and was living there in an apartment. I could hear the emotion in his voice, and felt a shame that to this day, I can hardly shake without tears. Two days without cigarettes in detention was very frightening but then the Saint, my Uncle Manny, visited me there. He said he would get me out of juvenile jail but that I must stop hanging around drug dealers etc.. He was the Principal of a Continuation High School, for kids with dysfunctional issues. Youth pregnancies and other stuff, drugs, alcohol abuse etc., teens that had been ƒ??kicked-outƒ? of normy High School. So I was living with my Uncle and his wife, attending the school, and to my surprise, we students were allowed to smoke cigarettes in the yard between classes. Perfectly legal and sanctioned. I was 14.5 and up to a pack and a half a day. Then I met my first real boyfriend in the Art Class, when I switched to a regular High School. It was teenage love. We had a three year relationship. He didnƒ??t smoke cigarettes……..he smoked Meerschaum pipes, that he loaded with gourmet quality tobaccos. he bought me a beautiful little pipe lined with merrschaum with a tortoise like outside adorned with tiny colorful rhinestones. I would smoke it, but always wanted to inhale the smoke, which made me cough. I only used it to show him my appreciation for the thoughtful gift. ƒ??Back to the future….ƒ?, Here and now. In 40 years of smoking I have had three quit attempts, one in 1973, lasting a year and a half, one right before the conception of my second born Son and one in 2009. In the late 1960ƒ??s through the1970ƒ??s the Surgeon Generalƒ??s warning on the all cigarette packs, then, a society who to this day, judges nicotine addicts more negatively than any other addicted group. This anti-smoker fervor has grown. Of course itƒ??s understandable that the health professionals warn smokers, but is the shaming necessary? Alcoholics arenƒ??t shamed into recovery! Alcoholics may get sentenced but statistically proven, many drinkers, donƒ??t stay abstinent, over time. A total shame based attitude towards smokers, the plethora of anti smoking sanctions, employment & housing discrimination, housing regulations and worst of all the kick to the curb treatment. There are millions who still smoke cigarettes. Even when they have bought every pharmaceutical drug treatment that is available. Smokers may be smoking, because they are unable or unwilling to quit smoking. The many failed attempts most smokers have i.e.,ƒ??cold turkeyƒ?, the price of a pack soaring to unbelievable heights due to taxation of cigarettes. Smoking related diseases do lead to rising healthcare costs. Does this warrant a complete the ostracism of smokers by society. This addicted group unlike alcoholics, drug addicts is not responsible for Vehicular Mayhem, Domestic Abuse and Violence, Burglary and worse. The cold hearted QUIT or DIE mentality continues to hound every smoker from one puff to the next. When attempting to quit so many smokers are using big pharmaceutical drugs, nicotine gum, patches, note, that none of these methods kept me off cigarettes for any real length of time. I guess I resigned myself to smoking yet with a feeling like hiding in shame most of the time. Some ex-smokers I have met, usually expound on their cold turkey success stories, but I know they are the 1 in thousands. I have traveled alone across country with a trailer 5 times from the east to the west. While traveling in 2009, I stopped at a large travel center for a much needed break from driving. On their sales counter what looked like a cigarette. With it a brochure claiming what seemed miraculous, an electronic-cigarette that claims to be a safe alternative to smoking, it is called NJoy. I took the flyer and brochure and read about it. Saying to myself could this really be true??? I put it on the shelf so to speak for another year. Then jumping ahead about six months later, when I was feeling somewhat sick with a virus the symptoms were worse from smoking. I suffered with the typical wheezing and bronchial cough. It was then that I remembered the product. I found their brochure and located a retail convenience store that carried the njoy e-cigarette in Toledo, OH. I bought it at half the price of cigarettes and was surprised that it did satisfy most of my cravings. I was also amazed at how much like a cigarette it seemed to be. Though it seemed good, I just wasnƒ??t 100% convinced that I was ready to stop using real cigarettes. I used it off and on for a month or two. Lost interest in it, until the winter time, when I caught a cold again accompanied by severe bronchitis and I was having a difficult time breathing without constantly coughing. I went online and looked up nJoy again and amazingly, when I searched by googling the words electronic cigarettes, there were so many products available. I read about other peopleƒ??s experiences with different products. I was amazed just how popular they became in such a short time, it was 2010. I have not used real cigarettes except on a rare occasion. When I have, the smoking tastes so bad after two puffs. I have hardly ever lit up in these past 3 years of vaping. I joined CASAA and a few vaping forums and began educating myself in regards to using e-cigs. Since this has replaced 99% of my smoking or desire to smoke, I have enjoyed significant health improvements. I am no longer breathless from physical exertion, nor do I wheeze when I lay down to sleep. I have had very few colds compared to when I smoked cigarettes. I have only good experiences to report with my usage of electronic cigarettes. I have my sense of taste, smell and less tightness in the chest. I was near to being diagnosed with COPD and the beginning stages of Emphysema. I actually enjoy vaping and if taxing it as high as deadly cigarette smoking does occur, I will continue to vape as much as ever. Sanctions and spreading of false scientific data about e-cigarettes will potentially cripple a small business segment of the United States retail sector. These stores are creating jobs which are employing people. E-cigarette stores are the only hope that an average hard working, tax paying, voting American has. Being exposed to secondhand water vapor that is scientifically proven not contain any known cancer causing chemicals or ingredients that should be the focus. Skirting the issues and subterfuging facts is tatamount to pronouncing a death sentence to all those millions of Americans out here, still smoking. Lisa Bell