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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.

At the time I pen this story, I am almost 43 years old. I started using smokeless tobacco at age 16. Every day, my friends and I would go to the local pool hall after school where we played nine ball with ƒ??a pinch between the cheek & gumƒ? until it was time to go home for dinner. By age 18, at the request of my girlfriend, I started smoking cigarettes. By the time I was 20, I was smoking about a pack of cigarettes per day and for the next 21 years I was a slave to tobacco. Occasionally I think about the countless thousands of dollars I literally burned up to feed my addiction and regret the things I could have now, had I not spent all that money…all the health problems I could have avoided… all the problems I created for my loved ones by exposing them to second hand smoke and I feel nothing but embarrassment and shame for my actions. I do not fondly remember all those hours spent standing in the rain, snow, and heat to smoke. I am not proud of the damage I caused to my vocal performances with my bandƒ?? I lost an entire octave and by the end of most performances, I found myself hoarse – sounding much like Wolfman Jack of radio fame. When I finally decided to quit using tobacco (around age 36), it took over 3 years to find a method that worked for me. I first tried Zyban. It did nothing for me, except cause me to cry about things that would be considered trivial to most and severely interfered with my employment as a Probation & Parole Officer in Oklahoma. I recall bawling like a child one day because someone could not pay their probation feesƒ?? My supervisor strongly suggested that I stop taking the product after that incident. Next up, the patch. Step one patches certainly gave me quite a rush each morning when I would put one on, but forced me to substitute an action to address the behavioral triggers, or antecedents, that prompted me to want a cigarette. What other ƒ??hand to mouth activityƒ? do people engage in? Yep, I ate! Tootsie Rolls, Suckers, candy, nutsƒ?? Most days, by the afternoon, I was taking off my patch so I could go have a cigarette. Then I would put the patch back on… then off again…and back on… you get the picture. Try as I might I could never progress to step two. The times I tried, it would come off and stay off every afternoon. Then I decided I would try the gum. It worked pretty well… I went almost 9 months without a cigarette! But much like the patch, those pesky antecedents that prompted me to want a cigarette kept me stuffing my face! I continued to replace cigarettes with food and I soon realized that the money I was saving was being spent to buy bigger pants! My weight skyrocketed from 185 to 240 pounds. Although there was a lot more of me to love, I loved being smoke free! Sadly, as result of all that chewing, I developed horrible jaw popping and pain. That pain resulted in a referral to a medical specialist, a diagnosis of TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) pain, a medical bill totaling around $3000.00 and about a year wearing mouthpieces 24 hours a day to correct my jaw alignment. By this time in my professional career, I was a trainer for new Probation & Parole Officers in Oklahoma. The day mouthpiece had one significant drawbackƒ?? It created a discernible lisp when I spoke. I am certain many students found me hilarious as they listened to me all day long, sounding much like Sylvester the Cat from Loony Toons. I am certain that it is no surprise that I quickly returned to smoking cigarettes during that time, but that extra 55 pounds I was wearing soon faded away. As a daily reminder of this quit attempt, I sleep in a mouthpiece to keep my jaw properly aligned, which I will continue to do for the rest of my life. In 2010, a friend suggested that I try an E Cigarette. She said her medical doctor had suggested them to her as a ƒ??less harmfulƒ? alternative to cigarettes and that the E-Cigarette had completely changed her life! She said it allowed her to ingest the one chemical that she wanted (of the almost 4000 found) in a cigarette. And unlike all other methods of nicotine replacement, it allowed her to address the nicotine addiction without having to address the antecedents that prompted her to want a cigarette. In other words, instead of eating while I drove or worked on the computer, I could ƒ??smokeƒ? my E-cigarette just as I would a conventional cigarette, thus allowing me to work on one ƒ??bad habitƒ? without creating another one. I was skeptical and E-cigarettes were very new to Oklahoma at the time, with only one store in the State, about 100 miles away. It took a bit of research, trial & error, and waiting on the mailman for products to arrive, but I finally found a reputable, dependable, quality device and e-liquid supplier. That was almost three years ago at this writingƒ?? I am proud to say that I have not smoked a conventional cigarette or used a conventional tobacco product of any kind in almost three years! I still weigh about 190 pounds. That octave loss in my vocal range has been found again. I no longer ƒ??cough up a lungƒ? every morning. I can climb a flight of stairs without becoming winded. My trips to see a doctor are almost non-existent because I am healthy. My nicotine use levels have decreased progressively over time. I no longer expose my loved ones to harmful pollutants in the air. I no longer stink of smoke. I no longer stand outside 20 ƒ?? 25 times per day and burn my hard earned money up like a bonfire. My health insurance, auto insurance, and life insurance premiums are cheaper because I am a ƒ??non-smokerƒ?. E-cigarettes have allowed me to improve my professional career as well. Since becoming a ƒ??non-smokerƒ?, I have served as a consultant to the State of Oklahomaƒ??s ƒ??Tobacco Stops with Meƒ? campaign and the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline. I am the liaison to the Oklahoma Department of Healthƒ??s Office of Tribal Affairs regarding Native Americansƒ?? ceremonial use of tobacco vs. actual tobacco ingestion and speak publicly at Nicotine Cessation Symposiums all over the State for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services. Further, I proudly served on the team selected by Governor Mary Fallin to draft the Oklahoma Tobacco Free State Properties Executive Order and subsequent policy for all State Agencies. In closing, I implore you to observe and consider the positive outcomes that E-cigarettes have provided to countless thousands of individuals struggling to free themselves from the harmful consequences of conventional tobacco use. Yes, ingestion of nicotine has been medically proven to have vasoconstrictive effects, but the nicotine we inhale is also found in every other nicotine replacement product on the market, including over the counter products. The only difference is the method of ingestion. Unlike conventional cigarettes, E-Cigarettes have no medically proven adverse side effect to any other person that comes in contact with the vapor. With the exception of the nicotine, the individual ingredients in E-liquid are food grade and approved for human consumption by the Food & Drug Administration. Although there have been reports of battery explosions, this is not the fault of the device, but the battery itself and the same risk applies to any device powered by a rechargeable battery. Cell phone batteries have also been known to explode, but I donƒ??t see any legislator penning legislation to ban cell phones. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), ƒ??Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. Each year, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8.6 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking. Despite these risks, approximately 46.6 million U.S. adults smoke cigarettes.ƒ? I cannot fathom why our leaders are ardently trying to quash the use of a device that appeals to many Americans as ƒ??the answerƒ? to a ƒ??less harmful wayƒ? to ingest nicotine. Any harm reduction method results in less harm! Listen to the truth about E-Cigarettes… because Veritas liberabit vos (the truth shall set you free) ƒ?? John 8:32. Respectfully submitted, Bryan D. Bell, M.C.J.A. Training Specialist, Oklahoma Department of Corrections Adjunct Professor of Sociology & Justice Studies, Oklahoma City University President, Professional Partnerships in Behavior Change Member: Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (Mint, Inc.)