I smoked for 16 years. One pack a day to start, and increasing to 1.5 packs a day at the time I stopped. I Started using a small cigarette like electronic cigarette in January 2013. Immediately, I smoked about half as much (3/4) of a pack a day. I saw potential in the experience, but couldn’t get enough satisfaction from it to say I was ready to quit smoking completely. Around March, I decided to invest the money I saved from cutting back into a little bigger battery that used tanks (ego style). This gave me a great deal more options in nicotine level and flavorings. The immediate result was I cut back to 2 or 3 cigarettes per day. At this point, I knew I could quit smoking completely, but it wasn’t an easy switch. I went some days without completely and some days I smoked 2 or 3 up until mid April. I again decided to use my savings to double down on the harm reduction and purchased a variable volt ego style. This gave me more control over when I needed a heavy push to get through a craving and using less nicotine when I was just using my device to keep my daily routine in tact. Using the variable volt ego style battery as an aid, I completely quit smoking on the first of May 2013. Before trying electric cigarettes, I saw a doctor who prescribed some kind of pill, but I never knew what it was. All I noticed it doing was making my mouth dry. Once the prescription was gone, I never had it refilled. I tried slowly cutting back and quitting cold turkey on separate occasions. Both attempts ran into the same problem if I didn’t have a cigarette, someone would always be there to save the day. I lost focus at work, became short with my family, and basically just did not enjoy life during the attempts. So I went back to my routine. I also purchased a bunch of the gum at one time. This had absolutely no effect on my cravings, and the taste was so bad that I had force myself to keep doing it. Besides being a nicotine delivery system, the reason I believe electronic cigarettes are working for me is that I have many choices as to how I implement them into my routine. I can adjust the power up or down to suit my need at the very moment I need to use it. I can increase or decrease the nicotine content based how much I feel I have to use the device. I can switch the flavors up to distract me from the fact it’s still not really what I want to be smoking. Probably most importantly, I can feel and taste the product in the same way I did a cigarette. One of the hardest parts about quitting is that when the lungs start to clear out, one intensely craves that feeling of smoke in the lungs. When that feeling is duplicated and accompanied by a small dose of nicotine, the body seems to be much more satisfied that it is from chewing many pieces of gum containing much more nicotine. I strongly believe that any product aimed at smoking cessation should address this issue. According to my research, I’m not alone in this. Since I started cutting back on cigarettes in January, I’ve experienced many physical changes. At first, I battled fatigue, insomnia, and mild depression. All by my own account. I’ll start smoking again before going to the doctor for things of this sort as each seems something a person should be able to manage on their own. These symptoms were surprisingly short lived. By March, I was noticing that my life was pretty much back to normal with a few big improvements. The springtime sinuses were practically non-existent. The same time last year, I would have suffered nose bleeds, headaches, red eye, and all the other spring time fun that sells allergy medicine like candy. My response would have been to take allergy meds, which makes one either sleepy or hyper depending on which one you grab. I also noticed that I had more stamina on the job. I do a lot of walking during the day, and though not immediate, the difference is drastic and noticeable. Another change has been to my diet. I can no longer eat really spicy foods. I’ve had to start using mild salsa. My wife (long time smoker) actually teases me for it. Another physical change has been to my singing voice. I find that I not only have more breath, but I am also able to exhibit more control over my vocal chords, which was a pleasant surprise. Moving forward, I have a few concerns that remain. First and foremost is what’s going on with regulation and taxation. My government is considering limiting the options I praised above, which will undoubtedly send me back to smoking in the name of the greater good. I do welcome some involvement, though. Particularly, I would like to see government funded research into nicotine as a drug separate from tobacco. I have done my own homework, but my results range from mild as coffee to really bad news. The problem with the research is it’s almost completely based on obtaining nicotine from tobacco smoke, which is no longer applicable to my situation. NRT’s have proven mostly safe, and the FDA has currently said they should be used as long as needed. That inclines me to believe nicotine actually resides closer to coffee than cigarettes, but obviously, that’s not definitive. Other concerns I can manage myself, but I will detail for this summary. There is an obvious concern of quality control. Though I can research and dig through supplier provided data and independent reports, there is no way to know for sure what kind of product I’m getting. I guess the same could be true for the asprin I buy, though. I am concerned that there may be some unknown long term effect that has yet to surface, but we cannot make decisions based wild off the wall what ifs, can we. I could quit working because I think I have a winning lottery ticket in my pocket, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get rich. In fact, quite the opposite may be true. Same applies to harm reduction. Bottom line is I quit for 3 reasons: money, quality of life, and longevity. According to most all creditable research, using electric cigarettes as opposed to tobacco cigarettes will definitely provide for a positive influence over all three areas of my life. I think the only real question left is in longevity, and the only way to answer that is to wait until the people who started using electric cigarettes back in 2008 start getting old. As for the risk I’m taking, I’m trading a known devil for an unknown that shows no evidence of actually being a devil. It’s a smart decision even if it doesn’t end well. Given the information available, I would think the public health organizations of the world would be pushing electronic cigarettes like there’s no tomorrow, or at least doing some research on them. The fact that they are doing the opposite while not performing any research to back arguments for restrictions an regulations provides an insight into motivation, but I digress. The whole purpose of this writing was to tell my story of how I quit so those that make the rules might understand from the perspective of a smoker. Hopefully I was elaborate and honest enough that one could also gain a little insight into the though process and decision making of someone who chooses to use an alternative to smoking. Last thing I’ll say, and I know this to be absolute truth: If my options are quit or die, I’ll choose to die knowing I enjoyed my life. The bad part is that will likely be costly to society as medical costs of chronic illness are quite extreme. Perhaps a harm reduction will leave me in a position so that my costs more manageable and therefore not a burden on society. I beg all readers of this writing. Please do not ask me to quit or die. Nobody wins that fight!