I am 46 years old as of writing this in August of 2013. I have now been tobacco free since January 10th, 2012. No, this was NOT a New Year’s resolution. This was an ad I came across online. I did further research and found these were for me! I won’t apologize for the length of my story because it IS LONG, but this is how tobacco harmed me, and the steps I took to improve my life. This also includes a little experiment I conducted with my 20yr old daughter and her friends (all over the age of 18). I started sneaking cigarettes out of my mother’s packs of cigarettes at the age of 12. I believe ALL KIDS START SMOKING BY SNEAKING CIGARETTES OUT OF THEIR PARENTS CIGARETTES, OR OTHER PEOPLE’S PACKS OF CIGARETTES! With electronic cigarettes, that is GONE! There is NO WAY KIDS CAN GET CIGARETTES NOW! My mother never noticed missing cigarettes. I smoked with friends because I thought it was a cool thing to do. Sneaking a few lead to sneaking more and more until by the age of 14 I was stealing entire packs of cigarettes out of HER cartons MY MOTHER bought. When I was 15 my parents knew I smoked and they told me to smoke in the house with them so I did not sneak around and get in with the wrong crowd. I did that. There was ONE STORE that did NOT CHECK ID! That is where I bought my cigarettes from! It would NOT MATTER HOW MUCH CIGARETTES COST, I WOULD BUY THEM! I babysat, I worked in a drugstore, so I had quite a bit of money, so money was NO object! From the age of 15 until the age of 46, I NEVER tried to quit smoking cigarettes. I NEVER WANTED TO QUIT. I LOVED SMOKING I WOULD DIE SMOKING! I LOVED everything about it. The taste, the feel of the smoke in my throat, the feel of smoke in my lungs, the smell, the taste. The only thing I did NOT like was it could hurt my kids, my pets, (my dogs ran into the other room to get away from if I lit a cigarette!) my husband or whoever was around me. I did not like smelling like an ashtray. I LIVED to smoke! If I could not smoke, I made some way that I could. I even smoked in hospitals. My kids would cough when I smoked, especially at night. I smoked through 2 pregnancies, and now my 20yr old daughter does smoke, too. My son is 15 and HATES the smell of smoke and does NOT smoke. Both kids had severe ADHD, which I think the 4,000 carcinogens in each puff on a cigarette has something to do with that! As I got older, I became totally and permanently disabled due to a neurological muscle disease called Stiff Person Syndrome. This disease causes your muscles to go completely rigid/stiff, then they spasm out of control because they are not supposed to be like that. This is a VERY painful disease because your muscles are spasming. This disease only affects 1 in 1 million people, so it is VERY RARE. You cannot move sometimes, or your body goes into spasms, and you need to sit a LOT with this disease because if you DARE to move, the spasms start up again. I started to wheeze. I was diagnosed with severe asthma. I had a breathing machine and was told to use it 4x each day, and I had an inhaler and was to use it 2x a day. I started off wheezing, but by the time I was 45, I just sat here and gurgled. I wheezed SO bad when I slept. When I was able to work, I had to room with another person. She told me I wheezed SO BAD when I slept I should see a Dr about it. Of course I did NOT! I KNEW it was from smoking! It was BAD, but I was NOT going to quit! I was worried about it, and so were the doctors. I did NOT want to quit smoking! There was NO WAY I wanted to quit, even if I could not breathe. I KNEW I would NEVER quit, and smoking would end up killing me. I LOVED SMOKING CIGARETTES. I would have ended up being one of those people rolling an oxygen tank behind me and smoking a cigarette in front of that tank! In my case, I don’t believe it was the nicotine that had control over me, I CRAVED the FEEL OF THE SMOKE IN MY MOUTH, THROAT, AND LUNGS! Filling my lungs FELT GOOD! Sometimes I would cough, but I LOVED It! What I didn’t love is smoking held me back from being able to do some things I loved to do with other people because I KNEW I would NOT be able to smoke! Smoking CONTROLLED MY LIFE! I wanted a little of that control back, but NOT TO QUIT! One other issue I had. With this neuro muscle disease, do you know how many times I dropped cigarettes? If you only knew how many burn holes I have on my floors, on my furniture, on my clothing! They are everywhere! The spasms I got in my body caused me to drop the cigarettes! I could have started this house on fire so many times! Well, I knew a neighbor had been using an electronic cigarette for the last year. She got to the point of not even wanting to use it, and she just quit smoking from there. I did some research online. I saw a youtube video of The Doctors and they thought the electronic cigarettes were an EXCELLENT ALTERNATIVE TO SMOKING!! Dr OZ THOUGHT THE SAME THING, yet he was cautious. I decided I wanted to try electronic cigarettes NOT TO QUIT SMOKING, BUT TO REDUCE THE HARM THAT CIGARETTES DID TO MY BODY ALREADY. I was also worried about lung cancer, too. By this point I had been smoking OVER 34 YEARS! I KNEW I would end up with lung cancer. I answered an ad for electronic cigarettes. They were the stick batteries and you screwed a filter onto the end. I smoked menthol and LOVED the taste!! I LOVED THESE ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES BECAUSE THEY TASTED THE SAME AS SMOKING ‘REAL’ CIGARETTES!!! Although, the first week of smoking electronic cigarettes, I still CRAVED a cigarette EVERY NOW AND THEN, which makes me believe that there is something MORE THAN JUST NICOTINE IN CIGARETTES, ANOTHER ADDICTIVE DRUG IN CIGARETTES THE KEEPS US SMOKING! By the end of ONLY 1 WEEK, I NO LONGER WANTED A REAL CIGARETTE! I LOVED electronic cigarettes! I felt so much better!!!!! I was coughing up a LOT of phlegm from the cigarettes. AFTER THE FIRST WEEK OF USING ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES I WAS NO LONGER WHEEZING OR GURGLING FROM MY LUNGS!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!! It IS VERIFIED BY MY DOCTORS THAT MY ASTHMA WAS GONE WITHIN 3 MONTHS OF USING ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES!!! I’ve NEVER had a cold since I quit using cigarettes! I’ve NEVER been sick, besides my neurological muscle disease I told you about up above. My health is GREAT! I HAVE gained weight. I HIGHLY believe cigarettes have something in them that CAUSE YOU TO KEEP WEIGHT OFF! I also stated I believe cigarettes have something other than nicotine in them to keep us addicted to them! It has now been 1 year and 8 months since I have been using electronic cigarettes! I feel SO GOOD! NO ASTHMA! NO HEALTH PROBLEMS! I am VERY happy, content, and praying what damage I did with cigarettes does NOT come to haunt me with cancer or anything else. Now, the ONLY thing I get from electronic cigarettes is nicotine, and it has been scientifically proven that the nicotine is NO MORE HARMFUL THAN CAFFEINE! Nicotine is a stimulant, just like caffeine. I’ve NEVER had blood pressure problems, or any other problems from smoking, NOR do I have any of those problems with electronic cigarettes BUT POSITIVE ONES! I am no longer inhaling 4,000 carcinogens in EACH PUFF FROM A CIGARETTE! That is something to be said FOR ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES! Electronic cigarettes have SAVED MY LIFE now and into the future! One thing that is VERY CONCERNING TO ME: I keep hearing talk about a concern that kids will like the flavors for electronic cigarettes, that it will appeal to them. Well, yes, kids WOULD like the flavors, however, KIDS DO NOT SMOKE. Teenagers/Young Adults who are 18 and OVER are the ones who are supposed to be of legal age to smoke! Unfortunately, there ARE stores that DO sell packs of tobacco cigarettes to teens UNDER the age of 18. However, it will be MUCH HARDER to sell electronic cigarettes to kids UNDER 18! Think about it – use your common sense! They will have to go into a store that sells these devices to begin with, and ANY store that has these in stock to sell to the public will have to have enough money to purchase these devices in the first place, so they are NOT going to have them out on a shelf! These devices would be BEHIND THE COUNTER! They would have to ask for them! So, using common sense, again, these devices most likely would be in tobacco stores, OR, if they are in a large chain store, they will still be behind a counter, and generally you must go into one certain lane to access the cigarettes. In the state of Michigan, it is ILLEGAL for ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF 18 TO EVEN BE IN A TOBACCO SELLING ESTABLISHMENT, LET ALONE PURCHASE ANYTHING FROM THOSE STORES! As for these same people expressing their concern about these Teens/Young Adults OVER THE AGE OF 18 liking the flavored liquids, NO, they are NOT IMPRESSED. Why? The teens/young adults who are smoking ARE OLDER AND HAVE OUTGROWN TASTES SUCH AS BUBBLEGUM, OR ANY OTHER CANDY TYPE LIQUIDS DESCRIBED TO TASTE LIKE A CANDY LIQUIDS! The other thing is I KNOW FOR A FACT TEENS/YOUNG ADULTS over the age of 18 do NOT WANT TO USE ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES! This age group WANTS REAL TOBACCO CIGARETTES, NOT FAKE LOOKING THINGS! They could care LESS about them! They want THE REAL THINGS! I KNOW! I did an experiment with my daughter and her friends. I got them together (ONLY ONES WHO ARE 18 AND OVER) AND NOT ONE OF THEM EVEN WANTED TO TRY ONE! After really bothering them, begging them and pestering them to PLEASE try them, I DID try to get my 20yr old daughter and a few of her friends who have smoked for several years already to TRY using electronic cigarettes instead of smoking tobacco cigarettes, but in their opinion, and in her friends opinions too, ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES ARE NOT COOL AMONG THEM! THEY WANT THE ‘REAL THING’! I really would MUCH prefer them to WANT electronic cigarettes because they do not contain the tar and the 4,000 carcinogens in each puff, but that did NOT bother any one of them! They want TOBACCO CIGARETTES! When I got into a conversation about what flavors they may like, the bottom line was they stated they are too OLD to CARE about some bubble gum flavors! They actually turned their noses UP at the thought of inhaling something like it! They have outgrown bubblegum a LONG TIME AGO THEY TOLD ME!! NONE of the flavors appeal to them because they like those HOOKAH tobacco smoking devices that have flavored tobacco. The kids do NOT WANT flavored liquid they want flavored tobacco! A HUGE BENEFIT TO ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES AND YOUNGER TEENAGERS STARTING TO SMOKE – THEY WON’T BE ABLE TO! In my honest opinion, kids will NOT have the opportunity to smoke like I did by stealing my mother’s cigarettes out of her packs of cigarettes! That is how I started! With electronic cigarettes, there is NOTHING TO STEAL FROM MOM OR DAD! There are NO extra batteries! These devices cost enough money THAT I HAVE TWO ARGUMENTS: 1. NO teen has the money to purchase these HIGH COST devices in order to be able to vape (smoke) these, and 2. EVERY parent who owns one or more of these devices KNOWS if one of them would be missing! These are NOT left laying around because they can be broken, and they MUST be cared for. It’s not like a cigarette that can break and you just grab another one. This is a DETERRENT! The teens will NOT risk breaking them and getting caught by mom and/or dad! You should have seen the young adults NOT wanting to even touch mine because they were afraid of breaking them! The ones I own do NOT LOOK LIKE A CIGARETTE. This was a MAJOR ISSUE with them! They said they would look stupid smoking one of these! They want something that IS a cigarette, and NOT ONE THAT LOOKS LIKE A CIGARETTE! So, after all of that, it proved to me that THE FUTURE HOLDS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO DECREASE TOBACCO CONSUMPTION FOR ADULTS AND DETER TEENS UNDER 18 FROM EVEN STARTING TO SMOKE TOBACCO CIGARETTES because they can’t even get them! They can’t be stolen because Mom and Dad don’t have any to steal, they are NOT 18 so they can’t be bought. In order for these teens to purchase electronic cigarettes, they MUST show ID. NO local store will allow a teen to purchase these because the store owner is NOT going to want to risk losing their sales license! I foresee a future of A GREAT REDUCTION IN THE CONSUMPTION OF TOBACCO CIGARETTES. I almost have to say I can probably foresee tobacco cigarettes, as we know them today, to no longer being used! In the studies I have read, here’s one: http://blog.casaa.org/2013/08/new-study-confirms-that-chemicals-in.html electronic cigarettes pose MINIMAL HEALTH RISKS, TOO! Finally! What places like the American Cancer Society would LOVE to see is now happening! People like myself are saving our own lives! No NEW teens will be able to smoke, eventually! Eventually these young adults who are refusing to use these now WILL LATER IN LIFE once they get their heads out of the sand! HOORAY for everyone around! Thank you!