My name is Lee and as of August 17th 2013 I’ve been free of tobacco and it’s health affects. This year I will turn 50 which is a milestone for so many reasons, but being a former smoker and the journey there has been wonderful. Having been a smoker since childhood the effects were becoming more apparent as I approached 50 years of age. Things like body aches, you know go to bed sore and achy and wake up the same way, more frequent sinus issues, decreased stamina. It seem that age was catching up with me and medical test were showing that my cholesterol levels weren’t regulating well with the prescribed medications. During the summer of 2012 my blood work was sent to the lab for a particulate breakdown, which shows an overall picture of the different cholesterol counts. Seeing as how coronary heart disease runs in my family, managing cholesterol was important to me. When I received the report from my doctor I was devastated! Hand written in the accompanying letter was a shocking statement,These are the highest numbers I’ve ever seen, we need to talk about changing your program. It was a serious gut check and the most devastating news I’d ever received about my health, I thought what can I do I’m genetically predisposed. That was the least of it, the next month I found out that my personal life was in serious peril, but I’ll not be sharing that since it involves others. Here I was feeling that my life was in a downward spiral and little could be done, 50 would mark my downward slide. Well I eventually saw my doctor and he changed my medications and suggested I try electronic cigarettes instead of smoking. I thought to myself sure I know just the person to help me and told him of a friend that used them. Little did he know of what was to happen next. You see my doctor was thinking of the disposables and kits that you get at the local drugstore and gas stations. The next time I saw him I showed him what my friend had introduced me to, it was an Ego that allowed you to chose what flavor and strength of liquid you used. Surprisingly after 3 days of use the e-cigarette had become the only nicotine delivery that I needed. I also realize how strong the addictive properties of cigarettes are. You see during the 80’s I was in the U.S. Air Force and had participated in a smoking cessation clinic that used group meetings and nicotine gum. I’d learned that one withdraws from nicotine physically in 3 days and that the gum reduce the level to make that withdrawal easier. Okay that sounded easy enough become use to the lower level then reduce the use of the gum to the point of stopping altogether. Wrong, there was something else that was going on and it wasn’t really addressed. There was a psychological component that I came across and I knew it was far stronger than nicotine. I was walking down a sidewalk chewing the gum and without thinking I raised my hand as if to take a puff from a cigarette. It seriously shook me up and no one knew how to address what occurred other than to suggest lollipops. I’ve since learn that it’s called oral fixation. Electronic cigarette address this issue and I know it’s what has allowed me to be so successful in my own tobacco harm reduction program. E-cigs has allowed me to replace cigarettes with a device that satisfies the oral fixation component of addiction and taper my nicotine over time. I started with liquids in the range of 24mg – 30mg and over the past year have reduce the range to 6mg – 12 mg. One thing that I notice early on was that e-cigs don’t offer nicotine peaks as do cigarettes and that the dosage from vaping mimics that of the low dose provided by nicotine gum. I was able to inform my doctor of this and how e-cigs have improved my nightly rest and overall allergy and sinus issues. All respiratory issues have been less sever and much more infrequent over the past year. Often requiring little more than over the counter medications. I introduce my doctor to the term vaping and the advance devices that I’ve transition to for my nicotine delivery. I feel that e-cigs have done wonders for me health wise. My cholesterol is lower there hasn’t been significant weight change, I feel better and I no longer feel that I’m in my waning years. The best I’d ever done with other cessation methods, gum or cold turkey, was 3 months. Right now I’m over a year with e-cigs and haven’t had any traditional tobacco product since day 3 of starting. Yeah there was a period that I crave the old cigarette and thought I kept half a pack around for 2 month after starting I eventually threw them out, unused! I don’t have the craving and vaping doesn’t even reminded me of cigarettes it’s just how I get nicotine now. I was smoking close to a pack a day now I just rotate between my liquids of various flavors and think how nice it is not to have to go buy cigarettes everyday. I’m saving time and money habit and health wise. Will I ever stop using e-cigs? I doubt it, I enjoy the vape, but if I did chose to stop it would be much easier than if I was smoking. The addictive properties of cigarettes go far beyond nicotine and oral fixation. I’m convince since I quit that there was something else that drove the daily routine of lighting up. I realize this because I no longer have that first thing in the morning craving that was associated with cigarettes for that last one before turning in at night. My nicotine use is much more regulated now. I’ve heard there are over 4000 other chemicals produced by traditional cigarettes, just what are their physiologically addictive properties?