Having so far successfully given up the demon drink when all around me said I would die if I tried without expensive medical assistance, I have decided to give up smoking as well. This shall be my New Year’s Resolution for 2014. As far as alcohol is concerned, I am dry. Now I want to go into the New Year clean. If my lungs weren’t a few more fags short of emphysema I am sure you would hear them cheering. As it is all they can manage is a gurgling sigh of relief. When I gave up the whisky, I still had an undrunk case of the bloody stuff. It is still sitting there next to the fridge. Now, as I take the first step towards giving up smoking, I realize I still have five unsmoked packets (about a day and a half’s consumption) on my desk. I am sure I will be able to finish the packet I am on and kill one more before fireworks light up my bit of sky.Just as I knew I would never be able to give up whisky without the help of a non-alcoholic substitute, I also know that I will never be able to shake off the urge to smoke without a little help. I really wanted to give up before the New Year but at such short notice, would the help I needed arrive in time? That help arrived at 1800hrs this evening, hand carried by Marcia from the DHL office in town. The package was sent to me in response to my plea for help by a good friend of mine in UK. The package contained a CE4 EGO Kit. Now I know what many of you are thinking, especially those who know me well; the last thing an arrogant sod like Hippo needs is a kit to boost his ego and I would agree with you whole heartedly. These egos, however, are E Cigarettes.
I have been after a decent electronic cigarette for ages. A while back another friend of mine said he would get me one from Botswana. I waited patiently for his return only to discover that the electronic cigarettes he had brought me, two of them, were not refillable with the e liquid contained in the two bottles of the stuff he had also brought me. I had the e liquid but nothing to use it in.For those of you who don’t know what an e cigarette is I will explain. It is basically a nicotine delivery device. The trouble with tobacco is that it contains nicotine which is, by all accounts, more addictive than Class A drugs. Cigarette manufacturers figured this out decades ago so adulterated the tobacco in their cigarettes by adding more nicotine. For many years, insurance companies did not consider cigar smokers as smokers as the tobacco was pure and normally savoured in the mouth, not inhaled. If nicotine was the only thing cigarettes contained, it would not be a problem, well, nowhere near as big a problem, but tobacco also releases various other toxic substances and gases such as tar, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide and other volatile carcinogenic compounds. I inhale all this muck into my lungs every time I smoke but even though I know I am killing myself slowly and inexorably, I can’t stop because after so many years, body and mind are virtually hard wired to depend on nicotine. An e cigarette will deliver similar doses of nicotine without all the other components contained within tobacco smoke. The difference between it and other nicotine delivery devices such as chewing gum and patches, is that an e cigarette replicates the act of smoking and, as I argued when about to give up alcohol, cigarette smoking is as much habit and environment as addiction. In order to get a dose of nicotine the user has to draw on the e cigarette and is rewarded with what to all intents and purposes looks and tastes like cigarette smoke but is actually only water vapour laced with nicotine. The vapour exhaled is pure water so is inoffensive. An e cigarette, therefore, addresses both the addiction and the habit without the evils associated with tobacco. I shan’t bore you with the technical details save to say an e cigarette consists of a USB rechargeable power source, a reservoir for the e liquid and a coil that heats up every time the cigarette is drawn, vapourising the e liquid to produce the ‘smoke’.
Bizarrely, the manufacturers of e cigarettes are not allowed to market their products as nicotine delivery devices and it is completely verboten for them to suggest e cigarettes might help normal smokers give up. To do so would reclassify their unregulated recreational device as a medical device requiring years of expensive testing and trials before it could be legally sold. Tobacco lobbyists wanted e cigarettes to go the same way as nicotine chewing gum. When nicotine gum was first released, it could only be obtained on prescription. The lobbyists even managed to get their ‘concerns’ about easy access to e cigarettes as far as the European Parliament which for a while looked as though it would cave in to pressure and declare e cigarettes a medical device subject to the usual constraints. Fortunately, the proposal failed. If anyone doubts the cynicism of politicians and their susceptibility to lobbyist pressure please be aware that two years after the link between smoking and cancer was medically proven, the British Cabinet, under PM Eden, on three occasions in 1956 discussed the causal link between smoking and cancer and what to do about it. I think I can best summarize those meetings by describing the first as: Oh my God! Cigarettes are killing people, we must let the public know! The second meeting as: But we derive loads of tax revenue from tobacco! And the third as: ‘It’s not really medical evidence, it’s just statistics, let’s do nothing.Given that I have waited a long time to get my hands on one, I was reluctant to bugger it up so I did what I normally never bother to do, I read the instructions. I wanted to start ‘vaping’ as e cigarette smokers call their habit, right away, so I needed to know how to fill the reservoir and how to screw all the components together. I have to admit, this e cigarette appears very well made. It is about the size and weight of an expensive fountain pen. Mine is in black and chrome so even looks like an expensive fountain pen. I was a little bit surprised it did not come with a clip as do all pens so that it could be stored safely in a suit jacket or shirt pocket when not in use. I haven’t even tried the damn thing yet and already I am suggesting improvements. I think my new EGO and my old one will get on well together.
Then I got to the bit about charging the battery before first use. I had to wait five hours. Five hours! I checked the time, 18.45!So, my dear friends, I will just make it by fifteen minutes. I will enter the New Year not as a smoker, but as a vaper.
I know some of you are already a year ahead but I wish all of you the very best of health, prosperity and happiness for 2014. I love you ALL dahlings!
When I gave up smoking twenty five years ago, I was ready to do it. That first cigarette-free morning I went out to our dustbin with a full packet of Benson and Hedges, took the cancer sticks out one by one and crushed them - dropping the crumpled mess into the bin. It was symbolism in action and it worked for me. I have never had a single cigarette since. Good luck Mr Hippy! And remember when the craving bites - it is just your nicotine addiction speaking. Nobody actually NEEDS a cigarette.ReplyDelete
I agree, but I am still going to cheat by using e cigarettes to give me my nicotine, we're not all hewn from granite like you Northerners!Delete
Nay lad. Tha's med from tripe! It's not an E cigarette tha needs, it's an Ee-by-gum one!Delete
Well done with the alcohol. You should be proud of yourself, it can't be easy. Good luck with the smoking. I think you've got that beat too. Great to see you applying your superior intelligence to something that will be a huge benefit to yourself and your family. sounds to me like you have a fantastic head start on the rest of us for 2014. happy New Year to you and all your family.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the encouragement and all the best to you too for 2014!Delete
In Venezuela where I grew up it is considered impolite not to offer a cigaret to those with you before you light up, so it is almost impossible to avoid picking up the awful habit. In any social situation you are always offered a smoke. I started about the age of thirteen. Three years later I was in a boarding school here in the US and was required to do some type of athletics after classes ended at 1500 hrs. Fatally bad vision not sorted out until just before I arrived here doomed me for life to being a klutz at any sort of ball sport, so given the long legs running X country and Nordic Skiing were my best choice. Its a lonely sport so there is usually no one to see you when you fuck it up. And if you are slow enough the crowds have left the finish line by the time you arrive sparing you the embarrassment of being the last to arrive. Here in New England both these forms of sanctioned competitive intramural masochism take place in the fall and winter respectively. The shock of a tropical climate bred skinny Heinz 57 varieties brat being forced to run endless miles in what could only be describe as ungodly.... no satanic cold did not agree with my lungs and as a result I found myself coughing up blood at times. Scared the living shit out of me and put in me some motivation to give up the coffin nails. It was not easy but I found that just not buying them and thus limiting to some degree their availability was helpful in giving them up at least as a regular habit. I did occasionally succumb to the temptation years later while partaking of the bar scene during what one can say were the lost years. Blame the beer and chasing girls I suppose. The wretched smell of my clothes in the morning eventually became to objectionable. Perhaps it was the distinct feeling I was licking an ashtray while necking with the Spanish Au-pair (a smoker) I was dating at the time that finally did it for me. She did not stick around to long either, thank god.ReplyDelete
That comment of yours would have made an interesting blog post in itself! When it came to ball sports I was just as kack handed so I concentrated on running and skiing as well, both Nordic and downhill. As you can see from my comment below, I kind of like e cigs now that I have tried one. Let's hope it works!Delete
I guess you are still waiting for 2014 to get to you. Well, I have seen it. Let me tell you it looks just the same as 2013, and the year before, and the year before, and....
OK, it has just swung through midnight and we here have made it to 2014.ReplyDelete
First report on the e cigarette:
When disassembling the e cigarette in order to fill the reservoir, do not allow yourself to be distracted by a hyper-interested five year old and try filling the reservoir from the wrong end. It buggers up the electronics.
Correctly filled and reassembled I took my first puff. Blimey! It nearly blew my head off! It was exactly like taking a drag on my first ever cigarette, I coughed my lungs up. E liquid comes in various concentrations from zero up to 36%. I am using 24%. Unusual but not unpleasant flavour. Loads of smoke, sorry, vapour and I can feel it going down, exactly like a normal cigarette, Easy to draw and there is a definite nicotine buzz. Activation is by pressing a button on the side so the e cig can be laid down when not in use but springs to immediate life when the button is pressed. No residual smell. Now that I have been puffing on it for about twenty minutes, the flavour is subtle and smooth so maybe the initial harshness was because it was new. I think I am going to like this e cig.
I am extremely interested in this and your evaluation and continued success! My goal is to quit in February. I got a free sample of NJoy, but they are disposable and not rechargeable.Delete
Happy New Year to you and your family.
I'll give it a week, Melinda (I had a really hot girlfriend called Melinda back in '77) and then I'll do a full evaluation of the eGo e cigarette kit. I was on 50 smokes a day and at midnight last night I stopped. It is now 17.10 here and I still have not had the urge to light up. All I am doing is taking an occasional puff of vapour.Delete
I wondered 40 years ago how the Ecuadorians I met could carry cigarettes around daily and yet only smoke them occasionally and socially. I was thoroughly addicted already at that time. Now I learn that the tobacco cartels had learned to free base nicotine and add it to cigarettes. This makes it much more potent when smoked, just like free based cocaine. The cheap Ecuadorian (Full Speed brand) cigarettes they smoked had not been so treated. This is why I decided not to try e-cigarettes when I quit. I have no doubt they have free based nicotine, unlike the nicotine gum. It would have been too easy to go back to the real thing if I ran out, as they are too similar. (google free based nicotine) I hate the bastards that did this and got me addicted and I did not want to give them any more money.. That feeling helped me quit.ReplyDelete
I hear what you say and can't argue with any of it, my dear Vale of Slurry.Delete
I think my priority at the moment is merely to stop putting tar and other shit down my lungs so allowing my chest to clear sufficiently for me to start training again. As I get fitter, I will train harder and not puff as often on the e cig. If I can train up to the extent I become hooked on endorphins again, giving up the e cig will be easy. If you managed to quit smoking without any help, I tip my hat to you, Sir!
And to think that Kojak used to suck lollipops to kick his smoking habit! You've never sucked lollipops, right?ReplyDelete
No, I haven't, I used to crunch them.Delete
Kojak may have used lollipops to stop smoking but he still pulled all his fucking hair out, didn't he?
I hope you have a good 2014, Mr Bananas. No doubt you will be stumbling over comatose game wardens and tourists in the morning!
My government taxed them right out of my mouth five years ago. I think only independently wealthy persons who also live in nations of advanced social conscience still smoke. And vagrants who cadge smokes or pick them out of the gutter.ReplyDelete
I needed a hand, too, and used lozenges. I knew from past experience the lozenges weren't the final answer, so one day I trashed them and set off alone. I took me one final episode, including a lot of yelling, and it was pretty much over. That episode involved yelling at the very stupid zoning inspector for another stupid blunder. Perhaps you have no one to yell at...
You'll be fine. Happy new year to you, to Marcia and to your boys.
Thank you, Joanne!Delete
Cigarettes here are about 80 US cents a packet of twenty.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy 2014! I have not smoked- food has been my drug of choice. I am working on that one.ReplyDelete
My husband quit smoking, cold turkey, after coughing up blood. He had only smoked for a few years, but I believe his lungs were damaged in childhood from multiple bouts of pneumonia. He was scared straight, so to speak.
Good luck with what ever it takes to stop.
Barb from Canada
Thanks, Barb. I think I have stopped drinking and smoking for the same reason as your husband.Delete
By the way, Marcia's brother is a petro-chemical engineer living in Toronto these last fifteen years. Whereabouts in Canada do you live?Delete
Northern British Columbia- a good 6 days drive from Toronto, but I did live near Toronto as a child.Delete
Six days! Good Lord. I had a car like that once.Delete
I have driven it 3 times, twice with three kids and camping gear (husband had to work). Diesel pickup with standard tranny and extra transmission for hauling a trailer. It was a bitch to park, but we made it. Put 10,000km on it, round trip.Delete
Happy New Year to you too, Tom. And good luck.ReplyDelete
My smoking career was short lived. Unlike so many of the converted I do freely admit that I miss it like hell. I miss the ritual, I miss the elegance of lighting up. Once I stopped missing the smell I knew I was over it. Took me two years (obviously this was well before e cigarettes, indeed nicotine patches were invented) to finally kick the habit. Two tough titty years. Still, I suppose to choose between who later became father of my son and my beloved stilettos in the mouth was a no-brainer.
I come from a long line of smokers (the men in the family, not the women). On the whole they just die - eventually, usually at an old age. My father who was your typical Rothaendle/Gauloise type smoker gave up - from one moment to next. Couldn't believe it. I fucking could not believe it. No, not cancer of the lungs. Oh no. Of course not. Bladder cancer. Bingo. And yes, he is still alive, very much so. Having been given the all clear at least ten years ago. It'll take more than a chimney to keep him a few feet under when the time comes.
Good luck, Tom. On any front you don't appear to take the easy way out - going full throttle instead. And that needs - apart from nerves of steel, a spine of steel and steely determination - LUCK. But then you do like battle, don't you. May you win the war.
Oh God, I am doomed! My bones are milk and my nerves shot!Delete
Happy new year Hippo and family!ReplyDelete
And to you too, Sarah!Delete
Congratulations and Happy New Year Hippo. Look forward to following your little patch of the world in 2014.ReplyDelete
May you enjoy the finest 2014 has to offer, sweet Carol. I hope you are never stung by a box jellyfish, never nipped by a redback or have your toe bitten by a King Brown. May you never be devoured by shark or croc, that bushfires and storms bypass your house and that your man treats his Sheila right!Delete
I smoked un-tipped Gauloises cigs for about 30 years; not a huge amount, perhaps 10 a day, 20 if stressed. My method of giving-up was simple; after my last pack I just didn't buy any more, and when offered a cig told them I didn't smoke. It worked from day 1, and I've never really had a craving since. Lady Magnon, on the other hand, took to crocheting hats, and now has a box full.ReplyDelete
I'm not really sure what I think about replacing one form of cig with another. Isn't it perpetuating the habit, but just in another form?
Anyway, I send you (and the family) my very best wishes, and look forward to more Angolan tales through 2014. Cro.
When I was pretending to be a painter in the early seventies I smoked untipped Player's.Delete
The thing about the e cigs is that they lack all the other toxins found in cigarettes and the e liquid offers a variety of concentrations all the way down to zero so it is easy to gradually wean myself off the dependency.
No half measures. Good luck for a fitter and healthier 2014.ReplyDelete
Very well done on giving up two vices. Women and song next.
I say, steady on, old boy!Delete
I was looking this kind of post from long.. Thanks for sharing..God bless!!ReplyDelete
Wow Tom you are amazing ! Husband gave up a forty a day habit when we moved back to the UK from abroad & never looked back. Now we are cutting down the booze.ReplyDelete
Happy Whisky & ciggy free New Year !
Well, I had to do something amazing to make up for being an absolute prick all these years...Delete
Blimey, you don't do things by halves. First alcohol and then, two weeks later, cigarettes. You are made of strong stuff to tackle both addictions at the same time. Happy New Year to you and fingers and toes crossed that 2014 sees you free of both. Your lungs and liver will be eternally grateful.ReplyDelete
Three weeks later Addy!Delete
Thanks for your support!
I will be trying to lose weight this year (again) and can now go cold turkey on the cold turkey. It's a shame they can't find a good food substitute to help.ReplyDelete
Happy New Year to you and the family.
Whisky and fags helped me keep my weight down if that is any help?Delete
You have a good year too!
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After doing some research online, I've ordered my first e-cig kit on VaporFi.ReplyDelete