Swapping smoking for 'vaping'

The Northern Echo: CIGARETTE ALTERNATIVE: Vikki Smith, manager of the E-ciggy shop in Posthouse Wynd, Darlington CIGARETTE ALTERNATIVE: Vikki Smith, manager of the E-ciggy shop in Posthouse Wynd, Darlington

An estimated one million people across the UK have swapped smoking for ‘vaping’. To mark national No Smoking Day, reporter Alexa Copeland swapped her pack of menthols for an e-cigarette to find out how they are helping so many people kick the habit.

I have never wanted to give up smoking to be perfectly honest. Life can be miserable enough without depriving oneself of its simple pleasures and for me, pleasurable moments invariably involve cigarettes. Especially the one that gets you started in the morning. And the one with a relaxing cup of tea or a glass of wine at the end of the day, and the one that stops you cracking when you’re nearing your stress limit. And, well, you get my point.

I know it’s not big, and it’s certainly not clever, but I’ve always enjoyed my cigarettes. And in a perverse way, the more we smokers are made to feel like social lepers through bans and regulation, the more my resolve strengthened to continue the habit. Smoking isn’t illegal, it contributes billions to the treasury and the constant hounding of the sociable souls who indulge feels a bit too much like a Nanny State-sponsored witch-hunt for my liking. And that is something I like to rail against most passionately.

Alas, I was forced to re-evaluate my attitude a couple of weeks ago when I was plagued with a chest infection almost matched in severity by my doctor’s words. She did not explicitly link the infection with smoking, but her stern insinuation that I was setting myself up for a grim future of pain and breathlessness from ineffectual lungs was enough to make me seriously think about what I was doing to myself.

Being a somewhat reluctant quitter, I didn’t much fancy my chances of giving up easily. Although I don’t smoke heavily – around seven per day unless alcohol is involved – my habit stretches back over a decade and is truly ingrained in my daily routine. Nicotine patches and gum may work for some, but I knew I’d miss the physical ritual of smoking, so I joined the tens of thousands of people around the country who are replacing their smoking with ‘vaping’.

Vaping is the term given to the use of electronic cigarettes; also known as vapourisers or e-cigs. These devices come in a range of styles offering different flavours and nicotine doses. E-cigs work by vapourising a liquid solution which contains nicotine, thus allowing users to effectively mimic taking a drag on a cigarette to get their nicotine hit. The ‘smoke’ exhaled is largely water vapour and e-cigs are marketed as a much safer alternative to conventional cigarettes as they do not contain tar or carcinogens.

One man keen to extol their virtues is businessman Alan O’Neill who was quick to capitalise on the early popularity of the product. Mr O’Neill bought his own vapouriser online about 18-months-ago and within 30 days his 30-a-day habit was history. He then set about bringing e-cigs to the North-East and now owns E-ciggy shops in Darlington, Stockton, Middlesbrough and Washington. He says business is growing from strength to strength as more and more smokers turn to vaping.

He said: “You get customers coming back to tell you how long they’ve gone without a cigarette, while some come back to say thank you for helping them quit and it feels fantastic to get feedback like that. I’ve found that a proportion of users want to quit completely, but a proportion are quite happy to just carry on using the e-cigs as an alternative to smoking. I switched because I wanted to stop the negative health and financial effects of smoking but I still wanted the pleasure of smoking. In that way it was a fantastic solution and I just thought this incredible product should be more widely available.”

Unfortunately for Mr O’Neill and the estimated one million ‘vapers’ in Britain, uncertainty surrounds the product’s future, with bodies such as the British Medical Association and World Health Organisation expressing safety concerns. The main issue is that unlike nicotine patches and gum, e-cigs are not regulated in the same way as medicines. This means there are no rules when it comes to the purity of the nicotine and so forth. Last month MEPs voted to restrict the availability of e-cigs in the future and it remains to be seen how many pubs and clubs will allow vaping on their premises if it is deemed to be harmful.

For me, switching to an e-cigarette has been unbelievably painless. In the three days since I started vaping I have had just two real cigarettes. I would normally have had at least 20 in that time. Maybe it’s the novelty factor, or maybe, despite my protestations to the contrary, it was just the right time for me to give up, but whatever the reason I have no doubt that the e-cigarette has helped enormously. It fits into my routine in the same way that real cigarettes did and I find myself enjoying my ‘e-cig moments’ almost as much as I savored the real thing.

And if the future of vapourising is threatened by government legislation and public bans, well, I still have something to rail against don’t I? And I do believe I shall do that most passionately.

Comments (15)

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9:44am Wed 12 Mar 14

Homshaw1 says...

It's hard to believe e-cigs are not healthier than cigarettes although I can see the quality of the product should be guaranteed
It's hard to believe e-cigs are not healthier than cigarettes although I can see the quality of the product should be guaranteed Homshaw1
  • Score: -4

10:36am Wed 12 Mar 14

behonest says...

The government won't ban them but will have to regulate and tax them more and probably restrict their use the same as they do with cigarettes. Otherwise, government tax revenues may take a hit, and we can't have that now can we?

Oh, and they may mention effects on health.
The government won't ban them but will have to regulate and tax them more and probably restrict their use the same as they do with cigarettes. Otherwise, government tax revenues may take a hit, and we can't have that now can we? Oh, and they may mention effects on health. behonest
  • Score: 13

10:51am Wed 12 Mar 14

sefa says...

What happens with e-cigs will be reveal how the Government really feels about smokers.

If they really care about our health and are taxing tobacco so heavily to act as a deterrent they should leave well alone with the cost of e-cigs. Regulate, yes for health reasons but tax above VAT and they will show their true colours.

The truth I suspect is that no Government really wants us to quit. The Government receives approximately £6 billion from smokers after the cost to the NHS has been taken into account.

It will be interesting to see but if the Government does tax this product above VAT then I can't wait to hear their excuse as to why!

If it's helping people quit, then leave well alone.
What happens with e-cigs will be reveal how the Government really feels about smokers. If they really care about our health and are taxing tobacco so heavily to act as a deterrent they should leave well alone with the cost of e-cigs. Regulate, yes for health reasons but tax above VAT and they will show their true colours. The truth I suspect is that no Government really wants us to quit. The Government receives approximately £6 billion from smokers after the cost to the NHS has been taken into account. It will be interesting to see but if the Government does tax this product above VAT then I can't wait to hear their excuse as to why! If it's helping people quit, then leave well alone. sefa
  • Score: 24

9:50pm Wed 12 Mar 14

grandmab says...

My only problem with e cigarettes is that I am allergic to perfume as well as smoke. The flavorings and perfumes used in them are just as harmful to me as tobacco smoke. You may think it is mostly water vapour but as with a cooking pot the particulates are expelled into the air. I have no objection to you smoking them as long as you are not in my space. I am worried that the freedom I gained when smoking was banned will be taken away again if this all becomes commonplace. I would be very happy if public spaces became scent free also as is happening now in North America.
My only problem with e cigarettes is that I am allergic to perfume as well as smoke. The flavorings and perfumes used in them are just as harmful to me as tobacco smoke. You may think it is mostly water vapour but as with a cooking pot the particulates are expelled into the air. I have no objection to you smoking them as long as you are not in my space. I am worried that the freedom I gained when smoking was banned will be taken away again if this all becomes commonplace. I would be very happy if public spaces became scent free also as is happening now in North America. grandmab
  • Score: -14

10:05pm Wed 12 Mar 14

Deanne100 says...

I've been vaping for 20 days and I love it. I haven't touched a cigarette since. I'd smoked between 10 and 15 cigs for 35 years, more when partaking in a tipple or two. I'd tried patches several times but they simply did not replace the 'habit'. Like the author, I suppose I wasn't in the right frame of mind to do something, because of the pressure I felt being placed on me rather than choice! If the government do place VAT on the these items, fair enough, I guess but a penny more......Grrrrrrrrr
r. Let them find their £5 bn and rising shortfall somewhere else. Oh.... how about closing the loop holes in the tax laws allowing companies to avoid tax?
I've been vaping for 20 days and I love it. I haven't touched a cigarette since. I'd smoked between 10 and 15 cigs for 35 years, more when partaking in a tipple or two. I'd tried patches several times but they simply did not replace the 'habit'. Like the author, I suppose I wasn't in the right frame of mind to do something, because of the pressure I felt being placed on me rather than choice! If the government do place VAT on the these items, fair enough, I guess but a penny more......Grrrrrrrrr r. Let them find their £5 bn and rising shortfall somewhere else. Oh.... how about closing the loop holes in the tax laws allowing companies to avoid tax? Deanne100
  • Score: 2

10:20pm Wed 12 Mar 14

thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth says...

Nicotine replacement products are not the way to go about giving up cigarettes. They are a waste of time and money. It's like the smack heads taking methadone and thinking they're doing something to quit the habit.
Nicotine replacement products are not the way to go about giving up cigarettes. They are a waste of time and money. It's like the smack heads taking methadone and thinking they're doing something to quit the habit. thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth
  • Score: -7

12:21am Thu 13 Mar 14

tomj777 says...

grandmab wrote:
My only problem with e cigarettes is that I am allergic to perfume as well as smoke. The flavorings and perfumes used in them are just as harmful to me as tobacco smoke. You may think it is mostly water vapour but as with a cooking pot the particulates are expelled into the air. I have no objection to you smoking them as long as you are not in my space. I am worried that the freedom I gained when smoking was banned will be taken away again if this all becomes commonplace. I would be very happy if public spaces became scent free also as is happening now in North America.
Grandmab,
I'd never considered this and wanted to thank you for saying it.
Of course you will be in a very small minority but none the less, as a confirmed and evangelical vaper, I'm mindful of others discomfort (I'll not vape in a bar without confidence of the landlords feelings and general mood (I'll even ask those around me - I've converted a few like that:) ).
The point being I've another reason to consider being considerate. One that hadn't occurred to me before.
Piped `cookie baking` smells in supermarkets ... ugh x2
[quote][p][bold]grandmab[/bold] wrote: My only problem with e cigarettes is that I am allergic to perfume as well as smoke. The flavorings and perfumes used in them are just as harmful to me as tobacco smoke. You may think it is mostly water vapour but as with a cooking pot the particulates are expelled into the air. I have no objection to you smoking them as long as you are not in my space. I am worried that the freedom I gained when smoking was banned will be taken away again if this all becomes commonplace. I would be very happy if public spaces became scent free also as is happening now in North America.[/p][/quote]Grandmab, I'd never considered this and wanted to thank you for saying it. Of course you will be in a very small minority but none the less, as a confirmed and evangelical vaper, I'm mindful of others discomfort (I'll not vape in a bar without confidence of the landlords feelings and general mood (I'll even ask those around me - I've converted a few like that:) ). The point being I've another reason to consider being considerate. One that hadn't occurred to me before. Piped `cookie baking` smells in supermarkets ... ugh x2 tomj777
  • Score: 2

7:31am Thu 13 Mar 14

thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth says...

tomj777 wrote:
grandmab wrote:
My only problem with e cigarettes is that I am allergic to perfume as well as smoke. The flavorings and perfumes used in them are just as harmful to me as tobacco smoke. You may think it is mostly water vapour but as with a cooking pot the particulates are expelled into the air. I have no objection to you smoking them as long as you are not in my space. I am worried that the freedom I gained when smoking was banned will be taken away again if this all becomes commonplace. I would be very happy if public spaces became scent free also as is happening now in North America.
Grandmab,
I'd never considered this and wanted to thank you for saying it.
Of course you will be in a very small minority but none the less, as a confirmed and evangelical vaper, I'm mindful of others discomfort (I'll not vape in a bar without confidence of the landlords feelings and general mood (I'll even ask those around me - I've converted a few like that:) ).
The point being I've another reason to consider being considerate. One that hadn't occurred to me before.
Piped `cookie baking` smells in supermarkets ... ugh x2
If you vape anywhere near other people, yourer just being I considerate. It's as simple as that. Others do not want these things anywhere near them.
[quote][p][bold]tomj777[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]grandmab[/bold] wrote: My only problem with e cigarettes is that I am allergic to perfume as well as smoke. The flavorings and perfumes used in them are just as harmful to me as tobacco smoke. You may think it is mostly water vapour but as with a cooking pot the particulates are expelled into the air. I have no objection to you smoking them as long as you are not in my space. I am worried that the freedom I gained when smoking was banned will be taken away again if this all becomes commonplace. I would be very happy if public spaces became scent free also as is happening now in North America.[/p][/quote]Grandmab, I'd never considered this and wanted to thank you for saying it. Of course you will be in a very small minority but none the less, as a confirmed and evangelical vaper, I'm mindful of others discomfort (I'll not vape in a bar without confidence of the landlords feelings and general mood (I'll even ask those around me - I've converted a few like that:) ). The point being I've another reason to consider being considerate. One that hadn't occurred to me before. Piped `cookie baking` smells in supermarkets ... ugh x2[/p][/quote]If you vape anywhere near other people, yourer just being I considerate. It's as simple as that. Others do not want these things anywhere near them. thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth
  • Score: -5

9:25am Thu 13 Mar 14

MartinMo says...

Stopping smoking is not as hard as people make it sound. I personally smoked 20+ a day for over 20 years until One day I decided to quit.

If you really want to stop you don't need any of the gimmicky aides, they just prolong the craving, or worse still, get you addicted to them instead.

All you need is strong will power to get you through the first stage of quitting and the rest is easy after that.

Every once in a while I do fancy a quick smoke and I have now been stopped for over 2 years but still have not touched one since the day I quit.
Stopping smoking is not as hard as people make it sound. I personally smoked 20+ a day for over 20 years until One day I decided to quit. If you really want to stop you don't need any of the gimmicky aides, they just prolong the craving, or worse still, get you addicted to them instead. All you need is strong will power to get you through the first stage of quitting and the rest is easy after that. Every once in a while I do fancy a quick smoke and I have now been stopped for over 2 years but still have not touched one since the day I quit. MartinMo
  • Score: 2

8:33am Fri 14 Mar 14

Yemen says...

thetruthyoucanthandl
ethetruth
wrote:
Nicotine replacement products are not the way to go about giving up cigarettes. They are a waste of time and money. It's like the smack heads taking methadone and thinking they're doing something to quit the habit.
you're equating e-cigs to heroin ??????
[quote][p][bold]thetruthyoucanthandl ethetruth[/bold] wrote: Nicotine replacement products are not the way to go about giving up cigarettes. They are a waste of time and money. It's like the smack heads taking methadone and thinking they're doing something to quit the habit.[/p][/quote]you're equating e-cigs to heroin ?????? Yemen
  • Score: 1

8:48am Fri 14 Mar 14

Yemen says...

just as a PSA.

the 'vapor' is not water vapor its glycol... good quality fluids contain a mix of vegetable glycol and propaline glycol. add to that the nicotine and the flavour.

glycol has been scientifically proven to be safe for inhalation btw. also lets face the truth... anything that stop you from inhaling carcinogens and carbon monoxide is good !

I 'vape' and its been a marvelous thing to be honest, now my clothes,car and house don't smell like an ashtray. gone is the morning smokers cough, and it costs me £5 a week to do it. which is a massive cost saving.

i do agree with some regulation as in making vaping products unavailable to minors just like cigarettes are to kids. as for the loss of tax revenue ? i see that as being nicely offset by reduction in hospital spending on smoking related illness and disease.
just as a PSA. the 'vapor' is not water vapor its glycol... good quality fluids contain a mix of vegetable glycol and propaline glycol. add to that the nicotine and the flavour. glycol has been scientifically proven to be safe for inhalation btw. also lets face the truth... anything that stop you from inhaling carcinogens and carbon monoxide is good ! I 'vape' and its been a marvelous thing to be honest, now my clothes,car and house don't smell like an ashtray. gone is the morning smokers cough, and it costs me £5 a week to do it. which is a massive cost saving. i do agree with some regulation as in making vaping products unavailable to minors just like cigarettes are to kids. as for the loss of tax revenue ? i see that as being nicely offset by reduction in hospital spending on smoking related illness and disease. Yemen
  • Score: 3

2:03pm Fri 14 Mar 14

thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth says...

Yemen wrote:
thetruthyoucanthandl

ethetruth
wrote:
Nicotine replacement products are not the way to go about giving up cigarettes. They are a waste of time and money. It's like the smack heads taking methadone and thinking they're doing something to quit the habit.
you're equating e-cigs to heroin ??????
The idea that you can somehow kick a habit by taking a replacement/equivale
nt product is never going to work. In that sense yes I am equating e-cigs to methadone.
[quote][p][bold]Yemen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]thetruthyoucanthandl ethetruth[/bold] wrote: Nicotine replacement products are not the way to go about giving up cigarettes. They are a waste of time and money. It's like the smack heads taking methadone and thinking they're doing something to quit the habit.[/p][/quote]you're equating e-cigs to heroin ??????[/p][/quote]The idea that you can somehow kick a habit by taking a replacement/equivale nt product is never going to work. In that sense yes I am equating e-cigs to methadone. thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth
  • Score: -1

2:40pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Yemen says...

thetruthyoucanthandl
ethetruth
wrote:
Yemen wrote:
thetruthyoucanthandl


ethetruth
wrote:
Nicotine replacement products are not the way to go about giving up cigarettes. They are a waste of time and money. It's like the smack heads taking methadone and thinking they're doing something to quit the habit.
you're equating e-cigs to heroin ??????
The idea that you can somehow kick a habit by taking a replacement/equivale

nt product is never going to work. In that sense yes I am equating e-cigs to methadone.
Ok I see your point, ecigs however are not marketed as a cessation device but as a replacement.

Thoughts ?
[quote][p][bold]thetruthyoucanthandl ethetruth[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Yemen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]thetruthyoucanthandl ethetruth[/bold] wrote: Nicotine replacement products are not the way to go about giving up cigarettes. They are a waste of time and money. It's like the smack heads taking methadone and thinking they're doing something to quit the habit.[/p][/quote]you're equating e-cigs to heroin ??????[/p][/quote]The idea that you can somehow kick a habit by taking a replacement/equivale nt product is never going to work. In that sense yes I am equating e-cigs to methadone.[/p][/quote]Ok I see your point, ecigs however are not marketed as a cessation device but as a replacement. Thoughts ? Yemen
  • Score: 0

3:11pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Deanne100 says...

As an ex smoker, now a vaper. I am happy to vape 5 theoretical harmless ingredients rather than smoke 4000+ chemicals known to be dangerous. E cigs, in my mind, are the far better option. I do get quite upset though at so many negative people's opinions. Glass houses comes to mind!!!! We are human beings. We are all different. We should not be expected to be perfect nor should we try. We would be setting ourselves up to fail. Where does the effort end? So lets all give up all the 'mood changing' substances known to man that may cause harm to health? Oh yeah, that could include many foods!!!!!! oh and water.......
As an ex smoker, now a vaper. I am happy to vape 5 theoretical harmless ingredients rather than smoke 4000+ chemicals known to be dangerous. E cigs, in my mind, are the far better option. I do get quite upset though at so many negative people's opinions. Glass houses comes to mind!!!! We are human beings. We are all different. We should not be expected to be perfect nor should we try. We would be setting ourselves up to fail. Where does the effort end? So lets all give up all the 'mood changing' substances known to man that may cause harm to health? Oh yeah, that could include many foods!!!!!! oh and water....... Deanne100
  • Score: 3

3:46pm Fri 14 Mar 14

thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth says...

Yemen wrote:
thetruthyoucanthandl

ethetruth
wrote:
Yemen wrote:
thetruthyoucanthandl



ethetruth
wrote:
Nicotine replacement products are not the way to go about giving up cigarettes. They are a waste of time and money. It's like the smack heads taking methadone and thinking they're doing something to quit the habit.
you're equating e-cigs to heroin ??????
The idea that you can somehow kick a habit by taking a replacement/equivale


nt product is never going to work. In that sense yes I am equating e-cigs to methadone.
Ok I see your point, ecigs however are not marketed as a cessation device but as a replacement.

Thoughts ?
Ive spoken to people who use them as a cessation device. Ive told them they are deluded but some people actually are that stupid.
[quote][p][bold]Yemen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]thetruthyoucanthandl ethetruth[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Yemen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]thetruthyoucanthandl ethetruth[/bold] wrote: Nicotine replacement products are not the way to go about giving up cigarettes. They are a waste of time and money. It's like the smack heads taking methadone and thinking they're doing something to quit the habit.[/p][/quote]you're equating e-cigs to heroin ??????[/p][/quote]The idea that you can somehow kick a habit by taking a replacement/equivale nt product is never going to work. In that sense yes I am equating e-cigs to methadone.[/p][/quote]Ok I see your point, ecigs however are not marketed as a cessation device but as a replacement. Thoughts ?[/p][/quote]Ive spoken to people who use them as a cessation device. Ive told them they are deluded but some people actually are that stupid. thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth
  • Score: -3

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