Vaping - smokers’ views

Readers comment on the rise of the electronic cigarette.

Use of the electronic cigarette and its rise in popularity since the introduction of the smoking ban has prompted big debate following the Midweek Herald’s recent story on the subject.

Two readers, both former smokers, share their views on vaping...

Ivan Flack: I stopped smoking in March 2011 when I purchased my first vaping gear and have not had one single cigarette since day one.

Like many vapers, I consider vaping to be an alternative to smoking and not as a replacement. Many people ask me when I am going to either reduce my nicotine intake or stop completely. The answer for me is simple: why would I even want to? Vaping merely provides me with a different and safe method for ingesting nicotine. No more nasty tobacco, carcinogens, tars, rat poison and a plethora of 4,000 other noxious chemicals or whatever lurks in every cigarette!

Nicotine itself which, as a poison, is certainly dangerous in very high levels, causes little or no pharmacological harm to the individual – most research into smoking has shown that everything BUT the nicotine causes the harm!

The reality is simple – I get my nicotine, the pleasant taste and effect of inhaling the vapour and it causes no ill effects to anyone else in bars, restaurants, planes or the workplace.

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Since the smoking ban of 2007, most bars/pubs have suffered financially and, in the UK alone, many thousands have been forced to close because of the loss of their former smoking clientele. Vaping is an alternative and completely legal pastime that should, given time, encourage smokers to come back and enjoy bar/pub life. As smokers return as re-born vapers, so will the atmosphere and, hopefully, the revenue.

I am also very sceptical by Governmental/health stance on vaping and believe that it is merely to ensure that the UK pharmaceutical companies sell plenty of patches, gum and Champix tablets. The Government continues to take vast amounts of tax from the smoker for ever packet sold. I believe that the Government doesn’t actually want the smoker to stop as it would be “bad for business”.

Within the vaping community there is the firm belief that Legislation is on the way to prevent us from vaping or to make it considerably more expensive to do so by taxing us to the hilt.

I, for one, will refuse to be taxed for doing something that has probably saved my live, has improved my health significantly thus reducing an already overburdened NHS, has saved me almost �200 per month, is not harmful to non-vapers, can be done anywhere including the workplace and leads to less time spent away from the workplace having a sneaky smoke.

Collin Holmes: I was on 40/50 roll-ups per day, yes per day, and found the e-cig websites and purchased one for myself to try.

Being pessimistic, I duly charged the battery after receiving the e-cig on Christmas Eve and “vaped” away

All was good until the battery ran out and I went for my cigarettes, That day, I smoked all of 10 cigarettes (before the postie arrived and during a battery charging).

The following day (Christmas Day) all batteries were charged and e-liquid topped up. I didn’t have one ounce of a craving and, consequently, nil in the way of cigarettes.

I have since gone on to a larger-style battery and, therefore, there is less charging and it lasts longer. My taste has returned. I can breathe 20 times better and walk the dog longer, because I am no longer short of breath.

I no longer have nicotine in my e-liquid. I cant understand why the testing is not being done to help those who want to quit to be able to use this alternative, as patches, tablets (Zyban and Champix), gum and inhaler have all failed with me and this, whilst not an approved cessation product, has weaned me off the weed without any effort at all.

I gave up giving up till I tried an e-cig - now there is no going back. This needs testing and, if need be, licensing. It obviously is far better to not have the 5,000 chemicals ingested into your body with cigarettes and all the products being used in the e-liquid are nothing more than products that are currently tested as OK.

My guess is there will be such a loss to the tobacco companies, that have a massive input into decision-making, and the loss of revenue to the taxman if many smokers switched to the e-cig. There is much scaremongering going on.

Can even see this as being the next big thing to be taxed, as the e-cig continues to develop and become more popular.