Visiting #Vaping Shops and First Round of #eLiquid Reviews

Brick & Mortar Shops On The Front Lines

One thing I have come to realize on my journey is just how important vape shops are for the new vaper. Like any shop, some are better than others, and customers should be aware. I’ve been to some great ones, and have been to some ugly ones since I began back in November. Some shops sell tobacco along with vape products, and those are a red flag for me. I’ve been in three of them and walked away seriously disappointed. My suggestion to the new vaper is go to those shops that exclusively deal with vaping to get the supplies needed, whether hardware or eLiquid. This is the best way to ask questions, get answers, and get help in the decision making process. These folks are experienced and have the know-how to help. Cost of items may be a bit more since shops have overhead, but when shipping charges are factored in from online purchases, the savings usually are minimal at best. Unlike shopping online, dialogue and relationships are built, and the better shops can assist you when making changes, whether it’s the daily vape choice for eLiquid, or the hardware being used.

All Shops Not The Same

It’s real easy to tell what places are geared for assisting fellow vapers and what places don’t. As I mentioned, based on my experience, places that offer tobacco products along with vaping supplies are not the wise choice. Usually the clerk is there for the job, wants to sell what is asked, collect the money for the transaction, and go back to reading their magazine or texting their friend about after work plans. In these shops, vaping is just a product line. In the three outlets I’ve been in, the clerk has been clueless about hardware, coils, eLiquid, or other supplies. The product line is sketchy; usually cheap vape pens. Ask about ohm’s or mah’s and eyes glaze over immediately. eLiquid selection comes from some sort of a mass production origin, most likely from China. Ask about PG/VG content of the eLiquid, and chances are they are fumbling around to answer or looking at the next person who just walked into the store looking for a pack of analog smokes as a diversion. The best place to go is exclusive, “vape only” shops.

B & M Shop Pet Peeves

I’m a type of person who likes to walk into a shop and look around a bit. I’m always fascinated with the various options shops have to offer, whether it is hardware or eLiquid. In my experience, those places that allow me to look around, ask to see a piece of hardware, sample a reasonable amount of eLiquid, and answer questions that I have, get my business. Sometimes a few other folks are in the shop hanging out, clogging up the juice bar, tying up the store clerk with small talk, laughs, and friendly discussion. I understand that we’re all in a “brotherhood” of sorts, and the vape shop is a hub for regular, local customers to spend time at. When it deters business from being done, it’s a problem. The finer establishments usually have a couch or comfortable chairs to lounge in, along with a television, away from the juice bar. If I was going to go to a shop to make a transaction and want to hang out after, the last place I am going to be is in a position where business gets taken away from the shop owner, or deter or distract the owner or clerk from handling the next customer walking through the door.

Another point of contention for me is when shop owners who produce their own eLiquid for sale make snark comments of a well known product. It’s a major turn off for me. I don’t know if it is jealousy or envy as to why the well known product sells better or is better known than their best in-house label, but trashing competition is the wrong approach. Much could be said for those shops that offer only one brand of vaping hardware and make pot-shot comments about the brands they don’t carry. When a customer likes their particular set up, the right sales call is to empower them with it. When they need to make a change down the road and mention that, then that is the right time to sell your product line and discuss advantages about it.

First Round Of eLiquid Reviews Of What I Have Tried Thus Far

My first experience with eLiquid quite frankly is one I would just like to forget. It was World’s Finest Vapor’s Summertime Watermelon. I became seriously burned out with it within a week or so of purchase. From what I can tell, it’s a mass production eLiquid that some tobacco shops & convenience stores may carry. A word to the wise: a variety of eLiquid is the spice of vape life. Hindsight being 20/20, my first purchase would have included two different types of juice. From what I gather it is a 50/50 blend, but as sweet as it was, 60 PG seems about right. It was intense melon flavor, and I am sure anyone who likes melon vapes would appreciate it. It got me started. It’s not anything I’d purchase again. On a scale of 1 to 5, I rate it a 2. Would I buy it again? Never.

Suicide-Bunny-Mothers-MilkLost in vaping despair from the World’s Finest Vapor’s introduction, the fine folks at Old Port Vape restored my perilous faith in vaping with Suicide Bunny’s Mother’s Milk ($22 / 30 ml). I will forever be grateful for Pip & her product, for the one reason that because of it, I am still vaping today. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of reviews done on this, and the vast majority love it. Something about a light strawberry inhale with a crème exhale that vapers adore. Which ever hardware I have used, whether the Kanger EVOD, EVOD MEGA or the Aspire Nautilus Mini, the flavor is deep and satisfies every time. A perfect 5 in my book. Would I buy it again? Many times!

Another from Suicide Bunny was Madrina ($22 / 30ml) that I opted for when one shop did not have Mother’s Milk orDSC_0229_large The OB in the nicotine level I was looking for. I really gave this one an honest shot. I tried it in the EVOD & EVOD MEGA, used it as my morning, afternoon, or evening vape. Melon & crème may work for a lot of people, just not me. It reminded me of my first vape juice with World’s Finest Vapor’s too much, which didn’t work for me. I know it’s Pip’s personal favorite, so to give it a poor rating wouldn’t be fair because I didn’t like the flavor. Cloud production as with Mother’s Milk was excellent. I suspect at 60% VG blend with this, but I could be wrong. My rating on Madrina is a 4. Would I buy it again? No.

phillip_rocke__98769.1416505662.400.400My Christmas treat was a bottle of Phillip Rocke Grand Reserve Crème de la Crème which only comes out once every three months. Since I am a crème guy, this one was one I had to try. A bit steep at $25 for 30 ml, but was it ever worth it. The crème and hazelnut undertone came through brilliantly with this, and I used a EVOD MEGA which I am sure will get laughs since it’s 80 VG. Yes, I changed coils often, but every coil burnt was worth it. For the drippers out there, this is a great one for you. My rating: 4.5. Would I buy it again? YES!ob

Another from Suicide Bunny is The O.B. ($22 / 30 ml) and this juice ranks right up there with Mother’s Milk for me. Something about vanilla crème & cake just knocked my socks off. This was my afternoon vape for two weeks in the Aspire Nautilus Mini and I enjoyed every deep clean hit off of this. Pip knew what buttons to push on people when she created this product line. If I walk into a vape shop and they’re out of Mother’s Milk, but The O.B. is at the level I want, I won’t walk out disappointed. My rating: 5. Would I buy it again? Many times!

From DownEast Vapes Website

From DownEast Vapes Website

The final eLiquid review for this edition comes from a local shop here in Maine called DownEast Vapes, located in Lewiston. Not only do I enjoy my crème flavors, I am also a blueberry guy.  I checked out their website as I was looking for local shops and found that they make their own eLiquid, and Maine Blueberry ($18 / 30 ml) was one of them. This was a must try for me. I wasn’t disappointed. Of all the flavors I have tried so far, nothing has delivered a “remember when” like this eLiquid has. From the first inhale, I was taken back to childhood in an open field with a wild blueberry patch behind my home. This eLiquid has just the right amount of blueberry balanced with sweetness to produce those late summer days picking and eating fresh wild blueberries. This has been my evening vape in the Innokin Gladious-M tank that I also purchased from there. I’ve enjoyed every trip home to the blueberry patch for the past three weeks now. My only wish for this eLiquid is a bit of crème to go into it. Other than that, it’s perfect. My rating: 4.5. Would I buy it again? YES!

Coming next week, more eLiquid from DownEast Vapes in Lewiston, ME, Stella Blues Vapors of St. Louis, MO, and also Vape Kult in Auburn, NY.

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My Vaping Hardware – Reviews of EVOD, MEGA, Nautilus Mini, MVP20 & Gladius-M

Everyone Starts Somewhere

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The Kanger EVOD Starter Kit is where it all began for me, thanks to a sales pitch from the gal at Vaporz in Portsmouth, NH. Everything needed was there to get started. Two tanks, two batteries, battery charger, wall plug, a narrow metal juice bottle, and extra coils. For a beginner trying to get used to vaping, it was perfect. The vape production was fair. It’s a typical “pen vape” in style. Battery size is 650 mah. Stock units came with at 1.5 ohm coil, works better with a 1.8 ohm coil. It’s a slick unit that takes up little space, easily fits in a pocket or purse.

What I liked about it is that it was an “all-in-one” type set up. For the beginner, getting used to vaping from smoking takes a bit of time. The EVOD is simple. No variable voltage or wattage. Fill the tank, take a couple hits to prime it, and away you go.

What I disliked about the kit: Wall charger became frayed after a month of use at both the USB & charger end. Battery life was short. Burn hits fairly frequent, likely because I was hitting it too hard.

Price point: The kit & two bottles of e-juice cost $60. Reasonable.

Newbie Issues: Since I was brand new at vaping and quit smoking, I hit this hard for the first two days. Vapor is different from smoke. My body could sense the change. Freaking out whether or not I was getting enough nicotine, I chained puffed. I was started off at 12mg e-juice as a suggestion since I was a “light”, pack a day, cigarette smoker. I questioned if it was strong enough for me. The answer was yes. By the second day, I was getting the nicotine headaches in the afternoon. I laid off on it and found a comfortable vaping pattern to get into. One thing about vaping: it tastes good! The hand & mouth habits of cigarette addiction have always been my worst struggle in trying to kick the habit. Missing the inhalation (read: throat hit), that was also pacified with vaping.

What I would have done different: I would have gone with a kit with a bigger battery in retrospect. I was burning up the 650 mah battery in about 8 hours. The Aspire ET Starter Kit (900 mah battery) would have been a better to start with. A bit more in cost if two are desired (my personal recommendation… always have a back up battery & tank ready), but a bit better in quality.

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Kanger EVOD MEGA Starter Kit was my next move looking for a longer-life battery. This was the single most annoying thing about the EVOD is the fact I spent all day charging batteries. I went into Old Port Vape in Portland, ME thinking I was going to get a third EVOD 650 mah battery, which was $21. This was offered for $30. Since it has a 1900 mah battery, I was instantly going to get slightly more than 3 times the battery life out of one EVOD. The MEGA has a dual-coil set up, which the flavor & vape cloud experience doubled as a result. Another feature I appreciated is that it can be used while charging as the plug-in is on the base. Coils on this one are better with this one as well. I recently picked up 2.1 ohm coils from my friends at Vape Kult in Auburn, NY for this and it is a great step up from the 1.8 ohm coil that came stock on this one.

This is not a variable wattage / voltage device. Fill the tank, prime it with a couple puffs, and go. This is also a nice set up for the beginner.  I picked up a second one of these as I really enjoyed using this one. Important to note that this battery is NOT compatible with the standard EVOD as it is a 510 thread where the standard EVOD is an eGo style thread. The battery runs about 9.75 watts at full charge, and will work with most coiled 510 threaded tanks. This has a rugged design, which is something important to me. This is has survived a couple drops of three feet, numerous falls on a desk or table, without any breakage, leakage, or damage.

One of my major pet peeves with Kanger in these two models is the coil design. There is a tiny hole in the base of the coil that comes in contact with the battery. Juice gets in that hole and burns against the battery connector. It stinks at times, and likely is the source of burn hits. The battery connector needs to be cleaned everyday. After about three weeks using the MEGA after a month using the EVOD, I looked for a 510 threaded tank that had a solid connection to the battery to end that issue. I found one.

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The Aspire Nautilus Mini & Innokin MVP20 to this point has been the best investment I have made yet. I saw numerous folks online raving about the Nautilus Mini, and I knew I had to get a variable wattage / variable voltage battery if I was going to go that way. Many were talking about the iStick 20W because of the size just bigger than a regular size Bic lighter, I opted to go with the MVP 20 since it has an output charging feature on it, and I liked the quality of it. Both the Nautilus Mini and the MVP20 have performed at a very high level. The Nautilus Mini cured my pet peeve with Kanger over the hole at the 510 thread connector, as it is completely solid. I have drained the tanks of eLiquid and not once have I had a burn hit. The flavor & cloud production is excellent. This is a tough combo to beat without going into dripping. Coils have held up extremely well, using one per tank per week using Suicide Bunny eLiquid which I estimate is heavy on the VG (60-70%) and replacing it not out of need but due to longevity.

Since I am tough on equipment, the first hack I did was take the pyrex glass tank off and replaced that with the stainless tank (pictured above). Since I bought two Nautilus Mini’s and two stainless tanks, I have the glass tanks set aside and if anyone would like them, I will trade them for eLiquid. I won’t use them. These stainless tanks are durable, and have held up from accidental knockovers without a scratch.

Having used this combo now for about three weeks, I can understand why people raved about the Nautilus Mini. The MVP20 deserves accolades as well, going close to 700 hits on a single charge, and steady, dependable power.

gladiusm

The Innokin Gladius-M is the last tank I have in my current collection, and I have to admit, I really like this tank a lot. For a $25 tank that will fit on an eGo or 510 thread (connector included), this little devil is impressive. What won me over on this one is the adjustable airflow feature. Not one, but two areas of airflow and not pinholes like on some tanks. These are solid slits that really allow the airflow to enter the chamber. Flavor is excellent, cloud production incredible for such a small tank. This is a dual coil set up as well. I purchased this from the great folks at DownEast Vapes in Lewiston along with a bottle of their Maine Blueberry e-juice and had been my nightly companion for two weeks now. I have yet to burn out a coil, but did experience a couple of burn hits because the wattage on the MVP 20 was a bit high. I find this one works great for me at 10 / 10.5 watts with a 2.1 ohm coil. This tank is also rugged in design as well, and has handled it’s share of knockovers well also.  This is a new tank to the market, and I suspect the YouTube channels of many reviewers will talk about this one in the weeks to come.

Next week… Vape Shops & eLiquid reviews & discussion.

My #Vaping Journey: The First Two Months

A Smoker Turns Into A Vaper

After I left Vaporz in Portsmouth, NH with my EVOD starter kit and e-juice, both excitement and fear went through my body. Anytime this smoker makes changes to habits or addictions, the nicotine anxiety monster inside fires up and cravings go through the roof, not to mention mental gymnastics go into overdrive. “What if this doesn’t work?”, “Did I evodkit-680x680get strong enough ‘e-juice’ or whatever this shit is?”, “What if I get home, one of these batteries is bad and I have to wait X hours for one to charge before I can get another hit?”. The “itty-bitty shitty committee” was eating at me, but I took a couple hits off a cigalike to shut it up.

I held myself accountable to my youngest daughter, who used to come outside after me countless times while I was partaking a cigarette, and told her that I was going to give this a try. I promised her many times I would quit, only to make it a couple hours to at most a couple days before she’d come after me outside again. While I feel incredibly blessed my kids never saw me hammered, the flip side is I have felt like shit for years when they’d catch me smoking outside. That wasn’t the model I wanted to be.

I got home after the hour-plus ride and quickly grabbed a cigar and basically chained smoked the 8 or 10 I had left in three hours before I racked out. In between, I looked over the EVOD, trying to remember all the clerk said. I filled the tanks, and let them sit overnight with the batteries ready to go. I went to bed that night, praying for a solution to all these years of nicotine and smoking hell.

The First Day

I woke up the next morning to a quiet home. My wife was away, my oldest was away at school. It was just me and my one-day-at-a-timeyoungest, and she was in bed. I grabbed the EVOD as I got out of bed and began puffing away on it. I enjoyed the flavor of the e-juice at first. It was watermelon from World’s Finest Vapors, and I got a fair amount of vapor out of it. The first day went well overall. I did get a bit of burning and a couple dry hits which made me wonder if this was the right idea. Burnt juice is the most disgusting things on the planet… especially when you take a lung hit. The transition from smoker to vapor I knew was going to take some time. I chained vaped through the day out of fear I wasn’t getting enough nicotine, was reasonably satisfied, and felt little difference from actual smoking.

The First Week

The next test was going to work as a vaper while most of the most of the rest of the department were smokers. One thing that helped a lot was it was raining and cold outside. While my co-workers grabbed jackets and hats to go out and rainy-dayburn one, I just sat in my office and vaped. I made it home that night without smoking, but I did feel tempted a bit because I missed the chats and life check-ins while we had a smoke. I wasn’t jonesing for a smoke as my nicotine levels were satisfied, although I was breaking in the EVODs with vigor. Both batteries needed to be charged at some point during the day, but I made it.

My body began to adjust during the course of the week, and I actually found myself vaping a bit less by the weekend. I had one scare as I left home one day without the battery charger and burnt through a battery by 11 AM, and I knew I wasn’t going to be home until 6-7 that night. I made the 800 mah battery work until I got home, where it died upon door entry. I scrambled around to get one charging, and figured the sooner I could get to bed and not think about my need for nicotine, the better. I woke up and switched batteries in the middle part of the night, and had two fully charged the next morning.

The Second Week

One thing I have learned in this process is that it takes a couple weeks to get used to the hardware and figure it out. One thing I knew for sure is the e-juice from World’s Finest Vapors I had was disgusting. “American made. High quality, 50/50 blend” and it tasted like battery acid to me by this time. My mind was thinking that it may have been the 1.8 ohmSuicide-Bunny-Mothers-Milk coils the clerk gave me. I changed the coils (a newbie fail… I never thought to change the coils) and it helped, but the onslaught of watermelon all the time at this point made everything taste horrible. I did a Google search and found Old Port Vape and went into Portland to check them out. The education continued. They had me sample a bunch of liquid, and it was there that I was turned onto Suicide Bunny. Mother’s Milk was my first bottle, and I thought I died and went to heaven. I got that in 12mg nicotine, and it was the next day when I got a nicotine headache that the little voice inside said, “You’re ready to step down.” My head denied it, however. The clerk who sold me the EVOD kit in Portsmouth insisted to me that I use 12mg for two months then step down. I survived the intermittent headaches while I sucked down a 30ml bottle of Pip’s finest in 8 days.

The First Month

After figuring out the EVOD and realizing it was turning into a pain in the ass, I went back to Old Port Vape and began to check out hardware. Those guys were excellent with me. Of course, they tried to sell me a Kanger Mega AeroTank with a 50W battery, but I had not educated myself on that. I thought at the time that all MODs were rebuildables, and I wanted nothing to do with that. I have barely enough time to spend a few moments with my youngest daughter most phillip_rocke__98769.1416505662.400.400days, let alone sit down and build coils. I saw the brand new EVOD MEGA and I figured I’d give it a shot. I liked the bigger battery idea… this idea of charging two 800 mah batteries a day was bullshit in my mind at this point. I have to say that was a decent step up. I got almost two days out of the 1900 mah battery and since its a vape-while-charging style unit, I just plugged it in and used it. The dual coil is very good on flavor, and decent cloud production for its type. I got less burn hits (still a few) but overall, I was satisfied. I went back the next week and picked up another for a Christmas gift, along with a bottle of Phillip Rocke Grande Reserve Crème de la Crème eLiquid. If there was a great juice for a dripper, this 20/80 blend is killer. Unfortunately for the lowly MEGA, I was burning coils every 8 ml or so. It pissed me off, actually. I had no idea at that point that higher VG (vegetable glycerine) plugged coils up like storm drain in a tropical downpour (live and learn). I went with Phillip Rocke at the highest available of 9 mg of nicotine. Since it was very satisfying at 9mg, I knew I was ready to drop to six milligrams in January.

The Six Week Point

Christmas came & went without too much family related drama, which is what I like. I talked to both my sister-in-law and brother-in-law about my success with vaping. Both had tried it, and had poor luck with it. I asked why and both said they didn’t know what were doing. (For you people that own or work in brick & mortar shops, I tip my hat to you. To have knowledgeable staff who uses the product to ask questions is so vitally important in this journey.) I tried to help them out but they didn’t have their eGo’s or whatever they have on them, so I was useless to them.

I stopped into a shop in the north west end of Portland looking for more of Pip’s finest, based on a Google search. ThisDSC_0229_large skanky place was a gas station “vape shop” that sold tobacco, as well as bongs & bowls. The clerk was totally clueless about anything vape related, but tried to spin some bullshit on me. I ended up walking out the door with a bottle of Suicide Bunny’s Madrina since they were out of both Mother’s Milk and The O.B. (my one and two eliquids of late) and won’t go back again. The Madrina is nice for melon/berry & creme folks, and vapor is excellent. I won’t knock it since I know it is Pip’s personal fave, but it tasted too much like the one I got started with from Worlds Finest Vapors and I just personally couldn’t get into it. It was my nighttime juice for a couple weeks until I gave up on it.

Two Months

I was checking out YouTube and saw where Chris from Indoor Smokers raved about the Aspire Nautilus Mini & iStick 20 watt combo. Doing some more digging, a few others said the same… and a few more did also. So I did some research of where to get that kind of a set up, and get the best price for it. Knowing the amount of clones and counterfeit tanks & batteries on the market, buying online can be a risky proposition. I took a chance with BuyVaporizerPen.com & Vapor B7aDFJECQAEGH3yBeast. BuyVaporizerPen had a package on the Nautilus Mini & iStick, but as I scrolled through I saw they also had one with the new Innokin MVP20. I liked the features of the MVP20 so I went that route. I ended up getting two Nautilus Mini’s and one MVP20 for just under $100. Since I am tough on equipment, I needed the stainless steel replacement tanks, which I found at Vapor Beast for $8 each, along with a killer deal on the BVC coils at $12 for a 5-pack. Everything showed up authentic per both the Aspire & Innokin websites, so I was relieved. I cleaned the tanks, loaded them up with eLiquid, primed them as suggested by the Vape Miser on YouTube and was instantly blown away just how flavorful and vaporous the Nautilus Mini performed. It took me a couple days to play around with voltage, but I found what worked for me. It’s totally changed the way I look at vaping up to this point.

Looking at this from a physical & mental standpoint, I still have no desire to smoke. I am actually excited about nicotine reduction, having transitioned from 12mg eLiquid to 6mg of eLiquid without noticing. I use a 3mg eLiquid during the evening, and I am more than satisfied with that. The goal for me from the start was to be nicotine free by June in time for my 46th birthday. I have read testimonies where some did it faster, but I know myself and my relationship with this drug all too well. “Easy Does It” is the right way for me to taper off of it.

I will start doing reviews on my hardware experiences, eLiquid, and purchases in the time ahead.

Thanks for reading, and #VapeOn

-MV

MY NICOTINE HELL

“Nightmare” is too nice of a word.

The Beginning

My journey into nicotine hell began at the age of 16 in the back end of a Chevy Nova with a night out with some high school friends. The first smoke off a Kool seemed innocent enough. I coughed, I hacked. Then the joint started around.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

The boys would share a spliff, then chase the high with Mountain Dew and a cigarette. I voice inside of me told me this wasn’t the direction I wanted to go in with life.

I ignored it.

Within a week I was hooked to cigarettes. My first pack of Yves St. Laurent menthol 100s lasted about two days. The deception of hiding it from my smokeless parents included cologne and Lysol showers before I went into the house. I would hang out of my bedroom window and sneak smokes in. The obvious smell of cigarette smoke soon was questioned by those in charge at the house. This was the beginning of a most destructive period in my life.

Seven Years Of Alcohol & Drugs

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Photo Credit: Daily Mail UK

I don’t blame cigarettes and nicotine as a “gateway drug” as some in the professional community want to call it. I made the choice to pick up a cigarette. I made the choice to smoke a joint. I made the choice to drink a beer. I made the choice to smoke hash. I made the choice to eat mushrooms. I made the choice to drop LSD. I made the choice to engage in illegal activity, some of which put me into courthouses and jail. I don’t blame anyone or anything for where all of that took me. I am not a victim. I was totally responsible. Seven years of riding the Crazy Train took me places I didn’t want to go to, but I made the choice to do it. When the train crashed, I had lost everything. Friends, jobs, cars… all wrecked on the side of the road with empty half-gallon liquor bottles, broken bongs, empty cigarette boxes, and totaled vehicles to prove it. The bridges were burnt beyond all recognition. I had the clothes on my body and enough change to use a payphone when it was over. I was homicidal, suicidal, depressed, distorted, and confused. By November of 1991, it was over. I fought the battle against addiction and lost. It took me several months to get dried out and back on my own two feet again. Being 22 at the time had it’s advantages and disadvantages. Advantages due to young age & reasonable health; disadvantages due to looking to much older people for direction and guidance in my life. I had no choice, it was either get cleaned up or grab a shovel to dig my final resting hole. I gave up the booze and drugs… but kept the cigarettes.

Nicotine In All Forms

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Photo Credit: Parc-box Tumblr

While getting my life back on track, the smokes “helped” me get through the DT’s and volatility of life for the first six months or so. Doing some serious soul searching, thorough personal inventory taking, I was able to start dealing with what nearly buried me. The butts were my best friend now, along with a strong cup of coffee. As I healed, I met a couple of women, one of which ended up being my wife… both smoked. My wife gave up the icky sticks in 2000. I tried. We went on the patch. She to this point hasn’t had another cancer stick. For me, I had thousands and thousands more.

I tried the patch several times, then onto the gum. I tried anti-depressants (Wellbutrin, Effexor) and Chantix. The Wellbutrin didn’t affect me; the Effexor & Chantix made me manic. I did quit for 13 months after the Chantix round, only to succumb to the fags again during a tough time. After that, the merry-go-round of trying everything from cold turkey to all the pharma “remedies”. I’d quit smoking by using chewing tobacco for a stint, then back to cigarettes. Eventually cheap cigars took over for the 80 gauges when taxes drove them up over $7 a pack.

My mood was nasty… pissed because I needed to quit, pissed more because I knew it was going to be hell to quit. The brand3mental circle-jerk in my head was unbearable most days. After 20 years, suicide entered my mind again, which abhorred me. I just could not give up smoking, and I was a miserable bastard. My wife and children could see my anguish, and tried to limit their interactions with me. They knew I had a short fuse, and they knew why.

Within the past two years, the cigalikes hit the market. This was my first experience with e-cigarettes. At $10 a pop,  the package said “equal to two packs of cigarettes.” That may have been the idea, but it was bullshit to me. My first cigalike lasted all of 6 hours. It tasted like shit from the “tobacco” 2-pieceflavor they used. I searched online for cigalike alternatives, finding a company out in California and spent $100 to get started on those. That was good for a month or so, until I ran into some shitty atomizers that leaked and blew up on me. I called the company to complain. The asshole on the phone blamed me for not using them right at first, then conceded to fly a months supply of atomizers to me. After more problems with that batch, I ditched them, and went back on the cheap cigars.

I used cigalikes a few times more off & on as they were handy to sneak a few puffs in when I was in situations where I could not smoke. I used them as a “pinch hitter” until I could smoke. Weekends of chewing nicotine gum and using cigalikes were common right up until the last time I went looking for a cigalike… when I stumbled into my first vape store.

My Start To Vaping

I consider myself to be a spiritual person, and I don’t believe in coincidences. In mid-November, I went into thisevodkit-680x680 shop called Vaporz in Portsmouth, NH off Woodbury Avenue. I went in looking for a cigalike to get me through the day as I was travelling to a place where I could not smoke. I had my youngest daughter with me, and really didn’t want to smoke in the car. I walked in and smelled fresh, fruity scents of vape in the air. I was in a hurry. I looked around for a cigalike, and they had none. I asked the store clerk if he carried them, and he said “not yet”, and tried to sell me on vaping. I didn’t have time for the sales pitch and left to hit a gas station, where I found what would be my last cigalike. On my trip back through later that day, a little voice told me I needed to go back to that store. After we got dinner at a local sandwich shop, I went back to that shop. A different clerk was there than earlier. She talked to me about her experience with vaping. After a battery of questions and negotiation, I walked out of that store with an EVOD twin-pen starter kit and two 10ml bottles of e-juice. The next day I started vaping full time, and have not picked up a cheap cigar or cigarette since. While it was squirrely the first day, the freedom I felt was overwhelming. Finally there was hope for the first time in three decades.

In the next edition… my vape journey thus far.

-MV