Patrick Riffe- Smoke Free Radio NetworkI started smoking when I was 12 years old. This was in the eighties and it was relatively easy for a kid to buy cigarettes. I smoked all the way through High School and when I went to college I tried to quit. But it was really difficult.

Over the years I tried multiple times to quit smoking. I tried pharmaceutical products the patch, the gums, lozenges and I even tried hypnosis. None of the approved products had any success for me. The pharmaceutical products affected my mood gave me vivid nightmares and I became a different person.

I had given up on quitting smoking nothing was working and I continued to smoke until December of 2010. I had promised my wife that I would stop smoking it was very important for her that I stop smoking so that we would have more years together.

I actually loved smoking. Cigars, pipes, hookah, smoking in all its forms. We traveled to the Philippines to get married. It was during this trip that I promised to quit. But, cigarettes are dirt cheap there. I bought a dozen cartons and vowed that as soon as they were gone I would stop smoking. When we returned to the states I still had 10 cartons. I was so afraid to say goodbye to my old friend. I resisted, I bought more cigarettes a snuck them into the cartons so she would think I still had not smoked them all. Eventually, I forgot to fill up the empty cartons and she noticed. A promise is a promise, so I said I would quit.

It was during a shopping trip to the mall on December 1st of 2010 that I encountered my first electronic cigarette. I saw these people standing around this little kiosk and I was interested so I walked over and talked to the owner.

I was not an easy sale for the owner of this kiosk. I had no confidence that I would be able to quit smoking with any method. But after a long conversation I spent $150 on my first electronic cigarette and deep down inside I had the desire but I did not believe that it would work.

In the kit that I bought there was an assortment of flavors, there was tobacco there was menthol and there were a small selection of different fruity flavors. As a bit of a tobacco lover, I found the taste of the “tobacco” flavor to be less than impressive. But back then there were fewer options than there are now.

I was amazed at how easy it was for me to quit with something that was so similar yet different than smoking.

Quitting this time was almost instantaneous. After the first few drags on that very simple and expensive electronic cigarette that was available in 2010 I no longer needed or even desired to smoke a combustible cigarette.

My wife was amazed at how quickly I broke my socially unacceptable habit of smoking with something that satisfied my nicotine urges but also removed the horrible smell that accompanied me wherever I went before when I was a smoker.

It took me a long time to find tobacco flavors that weren't really just bakery liquids passing themselves off as tobacco. But, someone suggested I look at a website for the artisan eliquid company out of Minnesota, The Plume Room.

I immediately was in love with the NET tobaccos that Andrea and Troop were making. Finally a tobacco flavor that didn't taste artificial. I was no longer a smoker and I could get the tobacco taste I wanted.

Vaping had added value to my life. I no longer smelled, food tasted better, I was able to perform higher intensity physical activity than I had before. I no longer woke up in the morning with ragged smoker's cough.

All of those added benefits came due to the fact that I was able to substitute vaping completely.

After finding vaping I also found a community of other people who were experiencing the same things as me. Smokers who had found vaping and we're no longer smoking.

I researched these products I spent many hours of my life educating myself and others about the benefits of using vaping when nothing else works to help people quit smoking. I've become an advocate for these products and traveled the country networking with other users of these products and speaking to politicians and policymakers to educate them about this technology.

Many critics point to the availability of these flavors as a way to entice children to use these products. I advocated for age restriction on these products to make sure that kids do not ever pick up vaping. But I stand by the fact that the availability of these flavors helps adult smokers find a different path to success.

Adults like things that taste good. Adults buy candy. Adult buy desserts. Adults eat fruit. None of these facts are at question. Vaping is a disruptive technology that kills smokers addiction to a product that will kill them.

Mitch Zeller the head of the tobacco enforcement arm of the FDA has even stated that if every smoker in America substituted their smoking addiction with vaping that it would be a net win for Public Health. To achieve that goal we must acknowledge that vaping is helping smokers quit and its success lies in the variety of products available including flavors to help achieve the goal of destroying America's addiction to smoking.

 

*Note: Patrick has a show on Saturdays on the Smoke Free Radio Network. Check it out!

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