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Quitting the Sticks (Part III - From E-cig novice to vaping connoisseur)

Updated on August 3, 2016

Hmmm. USB, Ecig, MAC…Dude! I'm smoking my laptop!

I WILL PAY FOR THIS LUXURY. Read on.

Week 1 Day 1

I got home a bit later than usual to find my eGo starter kit and sample juices have arrived. I admit to a child-like excitement. As you know from previous installments, I’d been down this road before, but I have a good feeling about this.

After dinner, I tear open the packaging and take stock. I find one battery, two clearomizers (little juice tanks with tiny heater coils) and three 30ml bottles of mild menthol juice (24mg of nicotine). I fill the tanks, screw them to the battery, push the firing button and take a drag. Nothing. Hmmm. I push the button again. There is no LED lighting. Shit. It’s already late in the evening and I go to bed angry. If you recall the wire bail incident in a previous hub, you have an idea where my head is right now.

Week 1 Day 2

Well, the instructions on the e-cig package were a bit dodgy. I spoke to an eGo tech assist tonight. I turns out that you have to push the firing button 5 times within 2 seconds to turn the unit on. Well, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…and there it is! I am now vaping. The basic tobacco flavor is very mild and pleasant. The smoking “satisfaction” is far better than Njoy or Blu.

This was my first lesson about the vapor cigarette industry. The preponderance of hardware and a lot of the vapor juices still come from China. This shows in the poor quality of the instructions. While I have not too many complaints about the hardware, some of which you see later, I strongly recommend you buy your juice from a domestic manufacturer. You can ask around and read up on different companies to find ones you feel comfortable with. Some companies are very open and put a lot of info about themselves online. You might also try to get a good reference from someone who has been vaping for a long time. My work mate, John, is knowledgeable about juices and even mixes his own stuff. His favorite companies are consistent and have good quality control.

Week 1 Day 3

I heard from my buddy, Tim tonight. He and his girlfriend have been using electronic cigarettes for several months and are very happy with them. He asked me how I was doing and I told him I was kind of tired and my throat was a bit sore. He asked how many tanks I’d gone through in the last day. I told him two or three. He flipped. “Dude, that’s like smoking three or four packs of cigarettes! You need to slow down!"

Those words would come back to haunt me.

Week 1 Day 4

Lyn notices that I am not wheezing and coughing. My lungs and sinuses feel really good.

I used to suffer from e-cig envy.  Now I'm vapin' with the big dawgs!  Vamo is on the left.
I used to suffer from e-cig envy. Now I'm vapin' with the big dawgs! Vamo is on the left. | Source

Week 1 Day 6

I got a visit in my office from my vape mentor, John. He gave me a bunch of sample flavors he likes and sold me a used Vamo for $20, a good deal. The Vamo is a larger unit that accepts my tanks and a variety of others. It has a three-button control that adjusts the wattage and resistance to provide more or less flavor and vapor. I like 4.5 watts and don’t mess with the resistance. It provides a lot of taste and a LOT of vapor. I like it. His sample juices are nice, but I have nothing to compare them to accept the regular flavor from my e-cig supplier.

I am becoming quite the kitchen chemist.  There is an endless variety of flavors you can use with these things!
I am becoming quite the kitchen chemist. There is an endless variety of flavors you can use with these things! | Source

Week 2 Day 1

I feel like undiluted poop today. I am not exactly sick. But I feel the shakes and weakness you get with flu. And though tired, I feel anxious. I go from chair to chair and back to bed. This goes on all day. As usual I wonder about the e-cigs. In the evening I feel a bit better and do more reading. I read up on nicotine poisoning. Clearly, I haven’t experienced extreme poisoning or overdose because I am still here. But the previous evening I sat at my laptop working on a story. I had the e-cig in my hand the entire time. I have no idea how many times I hit it. I wasn’t thinking about it. Looking back, I am sure I hit it almost continuously. Tim’s words came back to me. I will have to be careful with this in the future; as should you, dear reader.

Update: This was not a serious medical situation. It was a strange case of severe withdrawal. Not form nicotine, but from all the other crap. I have gotten this feeling to a steadily lessening extent since Week 2. I don't get them anymore (Week 4). A cigarette is a serious punch of nicotine, The e-cig is a more steady, lesser punch. You have to adjust to the moderated intake while cleansing yourself of the poisons cigarettes carry with them.

Week 2 Day 2

I found an Avail Vapor store just a few miles from my house. This is super convenient. On the way home from work, I stopped in and sampled some flavors. I bought an extreme menthol they haven’t even named yet. I grabbed a strawberry and a mint chocolate chip. I also picked up a spare battery for the eGo and two small tanks.

I’m really getting into this stuff.

Lots and lots and lots and lots of flavors!
Lots and lots and lots and lots of flavors! | Source

Backslide alert: I have been indulging a bit throughout this time. I might have a cigarette on a commute to work or when both e-cigs are dead. This is not good. It is only about 1 cigarette per day, which beats the hell out of 30, but it cannot go on. If it does, I am pretty sure the whole exercise will be a bust. I know folks who have started on e-cigs and transitioned by very gradually reducing their cigarette intake. I don’t think I can do that.

Week 2 Day 4

Who’d of thunk it! I am suffering symptoms usually associated with celiac disease. I know that my diet has been gluten free (GF) for a long time. Could it actually be the vapor juices? I immediately consult my Google machine. Yes, indeed, someone is working on this. Not everyone is aware of the problem. I found a site called EC Blend. They have a line of gluten free juices. I ordered a variety of sample sizes, all very inexpensive. I also set aside the juices I have on hand to see which ones may be causing the problem.

Week 3 Day 1

I have eliminated the basic flavor that came with my first e-cig as a gluten problem. Also the strawberry from Avail seems to be okay. I have plenty on-hand so I’ll be fine until the new order comes in.

I bought batteries for the Vamo today. I only had one. But there is a problem keeping the Vamo going.

This is just a lesson on attention to detail. The battery the Vamo takes is an 18650. I showed the e-cig to a man at Batteries Plus and barely spit out the part number and he said, “18650, got it.” He went directly to a display, pulled a package and handed it to me. I found out later they are a slightly different size than the original battery. The power rating is identical but the new batteries are 18650-1. They damaged the inside of the Vamo. Always check that you are using the exact accessories and batteries recommended by the manufacturer.

Week 3 Day 6

I have discovered that on days when I backslide, smoking one cigarette leaves me feeling the same at the end of the day as smoking a pack. My sinuses bug me and I cough and even wheeze a bit. More motivation!

I received my new flavors today. I will try them out and rate them.

Rating Vapor

Flavor
Character
Rating 1 - 10
Greenman Special RY4
Very fruity, berry combo. Full flavored.
4
Avail Mint Chocolate
Chocolate intake, Minty exhale, metallic in between
5
Avail Pure Ice
STRONG menthol. Very clean.
6
Avail Strawberry
Medium strength, authentic strawberry flavor
8
EC Blend Coconut GF
Very creamy, excellent coconut taste
10
EC Blend EnglishToffee GF
Creamy, medium strength flavor
7
EC Blend Wintergreen GF
Light bodied, authentic taste.
7
EC Blend Black Cherry
A little creamy, medium fruitiness
8
EC Blend Kona Delight
Should be called Kona Krap IMHO. Ref: Para 6 in part II of this series.
0
EC Blend Honeydew Mellon
Fruity. Somewhat like mellon flavor.
3
EC Blend Peach
Fruity. Very light falvor.
4
These are my impressions of flavors I've tried so far. All EC Blend flavors were ordered as "extra flavor".

Well, you've gotten a run-down of my first few weeks. I feel great. I am still sneaking an old fashioned cigarette ever few days. But that is fading rapidly.

The promised feature on Avail Vapor and interviews will have to follow in my final installment. I hope to rate several more Avail products when they come out with Gluten Free juice. For the record, I am going to stick to EC Blend for now. My friend, John is a fan of Greenman. Feel free to share your opinions and suggestions at he bottom of this page.

I am very much enjoying this whole experience. Vaping is an activity that can be kept simple or turned into a real study in varieties of flavors and devices. If your goal is to quit nicotine altogether I would recommend that you find a device that works for you, a few batteries and some nice flavors, then use them to wean yourself off the nicotine by gradually reducing the nicotine content in the flavors you buy down to zero mg.

Special thanks go to my wife, Lyn. Herself edits all my hubs. Whenever she finds a typo, she throws kitchen utensils at me.

Matt Jordan is a travel Writer living in Thornburg, Virginia.

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