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Smoking to Vaping ~ The First Year
I was a 'FORTUNATE'
After fifty years of smoking, I was a ‘fortunate’, since I still enjoyed good health.
Like so many others, I had tried various ‘quit smoking’ methods, including cold turkey, hypnotism, skin patches, and various medications. None of those attempts were successful. In fairness though, I admit that I did not really want to quit. I enjoyed smoking, and made those failed efforts to satisfy social pressures.
Smoking Became Expensive!
Cigarettes became a financial burden when prices began escalating so rapidly after the turn of the century. Yet, I struggled to afford my addiction, until I made a new friend who ‘’vaped’. She had quit smoking, and begun vaping a year earlier.
Vape Stores? ugh..
It took awhile, but I finally walked into a ‘Vape Store’. For various and obscure reasons, those stores seemed so foreboding, and it was difficult for me to muster the courage to step inside.
I was greeted by a clerk whose ‘style’ made me feel anxious, but his demeanor was friendly and welcoming. He was assisting another customer, so I stepped outside, smoked a cigarette, and considered leaving. I did return though, and found the clerk waiting for me, with a knowing smile on his face!
After viewing various ‘beginner’ vape-pen kits, and receiving a brief lesson, I left the store with an ‘ego’ kit, the ‘pen’ filled with coffee flavored e-juice, (e-liquid, with level 24 nicotine), a little bottle of extra juice for refilling the pen as needed, and a few accessories.
The First Month..
I had spent the equivalent of nearly my entire month’s cigarette allowance, and it wasn’t long before it was evident that the little bottle of e-juice wasn’t going to last very long! I got busy online, googled & scoured several articles, checked out vape pages on facebook, browsed vape supplies on eBay, and shopped various online Vape Supply stores. Finally, after hours of bargain hunting, I managed to acquire another ego style pen, more e-liquid, and was set for my first month as a non-smoker.
OK, so I want to be honest.. I did slip outside for a cigarette during that first month. It was a good thing, though, because I was surprised that I did NOT enjjoy it as much as I thought I would. Since then, I have not looked back, or missed the cigarettes.
The Learning Process..
That is not to say this has been a care-free endeavor! I learned that as a rule, the ego style pen/batteries need to be replaced every 4-6 weeks, coils (atomizers) last 5-10 days on average, and clearomizers/cartomizers/tanks can sometimes leak, which can be very aggravating!
Upon noting that daily usage of e-liquid averages at least 10mls, it was obvious that this could easily become as costly as smoking! Hence, more research, and the discovery of DIY (Do It Yourself) e-liquid. I learned that e-juice can be prepared at home for a fraction of retail prices. Using common sense and few safety measures, e-liquid can simply, and safely be prepared using food grade vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), and flavor concentrates.. all of which are very affordable. The most expensive ingredient is nicotine. Yet, even it is economical when considering the concentration.. Countless free ‘recipes’, tutorials, and ‘e-liquid calculators’ are offered at online at Vape Forums and various Vape Stores.
The Flavor Apprentice (also called the Perfumers Apprentice) is a reliable source for flavor concentrates, VG/vegetable glycerin, and PG/propylene glycol, (they also accept PayPal, if that is a concern for you). My Freedom Smokes is a dependable resource for Nicotine, but you will need a credit card to purchase it. There are other concentrate and nicotine stores too, however I have not tried them yet.
Mods and Costs
After about six months, I became dissatisfied with the ego style pens, and was curious about ‘mods’. My first mod was a JOYETECH e-Grip. It was an amazing improvement over the pens. I loved the compact size, and the fact that 3.6mls of juice are contained within the mod itself. Ease of use was incomparable, and for me, the vape experience was superior. After just 5 weeks, though, it simply stopped working.
Next I tried the new Kangertech SUBOX kit. It is a mini Kbox mod paired with a Subank Mini that holds about 4mls of juice. Wow! This mod is terrific, and provides the same, if not better, vape than the eGrip, but it offers replaceable battery option. It is a very simplistic mini Kbox, paired with a Subtank Mini, though it can be used with a different subtank if prefered. It has proven to be the most reliable set-up so far, and provides a more than satisfactory vape experience.
The only ‘con’ to the mods, if there is one, is learning how to use, and maintain the Subtanks. They do require some knowledge of proper usage and maintenance. I would recommend asking a vape pro, or experienced Subtank user, for a brief lesson before attempting one the first time.
I am currently vaping the SUBOX setup, and also have an original Kanger KBOX, (thanks to my bestie!), for backup. These mods are perfect for beginners like me, because they are so uncomplicated. (Still, if ever offered, I would jump at the chance to try a Joyetech e-Grip with replaceable battery option).
To keep costs minimal, I also use an RBA (Rebuildable Atomizer), which I learned to manage via online tutorials. I make my own e-juice., and am down to level 10 nicotine, with a goal of ZERO. All told, vaping costs are currently averaging about $50 per month.
My advice to new vapers… Skip the ego-style pens. Begin with a SUBOX or KBOX set-up, and have a ‘pro’ or experienced vaper give you a short lesson. Buy a couple bottles of e-juice to get started, and then learn to make your own!
Also, I shared only those mods that I can attest to. There are hundreds of reliable mods out there, so don't be afraid to check them out!