UPDATE: ‘Humperdink’ has informed me that he was not diagnosed with Lymphoma but continuing to smoke would increase his chances of contracting it and this is the reason that he has switched to vaping.

 

After reading a comment a comment of Reddit’s /r/electronic_cigarettes forum, I came across a post that hit me. After smoking a pack a day for 10 years, Reddit user ‘Humperdink_” told the story about how cigarettes, in combination with short term medication he was taking could lead to lymphoma – a cancer of the lymphatic system. He decided to switch to vaping to cut out traditional cigarettes and tobacco for the poisonous chemicals it releases when burned. Vapr contacted Humperdink for an interview on his history, and how he found the switch to vaping.

 

Vapr: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am 30 years old, married, no kids and I live in GA.  I manage a restaurant and work for a small pest control company.  Graduated in 2010 with a BFA in Fine art.  As far as smoking goes, I have some hobbies that make it even harder to quit, like being an avid fisherman and brewing and thus drinking a fair amount of beer.

 

I have Crohn’s disease.  Crohn’s is an intestinal autoimmune response that occurs in the small and large intestines and leads to swelling and pain, among other things.  Shortly after new years I was hospitalized due to a stricture in my intestine from Crohn’s.  A stricture is swelling in a portion of the intestine that in a worst case scenario can swell until your intestine has full blockage and nothing can pass through.  In my case only about 10 inches were experiencing swelling and it wasn’t quite fully blocked.

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s when I was 16 years old.  This is only the second time I have been in the hospital for it but I have had many mild to medium flare ups over the years.  Each flare up leaves a little scar tissue behind from the extreme inflammation and so over the years my tissue was weakened in that area.  The result was that I got a perforation in my intestine that lead to a dangerous abscess filled with whatever comes out of the intestines.

Normally a Crohn’s flare up results in a heavy dose of steroids and you’re out that day or maybe a day or two later.  This time I was admitted for 4 days because I had to have aggressive antibodies for the abscess.  If the abscess bursts it can be deadly.   They wanted to keep me longer but I whined enough to get out after 4 days.  I was struggling with the flare up for about a month before it got out of control and the hospital trip began on Jan 3rd.  I took an IV antibiotic for the abscess for 10 days after leaving the hospital and my steroid dose continues for 16 more days.On to the more aggressive med that caused this conversation to happen.  The steroids are a short term fix.  They are terrible for other parts of your body.  You take them until your intestine is under control and then wean off.  When i was first diagnosed they knew very little about Crohn’s and basically just suggested to keep a food log and tailor my diet to whatever I can tolerate.  That worked for the most part.   Now its 2016 and they’ve got some more long term drugs.  I have started a treatment with one that can cause problems with lymphoma even if you don’t smoke.   Hopefully it will get my intestine to calm down but the side effects are a bit scary on their own without tobacco.

I decided no new meds, or quit smoking.  I never really discussed it with my doctor as I didn’t consider the combination of tobacco and the new drug an option.  It was my decision to quit on my own.  I wanted to before and now I had the extra motivation with a 1 week head start because I didn’t smoke in the hospital or for the few days when i got out.


Vapr: Could you tell us about the events leading up to your hospitalisation – How long had you been smoking for? How many would you smoke a day on average? What happened that made you go to the hospital? What did the doctors say? Etc.

I was coming from an almost 10 year pack a day habit.   I bought a ego style pen from the gas station when i got out along with some 18 and 24 mg juice.  Having tried this before I knew it wasnt quite going to kill the cravings for me but would substantially reduce them.

For me Smoking is something to do as much as it is an addiction.  I want to get up and pace around and go outside and I also want some nicotine.  I knew i needed something more involved to keep me focused on vaping.  I bought a subox nano starter kit which got me sub ohming and now I can try different coils, wattages etc.  The vape was more pleasant and satisfying with the added vapor and flavor that comes with sub ohming. The toptank nano offers impressive flavor for what it is.   I made it a week before getting an rda.  The rda is what did it for me.

Along with my main jobs, I work on small engines.  Im obsessed with them.  Namely vintage outboards. I have an eBay page that sells refurbished motors and parts from motors that I parted out.    I love to tinker with old machines.  Rarely are they ever truly broken.  The RDA fits right in with this style of hobby.  It offers an endless amount of variables to play with and tweak.  A few days in i was more concerned with how x coil interacts with x juice at x wattage with x wick than i was with avoiding cigarettes; in fact i was so fixated on messing with my RDA that I more or less forgot about them.   I didnt want a cigarette, I wanted an excuse to change my 3 hour old coil.  Now I have two RDAs–one with a known awesome coil on it to ADV for a couple of weeks, and another that I can try new coils in constantly.  In my short time with RDAs (less than 2 weeks)  ive had everything from single 30g micro coils to twisted coils and handmade clapton coils in there.

 


Vapr: After the initial investment in the mods, RDAs, etc, do you find that vaping is costing less than smoking?

This is a tricky question.  It can cost very little if you want it to but on the high side its about as much as a pack a day habit.  Id say if you are sub ohming it’s about the same or slightly cheaper if you buy your eliquid locally.  The kicker is that I was making my own smokes at least half the time at .85 cents a pack and thats really hard to compete with.

For someone who buys cigarettes everyday sub ohming will run through about as much juice dollar wise as you would in cigarettes if you buy from a brick and mortar. It can be substantially cheaper if you take advantage of online deals once you find some flavors you like from internet stores.   Above one ohm you can use higher nic content juices and burn a lot less juice and still get your nicotine thus saving a lot of money.  If you go this route it is less than half the price of tobacco.  For me it’s not satisfying enough this early in the quitting process to use 1.2 ohm and above coils.  In the toptank nano, if I use it everyday I will spend about 5$ a week on coils too.  The rda virtually eliminates coil expenditure. In short, when using my RDA and avoiding buying coils I will spend almost exactly what i spent on smokes in a week if i buy all my juice locally.   I plan to raise ohms and burn less juice to reduce my nicotine intake rather than lowering the nic content of my juice.  This way i will lower my nic consumption by lowering the amount of juice i use and will also save money by using less juice in the process.  ill keep some super low nic juice and some sub coils around for when i need that giant cloud for satisfaction.

Over time it will become substantially cheaper than smoking as I use less juice, find vendors with great deals online with flavors I like, and inevitably, start making my own juice.

 


Vapr: How hard have you found transitioning to vaping? After a week or so, have you noticed any changes in yourself? Have you had cravings for cigarettes? How is the switch in general going? Do you find yourself using them in the long term?

At first the transition was really hard.  I went from an EGO and disposable clearomizer, to a spinner II with a MOW tank(pretty nice but not enough oomph to satisfy me) then to a vv/vw regulated mod sub ohm setup.  As mentioned earlier, once I got the regulated mod and RDA my tendency to become fixated on tweaking and maximizing my gadgets made it easy for me.  I love messing with this thing.  It also gets great flavors out of the juices and that makes it easier.

 

The only changes ive noticed so far is that my smell and taste have come back so much that in just 2 weeks my taste in what kind of juices i like have changed.  New vapers:   re-try flavours after youve quit smoking for a while, your taste buds are kicking ass now and you might like something you didnt before now that you can actually taste it.   Also, I have juices I hate in the morning but are great as a dessert after a meal (cinnamon roll)  I can see myself using it long-term as my brain is already starting to associate the nicotine with the vaporizer instead of cigarettes.   Its going great–I crave a vape instead.  That’s fine, I have control over how much nicotine it delivers me.  I can wean it out over time – can’t do that with tobacco.

 

Cigarettes starting smelling awful after only 4 days of being in the hospital so when i think about them I just think about how bad they smell and taste and drip some of my favorite juice.

Thanks to /u/Humperdink_ for agreeing to the interview from on Reddit’s /r/electronic_cigarettes forum