I initially tried to give up smoking by switching to e-cigarettes in 2008. That lasted a few days, then I went back to smoking. I tried earnestly a few more times over the years using gum, patches, or the new and improved ecig pens, until in September 2018, after doing lots of research and buying several different types of e-juice to sample, I took the plunge once again. That was 10 weeks ago, and I have not had a traditional cigarette since. I was initially thrilled with this outcome because for the first time in 40 years of smoking, I was successfully able to quit.
For the first month I didn’t really have any issues at all. I learned to tweak the wattage on my mod, determine which flavors worked best for me, adjust airflow rate, etc. I was perfectly giddy with excitement that I was free of those blasted cigarettes.
After about six weeks, I began to notice some really odd symptoms. I had a harsh soreness in my throat. Simultaneously, I developed intermittent pain coming from an area where I had surgery four years earlier (one of my sub-mandibular salivary glands was removed due to a gland stone, w/o subsequent complications). I came down with cold sores back to back. Oddly, I developed some weird pain in my right hip, and also my groin. My head would feel light, and full, stuffy. I felt like I was coming down with a flu or pneumonia. This scared me. I found these symptoms very disturbing because I have no health issues at all. None.
So, I started taking Zicam to help stave off what felt like the early onset of a cold. About two days later came an even bigger shocker. My gums began to swell to the point that they were putting pressure on my teeth, causing them to hurt. Then…the blood. My gums would bleed profusely after flossing and brushing, or even after eating something like an apple, or a celery stick, or even chicken or steak. And I mean lots of blood. This was also very scary because I have always enjoyed excellent oral health. Never an issue since childhood.
Right around this time, I called to make an appointment with my physician because the onset of these symptoms were fairly acute. While it crossed my mind that somehow vaping might be associated w/ the symptoms, I discredited that idea because I’d not had any of these symptoms for the first six weeks of vaping. I was almost prepared to be told that I had come down with a major illness.
Upon meeting with my physician and explaining to her all my symptoms, and explaining that the only thing I was doing differently was using the vape, she simply advised me to stop vaping for 24 hours to see if the symptoms subsided; outside of the inflammation in the suspect areas, there were no other indicators (I did have a low level fever). By the next afternoon, all my symptoms were mostly gone. Within 36 hours, they had completely subsided. So, for me, it appears the vaping of these aerosols was causing the issues.
While glad to know that I didn’t have any major medical issue going on, I was very disheartened to face the prospect that I would have to give up vaping – which was the only method that aided me in successfully quitting cigarettes.
That’s when I started searching the internet for more information on possible side effects from vaping, and that’s what let me to this and other websites to learn as much as I could. I figured I’d post about my experiences because surely I’m not the only one.
Having said all this, I am not going back to smoking cigarettes. I might try to use a higher VG and lower nicotine juice to see if that helps (as I’ve read elsewhere that it may). Ultimately, though, I’m thinking this episode will represent the end of my relationship with tobacco and alternative nicotine delivery systems, which was my goal to begin with.
I just don’t trust vaping as being safe. Instead, I see it for what it is. This will become the predominant mode of nicotine consumption. Proponents will argue its a safer alternative to smoking. Public health, medical, and research communities will warn – to no affect – that we just don’t know the long term harm. Hardware and ejuice websites, shops, and wholesalers will market their goods. The industry will grow and consolidate, meanwhile making lots of people rich. And 20 years from now, long after strong evidence shows the negative health effects, illness, and death, the vaping industry will have their lobbyists scurrying about the halls of congress to ensure that Americans and others have access to their nicotine one way or the other. You heard it here first.
I wish I felt differently about vaping being a viable alternative to smoking, or that I had a different experience with the method – but I don’t, and I didn’t. So that’s that.
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