Paula’s life was changed by vaping
Paula first started smoking daily 35 years ago at the age of 14. She lives in Brisbane. This her story.
The struggle to quit
I've tried to quit smoking many times. First I tried the patches. They gave me a rash like a burn and I was told I was allergic to them. Then I tried the lozenges. These just made me sick and nauseous, even at the lowest doses. Hypnosis was next - I went from 25 to 30 smokes a day as a result. Nuff said. I also tried those inhaler things that are supposed to mimic smoking, but they had absolutely no effect and looked like I was smoking a tampon. The spray mist thing was a miss as well, giving me ulcers in the mouth.
Much to my surprise, "cold turkey" worked for me for over 7 months once - until I was rushed to hospital by ambulance in fear of having a heart attack. Turns out it was just bad reflux and stress, but after a night in hospital a cigarette upon discharge was an absolute necessity...
Basically, in my case, no available nicotine replacement therapy was effective. In fact, they were all harmful to me. And none of them dealt with the mental part of the addiction. Even when I'd been without a smoke for two or three days, I felt like I was going crazy because it's all that I could think about. Nothing else mattered. I just wanted a smoke.
As for plain packaging, so what? As if the look of a thing can override an addiction. Please!
The cost of smoking
Then the cost of smoking began to rise, and rise and rise. That's when you get angry. That's when you take a hit. Because for those of us who simply CAN'T stop, this means going without food or whatever else, because feeding your addiction trumps everything.
As a person on a Disability Pension even rent is a "luxury" item. Faced with this reality most people believe that smoking is a "choice" that should be easy and simple to give up. I'm here to tell you that it's not. For people like me, we will do without whatever it takes. We will beg, borrow, and steal in order to sate the craving. Judge us how you will but accept this is the case. Prohibition doesn't work. It never has.
Five years ago my dad died from lung cancer as a result of smoking, but I still couldn’t quit.
Paula discovers vaping
Then, about four years ago, I discovered vaping. It has changed my life. Through trial and error I have found the vaping devices and nicotine e-juice that suits me best (Innokin T18 Endura on the right). My greatest fear is of losing the choice between smoking and vaping, because it's literally a choice between living and dying. Yet this is the choice that the government and hospitals give us.
I have gone from over 40 cigarettes a day, at a cost of at least $30 a day (remembering this is out of a pension, which is below minimum wage income), to a packet of 20 a fortnight. That's about $20 a fortnight. I do believe that I will be able to quit completely. I actually think I'll be able to do this within the next couple of months.
I still can't afford rent, but that's another issue. I don't need to worry about where I can smoke, because I can vape as I need to now. I don't fear affecting other people with secondhand smoke, or even just the smell of me. My home doesn't reek of smoke either. I can breathe better, and my blood tests are better than they've ever been.
The most important thing that vaping has given me is relief. Relief from the anxiety, panic, and desperation that I used to feel when I was getting down to my last couple of smokes. I no longer fear deprivation. Do not underestimate the importance of this. It changes everything.
I can talk about the financial burden that has been lifted, and the freedom that has given me, but in the end, it's not about money. It's about quality and quantity of life. I can have both now. Please don't make me a criminal for it.blog comments powered by Disqus