An Interview with the President of the National Vaper's Club
Spike Babaian was an early member of the nascent vaper's community, and a founding member of the Long Island Vapers' Club (now the National Vaper's Club) who fought off a proposed total ban on vaping in New York.
Part 1: Switching to Electronic Cigarettes | Part 2: National Vapers' Club | Part 3: Anti-Smoker and the Electronic Cigarette | Part 4: John Banzhaf | Part 5 The FDA and Electronic Cigarette Research | Part 6: Advice for Novices | Part 7: Mainstream Vaping
Despite vast time differences, ECigarette Direct managed to catch up with Spike for this interview...
Part 1: Switching
ECD: How long have you been using the electronic cigarette?
Spike: I ordered my first e-cigarette in December 2008 and I received it in January of 2009 from puresmoker.com - they’re one of the longest ran US companies. I started using it in the beginning of January and it took me about two weeks to switch completely from cigarettes to e-cigarettes.
ECD: Before you switched to the electronic cigarette, how many cigarettes were you smoking a day?
Spike: I would say between 25 and 30 cigarettes a day. US packs are about 20 in a pack, so a pack and a half, pack and a quarter a day every day for 21 years.
ECD: How did you first hear about it?
Spike: I had a friend who smokes like 3 packs a day, he said, ‘I found this new thing and I think it’s gonna help me quit smoking,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, right I tried everything to quit smoking, nothing works.’ It’s not that I have no faith and then he showed it to me and I said, ‘Oh, my God, I need to have one of those.’
He said. ‘Well you know I’m ordering next week. I can order if you want,’ and I said, ‘No, I’m ordering one now,’ and before he even left I ordered it on the Internet. I got it before he even put his order in.
ECD: You said you tried everything; you’re talking about nicotine cessation aids?
Spike: Yes, I tried the patch but I was allergic to it, the glue in it - my skin is sensitive. I tried the gum but it made my gums and my teeth ache and hurt so I couldn’t use it. I tried, I did not try Chantix but I had two friends try it but got, ah, I don’t know, crazy.
They went a little bit insane, violent, they got aggressive, you know, just turned very nasty, and I said you know what, this is not definitely not the way I want to quit so I did not try Chantix. That was one thing I did not try.
I tried cold turkey. I tried using lollipops or candies as an oral fixation. I got 14 cavities but I still smoked, so it did not work out in my favor.
ECD: So did you, after switching did you feel any difference in your health?
Spike: I was able to breathe better. I have asthma, I had asthma since I was five so I always had difficulty in breathing around cats and when I ate certain foods. And I had also general asthma to pollen and you know allergies to certain things in the air.
So I always had asthma but I did find out that when I switched to e-cigarettes I was able to breathe a little bit better I was able to smell things better I remember when I first started using e-cigarettes it was like about two weeks in, two weeks after I had stopped smoking cigarettes. I went and I took a
can of ginger ale and I took a sip of the ginger ale and I said, ‘Oh my God, ginger ale has a smell to it,’ and my friend said to me, ‘Well, of course, it has smell to it,’ and I said, ‘Well I’ve never smelled that not in the last 20 something years.’ I don’t remember that, I didn’t remember that ginger ale smells like something.
So, there were subtle things that I’ve never even noticed, you know, after 20 something years of smoking that I was missing until I wasn’t smoking.