collage of vapers

Our First Vape: 10 Top Vapers Share Their Stories

Together, the vapers in this post have reached literally millions of smokers and vapers, sharing expertise, writing reviews and in many case fighting hard against ignorance and prejudice.

Today they have kindly agreed to sharing the story of how it all started. (I was also fascinated to find that one well known blogging vaper found about vaping from another blogger featured here!)

Also, for a change, I thought our regular readers might also be interested to see how our own MD, Jean Rasbridge, got started with ecigs!

Finally, we’d love to hear your story – so please leave your comments below. (There’s even three tasty prizes for our favourite comments!)

Joe Petner of Vapor Joes

Joe Petner

Vaping wasn’t even on my radar in January, 2012. I was on YouTube looking for a friend’s band, when a Grimm Green video came up in the search results. Intrigued, I clicked and was immediately drawn to the idea of vaping. Some research quickly led to the purchase my very first kit: a simple eGoT kit and 2 bottles of juice from The day it arrived, I became a full-time vaper and successful ex-smoker, never to look back. After 25 years of smoking two packs of Marlboro’s daily, it felt great to painlessly kick my deadly habit.

It wasn’t long before I was being encouraged to start a deals blog to share my findings with a wider audience than the hangouts could reach. By the end of August 2012, VaporJoes was born… although it nearly debuted as ‘JoeyVapes’. At the onset it was a humble endeavor, with only a couple of posts daily for friends and acquaintances to benefit from, but it wouldn’t remain there long. Within only a month, the site garnered 1000 hits, and inside of four months was generating 50,000 hits monthly. It passed the million hit milestone by the time I was only 6 months old. Today, VaporJoes Deals & Steals sees one million visitors every two weeks!

Nick from Grimm Green

Nick from Grimm Green.

I discovered vaping through VaporJoe – totally joking.

Back in 2009 I actually discovered vaping by typing “FAKE CIGARETTE” into Google and hitting search. I had paused my smoking habit for roughly 2 years prior to my Google search. But with a trip to LasVegas planned on the horizon I knew how easy it would be to fall back into the whole chain-smoking-gambling-drinking routine.

I ended up watching a YouTube video for the SMOKE51 starter kit. I Paid way to much money for one on eBay, and began my vaping journey with an overpriced and under-performing ecig. Vapers today truly don’t know how good they have it 🙂

Scott Bonner of –E-Cig-Reviews

Scott Bonner

It was the start of 2008 and my dad was once again giving me a lecture on how i should quit smoking those awful cigarettes. He informed me off a local radio show he had been listening to where they were discussing electronic cigarettes and asked if i would give them a go as at least they would probably be better than smoking tobacco.

My response went along the lines of “Electronic cigarettes? What a load of old cobblers!”

I thought the idea of an electronic cigarette was simply a gimmick and dismissed the idea without even bothering to see what they were about

Around 3 months later i was browsing the internet when i suddenly remembered the conversation we had so thought i might as well Google “electronic cigarette” and see what they were all about. At that time there was very little information available but i did stumble across a short video of a young Chinese factory worker taking a few drags on a small “cig-a-like”. I watched him take a drag and then blow out an impressive amount of vapour…i was totally blown away with what i witnessed and immediately knew that this was exactly what i needed to help me move away from harmful tobacco!

So I set to work in trying to find a supplier that sold them (again, back in 2008 there wasn’t a great deal of choice!) and eventually found a company called Intellicig from whom i purchased my 1st electronic cigarette that transpired to be a model DSE103

A few days later it arrived and i opened up the parcel and quickly read the instructions. Feeling a little nervous I then took my 1st ever drag, inhaled the vapour deep into my lungs and then exhaled and blew a smoke ring (well, vapour ring!)…i will never forget just how absolutely amazing i thought it was and I’ve been vaping ever since! 🙂

Oliver Kershaw, founder of E-Cigarette Forum

Oliver Kershaw

I wish I could remember where I first heard about e-cigarettes. I’d been following various writers on harm-reduction for some time, so it was probably mentioned by one of them or in the popular science press.

In any case, I got my first e-cigarette in November 2007. I ordered it from a Chinese website and it arrived in about a week; A maroon DSE 901 with a bottle of Green Tea e-liquid and I was absolutely blown away by it as a “proof of concept”. It really wasn’t good enough as a full substitution device, but it got me wondering whether, a. there were any better e-cigs out there and b. anyone else was as impressed as I was.

When I looked on the web there was literally no discussion in the English language. There were a few marketers selling them at very high prices (and some were making very dubious claims). So, in December I started E-Cigarette-Forum to get to the bottom of things, and the rest is history.

Dimitris: AKA VapinGreek 


My vaping journey began when my wife suggested this silly idea she saw the neighbors using an E-Cig! I told her I don’t think that would work but hey, we tried everything else why not give it a shot! We ordered the “Couples Kit” by V2, four stick batteries with 10 cartos, $150.00! The package came in, I read the instructions and began to charge my batteries! The first time I screwed the “Cowboy” filled carto onto to my battery and took a puff, I never touched another cigarette again!

It was by no means anything amazing but it was sufficient enough to satisfy my cravings and get me off combustible tobacco. The hardest part in switching to vaping is your taste, which rapidly changes as you stop inhaling smoke. No matter what the hurdles were though, both me and my wife toughed it out and started our research onto bigger and better devices as well as a variety of eliquid. I often disagree with the opinion some vapers have on stick batteries. Although we know that there are way superior products on the market currently, if it weren’t for those V2 stick batteries I would have never discovered this wonderful less harmful alternatives to tobacco cigarettes!

Lindsay Fox of ECigaretteReviewed

Lindsay Fox

I knew about e-cigs for around a year before I had my first puff, and although I didn’t actually intend to quit smoking I had a sort of underlying awareness that it made sense to reduce my risk if I still get the nicotine I wanted. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed stupid to clog my lungs with tar if I could basically do the same thing but in a safer way. So I decided to give it a shot and placed my first order in early 2011.

My first ever device was a cig-a-like, from Green Smoke. The original plan was to just reduce my smoking – I still had no intention of quitting – but then when I got my e-cig things all changed.

I was expecting a hookah-like, smooth but ultimately unsatisfying sensation, but that wasn’t what I got. I inhaled with a strong, smoker-like draw and immediately begun coughing – the PG did its job much better than I’d anticipated! I took another – slightly more gentle – puff and from that moment I was a convert.

It felt like smoking thanks to the throat-hit and plumes of vapor, but the flavor (even the tobacco-inspired option I first vaped) was much better than tobacco, and I didn’t have to get through a whole cigarette’s worth if I didn’t want to. The original plan to simply cut down instantly turned into a day of chain-vaping and nicotine rushes as I blew vapor- ring after vapor-ring with my new toy.

I never meant to quit smoking, but it happened almost immediately. It wasn’t long before I moved to more capable, powerful devices, and from that point on it’s just got better and better.

Klaus Kneale of ECig Advanced

Klaus Kneale

My first vape was around 2 in the morning at a bar in Lexington, Ky in March of 2012. I remember it rather well because it turned my life around for none of the reasons you’d expect. I’m was never actually a smoker. And although I try devices and e-liquids here and there to keep up with the industry, I’m not what I would consider an active vaper. So there’s no life-saving, butt-dropping story here.

However, I had been borderline unemployed for nearly a year and was feeling about as low as I ever did during that period of my life. I sauntered into my regular haunt at around 1AM with the intention of drinking away some of the woes on what little cash I had in my pocket. It turned out to be the place’s last night in business and the drink specials had packed it solid. The dense crowd meant that it took forever to get a drink order in. So when Kevin Burke (a guy I didn’t know at the time) squeezed in next to me at the bar to order some beers for him and friends, we found ourselves with ample time for introductions.

I was an out of work writer and editor. He was leading development for an electronic cigarette media website and needed a hand with content. The moment he got the beers, we stepped outside and I tried his e-cig — a massive dull black mod with a wide mouth tip and tobacco e-liquid inside. I was fairly baffled by the whole concept, but I went home that night feeling inexplicably better (perhaps from the nicotine buzz). I did some research and within a matter of days I was sold on e-cigs and writing for EcigAdvanced.

Steve Vape of Steve’s Vaping World

Steve Vape

I first heard about vaping when some coworkers tried using e-cigarettes. I thought they were idiots. Most didn’t keep up with it.

Then some time later, I wanted to try and switch to save money. I had to eat my words and ask one of them about the products. I was turned on to a terrible, but inexpensive starter kit. An RN4081 model if I recall.

I was amazed that it actually produced a fair amount of “smoke” and had one heck of a kick, stronger than my regular cigarettes. It took maybe a week or two until I was using it full-time, and maybe a week after that I upgraded to a new model. That last part pretty much hasn’t stopped yet.

Julia Barnes of Spinfuel Magazine

Head shot of Julia Harley Barnes.I was never a heavy smoker. For me, smoking was always a social thing, at clubs mostly, or at parties where smokers were everywhere. Smoking goes very well with alcohol for some reason. During the week I just didn’t smoke. If I wasn’t drinking I couldn’t stand the taste or the smell of a lit cigarette.

Working on a project one afternoon in late 2011 with John Manzione, I noticed that he was switching between our project and research on electronic cigarettes. He asked me to try one and to give him my honest opinion. He handed me a small black battery (blu cigs) with a cartomizer attached and asked me to “smoke”. After I did I said,

“This is an electronic cigarette?” John answered that it was, and “It is the future of smoking, I guarantee it.”
Later that day I ordered a starter kit, did my own research, and made the decision to “vape” whenever I wanted to, which helped me tremendously with the stress of being a stock photographer, who are only as good as their last shoot.

I started with zero-nicotine, then moved to 12mg about a month later. It helped me focus, I was sharper. I loved everything about it. When John asked me to come to work for Spinfuel full time in April 2012 I believed enough in the technology, John, and his business model, so I decided to join the team. I never looked back. Today I happen to use whatever it is I’m reviewing, but I have a collection of SMOK ZMAX’s and when not reviewing some new mod or APV you can find my Red Brass ZMAX not far from wherever I happen to be, usually with an AeroTank attached.

BIO: Julia Hartley-Barnes is the reviews editor and columnist for Spinfuel eMagazine. She continues to shoot stock photography and lives with her spouse in Boston Massachusetts and Port Saint Lucie Florida. Julia turns 31 this year and has been vaping full time since January 2012.

Morten of  VapinGiraffe


Morton of VapinGiraffe.

When James asked if I could write some words about my first vape it kind of hit me that I could actually say I had 3 “first vapes”. It was my girlfriend (now wife) that finally had enought of the kids asking why I coughed so hard that they could hear me once I stepped out of the car outside our apartment. Hell, they could probably hear me once I turned off the engine.

She had seen the trailer of the movie “The tourist” with Johnny Depp vaping an e-cigarette and sent me on a
mission to get one. I had never heared of them, only the inhalers they sell in pharmacies so I figured that would be a good place to start looking.

But of course no luck there, so I went online and found some Norwegian site that sold cig-alikes. Bingo, right? They didn’t taste that bad actually but there was something missing. I didn’t know back then that e-cigs with nicotine were banned in Norway, but when I went back to the site I saw that the ones I had ordered was of course zero nicotine. Damn… back to the cigarettes again, but I continued the search and found something on deal-extreme that looked promising. You know  – the cig-alike type where the charger is also a plastic carrying case that looks like a pack of smokes.

After a long wait we got them… and they tasted awful. I mean… like smoking my own socks after a weeks use. But… to my surprise they actually kind of worked. They gave me the nicotine I needed and even thought they tasted like shit, they kept me off the cigs for the whole 3 days they actually worked. But then they died and I was back on the cigs again.

Still the experience had shown me that this might actually work, if I could find something with better quality and taste. So I decided to do my research more properly and finally ended up ordering an ego tank system from totally wicked.

They had a Norwegian branch at that time, but still shipped from the UK so there was nicotine in them. I
couldn’t find any Lucky Strike liquid so I ended up ordering Camel in addition to the tobacco taste that came with the kit. The day this kit arrived was the day I quit smoking.

The tobacco taste was, well not that great to be honest. More like socks that had only been used for a
day or so. But the Camel on the other hand, taste great. I had bought a couple of batteries so I could always have one charged, and I had a feeling that this was it… I would finally be able to get rid of the smokes. I went straight back online and ordered 250ml of that liquid and it ended up getting stopped at the border and I had to pay VAT and the ridiculous fees that the Norwegian postal service charges just for letting me pay the VAT… but I didn’t care at all.

I was off the cigarettes and this stuff had made it really easy. The coughing, that I had convinced myself, and tried to convince everyone around me was something I was just born with, dissapeared in like a month and I
could start jogging again, go skiing with the kids, actually take part in their football training… and even sneak up on them and scare the shit out of them!

Actually I think I have some of that overpriced Camel-liquid left somewhere… think I’m going to fill a tank and see if it still tastes good. I suspect I’ll just get reminded why I moved on to other stuff 🙂

Jean Rasbridge, MD ECigaretteDirect

Jean Rasbridge, MD ECigaretteDirect

I’d been smoking since I was a teenager, although I once managed to give up for 20 years. But once a smoker, always a smoker, and it took me just one cigarette before I was back on 20 a day.

But in spring 2008 I was in holiday in Spain, and popped into a trade fair. I popped in and saw a stand selling ecigarettes.

I had to have a go – and there it was. There was the puff, there was the hit in the back of the throat, there was the cloud of smoke that danced from my lips.

I knew I had to have it, and I knew other smokers would feel the same way as me.

I sent samples to James, who was working in the Middle East at the time and running a website out there too. He loved it as much as me, and by autumn 2008 he had built a website and I was sending out ecigs to smokers!

The devices we had then weren’t a patch on what we’ve got now, of course. It’s been amazing to be a part of the improvements we’ve seen in the technology. I’m a bit of a technophobe myself, and it took a long time before I switched to the tank system – long after most of our staff and many of our customers had done so!

For those of you who are interested, you can hear Jean discussing ecigarettes (along with representatives from an American cannabis company and a UK sex company!) on the Bottom Line or Radio 4 at 8.30pm on June 12th & then again on June 14th at 5.30pm.

Over to You

I’d love to hear about your first vape!

Leave your story in the comments below, and you could win one of three ecig bundles consisting of:

The Winners:

As we had loads of great comments, I chose my favourite comment and selected the other two winners using a random name selector.

The winners are:

Dawn Ward
Mark Turner
Sue Skillicorn

Thank you to everyone who entered!

19 thoughts on “Our First Vape: 10 Top Vapers Share Their Stories”

  1. Pingback: Check Out How Some of Vaping’s Finest (Plus Me) Got Their Start | Ecig Advanced News

  2. Pingback: Our First Vape: 10 Top Vapers Share Their Stories | The Spinfuel Network

  3. These stories are almost like listening to someone else reading my mind and knowing what I think, how I feel! I was ashamed to smoke, I am a teacher with a nerve disorder caused by multiple surgeries (RSD), smoking relaxed me and helped with the pain. My family begged me to quit. I wanted to quit, my family begged me to quit, I tried everything including medication. I had helped care for my grandparents as they died from cancer related to smoking, I watched as smoking took the lives of people that I loved, yet I couldn’t quit. Finally my cousin suggested I try one of the cheap cigarette looking one. So I did. It was okay. My husband had suggested a different flavor, no way I thought I like my smokes! Well, I finally relented and we stopped in a store in Canton Ohio. These wonderful people at Smart Ash, in Canton Ohio, suggested I try vaping. I was admittedly afraid, after all I had used the excuse that, “that stuff is dangerous! ” well that was almost three months ago, and I now am a vaping fanatic! It’s been almost three months, and even though I admittedly did try a cigarette, I couldn’t finish it! It has changed my life and I could not be happier! I read everything I can, and now feel relatively comfortable with the lingo, types of vaping equipment, etc! Vaping has changed my life! My family couldn’t be happier, and I still get the gratification of the relaxing feel when I am in pain, of inhaling and exhaling, and as for my no way on the flavor issue attitude of I like the taste of my smokes, well now I admit that i was wrong and I actually prefer the non-tobacco favors! Thanks for the article, I wish I had read something like this earlier, it just may have saved me a few years of being a smoker!

          1. Thank you for the quick reply! I recently found your blog, so I wasn’t sure how your competitions worked. I didn’t see an end date by the way, is there one? Absolutely love your blog, so glad I found it!

  4. I remember well first stumbling upon electronic cigarettes. It was the middle of 2010 and I was on my lunch break at work. I was flicking through a daily deals type website and there was this cigalike kit being advertised.

    I didn’t end up buying that kit; I researched around and bought an eGo-T instead. It was awesome. I had quit lighting up the year before, and the e-cig gave me everything I’d missed about smoking with extra chocolate-flavoured joy and no lung-destroying despair.

    As a vaper I feel none of the physical or emotional pain that I felt as a smoker. Vaping doesn’t affect my asthma or my fitness levels. It doesn’t make me cough or feel guilty. I haven’t caught a cold or flu in four years, whereas when I smoked I was sick at least twice a year.

    E-cigarettes are, in short, a freaking miracle of our modern age. All the pleasure of smoking with none of the pain.

    Now I am just waiting for someone to invent a cake without calories and a wine without a hangover, and life will be perfect!

  5. I have been smoking for 20 years.
    I received my first Halo kit more than 2 years ago on Friday the 13th)) Easy date to remember how long I haven’t been smoking! Turns out that day changed my life.. 2 and a half years on, I am much more healthy this days, doing sport activities and jogging with my daughter. Thank you Smokers Angel!

  6. 40yrs old and have smoked since I was a kid. I’d heard about e-cigs and seen some people vaping. I could go through 25g of baccy a day. I enjoyed smoking and the art of rolling, very therapeutic. I started thinking about vaping, took me a year but I ordered my first e-kit from smokers angels. I got my kit charged and started vaping. It took a couple of days to get used to change but I thoroughly enjoyed it, I haven’t touched a cig since then. My partner has asthma and with the kids I didn’t smoke in the house, but she would still remind me of my ‘disgusting’ habit from time to time. Anyway, I didn’t tell her of my thoughts and more importantly of my purchase, as I wanted to see if it was right for me or raise any hopes if it wasn’t. I had been on the e-cigs for about 5 days, I came home from work and my partner was in the hallway, she gave me a hug. After a few seconds, she stepped back looking at me a little weird, she said ‘there’s something different about you’, momentarily panicked, I didn’t think I had done anything wrong – she continued with ‘you don’t smell’, cheers love! So I proceeded to tell her and it was like I’d won the lottery, she was so chuffed. Although I’d decided that I was not going back anyway, that response was the icing on the cake. 2 and half yrs later, she still tells me how proud she is.
    Giving up smoking has got to be your decision, a ‘bite the bullet’ decision but it was great to have the support aswell. I will never go back. That’s part of my story – ¥Vape_On¥

  7. I’m a vape-baby compared to these guys…lol…I’ve been off the cigs for about 2 weeks thanks to vaping…I don’t want a ciggie. nor do I want to ty tobacco flavoured ejuice. I can smell better and smell better to others. It’s awesome, and I’ll never look back!

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