Kate was one of the first UK vapers and is probably the most activist e-cigarette user in the UK, plaguing those opposed to the e-cigarette on an almost daily basis and running the awesome Vapers Network, as well as an active Vaper's group on Facebook. Luckily for us, she managed to escape her convent long enough for a quick interview at her local pub...
How many cigarettes were you smoking a day before you switched to the e-cigarette?
I had been smoking for around twenty-seven years and was on average getting through around 20 roll-ups a day on a good day - and much more on bad days when my mood was poor. Ready-made cigs always left me wanting a proper smoke.
How did you feel?
As I got older I became more aware of being breathless faster when I exercised and I had a bit of a phlegmy cough. But other than that, physically I didn't notice too many problems.
My main issues were psychological. I wanted to quit because I had been told I should, and it was a great weight to know I was a failure. I only tried to quit a few times, because it's very demoralising to be unable to succeed.
" I wanted to quit because I had been told I should, and it was a great weight to know I was a failure. "
The social pressure to be a non-smoker was immense, being stigmatised for a lifestyle habit and excluded from even healthcare venues was very disabling. My worst fear was being stuck in hospital with no way to get my fix and that fear was partly responsible for preventing me from asking for help with my health when I needed it most. Smoking itself I enjoyed and would have kept on doing it probably rather than be bullied into my grave - but luckily I found something that was an acceptable substitute for me.
How did you come across the e-cigarette?
It was when I was browsing an online gadget shop. I saw one and thought it must be a useless gimmick or they would be endorsed and promoted by health groups.
That didn't stop me from searching for information and after reading some forum posts from enthusiasts I decided to get one to try. There really was no expectation that it would be any good but I was curious.
When my first e-cig arrived I tried it and it irritated my throat so much I couldn't use it. Luckily I had found out how to make liquid with glycerine and that took the harshness off the vapour well enough for me to get used to it.
There were a couple of days at first when I wasn't sure I would be able to vape but the concept and potential of the practice kept me trying. Within a couple of days, I wasn't smoking at all and not feeling any withdrawal problems or hardship.
What changes has it made to the way you feel?
My lungs seem healthier and my coughing has eased. Psychologically I'm elated that I finally managed to succeed at something I thought would forever be torture - quitting smoking tobacco. My mood is much better and I haven't been depressed
" Psychologically I'm elated that I finally managed to succeed at something I thought would forever be torture - quitting smoking tobacco. "
since I started vaping. Partly that's to do with the negative social attitudes that smokers are bombarded with and partly it's about finding a new community of born-again lifestyle habit evangelists.
Because I arrived in the vaping community early I've seen it develop from just a few hardcore fans to everybody and their granny. It's been great to be a part of the movement, and although we're faced with quite a few global bans somehow the struggle has made us closer and more determined to protect our freedom of choice.
What do you think is the real reason behind a ban?
An international culture of health dictatorship has developed, financed by taxes and pharmaceutical companies and staffed by 'health' workers, government-sponsored lobbyists, bureaucrats and politicians.
" They're prepared to sacrifice millions of lives to keep themselves on top. "
Many of those people like to think they know what's best for everybody else and they spend lots of time, money and energy transforming our lifestyle choices into medical problems. This is most noticeable to me now that I've swapped to vaping because there is absolutely no logical reason why they should interfere with the recreational nicotine market. Because they've been deciding what we're allowed to do for years with things like smoke, drugs, fat, gambling, alcohol and everything else that makes life worth living, it's a cultural standard now and they automatically assume control of nicotine is in their domain. It's ridiculous what's happened with nicotine, it's like closing the commercial caffeine market and only allowing it on prescription while junkies could be using it safely instead of having to rely on harmful black market supplies.
In the end, it comes down to money for the vested interests who declare ownership of our commodities (most often pharmaceutical companies) and power for the people who wield the tools of control for them. They're prepared to sacrifice millions of lives to keep themselves on top.
Please note that comments of the interviewee do not necessarily represent the views of E-Cigarette Direct.
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