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I Quit Smoking by Vaping — But Now I’m Taking More Nicotine Than Ever Before

The story of how I got hooked on cigarettes is funny. Well, not “ha ha” funny, but strange — that’s for sure.

It was February 2017. I was three months short of earning a bachelor’s degree — a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Accounting — and was gearing up to apply for jobs. Big boy jobs, that is.

I remember sitting on my back porch’s concrete steps when my dad told me I should quit smoking weed in preparation for entering the workforce. “Every employer worth a shit’s gonna drug test, Dan,” sounds like something Dad would’ve actually said during that phone call.

And — it was that simple — I quit smoking weed.

Well, here’s the simple part: I started smoking cigarettes in place of weed. And, hey, it wasn’t just simple — it was fucking stupid!

That’s the story of how I got hooked on cigarettes. I had first smoked when I was, I dunno, 16 or so, but I only smoked every few weeks — hell, every few months, even, up until I was 19-ish. This was when opioids became my primary drug of choice. Almost every time I used opioids from 2014 onward, I smoked cigarettes.

Keep in mind that I couldn’t afford opioids every day, so I ended up taking pain pills and, later on, heroin anywhere from two to six days a week.

Of course, after February 2017, I was smoking damn near every day. Some days, I didn’t have the urge to smoke, though most days I did.

Although I still smoke cigarettes today, I’ve reduced my use substantially with the help of the almighty Juul.

Yeah, I know Juul is a very high-school-esque device to use as opposed to a better, higher-quality nicotine vaporizer — or a “vape,” in simpler terms — but it was cheap to buy and easy to set up.

Here’s the Bad Part

Before Juul, like I already said, I had days where I wouldn’t smoke. Now, I’m vaping every single day. And, before, I usually wouldn’t smoke more than one or two cigarettes a day unless I was using opioids. Now, I’m using darn near a full Juul Pod a day — if not more than a Pod a day.

If you didn’t know, a Juul Pod supposedly equates to a pack of cigarettes. I’m not buying it — I’ve heard from other people online, though just in the form of anecdotes, that a Juul Pod is closer to 12 cigarettes.

Either way, I’m consuming more nicotine and inhaling nicotine-charged vapor or smoke more frequently than ever before. Admittedly, yeah, I’ve largely taken myself out of harm’s way, or so I think I have, but I’m spending more money on tobacco products than ever before (I do consider Juul a tobacco product, if I wasn’t clear).

What Can I Do From Here?

Recently, I bought a Novo 2 something-or-other, a higher-quality nicotine vaping device than Juul. With tax, it was about $40 — that’s not an objectively-large amount of dough, but it was a big hit for me, personally.

The local vape shop didn’t have any vape juice sample packs, so I was essentially forced to blow $20 on a big fuckin’ bottle of e-liquid — and I didn’t even like it. Fortunately, the store allowed me to trade in that e-liquid for another flavor. I didn’t like it, either.

I don’t wanna gamble with $20 bottles of vape juice. I’d rather stick to Virginia Tobacco Juul Pods for the time being. It’s way more expensive than using the Novo — or any other vaping device, really, for that matter — but at least I know what I’m getting.

Whether I stick with the more-expensive Juul or actually find an e-liquid I like, I’m still better off vaping than returning to near-daily tobacco use. And this still holds true even though I continue to smoke cigarettes anywhere from two to five days each month.

It just sucks that the most-available means of quitting tobacco ultimately ended up increasing my nicotine consumption. And, yes, I know it’s my fault that I didn’t Juul responsibly. It’s just easy to “go overboard,” as you could call it, having a Juul within arm’s reach.

I’m trying to Juul less and, also, I’m trying to find an e-liquid that’s similar to Juul’s Virginia Tobacco in flavor. Once I find that e-liquid, I’ll undoubtedly start saving money and, in my opinion, I’ll also have better success in decreasing my nicotine consumption.

Did I Ever Get the Job?

To clarify, I didn’t quit smoking weed to pass a single employer’s drug test. Rather, I quit in anticipation of any pre-employment drug tests that might come my way.

And, hell naw, to this day, I still haven’t used that god damn degree. I immediately enrolled in a Master’s of Business Administration program after graduating and dropped out halfway through because I felt like I wasn’t learning anything and because business — at least studying business — just wasn’t for me.

I’m still a self-employed writer, which I first became in mid-2015. Funny how things work out.

By Daniel Garrett

I'm a self-employed writer, long-term drug user, and resident of rural Tennessee. Find me on Twitter at @DanielGarrettHR or email me at danpgarr@ut.utm.edu.

2 replies on “I Quit Smoking by Vaping — But Now I’m Taking More Nicotine Than Ever Before”

I think there is a very good point here on people not tending to stop drug consumption outright but just switching drugs, depending on which is the one that works best for them at the time, which involves multiple factors.

In short, it points out that the idea of a drug free America entirely rediculous.

It also points to Harm Reduction and providing the safest option possible for those that are their best possible self when consuming drugs.

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If your using juul you might be getting more nicotine than you bargained for. Also it’s in a fairly new form than previous vape products. Nicotine salts (basically free-base nicotine) pack a similiar effect to smoking where the tar transports it and makes it “stick”. Pod devices use much less juice but at much higher concentrations such as 50mg/ml. Tobacco companies learned the free-base trick by adding ammonia to the tobacco in the 1960’s. In my opinion vaping can be majorly effective with smoking cessation. Just do your homework or talk to someone who’s been vaping for years and seen the industry go from malfunctioning junk that hardly ever worked right to reliable, well engineered devices that work perfectly. Big tobacco has gotten on board with smokeless tobacco as the future. As for a vape that mimics smouldering tobacco smoke accurately, wouldn’t hold your breath. You might want to try the full spectrum of flavors. From flavors like sweet tarts and pixie sticks to cereals w/milk and baked goods. To each their own I suppose and btw I hear there are some decent tobacco flavors out there. So you can get a pod device where you add your own juice like a caliburn by uwell for example. Then use nicotine salts at 50mg down to natural nicotine at 3mg or even zero. They forget that not all vape juice has nicotine in it. May you hit your goals successfully and feel good about it.

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