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I started smoking cigarettes from a young age, around 12. I had grown up with both of my parents smoking, followed by my siblings, so it almost seemed like a natural progression for me to begin. My sister used to give me the tobacco crumbs to roll from, and I even used to roll cigarettes for my aunty from around the age of 10.
Not smoking would have made me appear more of a social outcast than smoking did, and I was hooked entirely by the time I was 13. I would even have to wear nicotine patches to school and chew gum just to make it through a school day. Often, I didn’t, and I would skip class to have a smoke. It had me firmly in its grasp.
When I left home to study at 17, money was tight, and buying cigarettes was quite a challenge. I stopped buying roll-your-own cigarettes and would instead purchase tailor-made cigarettes, which I would break up and roll. I managed to give up smoking for around three months but started again almost as if I never stopped.
I had tried early versions of the E-cigarette, but found the peppery flavouring and leakiness of them more of a put-off than anything, and was happier smoking the real thing.
It wasn’t until I was 24 that I decided enough was enough. They were getting expensive, and I didn’t particularly appreciate how it was affecting my health. Not to mention the smell. There’s nothing more off-putting than being in a social situation and smelling a smoker fresh from the smoking area.
I purchased a cheap vape pen and e-liquid and started trying to cut down cigarettes. In the meantime, I began taking Champix nicotine pills. Those made me feel ill, and I found that I preferred the vape pen over the cigarettes by that point, anyway.
By the time I was 25, I had purchased the Vaporesso Orca vape pen from Vapourium and found my “go-to” flavour of e-liquid, which was Mild Black. Over time, I weaned myself down to a 12mg nicotine strength. I had given up cigarettes for good, too.
Now, I use a Smok Stick M17, which has large tanks, comfortable tips, and a brilliant range of colours to choose from. I still use Mild Black e-liquid, which is what I believe is as close to tobacco as you can get. It’s also available in 30, 60, and 120mL bottles, with a 60/40 range and 0-18mg nicotine strength.
While regulations are becoming stricter for the use of vape products, I genuinely believe that they are a worthwhile smoking cessation tool for anyone who has had a hard time trying to quit smoking.