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Of all the vices I’ve ever had, tobacco was probably the hardest to give up.  Even using the electronic cigarettes, I still sometimes just want a real cigarette.. and I have had a few of them over the past year.  But, a pack of cigarettes spread over a year is a substantial improvement over smoking a pack a day.  And, oh my goodness!, at the money I’ve saved.  The e-cigarettes cost roughly $20-30 per month, rather than the cost of real cigarettes, which was closer to $30-40 per week.

I still debate whether or not quitting smoking fully counts, while using the e-cigs.  They are even labeled as *not* being an approved method of quitting smoking.  Most of my friends and family members say “Of course it counts!”, but I still have my doubts.  I still get to go through the motions of smoking a cigarette, and there is still nicotine in the product.  In fact, at first I was ordering the highest nicotine level, which was actually stronger than the cigarettes I had been smoking.  I started joking that the real cigarettes were so weak by comparison, I might never want a real cigarette again.  Of course, I do still want a real cigarette sometimes.  But it’s becoming more and more rare, and normally I can resist the urge.  I even started ordering a lower nicotine content.

There is still a lot of argument over whether or not electronic cigarettes are really safe.  I would guess that anything unnatural has the potential to be harmful in some way, as do many natural things.  (Nothing in this life can be guaranteed as safe; even water can kill.)  And, ecigs haven’t really been on the market long enough to fully know the long term consequences.  However, we do know the long term effects of tobacco use.  So, any move away from smoking is probably an improvement.

And, because I still get to have the illusion of smoking, including the nicotine, I haven’t had as many negative side effects of quitting as some smokers experience from quitting “cold turkey”.  (I even tried the patches once, but they wouldn’t stay lit!)  I haven’t had the weight gain so many experience.  I’ve even lost a few pounds, to the dismay of friends who thought I was already thin enough.  And, I haven’t had any mood swings beyond the usual.

No more smoker’s cough or icky ashtray smell, either.  My e-cigs have been described as smelling like cotton candy.  Yum.

So, as tempting as it is to celebrate a year of (mostly) not smoking by going out and buying a pack of cigarettes, I probably won’t.   If you or someone you know might be interested in trying electronic cigarettes, you can find them here in a wide range of flavors.

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