Nicotine Experiment: Vaping vs Smoking

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hungry kroll

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I want to start with some background information on myself and then delve into my thoughts on the two. Firstly, my experience with nicotine is very limited. The first and only time I ever smoked cigarettes was sometime between the age of 4 and 6. My memories are jumbled. My grandpa was a heavy smoker and one day I asked him to try one. My Grandpa is Mexican and has a different approach to parenting than what is considered acceptable in the U.S. decided he would force me to smoke the rest of the pack. So there I was crying, lungs burning, mouth burning, miserable all so he could teach me the very important lifelong lesson of Brand Loyalty.

It worked, I am extremely loyal to brands, once I pick them I champion for them. However, as a side effect, it was very traumatic and I never felt any pressure to take up smoking later in life no matter how many movie stars or peers tried to pressure me to. I only ever smoked weed, I’ve tried hookah a few times, cigars which you don’t inhale anyways. Etc.

So now to Vaping vs Smoking, I recently took up vaping as part of a thought experiment and to test a hypothesis on the addictive effects of nicotine and the significant differences between the two products. Cigarettes and Vapes.

Cigarettes:
Smoking is a ritual, it’s a break, it’s a time away activity, it is something that requires significant commitment compared to the main alternative. You need Cigarettes, a finite pack of individual sticks, and a lighter or matches to go along with it and oftentimes a specified location to smoke as it’s barred from a lot of public spaces.

Once lit, you are tethered to the Cigarette until completion, an entire stick of nicotine and tobacco that you inhale into your lungs at once we’ll say in a 5-10 minute window. This is a LOT of nicotine to your brain all at once in a very short amount of time. However there’s also a natural stopping point, the cigarette is done, so you are done. Resume you day.

Vaping:
The explosive growth of vaping was catapulted by a few factors especially in younger generations because it was unregulated for a significant amount of time. Vaping does not give as much nicotine as a cigarette generally speaking. Advances in Nicotine salts have mitigated this to an extent but generally speaking they do not. They’re quick, you can vape conveniently with a disposable at any time pretty much in any location.

The downside is that there is no natural stopping point until the vape is done or the cartridge is done. Most disposables or cartridges are equivalent to 1-2 packs of cigarettes. It’s considered between 5000-7000 “puffs” is a pack of cigarettes worth of nicotine. Teens abused these heavily and got themselves addicted, vaping 24 hours a day 7 days a week without understanding the dangers or risks of nicotine products. Smokers find them less appealing but generally they’re considered much safer for your lungs than cigarettes and that’s the appeal.

Hypothesis and Theory:
So, my hypothesis is that you can use vapes responsibly to both enjoy nicotine and manage addiction. The current vape I use is a 15k puff count so ~3 packs total and it tracks % of juice left, it breaks down to 1.6% = 1 cigarette. I’ve set rules for myself to define “responsible use” and I’ve stuck to those.

-Rule 1: Stop using the vape when I feel it
-Rule 2: Do not vape at work (or school if that was my main activity, but it’s not I work)
-Rule 3: Use the vape anytime the urge strikes outside of rule 2

Really simple rules, I want to use the vape but I don’t want to abuse it and I want to manage dependance by not using it all day long. I’ve been vaping for 30 days now and the effects have been interesting, as someone without a prior addiction to Nicotine or tolerance for its effects it only takes one good puff for me to feel the buzz and that buzz lasts about 10 minutes. Over 30 days my vape has only gone down 8% (92/100). So in the span of a single month I have ingested the equivalent of 4.8 cigarettes, less than 5 full cigarettes in 30 days.

Observations:
My initial use was very slow, fear of addition stayed my hand
I found myself seeking comfort in holding my vape even when not using it or needing it
I enjoy using my vape a lot
I will puff my vape without inhaling sometimes because vapor is fun
I need larger hits or puffs to feel the same buzz though can still achieve it in 1 inhale
The length of my buzz remains consistently around 10 minutes
I do not have any anxiety or need to vape, I don’t struggle without it during work hours
My use is heavier early morning or late night because it helps me stay awake

Results:
So far, I think vaping is safe to pick up for the first time if you understand the simple risk factors and limit use. There’s not a lot of reason to keep puffing after you get your buzz, I think a lot of aggressive marketing and influencers popularized vaping too quickly and the lack of self control in teens made it a rapidly growing problem for them. I will say overall nicotine use has taken the edge off my stress and depression and overall I’m feeling a lot happier toward the 2nd half of the month when I became more comfortable using my vape freely. Hitting once or twice every 10-20 minutes to maintain a continuous buzz is easy and would take 200 hours to hit 250 times (roughly 1 cigarettes worth).

I’m going to post updates every month on this ongoing experiment, December 15th will mark the next 30 day window and likely result in a December 16th update!
I’m curious to hear your thoughts if you read this far, how does nicotine impact your own life? Do you prefer vaping to smoking? Why or why not? What are your favorite flavors and brands? I’m curious to branch out and try other things!

November 16, 2023 at 1:37 pm
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