There have been only a few times that I have longingly imagined a cigarette in my hand and my mouth. One of which was last Thanksgiving. It was a family gathering on Clancy’s mother’s side. As it happens, she lives a few hours inland of us, so we were able to make the trip. Dork that I am, I packed everything to be able to puff… except the eliquid. I didn’t realize it until it was way too late, though.
The prospect of several days, surrounded by people, without the ability to puff was really quite daunting. I didn’t think I would be able to do it. I pondered going to a convenience store and getting some disposables. The problem is that the stuff they sell in convenience stores is really not very good. At all. Though it’s the same basic mechanism that I did successfully use to quit, I had a hard time imagining going back.
I had an easier time imagining smoking. Just for a couple of days, you understand. Just until I got back. I’d recently passed the one year mark, though. And “just one” is a pretty bad policy to anyone who has been addicted. Yeah, some people can do that. More can’t.
It didn’t take a half-an-hour before a rather obvious thought occurred to me: Vape shops. I’d never been in a vape shop before. I got my equipment and always got my ejuice online. Desperate times called for desperate measures, however, and it turned out that there was a vape shop in town. It cost about $1.08 a milliliter, which is between 2-5x what I usually pay, but I was happy to pay it.
Besides that, the only times when I’ve missed smoking have involved equipment problems with my devices. The first-generation stuff I got was very easy, albeit unsatisfying. The second generation was much more satisfying, and cheaper in the overall, but required a lot more work. There were tanks to clean, tanks to keep full, coils to replace, batteries to make sure they were charged. It was kind of a pain. It was made all the moreso by the difficulties I had with the wicks and coils, which were a real pain to install and you had to do it just right or you wouldn’t get a good vape at all. The second generation was also wildly inconsistent, which may be related to the wick problems but were also an issue that the wicks would burn out quickly and I never knew whether it was just a temporary thing or if I needed to replace the darn thing.
In any event, when I would have really bad vape days, when I was nearing the end of most of my wicks and the new wicks I installed weren’t working right, it was hard not to think of what was needed to smoke a cigarette: You buy a cigarette and you light it on fire and breathe in the smoke. That’s pretty much it.
I’m on the third generation now, which has some of the maintenance of the second generation, but is on the whole much easier. It is a lot more satisfying, so even if the coils aren’t perfect it’s better on its bad day than a second-generation is on a good day. And replacing the coil is a snap and I don’t have to do it as often and it’s harder to screw up.
I’m back to the point where I don’t even unseriously fantasize about smoking a cigarette.
All of which is a way of saying that the technology matters. And as the FDA and EU ramp up regulations, they’re doing so with a disregard for the vaping experience. I think they might think that making it a bit of a pain is a good thing. I obviously disagree. These thoughts will be further explored in a coming post on OT. But for now I will just say that we really do want vaping to be easy. Because smoking will always be easier.
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