Wednesday, January 07, 2009

If it Sounds too Good to be True...

On Monday afternoon I reached home, baby in hand, to find that I had finally received what I had been waiting in anticipation for since shortly after Christmas. A small package had arrived in the mail, bringing me what I thought would be the means to give up my worst habit. Frankly I've been getting rather sick and tired of smoking cigarettes. There are a number of reasons why this vice has become tiresome. It's expensive, stinky, and seriously degrades my health. These characteristics should be sufficient for me to want to give it all up permanently. Unfortunately I still enjoy puffing away. I'm in a bind that many others can relate to. Slowly though, I find myself in rarer company.

Last year Allegheny County made smoking in most public places illegal. It's no longer possible to sip on a coffee drink at a local cafe while leisurely basking in the joy of a cigarette. There's no such thing as an after-dinner smoke at the restaurant. Not too long ago I was even scolded for getting my fix within ten feet of the entrance to a bar/eatery. Times have changed, and I suspect that they have done so for the better. Slowly any situation where I am tempted to light up is being removed. This will some day make quitting altogether a lot easier. I wish I could say that I was ready for that ultimate step. But the fact is that I am not. Perhaps I never will be. Still it's possible to imagine an end to it that doesn't involve a hospital stay.

When I learned that there was a new alternative to combustion, my interest was piqued. I ordered the ePuffer from Canada, and prepared to have my life altered for the better. I was excited when it came in the mail, and quickly got the contraption set up. And you know what? My expectations were disappointed. I had worked myself into a lather for what I thought might be an "easy answer". However there are some very real problems with my new e-Cigarette. The first among many is that the cartridges (which cost over $3 each) do not last nearly as long as advertised. The company promised the equivalent of 20-25 cigarettes, but the truth is that each unit delivers (at most) a little over a third of that.

I've since learned that you can actually refill the cartridges with formula that you buy in a bottle. This solution is truly inexpensive, but has its own problems. Nicotine in its pure liquid form is tremendously toxic. An amount somewhere between 40 and 60 milligrams can prove fatal to a full-grown adult. More troublesome is the fact that it can be absorbed through the skin. No doubt one can take special precautions in recharging containers with this fluid, and thus make it relatively safe. Still I don't feel especially comfortable with keeping one more poison around the house for my son to potentially discover. I have to wonder whether that would be worth the hassle and anxiety.

So now I've paid almost $200 for this new alternative nicotine delivery system, and it appears that it's going to be more frustrating than satisfying. I really got my hopes up too. The thought of recovering my full lung capacity and avoiding the carcinogens produced in burning tobacco appealed to me. But unless I'm willing to pay the premium for the factory-made cartridges, I'm never going to have enough product to keep me away from the "analogues" (normal, paper-rolled cigarettes). Of course the obvious answer would be to break the dependence once and for all. Unfortunately I just don't thionk I'm ready for that. I guess I'll be searching for some sort of compromise over the next few weeks. I'll keep you all updated.

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Anonymous Steve said...

"Times have changed, and I suspect that they have done so for the better."

It still boggles my mind that it's the liberals (or liberal cities and states) in this country that have gone ga-ga over banning smoking. I thought you were supposed to be the ones who were all about personal freedoms. When it comes to the legalization of drugs, it's always the liberals who are the main proponents. Why do you want to legalize them? So you can tell everyone how bad they are and then ban them again?

Smoking is a legal act in this country and any such ban is an assault to our personal liberties.

I'll come down off my soapbox now.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Inqui said...

Sadly, you just bought the wrong e-cigarette. With e-cigarettes you need to search 'backwards'. First find well-priced cartridges (and those are certainly around: 5 for $4 would be around the lowest you can find, and for really góód cartridges) - only thén buy an e-cigarette that matches those cartridges.

And of course, the best course of all for anyone wanting to get into e-smoking is: google for forums on the subject, then start learning about what you should buy befóre you buy it; preferably not afterwards, as you then have a very real chance of having wasted a fistful of hard-earned money first...

Signed: an e-smoker that smoked 2 to 3 packs a day and has been completely clear of them for almost a year now, totaly thanks to e-smoking - it's great! - you just have to know hów first...

6:56 AM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...


I appreciate the input. Now I'm a bit leery of throwing good money after bad. Do you have any suggestions, or can you point me in the right direction? How can I find out what cartridges my ePuffer is compatible with?

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have spent some time with American tobacco farmers. Forget about the 'lite' alibi. Get your nicotine fix with the real thing less often. Smoke five Camels or Luckys (unfiltered) every day - maybe you will quit before you learn to like them. A three pack a dayer friend on Carltons quit by smoking a straw as there was only a pack of unfiltered Pell Mell in the house. Wishing you good luck. JM

12:46 AM  
Anonymous Melmen said...

I have been trying the e-cigarette approach as well, and have also had problems with the epuffer model.
From what I can tell the unit is faulty and I have another model that I can make a comparison with. The really frustrating part is that they do not respond to messages. I have left 4 so far with no response and I have not been able to find a phone number to contact them.
So it would appear that the money spent on epuffer may well have been wasted.

1:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

epuffer, the phone number is hidden on your paypal receipt
But everytime I call, it is busy

5:33 PM  

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