According to the Centers for Disease Control, 20 percent of all U.S. adults smoke, which works out to 1,684,000 Ohioans. Of that 1.68 million, over 70 percent say that they want to quit, and the U.S. government recently reported that wanting to quit smoking is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, but trying to quit “cold turkey” is a demanding challenge that frequently leaves the resolution broken within weeks, sometimes even days.
How, then, can you make the commitment to quit andstick to it? A Columbus company called Westside Vapor may have a tool that can help you out.
Offering what they call an “E-Vapor” device (also frequently called an e-Cigarette), the body of the E-Vapor is a re-usable atomizer that looks like a cigarette, but is manufactured from plastic and tipped by a distinctively colored LED light. The E-Vapor starter kit retails for $15 and comes with the atomizer, a charger which can plug into any standard USB port, and two disposable cartridges filled with a vaporizing liquid based on vegetable glycol. The cartridges are made to look like a conventional cigarette filter, though they weigh slightly more, and screw securely into the atomizer. Place the E-Vapor device in your mouth, take the same type puff or drag you would exert on a normal cigarette and a vacuum switch will heat a small portion of the liquid into vapor for you to take into your lungs and expel.
According to Westside Vapor founder Jason Gang, most smokers who have turned to the E-Vapor rather than nicotine patches or gum as a tool to help them quit are looking for the sensation and ritual of smoking, needing the tactile sensations that E-Vapor can help to provide. “A lot of our customers enjoyed the feeling of smoke going into the lungs and then exhaling it. The vapor we provide gives that same feeling, which makes a big difference compared to other alternatives.”
Gang also suggested it’s a less intimidating option than other products on the market for those hoping to kick the habit: “When you compare it to other smoking cessation aids, the E-Vapor also doesn’t come with a lot of the harmful side effects. Most other products like patches, pills, or gums frequently look good, but you see a lot of potential side effects that make you hesitate.”
Cartridges cost ten dollars for a package of five, with each cartridge designed to replace one conventional pack of cigarettes. The cartridges are offered in a range of flavors, from blends that imitate various tobacco brands to more exotic options like bubble gum, pineapple, vanilla, cinnamon, or even coffee, and can be purchased with varying nicotine content. The highest available nicotine cartridges will provide as much nicotine per vaporization as a taking a drag from a normal cigarette, while the content can be stepped down all the way to cartridges that are purely flavor, and contain no nicotine at all.
Many E-Vapor users looking to quit frequently start with a “high” set of cartridges and gradually step down their nicotine levels, while still getting the sensations that help to trick their body into believing they have continued the habit. In a few cases, E-Vapor users have even reported that they cut down to the zero nicotine versions and simply continue because they enjoy the flavors.
Even better, Westside Vapor has had a great deal of success distributing their product around Ohio with convenience store, tobacco outlet, and gas station owners, meaning that if you run low, acquiring more can be as simple as a trip to the corner store, quite an improvement over having to order online and hope your willpower will hold out until the next batch arrives.
There are also some other health benefits to using the E-Vapor rather than smoking. Normal cigarettes contain tobacco, tar and other chemical additives that are not present in the E-Vapor (most flavors are produced by the use of natural fruit and nut oils or essences), and the vapor exhaled by E-Vapor users presents no secondhand smoke risks.
Westside Vapor has been designing and distributing the E-Vapor and its’ cartridges in Ohio since February 2010, and has grown into a 1.2 million dollar per year business, with over 60,000 customers. “It was a slow start, but it was a matter of getting samples out there for people to try,” explained Gang, “About 75 percent of the people who try it stick with it, and our biggest tool is word of mouth. People think they’ve heard it all about quitting and that it’s one more product they won’t like, but they try it and it makes a big difference.”