Getting The Vapors

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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35 Responses

  1. Kazzy says:

    I don’t have much to offer, but want to congratulate you on hitting the six week mark and appreciate you taking a thoughtful, thorough approach to a complicated but important issue.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    How is the pull? The difference between smoking and vaping a couple of years ago was the difference between drinking a coke and drinking a shake.

    Has that improved at all?Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

      I have nothing to compare it to, but I will say this: It depends on where you are on the cartridge. Which is a bit frustrating, because you don’t have this problem with analogs. With logs, you light up, you smoke, the taste and intensity and intake doesn’t change much or if anything it goes up as you get further into the cigarette.

      With ecigs, it starts off at full strength and gradually diminishes. And so it’s a judgment call on when to replace the cartridges. One of the problems I had early on was that I continued for too long, so I found the ecigs unsatisfying. I decided that saving money was less important than getting me off the logs. So I replace them more quickly and hence go through them more quickly.

      It’s worth noting that there isn’t huge consistency between cartridges. I had one this morning that ran out really, really quickly. That’s rare, but it happens. There is a wide difference between flavors, too. Menthol lasts the longest. followed by a bunch of them (tobacco, peach, pinneapple, cherry), with vanilla coming up a bit shorter, and the coffee flavored ones lasting a fraction of the time the others last. I have no idea why.

      I’m using Blu, though, which is a bit different from a lot of them. The upside is that it’s super convenient. The downside is that there are no refillable cartridges. If you are refilling your own cartridges, you can probably more easily manage this (even if it makes everything else more complicated.)Report

      • >peach, pinneapple, cherry

        Are they sweet somehow?Report

      • Sorta. Kind of a simulated sweetness like menthols. Hard to describe.Report

      • Mo in reply to Will Truman says:

        A lot of this also has to do with the batteries you use as well. The more complex rigs have a voltage regulator that give a consistent amount of power to the atomizer until the battery is close to dead rather than tapering off over the course of the charge. With the one I’m using, it basically has the same pull 90% of the way through the battery charge and I have almost never gotten that far except when traveling. Between that and using a tank, you get a very consistent pull through the end.Report

  3. “I’ve been tobacco-free for six weeks now. This is significant”

    Fantastic! Congrats!Report

  4. North says:

    Many congrats! I have many friends and acquaintances who have made the transition and as a person who, like your wife, despises the smell of cigarettes with a passion I can say that I find eCigs pretty unobjectionable from an ascetic perspective. The vapor really does dissipate quickly and there’s not very much smell so I am a hearty supporter; especially if the alternative is those reeking smoke plumes.Report

  5. Mo says:

    What’s interesting is that I know of one place that did not allow e-cigs because they were unable to distinguish between them and people using them to vaporize THC waxes.Report

  6. Scott Fields says:

    First and foremost – Congratulations!

    I saw a commercial on TV just yesterday for blu brand e-cigs. It was unremarkable until it dawned on me that I hadn’t seen a TV commercial for the non-electronic version in my adult lifetime. So far the regulatory state has been held at bay in this regard.

    So, whether e-cigs are a path out of smoking for some, a way to stay in at a lower plateau of physical harm for others and a total bust for still others, this strikes me a good thing for the state to leave alone while the data comes in.Report

  7. Vikram Bath says:

    Whether more people tend to move from tobacco cigarettes to ecigs or vice versa is empirically verifiable. One really shouldn’t have to speculate.Report

    • Verifiable, not also not-static. I would be willing to bet that 90% of ecig customers are smokers trying to quit or reduce the analogs. However, as ecigs become a bigger deal, I would expect that percentage to go down. The question is: how far down? As that percentage changes, so too would the percentage of people going from digital to analog.Report

  8. Mo says:


    Congrats. I did the same in December of last year and have been tobacco free for 9 months now. I’m about halfway to my former quit record. I have also moved away from the cartridges and now just buy the liquid direct. The cost savings are ridiculous.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Mo says:

      Mo, congrats to you as well. I hope to make that transition myself. I wanted the cartridges primarily because it was very, very important to me that everything be kept as simple as possible. Even though it costs more, I wanted to deprive myself of excuses and mishaps that might lead to failure. At some point in the future, I’ll take up alchemy if it looks like the ecigs are going to be with me a while.Report

      • Mo in reply to Will Truman says:

        Oh, I completely agree. I went through the exact same process. Started with the cartridge and had two spare batteries to prevent myself from having the “My battery died” excuse.Report

  9. Glyph says:

    If the tide of cannabis decriminalization continues, this may not be an issue, but for now, I wonder how long it is until e-cig users start getting hassled by police to prove they are using e-cigs, and not cannabis vaporizers.

    Some models of e-cig/nicotine vaporizers don’t look all that different from some models of cannabis/THC vaporizers (and some enterprising stealth stoner is no doubt trying to make something that looks even more like an e-cig, via modification or manufacture, as we speak).

    In fact, I’ve been in bars where I am pretty sure people were openly, publicly using the latter (my state has not made any serious moves towards decriminalization). Like e-cigs, cannabis vapor is very mild-smelling and fast-dissipating – it smells almost nothing like pot smoke; unless you were very familiar with the smell and were close enough to get a whiff before it’s gone, you’d probably never notice.

    Note: I have no issue with these people.

    Truth be told, I was kinda happy to see it.

    But if you live in a state where they still care about weed, sooner or later a cop may ask to inspect your e-cig.

    Which I imagine would be about as annoying as a cop wanting to sniff your Coke, to make sure it doesn’t have rum in it.Report

  10. Chris says:

    I’m really glad it’s taken you this far.Report

  11. Michael Cain says:

    Congratulations to all of you in the process of quitting, by whatever means. My grown daughter finally called in my offer to pay the expenses involved in getting her to stop. Hypnotism worked for her, although it’s clearly not for everybody. The particular practice she went to seems unusual, in that the pricing is a flat rate for as many sessions as it takes, rather than charging per session. They run an up-front interview and screening process and turn away on the order of half of potential clients as being poor candidates for hypnosis. I have no idea what the criteria are.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Michael Cain says:

      poor candidates for hypnosis

      In college there was a pretty popular and entertaining hypnotist that would come around each year. He also screened audience volunteers and sent some back into the audience quickly, and was open about the fact that hypnosis just will not work on some people (or more accurately, certain people cannot / will not let it work).

      Now, it could be an elaborate ruse to build credibility (for all I know, the “accepted” volunteers were actually plants) but I like to believe that it’s true.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to Glyph says:

        A business associate got a divorce shortly after the chamber of commerce hired a hypnotist to provide entertainment for the annual gala. His wife was the pick from the audience and under hypnosis she compared her husband’s prowess as a lover to that of a surprising number of boyfriends she’d had during the marriage. There had been… no previous arrangement.

        Did hypnosis make her say those things? Maybe, maybe not; I’m advised that the marriage was rocky despite the infidelities. But it’s pretty clear that she wasn’t a plant. And the chamber of commerce has stuck to deejays and rubber chicken lunches ever since.Report

  12. Burt Likko says:

    The first time I encountered someone vaping (this is the first time I’ve seen that verb, but I’ll run with it) was hanging out with a former blogger from these pages. I found the vapor odd to smell and look at, but not unpleasant. And I found that the scent did not linger on me afterwards, either, the way tobacco smoke permeates one’s clothing and hair.

    That some of it sometimes visibly wafted over to my location was off-putting at first, but much less so when I reminded myself that raw breath from another person frequently enters the zone of the air one inhales — I’m inhaling air that includes a portion of your exhalate all time time, and vice-versa, if we’re sitting or standing near one another. The vapor just makes that fact more readily visible. And in the case of people I’ve been around while they vaped, the smell of the vapor was much better than tobacco smoke exhalate would have been. I didn’t know it came in tobacco flavor. Does that have a tobacco-scented exhalate? Unburned tobacco is a luxurious, delicious, earthy smell which I typically enjoy.

    Frankly, the notion that there are fruit and other sweet-seeming flavors makes me a little bit curious to try them on their own merits despite not being a smoker.

    All of which is to say that an e-cig is substantially more socially acceptable than a tobacco cig. Clearly it satisfies the need for the physical sensations of something to manipulate with the hands and something in one’s mouth. And while it may not be the ideal for health purposes, it’s hard for me to imagine that it’s anything but less bad than tobacco.

    Whatever it is that gets people smoking tobacco less is very likely to be an advantageous thing from a public health policy standpoint, so here’s hoping that regulatory agencies approach this with a light hand.

    And keep up the good work, Mr. Truman!Report

    • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I’m inhaling air that includes a portion of your exhalate all time time, and vice-versa, if we’re sitting or standing near one another.

      Suddenly my memories of our evening in L.A. became noticeably less pleasant. 😉Report

    • Dan Miller in reply to Burt Likko says:

      “I’m inhaling air that includes a portion of your exhalate all time time, and vice-versa, if we’re sitting or standing near one another. The vapor just makes that fact more readily visible.”

      Proof you live in LA. Those of us from colder climates are well aware already 😉Report

  13. Art Deco says:

    Your wife is a doctor and she married a smoker? Very retro.

    Cold turkey worked for me. Fifty to zero and the rest of that carton of Viceroys in the trash. I figure it must be feasible for just about anyone.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Art Deco says:

      For years I thought that people actually ate cold turkey to quit smoking. The mechanism of action was a mystery to me. Thought it might be tryptophan.Report

      • zic in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Did this just apply to quitting smoking, or to drinking or other addictions, too? Because the phrase seems to be used to mean, “Just stopping, not weaning off,” for several addictive behaviors.Report

  14. dhex says:

    will, this might be a late question, but how does this work? you just go to the store and ask for a blu or whatever, charge it, and then it vaporizes whatever cartridge you feed into it? what’s it “taste” like?Report

    • Will Truman in reply to dhex says:

      Blu has “starter packs” which include all the necessities to get started. After that, you buy the cartridges. You can buy extra batteries, chargers, charge-packs, and so on through their website.

      It has different flavors. Blu offers: Tobacco, Menthol, Coffee, Cherry, Pineapple, Peach, and Vanilla. With some of Blu’s competitors, you can buy the liquid independent of the cartridge. Then you put the liquid in the cartridge and then attach the cartridge to the battery and then have at it. If you’re inserting your own liquid, the available flavors are practically endless.

      The flavors taste different and are vaguely reminiscent of their name. In the same way that a grape jollyrancher tastes like actual grape. It does and it doesn’t.Report

      • dhex in reply to Will Truman says:


        so the starter packs are about eighty bucks – how long does each cartridge last?

        dumb question – what are the packages for? just to carry them around, extra batteries, etc?Report

      • A cartridge is theoretically roughly equal to a pack. However, I can run through three cartridges a day. I could not smoke three packs a day. I would say that a single cartridge is about half a pack. It’s a little bit hard to tell, though, because you don’t entirely know when a cartridge is done. It starts off strong and gets gradually weaker until you wonder “Is there anything left in this thing or am I puffing on air?” There’s still at least a little bit of vapor, but… it’s not satisfying.

        The packages are batteries. So you can be charging the batteries on the go. They hold the ecig (battery+cartridge), a spare battery that’s charging, and five cartridges. They get this wrong, though. The batteries run out fast enough that they ought to have two spare batteries and four cartridges. Or three of each. I end up carrying a spare battery in my change pocket.

        As one might expect, everything is cheaper online. For the price you pay for an “Original” style pack, you can get the next one up (more convenient charging, better LED indicators, just downright cooler). A five-pack of cartridges is $15 at convenience stores but as cheap as $9.60 on the website (if you order four or more) with free shipping. It’s still handy as all getout to have them available at convenience stores, though, so that if you run out you can get some more before you go crawling back to Uncle Tobacco.Report

  15. Nob Akimoto says:

    You will pry my cigars from my cold, dead fingers.Report