As a lifelong smoker, I cannot express enough how excited my family and myself was when the first electronic cigarette (E- cigarette) was introduced to America. When actor Stephen Dorff began campaigning for an even better e-cigarette (e-cig), my excitement grew to hope and intrigue, not because an actor promoted it, but because they were being improved. Now, in the weeks since I have become an occasional cigarette smoker and a majority water vapor inhaler, there is a push for the FDA to tax, regulate, and bring in a government revenue.
One of the many reasons for even the thought of changing or quitting my habit was the cost factor. When faced with the monthly sum of my smoking habit, I was staring at almost $300. After my husband researched the best, cheapest, and most easily transitioned e-cigs, my monthly cost was cut to a mind-boggling $40.00. This was the bait on my hook, and I took it. We went to every website, tasted every flavor, tried out every model, and eventually settled on the one least extravagant, but most effective. Within the first week, my two pack a day habit had dwindled to one pack every few days. Though I was not where I wanted to be, or where everyone hoped I would be, I was doing my body a great big favor. My lungs began to clear – a most unsettling process that I will not go into here – and I began to have more energy and a highly renewed sense of smell. The house smelled of home instead of smoke, and the idea that I was no longer sucking away tar and poison left a most pleasant taste in my mouth.
Another obvious reason for my switch to water vapor instead of toxins was the health benefits. As an almost 40-year old mother of five, my priority to keep myself alive and well was magnified. Hearing my children persistently school me on the dangers of smoking, and watching my then 18-year old take his first drag, was simply not enough for me to go through the terrifying, persistent struggle that comes with quitting. I was familiar with the throes of withdrawal, as I had been through a similar kind of battle in my life, but it seemed cigarettes were all I had left to ensure sanity. Selfish and apathetic, I know.
Once I found the e-cig that was most like my favorite cigarette, I was finally able to see the light; perhaps I could eventually quit, or at least remove the bulk of the health risks. In making this decision, every person in my life was able to breathe again, metaphorically and physically, and feel confident that I was no longer compromising my health for the sake of a fix.
This morning I awoke to an article that forced me to take a long hard look at my government. The article wrote that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, along with 39 of his peers, have made a plea to the Food and Drug Administration to dip into the $1.7 billion dollar enterprise that is saving lives. What the attorney generals are whining about is a regulation for underage smokers, claiming that under the Tobacco Control Act, a regulation is appropriate. To this I say: “Are you out of your minds?” First, there is zero tobacco in any e-cig I have seen, researched, or tested. Second, the companies responsible for this life-saving alternative are not, in any way, marketing their product for children. How many kids know who Stephen Dorff is? Claiming that the use of celebrities to promote these products is parallel to tobacco advertising is simply an irresponsible claim.
Here is what I think, Attorney General Mike DeWine: I think you and yours want to keep the smokers smoking. I think you want that so you can keep them sick and in need of your insurance and pharmaceuticals. I think the idea that someone could possibly make more off the quitting of cigarettes versus the selling of cigarettes has you fuming. Do us all a favor, and keep your greedy fingers off this one. If our youth is truly your concern, then ask yourself these questions: Will children use the vapor cigarette? Of course they will, just like they use the harmful ones. With which would you rather your child experiment? Logically, the preference is staring us in the face.
Written by: Amy Magness Whatley