Something people may not know about me is that I'm a heavy smoker (1.5-2 packs a day). I started back in college, when I was being a dumbass and this girl I liked made some comment about how sexy some guy was when he was smoking. Yeah, I know. Stupid.
Anyway: after some soul-searching a few years back, I decided that I wasn't really interested in quitting simply for the sake of quitting. I enjoy the little rituals of smoking. I like the effect nicotine has on me. I smoke outside in the wind, and do my best to stay away from and downwind of folks to avoid exposing them more than a little bit in passing. (And yeah, I know that some people have allergies that make even that much exposure too much--but this is the best I can do when there aren't specific "smoking here is okay" areas set aside.) I do my best to be as considerate as possible.
Anyway: a couple of months ago I started looking into e-cigarettes. Part of this was just getting tired of being more and more restricted in where I can smoke, and of having to go outside for smoke breaks even when it's godawful out (parking garages are a no-no, near doors is a no-no, so it's basically down to wandering out a good distance from any nearby building and getting rained/snowed on.) Part of it was also just wondering if I can continue enjoying this habit and reduce my impact on other folks--because I have to admit, it's a nasty habit, and I'd love to not expose folks to tobacco smoke even the little bit I do now.
So, anyway: after getting back from my holiday visit to the family, I stopped by the local Rite-Aid and picked up a little e-cig they have there ("21st Century Smokes"). It's not as well put together as some of the stuff I've seen online, but it was reasonably cheap, and I could walk out of the store with it.
I'm pretty impressed so far. I went through the two provided cartridge-atomizer units in about the same amount of time that it would take me to smoke a pack of cigarettes. I had a couple of normal cigarettes during that period. I had some throat irritation (coughing up crap) that's similar to times I've gone a long time without a cigarette. Overall, my breathing felt clearer at the end, though that could be totally psychosomatic. Overall, I'm inclined to keep purchasing the cartridges for these from Rite-Aid for the time being, and look into the more serious e-cig options. (Primarily because from what I've heard, you can get refill liquid for the better units much cheaper than the disposable cartomizers that these use.)
Anybody else out there using e-cigarettes, or considering switching?
(Oh, and here's the best article I've found that's not obviously written either from a pro e-cig POV or a nicotine prohibition POV: Electronic cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy for tobacco control: A step forward or a repeat of past mistakes? The article leaves me feeling like I really hope that we get a public policy in place that makes it appealing to folks like me who don't intend to quit to switch to e-cigs and away from normal cigarettes. At the same time, I want them well regulated: it seems like the majority of stuff out there is safe, but it would be pretty easy for someone underhanded to use cheaper materials and produce e-liquid that's downright dangerous.)