I do not bring this up often, but roughly a year ago, I quit smoking cigarettes. This was a drastic change in my life and truly allowed me to arrive at the point of being ready to start triathlon training. Let me clarify this though, I quit smoke but not taking nicotine. I replaced smoking cigarettes with electronic cigarettes or the better term using a personal vaporizer. I would give that device and nicotine up in May of 2012 also, but I believe the initial act of no longer smoking cigarettes provided the foundation for where I am today. So, I am celebrating one year off cigarettes. Here is my story of how I got one year cigarette free and on my way towards becoming a triathlete. When I look back at my old photographs I remember great times with my wife and friends. The thing I also notice in all those old photographs is that if it is outdoors I usually had a cigarette in my hands or my mouth. So many pictures of me and all of them have the burning butt of a lit cigarette balanced between the fore finger and ring finger. Makes me remember the swath of stained nicotine yellow tracks I had from where I commonly rested my cigarette as I smoked. It shocked me though to realize now the pull these funny little sticks had on me. They got me through 80 hour work weeks, late night honors research papers in undergrad archaeology and later massive workloads in my Geography/CIS masters program. They also were a part of my computer programming work habits and often associated with late night work sessions and gallons of coffee. For me, cigarettes were a way of life, finely meshed and interwoven into who and what I was. I truly was a nicotine addict.
Every year in Atlanta we have a little convention called Dragon Conwhere tens of thousands of geeks and nerds and fans of all types gather for four days of partying and geeking out with some pretty major science fiction and fantasy stars. I usually have upped my 1-2 pack a day habit to 3-4 during this event as it goes non stop. Last year a friend of mine gave me his old personal vaporizer (electronic cigarette) which is basically water vapor and nicotine, removing smoke, tar, carcinogens and basically leaving flavor and nicotine (I will probably post more on this later as I think they are great for people who currently smoke to replace their habit with). The reason he gave it to me was so that I could vape inside and not have to run outside all the time. Personal Vaporizers have no long term odors or second hand smoke because they work just like an asthma inhaler, its water vapor and nicotine and flavor and no smoke. Through the event I used my traditional cigarettes and the vaporizer often. The day I got back home I realized I did not like the taste of cigarettes and put my last unopened pack in my office drawer, just in case.
That pack still sits there to this day and I have not touched a cigarette since. In may of this year I was happy with vaping. My lungs were clearing up, I was not coughing as bad if at all, things were going well. I had even hosted a miniature vaping con with 50 vendors and 140 guests and tons of give aways, to all come and vape together.
Also, I was actively involved in my local vaping communities and anti smoking activism, becoming the president of a local club for promoting healthier smoking alternatives.
Then the running bug and eventually triathlon bug hit me. In my second week of triathlon training in May, I hit a point I never thought I would reach. I randomly for no reason at all realized that I no longer needed nicotine. I quite cold turkey. Put all the vaping stuff away, said good bye to the community that got me through quitting cigarettes and I have not looked back. I have not craved a vape or a smoke since. Of course all the money I could have saved has now gone into good quality gels (I like e-fuel) and energy drink gel!
Just wanted to share and celebrate a little as the anniversary date is coming up in a week. Til next time.