Last week, I stopped by a vape store to pick up some vaping “juice” so I could continue to conduct experiments on various products. When I walked in, I was greated by an overly aggressive, chain-vaping man in his thirties. There were 2 other men sitting at a vaping bar just hanging out vaping. The air was dense with a weird smell from the mixtures of the vaping aerosol. It was quite sad.
When I explained to the salesmen that I don’t personally vape but was purchasing this for education purposes, he actually thought I was teaching children HOW to vape and started to share some tips. When I corrected him, he became aggressive in his stance on how safe vaping was. I remained calm and just reiterated that it is not safe for teens and that the aerosol contains formaldehyde, VOC’s and particulates…any air quality meter can prove that.
He agreed it was not safe for teens, but for adults it was better than smoking. He knows because his doctor said he was healthy. I politely disagreed because of the breakdown of glycerin and propylene glycol into carcinogens and formaldehyde, but he “corrected” me that that only occurs when inhaled at high temps. He showed me how to inhale correctly so you don’t get those toxins and heavy metals.
This logic or lack of logic was not lost on me. I wanted to get mad that he was sharing this ridiculous lie with others, maybe even kids. However, I realized that he needed to grasp to these falsehoods in order to protect his personal addiction and his livelihood. It was his story and nothing I said would convince him otherwise. These are the lies that are being communicated to teens and people interested in vaping.
I also got to hear about his opinion on the vape bans and I didn’t have the energy to say or do anything other than smile. I just wanted out of there.
During my very short time there (like 5-10 minutes), he must have vaped at least 7 times. His constant need for nicotine could not be stopped even to help a customer that he knew did not vape.
When I got in my car, I felt disgusting. My lungs and throat felt like they were thick and coated. I had a headache and was nauseous. It took over an hour for me to feel better.
A couple days later, I spoke to someone at BreatheNH about this visit and she reported that their outreach people had experienced similar symptoms when visiting local vape shops.
I really felt bad for this man and others who vape. I could feel what they couldn’t. They can’t feel how these chemicals are affecting their body. Their body becomes bogged down by the overload of toxins, oils, and chemicals. At some point, the body won’t be able to do its job…it will become too much to handle. For some that may be months; for others, years. But it will happen.
Our lungs are not meant to breathe oil. Our body’s do not use chemicals to run all the biological processes that are needed to function. Our brains need nutrients, not chemicals. But this is a real addiction, one as strong as opioids and heroin.
So, as I leave this experience behind, I am sad. I am sad for this man who must lie to himself and others in order to sleep at night; whether he knows it or not. I feel bad because he will get sick and possibly die from his habit and addiction if he doesn’t quit. I feel bad for all the people he lies to. He has been lied to so some corporation can make a profit. They don’t care about him.
Yes, adults can do what they want…but children are being harmed and that’s not okay. This is why I advocate, educate and help those that want to quit.
Next time you see someone who is vaping, don’t judge or blame. Try to understand that they were tricked. Nicotine dependence can occur after only a few cigarettes/vapes AND in those who only occasionally use. They need help and our support and empathy, not judgement.
If you know someone who wants to quit, have them contact me or check out my website at http://www.kimberlysmanning.com.