Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Up In Smoke

Today is an un-WoW related, psuedo-Public Service Announcement.  Coming fresh off a long weekend of revelry and family, I wanted to touch on a topic that's taken somewhat of a life of its own in my little sphere of the world, but I'd guess touches home for many of you out there.  I want to talk about vaping.  I've linked the term here before, but for those that didn't catch in the first time, vaping is an alternative to smoking.  A cheaper (in the long run) and healthier alternative.  I'm going to try not to bore you with all the research and health facts and crap like that, you'll have to do that on your own.  I did, however, want to provide a personal slant and some links for any that might be interested.

For Fuu and I, it started because her father is a heavy smoker who recently lost a close friend.  Anytime you lose someone close, I believe it causes you to step back and scrutinize your own life.  For her father, it really put into view how little time he might have left with those he loves.  As we all know, smoking can be a big factor in how much time you have left. 

Coincidentally, the folks we raid with have a big core of former smokers who now vape.  In fact, they run a wonderful podcast that covers vaping.  You can find it on iTunes or at vaporcast.com.  (Of particular interest might be the first episode, wherein the basics are covered.  Here is the feed too.) For Fuu and I, this presented a perfect opportunity to try something new.  We have great support from our friends, and great interest from members of her family.

Being an engineer, nerd, gamer, warlock... I can't half-ass anything.   If I get into something, I need to research and understand it.  It's who I am, and vaping is no exception.  So, with the help of these great friends, I dived into the world of vaping.  Perhaps the single most helpful literature I've come across can be found here.  What you'll find at that link is basically a series of forum posts that read like an illustrated blog.  A lot of info, but good stuff if you're a reader like me.

So we studied up, then made our first tentative steps into the world of vaping.  We got a starter kit for her dad, and one for us.  I, personally, am an occasional cigar smoker (maybe one or two per month, nothing heavy), so it made sense to give a try as well.  For Fuu and I, we choose non-nicotine flavors.  Yes, non-nicotine is an option.  Sort of like caffeine-free cola.  So I get to have my casual vape... without the tar, without the carcinogens, without even the drug.  Not to mention the lack of "after effects".  Let me just say that a morning after heavy vaping is quite wonderful compared to the morning after poker night and chained cigars.

The loose connection to WoW here is that not only is it something our raid group shares in common (big plus), but it really embodies something of the social aspect I'd always missed about gaming.  I mean, I was always a fan of gathering around a table with some cigars, some beers, and some cards.  This past weekend we got to do the same with our raid crew and some D&D (at Miss Jessabelle's house, no less), and I thought: what is the difference?  Why is poker night so accepted but gaming night not?  I've pointed out many times how normal gaming really is.  It is no different that the effort we expend on sports and other social events, just different activities.  In short, vaping around with my raid crew has now become my e-poker night, and I love it.  (I mean I'll still play poker, don't get me wrong, but I'll do it while vaping as well).

The biggest thing for me surrounds the idea of it.  Nicotine replacement therapies are not new.  We have the patch, the gum, and various pills.  Inhalers are even old news.  Yet none of these sport a very high success rate (most averaging far less than 50%).  Ever wonder why?  Anyone with even a light background in psychology could tell you.  Sure these items treat the drug addiction, but there's more to addiction than that.  Smoking has it's roots in a social behavior.  There's an almost meditative, calming quality to the actions of smoking.  Inhale, exhale... repeat.  Breath deep.  Make repeated movements with your hand.  Enjoy the outdoors.  Forget about the drug for a second and look at those things.  Is it any wonder it's hard to break the cycle?

Vaping is something that addresses all of that.  From what I've read so far, everything about it just makes sense and the preliminary reports of success rates around 75% seem to support that.  Now, it's a young, new thing, so I think everyone will agree that more research and study needs to be done, but golly is that promising.  And I never even mentioned anything about the price!  It's a bit more expensive to get going, but the costs of maintaining the habit are far less.  We're talking like half as much.  Cigars and cigarettes are both expensive.  I mean, they tax the fel out of those things.

Anyways, I don't want to get too preachy.  I mean I'm not a priest.  As a warlock, I just like the vapor.  It's like burning, but without all the unpleasant side effects.  No burnt flesh smell.  No pile of ashes to dispose of.  No messy investigations by the Dalaran Mage Council.  Plus you get to feel like an alchemist/engineer.  You know, all win.  Check out the vaporcast folks, they know far more than I do and love to get feedback.  Or, feel free to send me an email and I can point you in the right directions if not answer a question outright.

Now, if they would only make something that lets me shoot fake fire from my hands.  Then I could stop setting the curtains on fire...


  1. If you want to shoot fake fire, you can always just roll a mage.

  2. Hahaha!

    /wipes tear

    I'm going to have to write that down...