Six years ago, right after my 18th birthday, I began smoking almost as a crutch, as I was having a bit of an existential crisis at the time. Also, peer pressure played a major part in taking up such a nasty addiction.
It became just that, an addiction, I was always thinking about my next 'fix' and found simple things such as flying abroad nearly impossible.
When I started smoking, it was maybe 4 or 5 cigarettes a day, and by the time I was 22, it was up to a pack a day, my lungs were barely coping with the strain of all those chemicals found in cigarettes. It was to the point that I physically could not smoke more than 20 a day. I felt I still needed that hit of nicotine, but my larynx made it hard because I would cough and splutter if I exceeded that crucial 20 cigarettes that I needed every day.
Soon, unbeknownst to me, my vaping journey would soon be underway! I visited my GP for a routine check up, and he asked if I smoked, I coyly muttered an embarrassed 'Yup'. He then replied with something along the lines of “Have you ever thought about using an e-cig, perhaps you could ask for one for Christmas?” Full of enthusiasm and motivation, I couldn't wait for Christmas to come, so I headed straight to the only vape shop I knew of. To be honest, they were rather clueless, and grossly overpriced, but I was not to know. They briefly showed me how to operate the device and I left the shop with a basic ego style pen and a disposable tank, along with 2 eLiquids.
Within a fortnight, I cut down from 20 ciggies a day, down to zero! At first I felt that it wouldn't help as much as it did, and it was refreshing to feel alive and free of the bind of cigarettes.
To begin with, I developed a slight cough, but I was assured that this was completely normal, as the residual effects of the ciggies would gradually work their way out of my system.
I soon became fascinated with vaping as an industry, and was excited to see all the new pieces of kit that was available at that time.
About a month after making the transition from smoking to vaping, I decided to purchase my first sub ohm kit. Around that time, I began to write a blog, covering a wide range of vape-related pieces. It seems an age ago, but I clearly remember saying to myself 'If I can help at least one person quit smoking, then my time spent writing will be worth it' Little did I know the extent to which I would fulfill that sentiment.
I got really into my writing and soon built up a collection of eLiquid reviews that showed my progression through my vaping journey.
This stayed consistent for about 4 months, and in that time I eventually moved on to different sub ohm kits, and became immersed in the wide, wide world of vaping, from tanks, to battery safety and to all there is to know about eLiquids. A little while after, I began entering the world of dripping and RDAs (Rebuildable Dripping Atomisers). I was a complete novice when it came to coil building, and learnt a lot from YouTube. I started off using pre made Kanthal coils, on a basic RDA. After lots of advice and careful consideration, I kept at it, and practised to beat the band. I can say that the first few months of many failed attempts, I gradually learnt the craft of coil building. I can now build coils, and can operate all of the different tools involved in the process. I have also made sure that I did my research on battery safety (although this is more crucial when using mechanical mods). It's always important to ensure that the thin film (known as a wrap) around the battery is fully intact, with no nicks or exposed metal. It is also good practice to learn about the different aspects of battery safety, although most regulated devices (those of which that contain chips, in built safety features and adjustable wattage) do not need quite as much consideration as mechanical mods (of which do not have in built safety features, run purely on battery power, and can not be adjusted in terms of wattage)
Right, back to my vaping story! It was in January 2016 that I visited another well known vape shop in my area, and my mother just happened to pick up a popular vape magazine. I took it home and studied each page with great curiosity. I decided to email the magazine on the off chance they could publish one or two of my reviews. I received an email back within minutes, and they asked me to send a preview of one of my pieces. Before I knew it, I was featured in the magazine as a guest reviewer. My dream had come true! But there's more!!!
Through the magazine, I was asked to meet up with a fellow reviewer at a local vape shop here in Bournemouth, Dorset.
To say I was nervous was an understatement, I was shaking with trepidation and excitement all at the same time.
I was welcomed with open arms and good, jolly banter. The staff at this shop were lovely and warm albeit a little mad!
I loved it so much that I was visiting said shop at least 3 times a week. Not only were the people super friendly, but the whole environment was inviting as well as plenty of things to look at. To this day, I have never been to a vape shop quite like it. It is not clinical at all, it is bright and full of life, as well as stocking all the latest and greatest vape products.
I met up with the owners of the shop at the Vaper Expo, Birmingham in May of 2016. Again, they were welcoming and hilariously bonkers.
One day, whilst visiting the shop, it got really busy, and the lovely Lorna (one of my bosses) asked if I could pop behind the till and serve a customer. I will always remember that day, because I put a £10 note in the till, without having the Queen's head facing up – I was promptly corrected and that will always make me giggle!
Soon after this indecent, my friend and boss, Lorna quietly asked if I wanted to work at her Vape Shop, and without hesitation, I accepted immediately.
That was almost a year ago, and I have loved every minute of it. I have met some incredible people, and have learnt a lot about vaping as a whole, as well as the inner workings of a vape shop.
Most importantly I feel I have helped numerous people make the transition from smoking to vaping. One gentleman came in to the shop about 6 months ago, he was smoking 80 cigarettes a day, 80! I set him up with a kit, alongside the strongest nicotine strength eLiquid. He came in about 2 or 3 weeks later and had cut down to just 15! A feat that I would only imagine could be possible.
I work, write, research, post, consume and talk about Vaping 24/7. It saved my life and I really glad I have the opportunity to help save other.
If you'd like to read more articles from Peach go ahead and check out her blog here.