June 11, 2013


The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — Addiction is greater problem than vaping suggests


Upon returning from lunch one day, my managing editor said he discovered the coolest thing ever. I’d been in town all of four weeks and was desperate to learn the in’s and out’s of this place so I was more than eager to hear what he had to say. I was sure I would share in his excitement.

It was then I was made aware that Chickasha has a vapor shop. Being a nonsmoker, I was unfamiliar with the term.

“There are flavored e-cigarettes there,” I heard, “it helps people quit smoking by giving them the nicotine they crave without the other harmful chemicals that are found in regular cigarettes.”

To which I automatically replied: “That’s kind of dumb.”

I caught a few how-dare-you-say-that glances and then I explained the simple logic behind my statement.

“If you want to quit something, just quit.”

I don’t think this won me any brownie points either.

I must’ve read a couple dozen articles on this new fad. Some say that the product is still quite new and so it is uncertain as to whether or not they truly cause harm, some say they are perfectly fine for you and that nicotine is actually good for people in small doses, yet some have a lot of words and offer minimal information.

The research behind the concoction did interest me but I found that it wasn’t at all what I was looking for to defend my stance.

I didn’t think favorably of the shop for reasons that stretched the beyond general health scope.

There are many people in today’s society who are dependent — absurdly dependent. They are dependent on a pill to solve their problems, they are dependent on a political leader to make everything right, they are dependent on something or someone else somewhere to make life easier or better. Carrying attitudes such as this threatens the beauty, independence and strong-mindedness of American culture.

While I see nothing wrong with asking for help, I do see something wrong with depending on help. I see something wrong with continuously looking for an easy way out.

Now the problem with cigarettes is, well, everything. Countless advertisements and campaigns have been dedicated to educating the public on how addictive and damaging cigarettes are. The actual product even comes equipped with text based warnings on the box. But this, somehow, isn’t enough. It isn’t enough to know you have lung cancer, it isn’t enough to know that you are hurting others each time you exhale and it isn’t enough to know you are an addict.

Instead of tackling the issue and kicking this horrible habit altogether, people crave something else. They say they need something else. They are not conquering their addiction; they are simply replacing it with another. Why not rely on the government or the marketing world to come up with a solution to every personal problem, right? Wrong.

I believe addiction is a disease of the mind and more times than not, foolishly treated with medicine and chemicals.

The go-to argument for e-cigarettes is this: They are composed of nicotine, not tobacco, and that they help people quit smoking. In cigarettes however, nicotine is believed to be the main component that causes addiction. Please explain to me how this phenomenon is supposed to help people break away from their smoking addiction when the substance that bred their initial addiction is found, still, within the electric device.

I just don’t know what happened to counting on strong will and hard work to see your way out of trying situations. A closing fun fact: E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco so they can be purchased without proof of age. Does this really sit well with people? The potential of this sentiment leading to more smokers — younger smokers — is painful.

This is my honest opinion, although I hope readers know I do not care to dictate actions taken by anyone but myself. While I may not always support the choices people make, above all else, I support the right to choose.


Vaping kicks tobacco butts


There was a time when I was a smoker.

I never reached the three-pack a day level, and I feel I always had control over it, but I certainly enjoyed my tobacco use.

Despite this notion, I found it very difficult to quit. I'd manage to avoid cigarettes for a few days and then some unforeseen stress would create a vast and unyielding need to puff.

When I was smoking, e-cigarettes were not readily available. Vapor Lounges hadn't even entered the realm of possibility yet.

For me, that may actually be  a good thing. I could see myself using the flavored nicotine liquid to eliminate my need for tobacco, and never actually quitting the usage.

However, for many smoking is a true addiction, for which there seems to be no cure.

Vaping gives these people an avenue to change this habit and combat this addiction.

Arguments over whether vaping is a safe long-term alternative may be valid. There just isn't enough information to make that sort of judgement yet.

However, if vaping is used as a way to help people wean themselves off tobacco, then I don't see any issue with it.

Utilizing a social setting like a lounge only adds to these efforts, giving people the notion that they are not alone in their struggles, It creates a community to help in the battle, instead of leaving addicted smokers on their own in a frustrated and almost helpless state.

Smoking is near epidemic in Oklahoma. More than a quarter of adults in the state smoke, so why would we as a people be opposed to any opportunity to help to lower this statistic.

The dangers of tobacco use are well documented, so the promotion and use of water vapor as an alternative should be easily implemented and promoted in the name of saving lives.