I was a smoker since the age of 15. I dabbled back then, a smoke whenever someone who was ‘cool’ would bum me one and I starting smoking regularly with the start of my first real job at age 16. Everyone I worked with at the restaurant smoked, so by peer pressure and the fact that I loved the smell, it wasn’t long before I started a pack a day habit that I had no idea would become a 23 year long ordeal.

I smoked  (Several brand names, removed for copyright safety) , in that order more or less. Usually a pack a day, sometimes more when I’d be drinking. I tried quitting a few times, once as long as 8 months, only to get dragged right back in by peer pressure, drinking, or boredom. In the last 2 years before I started to vape I was smoking about 10 cigarettes a day. Not too bad but I knew they were killing me.

What really motivated me to quit was my son. He was only 2 when I realized if I kept smoking I wouldn’t be able to keep up with him. Running, jumping, playing baseball and soccer..I would be out of breath in minutes. I did have him late in life (36) so by the time he graduates I will be well into my 50’s. I needed to prepare myself for the years to come.

I knew I couldn’t do it cold turkey and one day while I was surfing I came across a Smoking Everywhere ad I remember it had Danny Bonaduce from the Partridge Family vaping on the ad. It looked so real. I immediately jumped to their site and began reading. Free sample! + Shipping and handling $10 total!!!! I was about to give them my credit card when I thought, this sounds too good to be true. I mean, cigarettes were almost $6 a pack and they were offering me the equivalent of 10 packs for $10? This made no sense. I decided I would research a little. I mean, this is something that I will be inhaling into my body. The actors posing may be doing just that, posing. They may not even use this product, I thought. So I googled Electronic Cigarette and that’s where it all started.

I got real lucky because the first place I stumbled upon was ECF – electronic cigarette forum – and I read some posts, registered and began to ask questions. Anyone heard of Smoking Anywhere? Will e-cigs help me quit? Are they dangerous? The response to these questions was exactly what I needed. I was informed that Smoking Anywhere was selling junk and they were known for charging a monthly fee to the CC you would use to purchase their “sample”. I was told that they could help me quit but that they are not advertised as a cessation device. And I was directed to all the literature I could handle on the safety and health concerns that are associated with ‘vaping’. With this new found information, I was ready to try it.

My first e-cig was a 401 EVO from Innovapor. The videos they had on their site was really what sold me. I used it with EcoPure 18mg Rich ejuice and my first thought as I took a puff was ‘this doesn’t taste like a cigarette’. I starting vaping daily and slowly cut back my analog cigarette smoking from 10 a day to 8. I cut down by 2 a day, a week until I burned through my last carton. I loved my EVO and I went nowhere without it.

I quickly realized that using this e-cig got me some additional attention I wasn’t really planning on. I got all sorts of looks and stares. I must’ve explained what it was 100 times to people. It got a little tiresome but I felt like I was empowering people to break away from a smelly habit. I remember I was on vacation at Disneyland and I was vaping. A park patrol woman came over and told me there was no smoking in the park, I turned around and told her I wasn’t smoking and that what I was using was not a cigarette. I showed it to her and explained what it was and what it did. She looked intrigued and immediately began apologizing. Felt kinda good.

I met quite a few people on the ECF forums. I couldn’t believe how many people used e-cigs. I was thinking what a great product it was. Here I was 3 months into vaping, without a desire in the world for a traditional cigarette. I thought what a great business to be in, selling e-cigs. I wondered if I could cash in on some of this. I didn’t have to wonder long. I met a guy on ECF looking for a partner to start an e-cig business. We talked many times, with his designs and ideas and my advertising and people skills, we were sure we could pull it off. Although little did I know, we were about a year too late.

We started small; he had a great site and a few Chinese contacts. We argued back and forth as to what model to sell. He was dead set on selling at 510, me a 401. We both began looking into each model to see what kind of prices we could get. In the meantime he kept working on the site while I ordered business cards and began promoting the business. We eventually agreed on the 510. After I tried one I realized it was as good if not better than my 401 so we needed to find them as cheap as possible. My partner insisted that we only go after resellers of genuine JOYE 510 models. At the time I didnt know what it mattered but apparently he did.
We searched for awhile with the big stumbling block being finding someone who would sell without a MOQ (minimum order quantity). We finally found one, prices were good, and we placed our first order. Took forever to arrive and cost a fortune to ship, but we had them. I was able to sell most all of them right away. Now we ran into another problem. We didn’t have enough money to place another order until we sold all we had. So we would have to wait another month before we would have stock. My partner didn’t like this so he found another supplier selling JSB 510’s with a nice charging carry case that would sell to us on an as needed, per order base. So basically a customer would tell us what they wanted and we would order from the supplier. Problem with this was the wait was long and the product was garbage but my partner insisted this was the way to go. I disagreed and ended the partnership. The business eventually failed altogether leaving several unhappy customers seeking product elsewhere and slamming the company wherever they could. Can’t say as I blame them. We were shooting too high with not nearly the funds we needed to make it work. Live and learn.

I starting dabbling in DIY e-liquids but nothing I made ever came out the way I wanted it to. I moved onto modding and built a couple of 5V 510 mods which actually worked better with my failed e-juice attempts. I enjoy making different tasting e-juice and modding when I have time but I mostly just use my RIVA. I really enjoy vaping and I have turned more people onto it than I can remember. Haven’t had a cigarette since I started. I feel and smell better than I have in years. I will continue to encourage others who smoke to try e-cigs in hopes that they too can quit the nasty habit of cigarette smoking.