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Real People. Real Stories.

The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) is collecting successful vape stories and testimonials from smokers who used smoke-free alternatives to quit or reduce their smoking. The testimonials are posted publicly on our website for everyone to see, and may be sent to lawmakers to fight anti-vaping legislation.

This public collection of successful vape stories is a powerful response to those who want to restrict access to e-cigarettes and other smoke-free products. Our goal is to present a large collection of compelling individual reports that will make it impossible for anyone to claim that substitution of low-risk alternatives (e-cigarettes, snus, and other smoke-free tobacco/nicotine products) is not a proven method for quitting smoking.

You are free to write your own story and include or exclude any details as you like. However, if you would like a few suggestions, below is a list of questions to consider:

  • How long did you smoke?
  • How long ago did you start using a smoke-free alternative?
  • Exactly what type of smoke-free products do you use (please do not include company/brand names), and has this changed over time?
  • Do you still smoke, and if so how much have you cut down?
  • Did you both smoke and use the smoke-free product for a time before quitting smoking entirely (if so, how long?), or did you switch immediately? Did you stop tobacco/nicotine entirely for a while and then start using a low-risk alternative?
  • What methods (NRT, Chantix, counseling, etc.) did you use to try to quit smoking before switching to a smoke-free alternative? How long were you able to go without smoking using these other methods before starting again?
  • What changes in the quality of your life (both positive and negative) have you noticed since adopting the smoke-free alternative?

You may prefer to write your story in a word processor and paste it here. You need to enter your entire story at once – you cannot start it and come back. There is no maximum length. Please remember that by submitting this, you are agreeing to have it posted online.

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# Name Testimonial Experience Date
Tommie Howell
I remember watching my dad burn his face badly by smoking while on oxygen. So I full well knew the highly addictive nature of cigarettes. Yet some years later I started smoking a couple of cigarettes a day to help relax during a horribly stressful time in my life. 20 plus years later I found myself to be a 2 1/2 pack a day smoker. I loved to smoke and had no desire to quit. A situation arose where I would be taking a road trip with a friend who is highly sensitive to cigarette smoke. This meant several hours in a car, a week in a hotel, and several hours back home without being able to smoke unless stopping or going outside. I didn't see how this was going to work. I decided to get an electronic cigarette just to supplement when I could have a chance to smoke. The fellow at the smoke shop suggested I try a better one than the disposable that I had chosen. I bought it and had a cigarette in the parking lot before starting our trip. 80 days later and that was the last tobacco cigarette I smoked. Previously I would go, at most, 8 hours without a cigarette, and that only if I didn't wake up in the night. All three adults in our house have quit smoking with electronic cigarettes. We felt so strongly early on that within two weeks of using the devices we testified at the CT legislature health committee in defense of our ability to use them. This is just one story of three heavy smokers who have been smoke free with ease for nearly 3 months. All thanks to the electronic cigarette.


Karen Carey (brewlady) Wilbraham, MA
This is the comment that I submitted to the FDA, with two small edits (changed liquid to e-liquid and two years to almost three years). The only thing I would add is that when I started vaping, I used 24mg e-liquid, and lowered that to 18 mg rather quickly. My blood pressure was slightly elevated at my last physical, so I stepped down to 12mg. My blood pressure is now normal. I did want to include that fact, even though I can't really attribute that to nicotine, since I had also gained weight which I have since lost. Like many of my contemporaries, I started smoking when I was barely 13. I failed at numerous attempts to quit. I tried cold turkey, the patch, the gum, Chantix, hypnosis, you name it, I tried it. Short term success always turned into long term failure, which I now know is the typical experience most long-term smokers have with FDA-approved NRT. After 36 years I had given up on quitting. I resolved myself to the fact that I would always be a smoker. In August 2010 I saw an article in a local newspaper about an electronic cigarette store that had opened in my town. I was curious, so I bought a kit. I was amazed at how easily I was able to transition to this device. I quickly went from the familiar menthol flavor to cinnamon, vanilla and fruit-flavored e-liquid. As my taste buds improved, I no longer wanted anything that remotely tasted like a cigarette. I was no longer smoking, and unlike any of the times I had quit previously, I had absolutely no desire to smoke. This was something no pharmaceutical product had been able to accomplish, and almost three years later, I still have no cravings for tobacco. This still amazes me because my husband still smokes the same brand that I used to smoke. Once I started vaping, I wanted to know more about it, so I spent hours online, reading everything I could about this invention. I learned that the inventor set out to find a safer way of using nicotine while removing the harmful chemicals found in burning tobacco. By vaporizing liquid he was able to mimic the sensation of smoking (down to the hand-to-mouth movement so ingrained in long-term smokers) in a small device that virtually eliminates risk to bystanders. But then I discovered that the FDA was trying to ban this life-saving invention. I couldn't understand this. I had been exposed to anti-smoking campaigns most of my life, yet the very invention that could fulfill the goal of anti-tobacco and smoke-free associations was being vilified by my own government. Surely this couldn't be possible! The more I researched, the more I learned about the actual dangers of tobacco cigarettes in comparison to this product, the more disgusted I became. Electronic cigarettes contain an equivalent, miniscule amount of tobacco-specific nitrosamines as a nicotine patch. How could the FDA not bother to make that clear? Pharmaceutical nicotine in FDA-approved pharmaceutical NRTs is no different than pharmaceutical nicotine in electronic cigarettes. The only difference is that pharmaceutical NRTs have a much lower chance of actually helping a smoker to stop smoking. One of the few people I have met that was successful at quitting smoking continued to chew nicotine gum for eight years before she was able to finally stop. When I learned that the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act actually prohibits vendors and manufacturers from telling the truth, that using this product can help smokers by enabling them to replace tobacco cigarettes with a safer method of using nicotine, it became clear that something was horribly wrong. It seems that the FDA isn't concerned with helping smokers to quit and stay quit, but intent only to allow pharmaceutical solutions to smokers, even when those solutions have discouragingly dismal success rates. The comment I've heard most often from smokers is "Don't you know that it contains anti-freeze?" This misconception comes directly from the FDA's unfortunate 2009 press release, which is preventing many smokers from seeking out this safer alternative. Smoke-free Pennsylvania’s Bill Godshall has submitted requests to have the information on the FDA website updated to reflect some of the newer scientific evidence that confirms the safety of electronic cigarettes, but the outdated information remains. When I have the opportunity to explain to people what Tobacco Harm Reduction is, and that the FDA not only doesn't endorse it, but is actively working to prohibit it, people aren't even surprised. It would be refreshing to see the FDA take a step towards actually helping smokers. Not by lying, not by omitting important facts, not by banning, but by telling the truth about reduced-harm alternatives. Tell the public that Sweden has lowered their adult lung cancer rate to about half of the U.S. rate because their government endorses the use of Swedish snus, which is proven much safer than smoking. Tell the public that electronic cigarettes do eliminate over 90% of the risks associated with smoking tobacco. Stop telling the public that there is no SAFE tobacco product, and start using a more rational approach by talking about relative risk and what is SAFER. My greatest fear is that the FDA will continue to endorse only pharmaceutical NRT products, while restricting or prohibiting the sale of reduced harm alternatives like electronic cigarettes. Telling a smoker who has not had success with a nicotine patch that they will have better success by using both the patch and gum may help increase pharmaceutical revenues, but telling smokers the truth about tobacco harm reduction may actually save lives. Please do not impose unreasonable bans on electronic cigarettes. The continued availability of e-liquid and the many devices that are now on the market will ensure that smokers will have access to options that work for them. For my sake, and the sake of the thousands of other ex-smokers who may return to smoking if these safer alternatives are no longer readily available, do nothing to risk our health. For the sake of the approximately 20% of the population that continues to smoke, please, I urge you, tell the truth about harm reduction. Anything less is truly unconscionable.


John Pacifico, Chula Vista, CA
I am currently a student and retired from the US Navy after 25 years of service. I started experimenting with cigarettes when I was about eight years old (I would steal cigarettes from my Mother). By the time I was 11 or 12 I was considered a smoker by my friends and smoked a pack or more a week. At 14 I was up to a pack a day or more for the next 30 years. I tried to quit many times and I managed to quit smoking twice during the a fore mentioned 30 years once for 1 year, and a second time for 3 years. Both times I used a nicotine patch to assist me in the quitting process. Both times I fell off the non-smoking wagon due to stress in my life. I find from my personal experience that once a smoker always a smoker, and it only took smoking one traditional cigarette for me to be back to smoking a pack a day. This time I decided to try an e-cigarettes (I prefer to call it a personal vaporizer and consider myself a vapor not a smoker). I have been using my personal vaporizer for approximately 4 months now, and so far so good, it has been working for me. I have lost the craving for traditional cigarettes as long as I stay away from other smokers. I still have the craving for traditional cigarettes if I am around other smokers, but that was also the case when I quit the other two times as well. As for quality of life, my clothing car, and furniture no longer smell like smoke and cigarette tar. I do not have to use Afrin nasal spray three times a day to keep my nasal passages open to breathe thru my nose and my blood pressure is normally lower when I go to see the doctor. My family is very supportive and extremely happy that I have chosen to switch to personal vaporizer rather than smoking traditional cigarettes. Once people understand that I am using a personal vaporizer and not smoking a cigarette I am not looked at like a social misfit/second class citizen. Some are still freaked out no matter what I tell them because they see the vapor and assume it has to be bad, so I respect that and put it away. To summarize my experience so far, I feel better about myself, I breath better, my blood pleasure is lower, I do not smell like cigarettes and neither do my belongings, my family is happy, and most people do not treat me like an outcast (although some people still give me dirty looks because they see vapor and think I am smoking even though they don't smell smoke).


Todd Dempster (Necro1775) from Denver, CO.
I starting using an electronic cigarette four years ago as a way to stop smoking. About one year later, my father had a stroke that was related to his 56 years of smoking and I had to take over his finances. He had already been in the beginning stages of Dementia and the stroke only made it worse. He had been required to use a CPAP at night while he slept and he had to carry an oxygen tank wherever he went due to his COPD brought on by cigarettes. I told him that I hadn't touched a cigarette since the very day I bought my electronic cigarette and that I was willing to buy him a starter kit, but I wasn't going to purchase any cigarettes for him anymore. He became very irate, informed me that I won't tell him what he can and can't spend his money on, and that he had been smoking for over 50 years and he wasn't going to quit. So I listened to what he had to say . . . and then I bought him an electronic cigarette starter kit anyway. Needless to say, it's been two and a half years and he hasn't touched a cigarette since the day I gave him his electronic cigarette. He no longer has to carry an oxygen tank with him and his CPAP has been collecting dust in the closet. Electronic cigarettes have given me back a healthier father that will live many more years than he would have had he not began using them. My life has been extended and I have way more energy these days to play with my one year old son. My wife has regained years back. My family members have regained years. Friends have regained years. And all thanks to electronic cigarettes. I'm healthier and in better shape now than I have been in over 20 years. I've watched several family members die due to smoking cigarettes and cigars. My father almost died from cigarettes. My wife and I would have ultimately met the same fate as well. And now, because of electronic cigarettes, all those possibilities are extinct now. I don't have to fall to the same fate that my family members did and my son doesn't have to fear that he'll witness the same horrors I had to.


Shiela Wood (Whim Wham Vapes) from Pendleton, SC
I am 50 years old and I smoked tobacco for 35 years. I tried to quit quite a few times, each time returning back to smoking. I tried by going cold turkey, I have used the patch, I have used the gum, and I have used prescription medicine to try to stop my tobacco addiction. Each of these techniques failed every time, and I went back to smoking. August 2, 2011 I purchased my first electronic cigarette. I have been tobacco free ever since! I am a true believer that the electronic cigarette has made my life so much better. I don’t have the hacky cough that I did when I smoked. I don’t wheeze anymore when I lay down at night. I can run and play with my grandchildren now without gasping for breath, and my Doctor says that my lungs have really improved a lot! Not only does my Doctor approve of my using electronic cigarettes, he is telling other patients that smoke and can't quit to give e cigs a try. My very best friend had COPD. She loved cigarettes so much and she would tell me that she knew she was killing herself by smoking, but she could not stop (not even to save her life). She was 60 years young. Smoking killed her the last part of August, 2011. This was just a couple of weeks after I started using an electronic cigarette. I honestly believe that if I did not have e cigs, I would go back to smoking. I enjoyed smoking. I enjoyed it so much that I don’t know if I could quit even if I was dying from it. E cigs are giving me the same satisfaction that I got from smoking, but at a much lower risk than smoking. Thanking God everyday for e cigs!


Aaron Frazier (afrazier5) Salt Lake City
How long did you smoke? 24 years. Started smoking at 16 out of curiosity over peer pressure. Parents and friends did not smoke but best friends parents did. How long ago did you start using a smoke-free alternative? Switched off of tobacco to smoke free e-cigarettes on January 15th 2011 Exactly what smoke-free product(s) do you use (for instance, disposable e-cigarettes, mods, snus; what nicotine strength), and if this changed over time, how has it changed? I started with 24mg e-liquid but within a month, cut down to 18mg. Remained at 18mg for about 3 months before working myself down to 6mg over a quarterly incremental process. I've since gone back up to 12 mg due to high stresses in life in order to remain smoke free. I started my journey on a 510 manual stick style battery and in about 6 months purchased a big battery mod and have remained on this since. I vape between 3.7-4.2v on all devices. Do you still smoke at all (and if so, how much have you cut down)? I have had the occasional cigarette in social settings or in settings where smoking is prevalent over the last 2.5 years but it sickened me to have more than a few. Did you both smoke and use the smoke-free product for a time before quitting smoking entirely (and if so, how long), or did you switch immediately? Or did you stop tobacco/nicotine entirely for a while and then start using a low-risk alternative? I quit overnight after buying my e-cigarette What methods (NRT, Chantix, counseling, etc.) did you use to try to quit smoking before switching to a smoke-free alternative? How long were you able to go without smoking using these other methods before starting again? I tried cold turkey, gums, patches, and chantix. Longest quit period was around 3 weeks. Was on the Chantix program 4 times and never made it more than 3 weeks. What changes in the quality of your life (both positive and negative) have you noticed since adopting the smoke-free alternative? Health wise, I no longer have a nagging morning cough, no nasal drainage, wheezing has disappeared, I can smell things I've never smelled before, I no longer smell like an ashtray and food tastes better. From a personal and professional standpoint, I've made more friends through the global vaping network than I've ever had. I'm also the founder of a statewide vaping organization that allows me to help hundreds of smokers statewide yearly find a better alternative to smoking.


Steve C., St. Louis MO
I was a pack a day smoker for about 12 years, a smoker for 15 years. I tried to quit numerous times, especially once we had a child. I was able to reduce my smoking to about half a pack a day for the last 3 years but I wasn't able to kick it. I tried the nicotine gum, the patches, and multiple prescriptions with horrible side effects. It wasn't until I tried electronic cigarettes that I actually was successful in quitting smoking. I first tried the disposable electronic cigarettes that are sold at gas stations but I was still smoking. They just didn't work enough. When I found the ones that you fill yourself, I didn't have another cigarette. These devices worked better for me, tasted better, and the number of flavors kept me interested enough to get through the first couple of weeks of not smoking. I haven't had a cigarette in almost a year. I feel much better, I can breathe better, I smell better, and my doctor is pretty happy with me. I can also go much longer without using the e-cig, there aren't the hundreds (thousands?) of chemicals in them as there are in regular cigarettes. I believe these chemicals contribute to why regular cigarettes are so addictive. Electronic cigarettes are undoubtedly better for you than smoking. They may not be 100% healthy, but neither is sugar, caffeine, alcohol, or countless other things that are deemed acceptable. There is no combustion, there are almost no carcinogens and no tar. The "second hand" vapor has been shown to pose no risk to others. The alternative is cigarettes, people will smoke if they can't use a personal vaporizer. The term "electronic cigarette" is misleading since the only thing they really have in common with cigarettes is nicotine delivery. These devices WILL save lives, as well as health care costs.


Cirene from Indiana
I started smoking when I was 16 years old. My parents were both smokers. My Dad passed away in 2008 due to COPD that he fought with for years. My Mom passed away due to cancer seven months later in 2009. I have quit over the years a few times, mostly during pregnancies, but the longest only lasted about 16 months. The most recent time I quit was while pregnant in 2007 and I started up again when my Dad passed in June of 2008. When my Mom passed in January of 2009 I decided that I really did need to quit for good if I wanted to see my children grow into adults and have children of their own. I was 37 years old and smoking a pack of full-flavored filtered Camels a day. I tried quitting cold turkey a few times between then and 2012 but the cravings for that cigarette always won. I tried using nicotine lozenges but they burned my mouth and throat...and I still craved cigarettes. In 2012 I was scheduled to have my gallbladder removed. I knew that non-smokers have fewer problems during surgery and heal faster after surgery so I was determined to quit before I had to check into the hospital. I read online that if you could quit at least two weeks before that it was better than nothing so that was my deadline. In June of 2012 my husband and I purchased "cig-alike" kits at Wal-Mart called Mistic. I believe it contained 18 mg of nicotine. I was excited and wanted this to be my answer but I hated the thing. I would puff on the Mistic and STILL want a cigarette. I would put the Mistic down and smoke. Thankfully my husband worked with a man who used the eGo batteries with tanks. He loaned us one and I smoked fewer cigarettes. We upped our nicotine to 24 mg and I put the cigarettes down for good. I wasn't craving them anymore. I have noticed that I'm breathing easier and I don't have that "smoker's cough". I can carry loads of laundry up and down the stairs without getting winded. I also haven't had as many colds as I had during previous winters. I've since switched to mechanical mods, usually with 18650 batteries, rebuildable "genesis" style atomizers and I've lowered my nicotine to 18 mg. I plan on stepping down my nicotine gradually until I am using four - six mg. and probably stay with that indefinitely. I did go through a period of about three months where I "chain vaped". If I was awake, my pv was in my hand and I was puffing away on it. Now I can go hours without nicotine and without the cravings that I would have while smoking. I couldn't go for more than an hour without a cigarette ten months ago. I finally feel free from that addiction.


Susan Scott, Washington State
My personal vaporizer, or "e-cigarette", has been a miracle for me. I started smoking at age 16, to be "cool" with my friends. That was back when you could buy cigarettes for 75 cents a pack out of a vending machine. Within just a few months I was hooked. It wasn't just a fun social thing anymore, I needed to smoke. Back then there wasn't a lot of concern over the health effects of smoking. I quit during my pregnancies, not out of concern for health, but because the smell increased my morning sickness. As soon as baby arrived I was right back up to 2 packs a day. Once the research became more public about how dangerous it was, I really wanted to quit. I tried "cold turkey" many times and failed. As tools became available I tried each one; patches, gum, inhalers, medications, even acupuncture and hypnotherapy! Nothing worked. In 2003 a dear friend died, and a large part of his illness was related to smoking. Even that wasn't enough to make me stop. Last January we decided that my elderly mother should move in with us for safety reasons. She cannot tolerate smoke at all. I decided to try a disposable e-cig to see if it would be an acceptable alternative for inside the house and in the car. That was on January 15, 2013. The next day I went to a local shop and purchased a starter PV kit, and have not touched a cigarette since! I have had no cravings, mood swings or weight gain. My morning cough is gone. Food tastes better. I have more energy and can breathe much better. My skin is beginning to look healthier. My mood has improved. I sleep a full night instead of waking up to smoke. Accounting for the amount I've spent on PV supplies and liquid, I've still saved nearly $700.00 since January. I started out at 24 mg of nicotine, but have since worked my way down to alternating between 6 mg and no nicotine. I truly believe my Personal Vaporizer saved my health and probably my life.


brad wager
For almost two years I have used an electronic cigarette, and it has replaced my smoking of 35 years. I was on the verge of smoking related diseases, chronic bronchitis and emphysemia. Thanks to being able to use it, I have stopped wheezing and the mess of cigarettes and tar is out of my life. Thanks to using the e-cigarette in public, other smoker's have asked me about them I have been able to share the miraculous benefits of e-cigarettes, that I have first hand experienced, I presume sharing that may have helped dozens of other smokers, if not more find out about this replacement from the harm of smoking.I can not be near smokers.I do not smoke. Sincerely, Brad Wager


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