The story of how I got hooked on cigarettes is funny. Well, not “ha ha” funny, but strange — that’s for sure.
It was February 2017. I was three months short of earning a bachelor’s degree — a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Accounting — and was gearing up to apply for jobs. Big boy jobs, that is.
I remember sitting on my back porch’s concrete steps when my dad told me I should quit smoking weed in preparation for entering the workforce. “Every employer worth a shit’s gonna drug test, Dan,” sounds like something Dad would’ve actually said during that phone call.
And — it was that simple — I quit smoking weed.
Well, here’s the simple part: I started smoking cigarettes in place of weed. And, hey, it wasn’t just simple — it was fucking stupid!
That’s the story of how I got hooked on cigarettes. I had first smoked when I was, I dunno, 16 or so, but I only smoked every few weeks — hell, every few months, even, up until I was 19-ish. This was when opioids became my primary drug of choice. Almost every time I used opioids from 2014 onward, I smoked cigarettes.
Keep in mind that I couldn’t afford opioids every day, so I ended up taking pain pills and, later on, heroin anywhere from two to six days a week.
Of course, after February 2017, I was smoking damn near every day. Some days, I didn’t have the urge to smoke, though most days I did.
Although I still smoke cigarettes today, I’ve reduced my use substantially with the help of the almighty Juul.
Yeah, I know Juul is a very high-school-esque device to use as opposed to a better, higher-quality nicotine vaporizer — or a “vape,” in simpler terms — but it was cheap to buy and easy to set up.
Here’s the Bad Part
Before Juul, like I already said, I had days where I wouldn’t smoke. Now, I’m vaping every single day. And, before, I usually wouldn’t smoke more than one or two cigarettes a day unless I was using opioids. Now, I’m using darn near a full Juul Pod a day — if not more than a Pod a day.
If you didn’t know, a Juul Pod supposedly equates to a pack of cigarettes. I’m not buying it — I’ve heard from other people online, though just in the form of anecdotes, that a Juul Pod is closer to 12 cigarettes.
Either way, I’m consuming more nicotine and inhaling nicotine-charged vapor or smoke more frequently than ever before. Admittedly, yeah, I’ve largely taken myself out of harm’s way, or so I think I have, but I’m spending more money on tobacco products than ever before (I do consider Juul a tobacco product, if I wasn’t clear).
What Can I Do From Here?
Recently, I bought a Novo 2 something-or-other, a higher-quality nicotine vaping device than Juul. With tax, it was about $40 — that’s not an objectively-large amount of dough, but it was a big hit for me, personally.
The local vape shop didn’t have any vape juice sample packs, so I was essentially forced to blow $20 on a big fuckin’ bottle of e-liquid — and I didn’t even like it. Fortunately, the store allowed me to trade in that e-liquid for another flavor. I didn’t like it, either.
I don’t wanna gamble with $20 bottles of vape juice. I’d rather stick to Virginia Tobacco Juul Pods for the time being. It’s way more expensive than using the Novo — or any other vaping device, really, for that matter — but at least I know what I’m getting.
Whether I stick with the more-expensive Juul or actually find an e-liquid I like, I’m still better off vaping than returning to near-daily tobacco use. And this still holds true even though I continue to smoke cigarettes anywhere from two to five days each month.
It just sucks that the most-available means of quitting tobacco ultimately ended up increasing my nicotine consumption. And, yes, I know it’s my fault that I didn’t Juul responsibly. It’s just easy to “go overboard,” as you could call it, having a Juul within arm’s reach.
I’m trying to Juul less and, also, I’m trying to find an e-liquid that’s similar to Juul’s Virginia Tobacco in flavor. Once I find that e-liquid, I’ll undoubtedly start saving money and, in my opinion, I’ll also have better success in decreasing my nicotine consumption.
Did I Ever Get the Job?
To clarify, I didn’t quit smoking weed to pass a single employer’s drug test. Rather, I quit in anticipation of any pre-employment drug tests that might come my way.
And, hell naw, to this day, I still haven’t used that god damn degree. I immediately enrolled in a Master’s of Business Administration program after graduating and dropped out halfway through because I felt like I wasn’t learning anything and because business — at least studying business — just wasn’t for me.
I’m still a self-employed writer, which I first became in mid-2015. Funny how things work out.