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The human side of vaping: Robyn’s story

Posted on August 27, 2018

ATHRA received this email today from Robyn Butler, a retired 62-year old teacher and grandmother from Melbourne. Her story needs no further comment and is published with her permission. This is why the Directors at ATHRA are so passionate about tobacco harm reduction and the huge benefits to individuals and their health.

27 August 2018

To whom it may concern,

I just became aware of your organisation after reading an article in this morning’s Age newspaper. Thanks to E-cigarettes I have now been smoke-free for 195 days after being a heavy smoker for over 40 years. Prior to trying E-cigs I had attempted to quit smoking with patches, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, cold-turkey, vaping pen and prescription drugs, none of which worked for me. The extent of my addiction was quite obvious to me and was further crystallised when earlier this year I was referred to a lung specialist after a CT scan showed a shadow on my lung. The first thing I did after leaving the specialist’s office was light up a cigarette. Intellectually I knew how stupid this was but my addiction overpowered any sense of reason. Fortunately for me the damage to my lungs is only minimal and after recently having a six-monthly checkup my specialist advised that my chances of dying of any lung-related disease were now very remote. The specialist advised that my genetics had prevented the damage from being more extensive.

It was my daughter who told me of e-cigarettes. (I found the vaping pens were too strong for me when inhaling the vapour and that, along with the fiddly nature of filling the tanks put me off them.) I had to try a few brands of e-cigrettes before finding one that suited me and I can’t tell you how seamless the transition has been from smoking. I still get the nicotine my body craves without inhaling the damaging tar and other carcinogens. There have only been fleeting moments where I have felt like a cigarette but these pass really quickly and I just know I will never smoke another tobacco cigarette again.

On my recommendation, three of my smoking friends and two of my smoking sisters are now using e-cigarettes and not smoking at all. This is having a ripple effect as they are telling their family and friends. I feel so happy for these people because I know how much better I feel on the e-cigs. Apart from the health benefits I no longer smell of smoke, I don’t have coughing fits, I don’t have to go outdoors to get my nicotine hit anymore, I don’t feel like a social pariah, I feel fitter and happier and I have much more disposable income.

My lung specialist knows that I am on the e-cigarettes and he said that while he can’t endorse them, he is of the view that they are 95% safer than tobacco cigarettes.

Finally, the purpose of the email is to thank you a million times over for what you are doing as I know what a difference e-cigarettes have made to my life. After sending this email I will be going to your web page to make a donation.

I sincerely hope that common sense will prevail and that our law-makers will legalise nicotine content vaping in this country.

Kind regards,

Robyn Butler

Robyn has kindly allowed us to use her real name, but the photo is a generic one.

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