Friday, February 25, 2011

Green Smoke: A Happy Medium

Last year, when I was so sick that I couldn't speak for almost a month, I wrote about my worsening allergy to smoke and the problems it was causing us.  It's a problem because my husband is a smoker, which has been a constant source of tension in our lives over the last few months as we've struggled with his comfort and my health. When I found that it was the smoke that was making me cough uncontrollably and have persistent laryngitis, I asked him to smoke outside, and the conflict ensued. It wasn't overt, of course, but he didn't want to smoke outside (duh!).  It was starting to get cold, though it never actually got really cold, but most of all it was a huge inconvenience.  For my part, I had a huge problem asking him to smoke outside because I knew when we married him that he was a smoker, that he smoked inside, and that I was allergic to smoke. I didn't feel justified in asking for this after 11 1/2 years.  So, when I had to ask for it, and he resisted, I felt like shit.

After a while, I agreed, in lieu of smoking outside, that he could smoke beside the window in the living room.  There were only two problems with this. One, the smoke didn't go out the window very well, so it didn't solve my problem and two, the window was open which made it ridiculously cold inside and Matt wouldn't agree to turn on the heater. So, I was miserable with the cold and I still couldn't speak or stop coughing. It wasn't a solution that lasted long, for the aforementioned reasons and before long he was back to smoking at his desk. The good news was, the window smoking had helped enough to allow me to start healing and I got my voice back... mostly. In time, it came back completely, but it wasn't long before I was coughing again and the laryngitis was back.  In January, when I got horribly sick, all of my problems with coughing and voicelessness came back and they weren't going away.

I've been thinking about it since, and I think that the reason my allergy to smoke flaired up was exposure. I had been exposed to it day in and out for years, and I grew use to it.  Then, I started working outside the house, so I wasn't around the smoke as often, and my system grew sensitive to it again. So, when I was around it, I couldn't breathe or speak. It's the only explanation I can come to about why, all of the sudden, my allergy to smoke decided to grow worse and make our lives miserable.

Anyway, when I went back to school in January, one of my co-workers had an e-cig he'd gotten in the mall in the Metroplex.  He liked (likes?) it well enough, but seeing it gave me an idea.  I came home and asked Matt if he would consider going to the e-cig.  He said he would, so I ordered him one from Green Smoke after doing some research about which ones were the best on the market.  He had tried the Envy e-cig  before, be he hadn't liked it because it was clumsy to refill and largely defective; it wouldn't stay charged and the charger didn't work worth a crap. Needless to say, he wasn't going to go back to the Envy. So, learning that Green Smoke has one of the best reputation on the market, I got him one. The start up was a bit pricey, but not more than cigarettes cost per month, and it has been so worth it!!

I know he doesn't want me to feel bad, or be unable to speak -- especially since I speak for a living-- but he also didn't want to smoke outside. The e-cig was exactly the happy medium we needed.  Not only does he get his nicotine fix, but it doesn't smell bad, produce smoke, and make me smell like a smoker when I'm not one. All good things, in my book. Oh, and it's better for our animals, one of which is a shih tzu, a breed notorious for their breathing problems. So, I'm happy and he's agreed that should he smoke regular cigarettes now and again (very rarely, since we simply can't afford both the e-cig and regular cigs) that he will do so out of doors, rather than inside. He hates to smoke outside, so it's a good preventative measure.

He's been smoking his e-cig for almost a month now and he really likes it. Each cartridge is about one pack of cigarettes, and he smokes only about one cartridge every day or two, so it's much better for his health than cigarettes because he's smoking less. Also, because it doesn't produce smoke, but water vapor, it's doubly good. I'd say the only real downsides are that occasionally he does crave real cigarettes and that, because of the battery, the e-cig is a bit heavier than regular cigarettes. Not so much a problem on either count, especially since he's agreed to smoke outside when he smokes regular cigs.

If your spouse is a smoker, I highly recommend it.  I only hope that this solution holds out because it's been fantastic so far!!


  1. Well, mine is a smoker, but I made it pretty clear that he wasn't going to smoke in the house when we moved in around 10 years ago, and he hasn't, he smokes in the garage! I do think it is pretty inconsiderate for your hubby to winge about smoking outside when it clearly causes you serious health problems (which go beyond 'just a cough'). He is inflicting this on you by choosing to smoke, so it should be up to him to either change his habits, not you!

    Not sure what mine would say to the e-cig, I'd rather he gave up altogether!!

  2. Oh yeah, I'd rather he gave it up, it's so pricy! I think my problem in trying to force him to smoke outside, is that I allowed him to smoke inside all these years. I have this horrible feeling that it's my fault for not making it clear when we first got together... but then, I use to smoke. Only for two years, or so, I gave it up when I couldn't get addicted to it -- stupid cigarettes. Bleh. Fortunately, for me, the e-cig is nearly giving it up because I don't have to smell it, he doesn't smell or taste like cigarettes, my clothes smell like laundry detergent rather than smoke. It's really nice, since that's about as close to quitting as he's going to get. I will say though, a lot of people use the e-cig to quit. I don't know that Matt will, but either way is fine with me at this point.

  3. Glad you found a compromise that works! Does it eventually ween him off nicotine or is it supposed to just be a long-term replacement for cigarettes? Hope it continues to work and help!

  4. Thanks! It depends, really. The cartridges come in varying levels of nicotine. So, if he wanted to ween of, he could by stepping down the strength of the cartridges until he was using the ones with no nicotine in them. Otherwise, he can just keep smoking the strong ones and get his fix in a way that doesn't make it smell like we've been rolling around in an ashtray. It also helps the hand to mouth thing that smokers have, where the actual physical habit of smoking is fulfilled. I read somewhere that the hardest part of quitting is actually the physical habit of it, so it could help. I don't know that he'll quit, though that would be ideal.

  5. I agree with Tickateeboo, but you already now that from prior blog posting on this topic!

    Jeremy STILL hasn't had a cigarette!!! I am not sure how long it has been (I would check my blog but it has been deleted, haha!) I know it has been at least four months...I am so happy about this!

    Hopefully the e-cig will lead to him quitting altogether. At least in the meantime, it is helping your health. :)

  6. Shannon, it is so fantastic that Jeremy has quit all together. Mat did quit for like 6 months once and then, one day, he just woke up and decided he wanted to smoke. He went out, got cigarettes, and was back to it like nothing had happened. I was soooooooo depressed about that, I must say. I really like not smelling like it, not to mention the ability to actually speak.

  7. I, too, agree with Ms. Tickatee above, but like Shan said, we already beat that poor dead horse enough from our last visit on this topic. ;-) I am fascinated by these e-cigs! I'm really curious if my mom or Clint's dad (both smokers) have given these a try.

  8. Yes, I guess it is hard to quit and at least he's made the efofrt with the e-cig! Here's to better health for you in the future!

  9. It's a pretty neat thing, you should suggest it to them. It is heavier than a real cigarette, but Matt says he enjoys the taste and since it's just water vapor, it doesn't have any tar or other nasty stuff in it.