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!!