George Mitchell talks about his journey from being a smoker to a vaper.

Let’s be honest, smoking is a vile ‘habit.’ I know, I used to do it. Habit? Absolutely not, smoking is an addiction. Or is it?

Why do smokers smoke? Because they are addicted to smoking right? Wrong, they are addicted to nicotine. Therefore we are right to assume that nicotine is evil, causes cancer and should be banned at every turn. Again, wrong, for nicotine has had a very bad press, in fact nicotine is not the bad guy it has been made out to be.

There are currently around ten million people in the UK who smoke. To be honest, I simply don’t understand why anyone is still smoking cigarettes, or stinkys as I now call them. If you are a smoker reading this, I’m not having a go at you, I’m on your side. Hear me out.

Switching from a smoker to a vaper - ash tray


There is only one honest reason why any smoker keeps smoking…nicotine.

So you light up and get that hit. But as a by-product you inhale tar, carbon monoxide and numerous known cancer causing chemicals. You don’t want this, you don’t need this, your body is most certainly not craving any of this muck. Think about it, it’s crazy.

“But I still need to smoke to get my nicotine hit,” you say. Fair enough, but what if I said to you, “I know of this magical product. You get to hold this thing in your hands, which of course satisfies the hand to mouth habit. You press a button and inhale a vapour that gives you your nicotine, you get a hit in the back of the throat and enjoy exhaling what looks like smoke but isn’t. But the best bit? No cancer causing chemicals, no tar.”

“Wow, I wish that magical product existed,” a smoker may reply, well it does, it’s called vaping. I’ve been a vaper for years now and have never looked back. I cannot tell you how much better I feel. I get my hit that I crave and none of the bad stuff.

Vaping is potentially the biggest life saver in modern times. So, you’d think that all concerned are jumping for joy and doing all they can to convert every smoker to a vaper. Sadly, not so. There have been so many scare stories out there, shocking articles in many newspapers spouting drivel about the so-called dangers of vaping. Compared to lethal cigarettes, that’s laughable.

convert from smoker to a vaper - newspaper


Even on an official level, we are now actually making it harder for people to switch from a smoker to a vaper.

Recent EU tobacco directive laws basically lump vaping alongside tobacco, a product that kills six million people every year. This is madness. I can only speculate at the behind the scenes vested interests involved in this decision making…big pharma and big tobacco are extremely powerful indeed. Not to mention governments who make an absolute fortune from tobacco taxes.

You don’t get a more anti-smoking and more respected organisation than Cancer Research UK. I was therefore delighted when they recently posted a document on their website. After intricate research they have announced something that many of us have known for years – Nicotine does not cause cancer. CRUK also point out that there is no evidence that e-cig vapour harms bystanders and that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking. Finally, some common sense words on vaping from professionals with no hidden agenda.

But nicotine is dangerous some say. In its pure form, yes, it will kill you stone dead. But in the seriously watered down version of e-liquid, it’s not dangerous. If nicotine was so dangerous you would not be able to buy nicotine patches, gum and inhalers, which by the way are all rather poor substitutes for anyone trying to kick tobacco.

Maybe you’ve personally never smoked and think vaping is equally disgusting? Fair enough that’s fine, but to not encourage everyone to ditch the killer fags and switch to vaping beggars belief considering all the brave and unbiased evidence now coming out from cancer research and numerous open minded doctors. Nicotine does not cause cancer and ‘e-cigs’ do not contain any cancer causing tobacco. It’s the combustion and inhalation of tobacco that causes cancer, not nicotine.

smoker to a vaper - vaping e-cig


It’s also time we stopped using the name ‘e-cigs’, it’s not a cigarette at all, it’s vaping.

As long as we keep calling it an ‘e-cig’ it will have a mental connection to smoking. We need to make that break now.

But nicotine is addictive you say? Sure it is, but we’re not talking heroin here. Numerous experts are now admitting that nicotine, especially when taken out of tobacco, is no more addictive than caffeine.

I vape all over the world, and in many countries I seem to be the only one doing it. In many places I visit, it seems as if everyone still smokes. Big Tobacco’s power may have been seriously curtailed in the west, but not so in the developing world. As for the Palestinians, well if ever there was an Olympic Games for smoking, they’d win gold every time. The best place I’ve ever vaped is in a café in Ramallah in the West Bank. A bunch of old timers wearing traditional headgear all smoking huge hookah pipes, and just me with my little vaper. They studied me with interest first, but then nodded their heads in approval when I exhaled a plume of caramel scented vape towards the roof.

If you’re a smoker reading this and have never tried vaping due to reading ludicrous stories about it being just as bad as or laughably even worse than smoking, please reconsider and give it a try. But do it properly, don’t buy a cheap thing that looks like a cigarette and lights up at the end, it will do nothing for you. Invest in a modern piece of vaping kit. And never buy cheap nasty e-liquid online from China, go into a reputable UK vape shop and speak to someone how knows what they are talking about.

somer to a vaper - vaping on beach


If you’re already a vaper and are off on your hols soon, be careful where you going, as some countries have actually banned vaping, therefore you could be in trouble if you land there and bring your gear into the country. Always check the laws of the land in advance and be very wary of Brazil, Hong Kong, Argentina, UAE, Singapore and Japan. Even closer to home, if you’re heading to Budapest for a city break and you vape, remember and take your own e-liquid with you, for you’ll get no nicotine e-liquid in Hungary, it’s illegal to sell, so said the vape shop I went into.

Big Tobacco is worried, very worried.

They are losing millions of customers to vaping and are even getting in on the act themselves by producing their own e-cigs. I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole though.

My only fear is that with more and more Brits switching to vaping, the government must be losing a small fortune in tobacco taxes. Therefore I worry it’s only a matter of time before they slap a huge tax on vaping, and that would be criminal in my view. We should be doing everything possible to encourage every smoker to ditch the fags and vape instead, for vaping has the potential to save literally millions of lives. We also need to get the media on board and stop the scaremongering stories about nicotine and vaping causing cancer. I wish every smoker would quit the stinkys today and join the vapes!

Finally, a heads up to any vaper heading off on their hols…be very careful about vaping in airports and especially on planes i.e. in the toilet. But of course I wouldn’t know anything about such things…


This article was written by George R. Mitchell, a published author, journalist and proud vaper. With permission.