By Robert Romano
E-cigarettes are a relatively inexpensive smoke cessation product — and they probably saved my life.
Thanks to short-term, temporary use of a refillable e-cigarette, I was able to quit smoking cigarettes on a consistent basis for the first time since I started smoking 20 years ago.
This is not a scientific study. Nor a paid advertisement. I am getting married, and my fiancé demanded I quit smoking, and suggested I use the e-cigarette to stop.
Now, several months later, I no longer use the e-cigarette and, crucially, I did not return to smoking. I certainly thank my fiancé — thanks, babe! — whose nagging was undoubtedly helpful, too, but mostly it was her suggestion that I use the e-cigarette instead of other products I had failed to quit smoking with in the past.
That they were significantly cheaper than nicotine patches or gum — which are highly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research — was a huge bonus, too.
When I had tried quitting with nicotine gum, I was shelling out something on the order of $10 to $15 for every 20 pieces of gum, or $0.50 to $0.75 for every single craving. It was more expensive than cigarettes! A pack of 20 cigarettes was still less than $10, even as highly taxed as they are in Northern Virginia. Cigarettes were costing me about $0.40 per craving.
In contrast, I could get a refillable e-cigarette — which can last several weeks depending on frequency of use — for about $25 and then the liquid for about $8 per canister.
Instantly, I noticed a huge difference. I wasn’t using the e-cigarette as much. Just a puff here or there satisfied my craving. Each canister of e-liquid lasted weeks, instead of days. Suddenly, my cost per craving was reduced to about $0.17.
This gave me two incentives to use the e-cigarette: save my life and save money. The gum I had tried could only claim one or two of these, but since it had failed so many times for me, really it could claim neither.
Now, I’m off the e-cigarette. Apparently just in time. The FDA has now stepped in with costly new regulations on e-cigarettes that will undoubtedly make them more expensive to purchase.
How perverse is that? The government — in a supposed bid to “save” lives — is guaranteeing through regulation to make it more expensive to purchase products, e-cigarettes, that can help save lives.
Perhaps the FDA is trying to pick winners and losers in the market. Maybe they think e-cigarettes are too cheap and the gum and patch makers are losing money. Who knows?
If the FDA was honest, instead of making e-cigarettes more expensive, they would get out of the way and allow for the markets to work — the way they worked for me.
What if the cost per craving on an e-cigarette gets higher than buying cigarettes? What will happen? For me, it took a few months to ween off the nicotine. But if it had cost more than the cigarettes cost, like the gum, perhaps I would not have persevered.
Again, this is not a scientific study or anything. Just my own personal experience. For whatever reason, this is the time I quit.
Perhaps it really was my fiancé nagging me. Or the monetary savings of the e-cigarette versus actual cigarettes. Or maybe, just maybe, for me, a smoker of 20 years, the e-cigarette was a more effective product.
And it saved my life.
Thank goodness I was able to finally quit smoking. And I didn’t even need a government-regulated product to do it. Perhaps that is why the FDA is moving in to stop e-cigarettes.
Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.