Trying to describe the difference between using Blu and using Totally Wicked's Tornado is like trying to describe the difference between a light snack and a full meal. The Tornado is about as close as you can get to actual smoking in terms of vapor and nicotine, easily as much of both as you get from any tobacco cigarette.
While I still find myself leaning it as upright as possible when I'm not using it for maximum efficiency, I get a good solid drag just about every time unless it's time to refill. In addition, the flavor seems to come through more cleanly with the Tornado than it does with Blu. In short, it's nice for a change to find a product that does exactly what it's supposed to do.
The truth is that I bought the Tornado starter kit on the advice of the people at the Totally Wicked forum. Originally I was going to go with the Titan, a slightly cheaper model, but I was convinced to go with the better version and I'm happy I did. One of the many things I learned reading the forum is that there's a special kind of blue foam used in fish tank filters which works very well as batting in e-cigarettes because it holds a lot of juice. There's even a site which sells bags of this foam in pieces precut to the right size. I ordered a few bags of these and using them does extend the time between needed refills significantly.
Another thing I've begun doing is expanding my palate, and this, I've found, is where the real fun comes in. There are literally hundreds of different flavors of juice available sold by dozens of different companies, but besides the five rather basic flavors that were included in the Blu starter kit, I'd only tried Totally Wicked's Marlboro copy flavor, the generic tobacco flavor of the cartridges that came with the Tornado starter kit, and the Patriot Range Cherry Cigar flavor I'd ordered along with the kit.
This time, I decided to go a little off-the-reservation and ordered a cryptically-named flavor from Totally Wicked, "State Express", and a couple of others from another company called e-SmokeyTreats, coffee (which was recommended to me... not bad but a little too sweet for me) and cola (which I just took a shot on... erm, not one I'll be reordering). I've just received an order from Ms. T's (peanut butter, coffee, both great) which offers bakery-themed flavors, and many more.
You're really flying blind until you get a little experience, so as with the hardware, do your homework if you plan to order. Ask around, read and watch reviews, don't be afraid to follow popular recommendations and take a few chances. Very often you'll luck out, as I did with the wonderfully smooth and nutty State Express and the flavors from Ms. T's, my current favorites.
So, Can An E-Cigarette Really Help You Quit Smoking?
The answer is yes, but also no. It really depends on the smoker. What I'm discovering is that because I'm enjoying the flavor of the vapor more than cigarette smoke I'm becoming more and more inclined to get my nicotine that way and as a result I'm smoking far fewer cigarettes. This can and eventually will replace tobacco smoking for me and of course that's a very good thing. What I'm not yet sure about and I suppose I'll find out over time is whether or not vaping can get me off nicotine as well. In all honesty, I'm really in no big rush. I'm well on my way toward accomplishing my major goal, quitting tobacco smoking, and for now, that's enough.
In a way, the convenience of using an e-cigarette is actually a detriment to successfully quitting tobacco smoking, at least for me. One of the deterrents to cigarette smoking for me is having to get up from whatever it is that I'm doing and go outside to do it. With vaping I need only reach for my Tornado and take a few drags whenever I feel the urge. No muss, no fuss, and no deterrent whatsoever.
Yet paradoxically there are times, particularly first thing in the morning and just before bedtime, when the urge for a cigarette, not necessarily the nicotine craving as much as the desire to get up, go outside, and smoke for a few minutes, remains hard to resist and when I most often find myself giving in.
So for me answering this question is still a work in progress and probably will be for some time, as these things so often are. Of course, there's also the question of whether switching from smoking to vaping credibly counts as quitting smoking. I suppose it depends on whether you define quitting smoking as completely discontinuing the behavior or only discontinuing (most of) the negative side-effects of that behavior.
And once I truly am a full-time vaper and off cigarettes completely, will I then quit vaping? That's still the plan at this point, but that's going to take some time. The flip side to vaping being more enjoyable than smoking is that it'll be probably that much harder to give up when the time comes, and in all honesty, I'm not really sure I want to.
If there's anything the experience of trying to quit smoking seven times previously has taught me it's that chemicals and technology alone will not see me through this. It's also about having the willpower to use these things as tools, not crutches. How far I go with it and where I eventually find myself are the potential topics of perhaps another piece down the road, but for now it seems that I'm going to be vaping for at least the immediate future.
Success? Maybe, maybe not. Positive progress? Definitely. I am breathing better and my voice is stronger and richer-sounding. That's what I wanted most when I started this quest, and that's what I've gotten out of the deal. As for the rest of it, I suppose I'll just take it as it goes, and if it's interesting, maybe I'll blog about it.
To those of you who do smoke and are looking for a way to quit, I suggest you check this out. I can't imagine that it'll work for everyone, but it's working for me, and hey, one thing I can promise you is that vapor that tastes like peanut butter cups or coffee is a lot more tasty than any tobacco cigarette you're smoking right now. That's the best part of this: it's not what most quit smoking aids are, poor alternatives to tobacco, it's an alternative that's actually better and cheaper than smoking.
Maybe that's the real answer to how to quit tobacco smoking after all, not to make do with a poor substitute but rather to move on to a better and far less unhealthy alternative. It's the only thing that's never been tried: a quit-smoking aid that's actually a more pleasant, satisfying, and healthier alternative to a cigarette. The politicians will no doubt be all over this in short order to defend their donations from Big Tobacco, so get in now before e-cigarettes and the industry are legislated and over-regulated out of existence by Big Tobacco defenders in Washington and in state capitals around the country.
The more support that can be shown for a truly realistic alternative to tobacco smoking like vaping, the more difficult it will be to for the politicians to remain on the wrong sides of history, progress, and just plain common sense.
As for me, right now I'll admit I'm actually enjoying "smoking" for the first time in a long time, probably since I was a kid. It may prove even harder to quit vaping when the time comes, but eliminating tobacco smoke and all of its negative impacts from my life is a step in the right direction which I'm comfortable with for now.
Now, if I could just cut out those last few early morning and late night cigarettes....