Cabaero: Confessions of a vape buyer

Nini Cabaero

THAT’S what I was, a buyer. I bought on separate occasions a total of four vape units, those electric cigarettes that they say mimic real smoking.

I was (past tense) a smoker. Got introduced to smoking in college dormitory, then became a regular when I started as a journalist. Smoking seemed to be part of the paraphernalia for work or so I thought.

I was never a heavy user, just a pack for every five days, but smoking became that habit of puffing at a lighted cigarette every few minutes while writing.

I bought my first vape or e-cigarette even before vaping became a fad, as I was about to leave for studies in the United States. I knew the campus-city banned smoking and the apartment assigned to me was strictly no-smoking. I vaped but not even consistently because I felt cold most of the schoolyear and smoking my favorite menthol cigarette did not help.

I lost my first vape to a pickpocket. My second vape I ordered online in the US. It is bejeweled and a beauty to look at and touch but it remains seldom used. I’m not really into vaping; it was either I smoke or not. No vaping in between. I decided on not. I still have my bejeweled vape as a souvenir of my sabbatical.

The third I bought here and which I promptly donated to someone who wanted to quit smoking. And the fourth and last vape purchase I still have but is untouched. I’m thinking of using the heating component as a power bank or portable charger because it has that function too.

I quit smoking not because I had a vape to wean me away from my habit. I quit the same way most smokers quit. I got sick and I was told I may have to undergo an expensive procedure that could wipe out my savings.

I never liked the vape and using what sellers call the “juice” or liquid that turns to vapor when heated by the device. Who would want to smoke strawberry-flavored or bubble gum-flavored cigarettes? And the amount of vapor users blow is exaggerated. I used to swish cigarette smoke away. Why would I want to blow a thick spray into someone else’s air space when vaping?

Central Visayas saw the first case of electronic cigarette or vape-associated lung injury (Evali) in the country. A girl, 16, was hospitalized and had to stay under intensive care briefly. She had a cough for several days, difficulty breathing, then was declared in respiratory distress at the emergency room.

Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said those using electronic cigarettes or other vaping products have to stop. “If you are currently using electronic cigarettes, you are at great risk for Evali. Ask your doctor about the best ways to quit and stay away from its aerosol emissions,” he said.

I join that call and the move to review the operations of vape sellers. The sprouting of vape cafes or rooms where users mingle in a closed space where they breathe each other’s vapor could also be looked into by authorities.

The first Evali case involving a minor is a sign there is need to act beyond issuing calls to quit vaping.