Vaping / e-cigarettes

So I mentioned electronic cigarettes, or personal vaporizers (PVs for short) yesterday, so I figured I’d spend a little time explaining, for those who may be unfamiliar with the devices.

I’m not going to spend too much time talking about what a PV is, or how they work. Those topics have been well covered, some examples are here, here, and here. In essence, an electronic cigarette works by vaporizing a solution of nicotine, flavoring, and either Propylene Glycol (PG) or Vegetable Glycerin (VG), called e-liquid. This creates a water vapor that’s inhaled by the user. This results in an act that looks and feels like smoking, “smoke” exhalation and all.

Now, some people are offended by PVs just like they’re offended by traditional (or “analog”) cigarettes, which can be explored philosophically at a later time. The interesting thing, though, is that PVs are (arguably) harmless.

I want to stress the use of the word “arguably” a second ago – there is a lot of debate about PVs right now. The FDA has tried to pull the devices as drug delivery devices. Currently, the courts have ruled that they are to be regulated as tobacco products, easing the immediate possibility of FDA regulations. There is much discussion about this, you can hit up Google for the narrative, or you can look at a few examples here, here, here, and here.

There are many discussions about the safety of the devices as well, with an FDA report published after testing some low quality imported e-liquids and finding some potentially dangerous compounds. The School of Public Health at Boston University, however, found that there was nothing to worry about. The point of all this is that the contents of the e-liquids certainly demand further study. Personally, I believe, if nothing else, electronic cigarettes are far less bad for you than a traditional tobacco cigarette. This opinion comes from the understanding that nicotine, while an addictive and somewhat toxic alkaloid, is not currently known to be a carcinogen. The carcinogens found in tobacco cigarettes are largely due to additives. We consume pretty much everything in an electronic cigarette liquid daily – PG and VG are bases for many food products we consume, the flavoring is (so far as I have found) food-grade natural and artificial flavoring, and nicotine is also found (in varying quantities) in other members of the nightshade family of plants, such as tomatoes and eggplant.

Does all this mean that vaping, the term coined for using a PV, is safe? Not necessarily. Given current evidence, though, it is stripping arguably all of the carcinogens out of the activity. But PVs warrant further study. Also remember that the addictive substance in a cigarette is still nicotine, which is delivered by a PV.

With all that said, I am a big proponent of electronic cigarettes. Smoking is a very tough habit to kick – I know. I’ve tried to quit a number of times in my life (once for 3 years), and have managed to fall back on smoking every time. PVs are not, however, a smoking cessation aid. It is an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes. In other words, if you don’t smoke now, don’t start smoking, and equally, don’t start vaping. But vaping has been very good to me. I feel much like I have after a few months of not smoking (comparing to previous attempts). I no longer have a classic smoker’s cough, I can breathe better, my senses of smell and taste improve a little more each day.

I’m also vaping indoors, as the water vapor exhaled from a PV is not riddled with tar and other nastiness. It often smells much like the flavor I’m vaping (peanut butter cup, pomegranate, and green tea are some of my current favorite flavors), and that aroma dissipates very quickly. No longer do I (or my clothes or surroundings) smell like an ashtray.  Vaping smells much, much better!

Perhaps, in time, I’ll drop the vaping habit as well, but in the mean time, I’m enjoying the fact that I’m not shivering out in the freezing cold just for a smoke, and I’m relishing the fact that I’m not winded so easily (I’m still way out of shape, but that’s a whole different discussion!).

If you smoke, I personally recommend that you look into vaping as a less-bad-for-you alternative. It can be a little intimidating at first, I’ll start posting about some of the different vendors and products with which I have experience, and the comments and email are always good ways to be inquisitive!


A New Year

And hopefully that means I can start working a little harder on this blog. I never make any guarantees, but it’s possible 🙂

This past year has been a wild ride. Professionally, I got out of consulting and joined VMware Education so I can teach full-time. There were changes internally shortly after I joined that changed my perspective about that a little – ultimately good, once the dread of change washed over me and passed. Essentially, it means I’m much more busy with class delivery, which I am very much good with.

Personally, I have tried (very unsuccessfully) to help my better half sell her house. The problem we ran into is that we just can’t compete with bargain-basement prices on foreclosed homes in the area. We’re going to have to continue on carrying two households until the real estate market resolves itself. How long will that be? Your guess is as good as mine!

I also stopped smoking analog cigarettes this year thanks to personal vaporizers (also known as PVs or electronic cigarettes). Sure, anti-smoking folks still see them as terrible as analog cigarettes, but if you check out this study, there’s evidence mounting that PVs most definitely less bad for everyone. Being a longtime smoker, I’m used to the anti-smoking vitriol, and still saddened that it’s become a moral crime. I’ll be talking, from time to time, about my vaping hobby/habit, so if you’re unfamiliar with PVs, feel free to ask questions!

I broke down and jumped in with the iPad crowd, and I can’t be happier. I use my laptop less and less frequently these days because of it. Expect more to come on that front as well.

As for the next calendar year, well, we’ll see. I tend to not set too many specific goals right away, thanks to the ease of becoming overwhelmed. Professionally, I’m gunning for my VCAP-DCA and VCAP-DCD this year. 25% of that goal was passed on 12/30 when I actually sat the DCA exam. Work was driving me to that, as I will have to be DCA certified to continue to teach the vSphere Troubleshooting and Performance classes. I should hear shortly as to my DCA fate. The DCD certification is more of a preemptive strike, as it would make sense that we will begin to require it of our instructors to continue to deliver the Design Workshop, which I also currently teach. When I get the results from the DCA, I’ll post more about it and my experiences.

On the personal front, we’re trying our hands at the property rental game, just to offset the cost and vacancy of Jen’s house. Maybe we like it, maybe we run screaming into the night after the first lease expires. We’ll just have to see.

I’d say this blog will be changing, but that would be redundant, as it never particularly coalesced into anything over the course of the past year. So maybe I can get this blogging thing nailed down this year!

Thanks for reading!