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My letter to the FDA

rbaker1009rbaker1009 Posts: 1,268Member
I started smoking at 13.

I hated the taste but thought it made me look cool, rebellious and grown up. My parents smoked and when they occasionally caught me they were upset but the punishment was light.

From a very early age I was always an athlete. I backpacked for days and played football, baseball, racquetball. I lifted weights, raced dirt bikes and had very physical jobs, all while smoking. I was a perfectionist and in the back of my mind I always knew I'd quit smoking someday. I kept smoking through my 20's and tried to quit a many times unsuccessfully. I set a hard goal of quitting on my 30th birthday. This was something I was sure I could do because what I put my mind to got accomplished, willpower was never lacking.

On my 30th birthday I quit, cold turkey. I was extremely irritable and my fiancé, supportive at first, said after 6 months "smoke already your miserable." I do not blame her. I was craving cigarette's and no fun to live with, smoking calmed my type A personality. I started smoking again. I felt pathetic for being so weak.
I continued to be an athlete and had added running to my competitive racquetball and tennis routines. I ran 6 miles a day 6 days a week all while continuing a 1-2 pack a day habit. I'd light a cigarette right before I ran and right after. I was continually teased about it.

In my early 30's I started a rewarding business career which was high stress, high pressure and high responsibility. My image began to matter more and more. Again, I wanted badly to quit and started trying everything available to quit. Nothing worked. I had found success in life but was failing badly at stopping the thing that would kill me.

Business travel became constant for me. I hated sneaking out of hotels, business meetings, conferences, resorts and my offices to smoke. I was often with business associates who didn't know I smoked. If anyone I associated with smelled it on me or saw me it was always "I didn't know you smoked you don't seem like the type!." I really wasn't the type. Several long flights every single week year after year were an exercise in planning when and where I was going to smoke. It was exhausting hiding smoking, I felt like a pariah with a dual life. I was highly motivated to quit.
More and more I was aware the clock was ticking. Though I never experienced any shortness of breath and was continuing athletics at a high level, I did start to feel symptoms. My mouth and throat became sore, I was having pronounced heart palpitations and developed a dry persistent cough. A feeling of stupidity was always on my mind. My physician had been after me for 17 years to quit. He was educating me constantly on the horrors of what he see's. EKG's came out normal. Repeated lung function tests showed strong lung function but I knew instinctively that the news would sooner or later be bad. My Mother was diagnosed with COPD from 50 years of smoking, her symptoms are bad and I knew I was headed to the same fate. My cough and heart palpitations were beginning to really scare me. I sensed my mortality.

Repeatedly I kept trying to quit with Nicorette, patches, nasal inhalers, lozenge's, therapy and numerous other methods. Everything else about my lifestyle was healthy. I was on a USTA tennis team and playing competitive racquetball but could not stop smoking. I had come to the conclusion that if I could just get past my high pressure business career I might be able to quit. Finally, I retired at 49 and quit with Nicorette gum. Nicorette caused shooting pains down my arms, made my jaw sore and made me sneeze uncontrollably but fear kept me using it. All of a sudden after 4 years of not smoking I found myself smoking again. Completely horrified I screamed, no way am I doing this again!

I bought an electronic cigarette and found it satisfied my nicotine addiction like no other smoking cessation product had. It is 4 and a half years later and I have not touched tobacco in any form. I feel terrific. No cough, no heart palpitations, no sore mouth or throat, no negative consequences whatsoever. Meanwhile my Mothers COPD gets worse and worse, killing her while she continues to smoke. Addiction to tobacco is so strong will power alone is very seldom enough. Electronic cigarettes cannot save my Mother, it is too late for her, but they can save me and millions desperate to quit .

I implore any FDA decision maker who may read this to empathize with the smoker and consider how you may impact the companies we depend on. We know what we are doing to ourselves. Often we feel pathetic because many have tried everything and still could not stop. Please help insure that the best alternative ever created to one of society's worst heath problem remains available.

Electronic cigarettes and other nicotine vaping devices are the most powerful smoking cessation tool available today. Society benefits greatly from this effective alternative to tobacco. Restricting adult access would be devastating to millions of us who have been desperate for a viable solution.

Ron Baker


  • Navy20Navy20 Posts: 1,217Member


    Great letter, Thank You for sharing.

    Your last two (2) paragraphs is a sentiment I am sure hits home with all that vape.

    I want to believe that in time, Vaping will be looked upon as something that is indeed accepted by the masses as an effective alternative to "smoking".

  • SelcienSelcien Posts: 69Member
    You know, I've always wondered why people who were physically active would smoke, it never made sense to me, so I appreciate getting your perspective on this.
  • samanthasamantha Posts: 3,553Administrator, Moderator admin
    This is awesome! We need more folks to send in letters like this @rbaker1009
  • MSmith447MSmith447 Posts: 255Member
    This is great. More of us need to do this. Myself included. Keep on fighting the good fight... otherwise, before we all know it, all of our rights will be taken. 
  • Andries_V2cigsAndries_V2cigs Posts: 680Administrator admin
    Thanks for sharing this... great letter. 
  • David1886David1886 Posts: 636Member
    My situation with quitting was similar to you I started smoking at 17 also started with 1 pack a day and as the years passed increased to 2 packs a day I also attempted to quit dozens of times with patches and other methods without success I am now 60 and finally found out about e-cigarettes in 2011 and from day 1 have not touched an analog cigarette and found an almost immediate improvement in my health and lung capacity.

    The southern hemisphere has been very slow with accepting e-cigarettes my county Australia is finally starting to agree that they are a safer alternative to analog with V2 Australia the only company allowed to sell liquid with nicotine but only have a limited range compared to V2 USA and now with the reduced shipping rates thanks to @Andries_V2cigs will start purchasing again from V2 USA as there is a much grater range of hardware and accessories not available in Australia.

    The New Zealand government has finally approved e-liquid stores with nicotine from the start of 2018
  • SelcienSelcien Posts: 69Member
    rbaker1009 said: ...
    Restricting adult access would be devastating to millions of us who have been desperate for a viable solution.
    Yes indeed. Thanks to Indiana pulling their nonsensical stunt back in 2016 I ended up smoking again rather than try to figure out what, of my limited choices, would work for me, if any.

    I found out only this past week that things have changed, quickly placed an order with V2 for two bottles of menthol, pleasantly surprised that they had a VG version of it, and also placed an order with another retailer that I had wanted to try but couldn't.

    On the plus side I've learned not to cut down on nicotine levels too soon, on the down side I get to try quitting smoking all over again all while having to listen to some people at work tell me just how bad vaping is, those very same people make absolutely no comments in regards to smoking which is known to be very bad, go figure.
  • LynnInCALynnInCA Posts: 46Member
    I started smoking (stealing my mother's cigarettes) in high school.  That was in the mid 60's (yep, I'm a senior citizen).  In spite of the fact that I was also very athletic and involved professionally in the scuba diving industry for 40+ years, all attempts to quit my 2+ packs/day were futile... absolutely nothing worked.  But I hated that I was "addicted."  And it was becoming more and more costly!

    Then I discovered that cigarettes were cheap if ordered from the American Indian tribes.  For years I ordered 6 cartons of Tareyton at a time from the tribes, and then in 2011 (or 2012) it became "illegal" to transport cigarettes -- and all the tribes were put out of the cigarette business.

    Enter V2.  I placed my first order in June 2012.  Pre-filled Red carts, a few batteries, a charger, etc.  With  my very first "puff" I said to myself:  *THIS CAN WORK!!!"  And it did!!!  Since my very first order, I haven't even had one puff of a cancer stick.  From DAY ONE, I didn't miss my Tareytons -- not even one bit.  But I am committed (and, yes -- addicted) to PG Red 1.2 with EX blanks.  When necessary I stealth vape regularly (I tend to be somewhat of a chain vaper).  I am a HUGE fan of vaping (and V2 of course).  And I don't stink anymore!!! LOL.

    BTW, in 2015 the tax man caught up with me about all my "tax free" tribal cigarette purchases that I made over the years.  I can't recall exactly what I had to pay, but it was HEFTY (about $1,200 if memory serves).  Therefore, you can imagine that I get a tad nervous when I think that our "government" might want to get invoived in this WONDERFUL e-cig industry.  I'm sure that the tobacco industry has taken a big hit since vaping has become so popular.

    Thank you V2!!!!!
  • samanthasamantha Posts: 3,553Administrator, Moderator admin
    We're looking for more letters like this if anyone on the V2 Forum would like to write and submit them to the FDA in support of fair regulation of vape devices: https://www.fda.gov/tobaccoproducts/labeling/productsingredientscomponents/ucm456610.htm
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