The writer Leo Tolstoy once, in his savage indictment on the institution of marriage by way of his novella The Kreutzer Sonata, said that both marriage and cigarettes were extremely similar in the sense that they were both terrible habits that one couldn't kick.
Tolstoy himself found it hard to give up cigarettes all his life and if my memory serves me correctly, his biographer Rosamund Bartlett said that he never quite kicked it.
Tobacco smoking is something that I absolutely loathed and hated the first time I tried it but which twenty eight years later I have a complicated relationship with. I loathe it, I love it. I loathe it, no really I do, but ah, I love it. The sting of a cigarette, the small groups of outlaws that band together to smoke, the behind the curtain at that fancy hotel in West Hollywood smoking, the intimate conversation over a cigarette. Then there is the loaning out of cigarettes which starts a conversation, the borrowing of a lighter, the handing back of a lighter, the can I now borrow a cigarette and of course the 'we've run out of cigarettes, who wants to come in the car to go get more' followed by a private conversation. Those who smoke know or understand the same world created by cocaine users who make small and private spaces and close and open worlds to people depending on how the evening goes.
But vaping must be a God send to tobacco companies who have changed course and those who entered the space early, because it takes away a great deal of the smell and stigma attached to traditional tobacco smoking. And though that private little culture that had developed around the naughtiness of tobacco smoking was still somewhat of a draw card to those that still wanted to spark up, for those of us who had succumbed to vaping, within a few weeks it seemed so last century.
Wallet, keys, phone, vape. Let's go. That's how it was appealing. These new vapes made it that other little accessory to add into your world. Coupled with the knowledge that you could now dispense marijuana in these things (I have not yet had the pleasure of trying this) and knowing that somewhere in Colombia a lab scientist was figuring out how you might vape cocaine in a year or two ... forgive my ignorance if it's already available on the dark web.
It is a game changer. It normalises smoking. It gives it a new way of being okay... I have read the John Hopkins breakdowns - basically a traditional cigarette has 7000 chemicals in it, vaping is for the most part nicotine and water (though it's unclear what other chemicals are also used). A heating coil and what appears to be a gel like liquid which is heated by a coil and turned into a vapour through the power source, a stick like battery, is all that seems to be happening. The drug nicotine still remains just as addictive as cocaine or heroin, but, on first glance, it's delivery mechanism seems to be far less toxic.
Let's assume that the vapes are indeed what they say there are, less toxic instruments to deliver nicotine, what then are the other benefits of using them?
In my opinion they are as follows. I feel obliged to smoke a whole cigarette once I light it. By contrast, I can draw on a vape whenever I choose. I don't need to open the windows or go outside to vape. I can carry the equivalent of four packets of cigarettes without a noticeable bulge in my suit or trouser jacket. I can give someone a refill and we can share the device without having each others slobber all over it. There are many flavours I can try. My lungs feel lighter. I don't have to cough and splatter. I don't get bronchial. I can kiss a woman without smelling like an ashtray. I don't have a terrible hangover the next morning. I can keep one at the office, in the car, in my bedroom if needs be because the amount I used to spend on cigarettes was becoming ridiculous.
I estimate that on average when I was smoking regularly I would have spent (given that a packet of 20 cigarettes in Australia is currently $35AUD) an average of $3640AUD a year not including the blow out periods such as the silly season. By contrast Juul costs approximately $80.00AUD and the landed price of refills is roughly $10AUD a pop. So you could bring your average yearly spend down to $600AUD in my opinion or else $1000AUD if you were to stretch it out.
Unfortunately, and because it is unclear as to the legality of some of the cartridges I used I am not willing to tell you which website I purchased these on or which shop in Sydney I bought the Myle from.... suffice to say that if you know me well you can Whatsapp me.
Finally I wish to tell you about the two models I tried and why.
On entering one shop in Sydney I was told the Juul (which I had seen in Switzerland in January) was out of stock and that they only ran a brand called Myle. I asked what was the difference and the store clerk said the Myle was better... I'm sure it was...
So here are my thoughts:
1. Myle - truthfully I like the slightly bigger size than the Juul. The flavours available are perhaps not as good as the Juul but the device seems to pack a bigger battery life plus a three light display for your batter power. The other great thing is that the Myle requires only a direct plug in with a micro USB power source which means you can use all your old cables to have a charge port wherever you go. The device also comes in some seriously chic designs like rose gold.
2. Juul - it has the sort of street cred where you feel compelled to buy it plus it is very slim and discreet. It also comes with creative flavours like Cafe Latte and Cucumber. But; it has one terribly annoying and impractical aspect and that is you need to dock it in their own usb charge dock in order to recharge and that means you are a moment away from letting that little sucker fall down and drain pipe or fall down some crevice between your car seat and centre console and you will be cursing the brand and it's designers all day long.
Other than that, the devices pretty much operate in the exact same manner. So determing which one will be Android and which one will be Apple is not immediately apparent. One thing is for sure, the Myle packs that Android feel of like 'we will make this cross platform compliant' whereas already the Juul has that feeling of Apple - if you want to use our sleek design we will make it hard for you to leave us...
I hope one day to kick totally the habit of smoking and vaping. It's really not healthy to consume nicotine in my opinion, and I think Tolstoy had a point. But if I am going to stay dosing myself I know which delivery method I would prefer. So, for the time being I am vaping my life away.