Big Thanks to Jen for helping me get it written in a readable format I started smoking within the first week or so of Year 7. So would have been mid way through being 13 years of age when I started. The first week or two of smoking I was not really inhaling properly, being the typical kid smoking. Within the first month of smoking I was learning to blow smoke rings, bought myself a Zippo and was inhaling like a pro. By 14 my parents knew I was smoking and I was smoking before school, during recess and lunchtime, and after school. During the Christmas holidays at the end of year 7, I got a job at the local butcher shop and everyone there smoked. I could now fund my habit and was smoking a packet a day. My parents gave up trying to stop me smoking as they were no longer funding it. I had my brand, Marlboro Reds with the odd Camel filterless. By 16 I was smoking two packets a day and this continued for the years to come. My wife said she would quit by the time she turned 21 and did so with little issue. Even with me continuing to smoke two plus packs a day, which I did for many years after she stopped. I tried to quit a number of times but had no real interest or desire to stop. I was happy for a while to constantly have her in my ear about quitting. When I was about 25 I finally decided I was going to quit smoking. The real kicker which had me actually commit was when I was travelling and saw that in Singapore you could buy a month’s supply of smokes for less than what smoking cost me for 6 days in Australia. It was costing me a fortune here. I tried cold turkey, hypnotherapy, support groups like Smoke-Enders and finally Zyban. Zyban had really nasty side effects for me and I had to stop taking it. I’ve since realised that Zyban was originally a failed antidepressant that was found to lead mentally unwell people to stop smoking, so they changed the marketing of it. The bad side effects of Zyban for me are similar to the reactions I’ve had to all other antidepressants. After a few more unsuccessful attempts to quit I ended up getting really unwell, I was unable to smoke no matter how hard I tried to. It was physically impossible, that’s how sick I was. After a few days at home followed by roughly 10 days in hospital I was back on my feet and hadn’t had a cigarette during that time. I was over the hard bit of quitting and was smoke free for the next 10 years. The cravings for the physical habit of smoking never passed and the desire to smoke a cigar was constantly there. I resented that I had to give up as I loved smoking, but just could not justify the cost of smoking living in Australia. For the first 2 years being smoke free, I never touched a drop of alcohol as I knew the minute I got a bit tipsy the self control would not be there and it would only take one puff and I would be smoking again. Skip forward 10 years and I found my mental health, which was never great and had progressively gone downhill,suddenly took a major dive for the worse. My wife ended up having to call the white coats late one evening and I was admitted into the psych ward. Being on a locked ward it only took 24hrs and I was outside with every single other patient, smoking. I was not making good choices for my health and wellbeing and resuming smoking was just one of many. It only took one smoke and I had put an order in with the nursing staff for a packet of smokes when they next did a shop run for the patients who couldn’t leave the ward. Within a few days I was back to smoking two packs a day. For the next 12 months I continued to smoke, the financial drain on my family was significant. While smoking was not the only contributor, it was in the top three factors contributing to the family rapidly going into significant debt, with me no longer being able to work. The children who had never had either of their parents as smokers were now being exposed to my second hand smoke every time I walked back into the house from having had a smoke. I ended up, when briefly discharged from hospital, having to sleep in another room as the wife could no longer would put up with the smoke smell. Thankfully my wife said enough is enough; you either quit smoking or move out as I am not going to have you exposing the family to your second hand smoke and continue to bankrupt us. So the options you have are: quit smoking, leave the family, or try an electronic cigarette. Here is a link to an online store which has a shop just around the corner. You have one week or I am throwing you out. This was a Sunday night, and Tuesday after work, I walked into the vaping store. Walked out with my kit and some advice on where to source the nicotine e-juice. Thankfully I was able to get the nicotine ordered and it arrived on Friday. Within 24hrs I was 100% vaping. Threw out the barely touched packet of smokes Sunday evening, and to this day have not touched tobacco again. It has been a eye-opening 12 months since starting vaping as there is a large number of people I know that are smokers and I have not been able to convert them. The main reason is that they have very little understanding of e-cigs. When I explain how they work, they get very interested. They ask questions about the health risks and I explain to them the current research. They are now extremely interested in giving e-cigs a shot. Then as soon as I tell them they have to travel a large distance in most cases to find a brick and mortar store, or else purchase online they are significantly less interested. Once you explain the only place to buy the nicotine containing e-juice is on the internet it becomes far too hard for them. Some are also further put off as they are concerned about the legality of it all. Most people are not technically equipped for online ordering. Their internet skills are; if it is not possible using either the Facebook or Instagram app on their phone then it is above their skill level. What I also find extremely interesting and even more disappointing about the state of E-cigs in Australia, is the situation in the private hospital I was admitted to. The hospital has, in black and white in their policy, that e-cigarettes are banned. When I looked into the reasons for this, it is due to the fact that e-cigarettes are not endorsed or supported by the Australian Medical Association. The private hospital where I spent 90% of my time as a patient does not allow the use of e-cigarettes in the hospital. Nursing staff I spoke with about it said most of the private hospitals they work at are the same. During a recent admission after I had switched to vaping, I spoke with the General Manager and had it explained to me that it was purely a legal liability issue. As a voluntary psychiatric patient I had signed away my complete care to them during my stay, so they couldn’t allow me to vape because the health risks were unknown. If it was found that e-cigarettes were more harmful than tobacco smoking and they allowed me to vape after having signed my care over to them, I could potentially sue them and it was not a legal risk the hospital board would take. Tobacco smoking was a known published health risk, and it would be impossible in the current environment for me to successfully sue them for any harm from tobacco smoking while I was an inpatient. Until e-cigs were medically endorsed by the Australian Medical Association, the hospital’s legal department have banned the use of e-cigarettes by patients along with, non prescribed narcotics, alcohol, non prescribed natural remedies, driving an automobile, etc ,etc, the very long list goes on. So that is my story.