Newlyweds CA and Pao Goco were your usual smokers, lighting a cigarette whenever stress creeps in and they need a slight hit of nicotine for a quick fix. They had puffed and huffed cigarettes for more than a decade, during times of need and times of success.
For CA, a communication professional for a fast-fashion brand, it started out of mere curiosity, when she saw different packs of cigarettes readily available at her Singapore hotel back when she was in high school. What started out as curiosity suddenly turned into a habit.
“I usually smoke more when I go out with friends to catch up. It’s a form of socializing, and because I don’t drink, I compensate by smoking,” she says.
Pao, who works for an online marketplace, started smoking out of peer pressure.
“When I ended my career in collegiate basketball, it became a habit. Then, I started working, and I had my own money, so I smoked more freely without the guilt of using my parents’ money for my vice,” he says.
Both athletes, they noticed something different when smoking became a norm in their lives.
“Whenever I play football, I feel like I was slower compared to my teammates who don’t smoke. I get tired easily,” CA says.
The same is true for Pao.
“I noticed that from the time I was an athlete in college, the dip in energy was there. It might be a sign of aging, but I feel like it’s because of smoking as well,” he shares.
Pao also suffered from smoker’s cough, a condition that is best describe as a coughing paired with wheezing and crackling noises that come from the phlegm buildup in the throat.
“The feeling is like you are very thirsty in the morning, and you chronically cough after you wake up. It wasn’t pleasant at all,” Pao says. “I had to look for a better option.”
These negative effects, coupled with what they describe as repulsive smell of post-cigarette smoke, made them search for better alternatives for nicotine fixes.
“Because I was reliant to nicotine, I started looking for alternatives to smoking. First, I tried the big vapes, but then I didn’t have the patience to change the coil. Then, I tried the pen-type vape, but it wasn’t as satisfying as smoking. Then, I tried the pod-type devices,” he says.
He stuck with the pod-type electronic cigarette because it gives him the satisfaction that comes from the nicotine content of smoking that he wasn’t able to get from other types of e-cigarettes. Various studies have shown that smokers are able to quit successfully via e-cigs if the nicotine strength in the latter approximates that of conventional cigarettes.
It has been a year since he started using the device and now, he swears by it.
Pao was also able to convince his ex-girlfriend and now wife, CA, to shift to e-cigarettes.
“When I was still smoking cigarettes, I noticed that my skin became wrinkly and my nails sometimes turn yellow. My fiancé convinced me to stop because we’re getting married,” CA says.
She adds that since they got married earlier this year, they have decided that they want to have a child. CA became weary of the stories that she heard and personally witnessed about mothers bearing children with defects all because of smoking.
“I had officemates that had children that suffered from different birth defects such as late development, soft palate, and one was even deaf. The mothers were either smoking or were former smokers. I couldn’t shake it off my mind,” she says. “My doctor told me to prepare myself.”
CA notes that while she is using e-cigarettes today, when she gets pregnant she might decide to quit using the vaping device.
Not a walk in the park
Shifting to pod-type devices was almost easy for Pao, as he had tried other vaping devices in the past. But for CA, it was not exactly a walk in the park.
“It was a struggle at first. I didn’t know how to use it. My eyes watered the first time I used it, but Pao taught me, and I then learned it,” she says.
She quips that she had to continue using e-cigs, because she smells like burnt cigarette after a stick of conventional tobacco product.
“I can really smell myself, and since Pao shifted first, I can really say that he doesn’t smell like smoke at all,” she says.
Pao interjects jokingly: “I didn’t want to be near you because you stink.”
Aside from the taste and the nicotine fix that he gets from using the smoking alternative, Pao says the sleek design and convenience of using the product is what convinced him to stick with the device.
To use a the pod-type e-cigarette, one only needs to have a fully-charged device and a pod of salt nicotine juice. The pod will be attached to the device and the user can start vaping.
“It’s very handy—it’s even thinner than a normal USB device. It has a sleek design and it’s very convenient. It doesn’t leave a foul smell after usage,” CA adds.
Since they shifted to pen-type vape products, both Pao and CA had seen improvements in their lives.
“My smokers cough was gone. I don’t have a raspy voice now, and the little things that smoking did to me slowly found their way out of my body,” Pao says.
CA says she felt different after quitting smoking, and noticed that her body is now more active than before.
“My lungs used to feel heavy and my chest a bit sore when I was still smoking. But now, I feel lighter and cleaner,” she explains.
Convincing others to shift
Pao and CA were so convinced that they made the right choice to switch to the smoking alternative that they started persuading their friends to quit smoking and start vaping.
“A lot of our closest friends and family have switched already,” Pao says.
For CA, people should consider new alternatives to see improvements in their lives.
“They should switch because it’s going to be very different lifestyle after the switch and at the same time, the switch should be wholeheartedly. It cannot be half-hearted,” she says.