I’ve been toying with this idea for a while. I’ve found that sharing a lot of vape specific stuff on my personal Facebook page overwhelms the people in my life that aren’t vapers. But on the flip side, the internet is littered with “reviewers”, “vape stars” and the illusive “vape models”. And I can’t rightly go on a long-winded diatribe on my Facebook as those non-vapers would be like “Um… Ok?”
So, Vape Church was born. First, let’s tackle the name. I am not mocking any religion. Churches, no matter what your beliefs, are universally known as places of peace. Places of comfort. Places that those of the church’s belief system can depend on for truth. That’s what this is. I want everyone to know this is a place of comfort. A place of peace. I want to simply state truths. Especially in these times, there are many negative stories tied to Vaping. The goal of this is to simply provide truth. I’m not here to develop myself into a star. I’m here, as anyone with a blog is, to simply share my thoughts. This is my outlet. And I appreciate you all (hopefully) enjoying it with me.
So, I feel a background on me is important. I live in Knoxville, Tennessee. I was born in Florida but raised here at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains. I began smoking at age 14. It was 100% to be “cool”. I had some older kids as neighbors and we’d trade for, swipe from our parents or cajole a “legal” to buy us cigarettes. We’d then meet after school at this little dead-end road that we nicknamed “The Crossroads”. Yes, it was totally inspired by Bone-Thugs-In-Harmony. ::shudder:: We’d lay out our stash and swap around. It was trading cards for cancer.
“I have 2 Benson and Hedges Lights and a Winston”
“I have a Marlboro Red (A Red) and a Newport”
“I’ll give you both B&H for A Red!”
And so-on and so-on. We’d light up and smoke the nasty things. We never had enough of one kind to become accustomed to the taste. They always tasted bad.
I met my one-day-best-friend around this time. We were acquaintances but shared a mutual friend that forced us to be around each other. My addiction continued into high school. But now, I could find people to actually buy a pack. Granted, those were the most expensive cigarettes I ever bought because favors aren’t cheap. But I continued putting money in Big Tobacco’s (BT) pocket. A tragedy with our shared friend brought myself and Phil together and from that point on, we were Lenny and Carl. I would assume he’d be pissed that I called him Carl, but I doubt he remembers that book. 🙂
On the weekends, we’d cruise Gatlinburg in his mothers van. Yeah ladies, the line forms over there. A gray Nissan Mini Van. And we’d smoke cigars or cigarettes. His mother, a non-smoker, would always find out because she smelled the inside of the car the next day. Phil would always blame me. But his mom never forbade him from hanging out with me.
When I turned 18, the first THREE MONTHS I was never carded for cigarettes. I smoked. I was a “cool kid” but it was even cooler to smoke random shit that no one else did. So I smoked Camel Wide Lights. They were hard as hell to find most of the time. The sweet Turkish blend (yeah… right) was my go-to daily sin. There were times when I didn’t have money to eat for a couple days. But I always had cigarettes. Let that sink in for a bit. To me, smoking was more important than eating. And if you’ve ever seen me, you know I like to eat.
I quit. A bunch. Once when I got really, really sick. Double pneumonia on top of weakened lungs from Asthma. Oh. I left that out, didn’t I? Yeah. The first couple months of my life were fun. My whole childhood was fun. Inhalers, breathing treatments, struggling to breathe at night while my mom held me up and let me sleep. I carried an inhaler with me until I was 30. So BT was getting their money, and so was Big Pharma (BP). The longest I ever quit was 10 months. I came out of the hospital and decided that’s it. They tasted like garbage and they hurt to inhale.
But I wanted one. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I modified my life. I stopped going to bars. I didn’t hang out in places where people smoked. Not because I was snooty about it, but because I knew that ONE evening and I’d slip right back.
I’m not sure what caused my relapse. That’s been many moons ago. But one day, enough was enough and after those first few gross tasting puffs, I was back! Any other attempts to quit were short lived. I tried the gum. It was disgusting and made me nauseous. I tried the patch. I came very close to rolling one up and smoking it. Maybe my skin wasn’t the right fit for the patch. Regardless, my Zippo was always full and my pack was never empty. I didn’t want to quit. I liked the hand-to-mouth. I liked the ritual of it.
Pack, pack, pack, pack.
Cellophane tears off
Flip one for the luck and the second for the… well, never mind that.
The Zippo made that nice “ca-ching” sound when you flipped the top
Spark. Fire. Inhale. Ahhhh.
I knew that it wasn’t good for me. But my argument with everyone who told me to quit was “You could get hit by a bus tomorrow and what would your healthy lungs help you do? Nothing.”
Coincidentally, this argument has now moved to those that tell me I should exercise.
I had no doubts that I was poisoning myself. I had no doubts that I was cutting my life expectancy. I had read the warnings. I had seen the commercials. But I didn’t care. I was addicted.
Fast forward a couple years to 2012. I was working in a call center. My boss, David, came up to me on a Friday and said “I’ve bought an e-cigarette.” Now, I wasn’t dumb to e-cigarettes. I’d seen the Blu kits at the Pilot. I’d seen the advertisements online for the monthly subscription service for the Greensmoke and such. Then David showed me his Ego.
What’s that? How’s it work? Where’d you get it?
He wouldn’t tell me anything. He said that I needed to research it and see what I could come up with on my own and the following Monday, he’d tell me where he got his and we’d compare that to what I had found. He said I had to dig deeper than the Blu and the Greensmoke.
Challenge accepted. I researched all weekend. I found a company online and the price tag of 2 Ego 600s, 2 Ego T Tanks (only seasoned vapers will even know those) a charger and a 10ml bottle of “Desert Ship” (Supposedly a Camel clone) set me back $80 bucks with shipping. We compared Monday what he had and what I’d bought. I eagerly awaited my package.
It arrived on a Friday. I charged it up and Saturday I began to vape. It was August. I watched Football. I vaped. I refilled the tank a couple times that day. The same followed on Sunday. It wasn’t until Sunday night that I realized I hadn’t smoked a single cigarette. I didn’t miss it. I liked the way the Desert Ship tasted (hint, it didn’t taste ANYTHING like Camels. It tasted like tea). I liked the geekiness of the electronic cigarette. I had “smoke”. I had hand-to-mouth. My addiction was being met with a force that stopped it cold.
I got in the car Monday to go to work and as usual, my cigarettes went into the door cup. I said to myself, “I’ll finish this pack and then I’ll just vape.”
I lit one.
It was HORRID.
Oh, this isn’t my love. This isn’t my best friend. I don’t want this.
And I was done.
(Side note: As I’ve been encompassed in this first entry, I’ve already hit 1300 words. I also killed an entire Arctic tank and just got a gnarly 55 watt dry hit.)
About 3 days in, my battery died in the middle of work and I had made the cardinal mistake of not taking my charger with me. I bummed a smoke off a girl at work. It was the worst choice possible. It was a Newport. I could not inhale. It was so bad that I just decided to deal with the nicotine withdrawal and wait until I got home. Those are the only cigarettes I’ve lit since I started vaping and I couldn’t stomach either of them.
The Vape Shop, where I work as the Manager Extraordinaire is in Knoxville. I manage the shop and keep the owner sane (mostly). Some customers have dubbed me the Modchanic since I have a penchant for fixing broken mods. But The Vape Shop has it’s own story and you may or may not know it. But it’ll get an entry soon, as we’re approaching our 2 year anniversary. You can find us at http://www.fb.com/thevapeshoptn
This August will be my 3 year Vape-aversary. And I’ve literally seen it all. I’ve seen the rise of rebuildables. I’ve seen the gasps of astonishment when a 20 watt device came out. I’ve seen the head shakes when we topped 300 watts. I’ve rebuilt protank coils. I’ve built every style of coil out there. I’ve had egos, mechs, VVs, VWs, Box mods, High wattage devices. RDA, RTA, Genesis tanks, and sub tanks. 14500. 16340. 18350. 18500. 18650. 26650. Two batteries. Three batteries. I am not surprised by anything anymore.
I’ll continue this spot for as long as I have time. I plan on having sections for different levels of vaping. New products. Coil builds. Maybe even a few product reviews.
My name is Mark Scofield. People call me Sco. You should too. I’m a vaper. I’m an ex-smoker. I’m proof that vaping works. Thank you for joining me here. We’ll talk soon.