When my father asked this man why he thought he had reached the age of 100, his answer was crystal clear: A minimum of 1 glass of red wine and some chewing tobacco every single day since he was 20 years old. Now, one could argue that the anti-oxidants in the wine had something to do with it. However, I think, and I'm sure he is nodding his head at me from whatever better place he is in now, that the fact that he really had allowed himself to enjoy life was the real reason he had lived this long. When he was 104 his body started getting weaker and it was difficult to live alone, so his family decided he should be in a retirement home. Probably against his will. Mentally he was still 110%, and he could tell stories both from yesterday and 90 years back. At his 100th birthday he even recognized me and my sister, only having seen us once or twice (we were like 10 and 13 years old at the time). After he moved to the retirement home however, my dad said he didn't look happy any more. He said the home was ok, but he couldn't always manage to smuggle in his wine and tobacco, and complained about all the old people there. He died a few months after he moved to the home.
So what is the point of me telling this story? Well, I started thinking about this man again now when I read about the FDA putting a value on the lost pleasure consumers may suffer from a ban on e-cigarettes (http://goo.gl/1ct5eA) and Dick Puddlecote's blogpost on the subject: http://goo.gl/tTxtOb9. The story above is a real life (and maybe extreme) example of what science also has shown: Happy people, that allows themselves to enjoy life, tend to live longer. (Loads of info on this on the internet, for example here: http://goo.gl/b6Yg8p). This leads me to think that switching to e-cigarettes has an advantage over other NRT products, and maybe oven over quitting without help, that is easily overlooked: It lets you keep the pleasure that you find in smoking. Of course when smoking cigarettes, the effect of this pleasure on your life span is negated by all the smoking related diseases you'll probably catch... and then some, but with e-cigarettes this is not the case. To quit smoking actually also has some side-effects that could make you unhappy. Weight gain is one common example (http://goo.gl/msykud), which may make you unhappy but is also not good for your health by itself. I don't have any science confirming this, but from my own experience, switching to e-cigarettes gave me no problems with increased hunger or weight gain. In fact when my lungs started healing I was able to loose 25 kilos, as I was able to run again.
The fact that we, as ex-smokers, take pleasure in vaping is largely responsible for the success of the e-cigarettes. It minimizes the chance of reverting to cigarettes, but maybe it also prolongs our lives compared to quitting by other means? I'm not saying one can't enjoy life without nicotine, but one of the reasons we were smokers once was that we enjoyed it. My dads old boss enjoyed a glass of wine, and it looks like this outweighed the negative effects that a little alcohol every day will have on your body. People take pleasure in different things and enjoy life in different ways. But whatever makes you happy (as long as it doesn't contain poisons that will negate this effect) might make you live longer, and most certainly it will make you live better. The FDA put a price on this, I'd say happiness is priceless. In fact, I might as well go ahead and admit it: I have no current plans on cutting down on my vaping... it's a pleasure I'll allow myself to enjoy, for the sake of my mental and physical health. Tonight I'm going to re-build my Hellfire dripper, whoop out some of my favourite e-liquid and just enjoy. I highly recommend you do the same. Have a nice weekend :)
photo credit: rpavich via photopin cc