These products contain synthetic nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.

Vape Responsibly Series 02 – Mikehla Duganieri

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Vape Responsibly Series 02

In our last Don’t Be an Ash-Hole post, Vape Responsibly Issue 01, we spent time talking with Ben Crouteau and learning about how he was able to successfully transition to vaping. Ben had been a long-time combustible tobacco smoker, and his gradual introduction to vaping helped him quit the habit entirely. His example helps reinforce the idea that vaping is one of the better options for smoking cessation

For this week’s Don’t Be An Ash-Hole post, we struck up a conversation with Mikehla Duganieri, a 23-year old vaper who had a history with smoking combustible tobacco. We found what she had to say very insightful and informative, so we hope you do as well. This was also a very timely conversation to have in the wake of the updates to the FDA vaping laws that are meant to promote responsible vaping


Q. What age did you start smoking cigarettes and how much did you smoke a day/week?

A. I was 13 years old when I started smoking cigarettes. I remember the first day that I smoked a cigarette. It was the middle of July. I was at a local park with some friends, and one girl asked me to hold her cigarette while she tied her shoe. Being a curious kid, of course, I smoked the cigarette. Little did I know, that was going to start a disgusting addiction. By the age of 17, I was a two-pack a day smoker of Marlboro Menthol 100s.

Q. How did you find vaping? What flavor helped you quit smoking?

A. One day I was walking to go see my dentist (it’s less than half a mile from where I live) when I walked by a shop that was advertising vapes. I was curious so I stopped. It didn’t really interest me though and kept walking. My dentist told me that I needed to quit smoking, and thought more about vaping. My 18th birthday, I went and purchased my first device. I bought a Kangertech EVOD pen with 24mg (2.4%) nicotine of a cherry-flavored e-liquid.

I immediately went to 18mg (1.8%) nicotine as the 24mg was too strong. A friend of mine convinced me to purchase a Sigelei 100w+ box mod and a tank and that day, I officially quit smoking cigarettes. I dropped my nicotine down to 6mg (0.6%) and was satisfied. 

I used and still use fruity flavored e-liquids. A few of my favorite brands are Keep It 100, Savage, THRST, TWST, Zuro’s, and Space Jam. I’m on a 3mg (0.3%) nicotine now, and cannot believe the difference vaping has made for me.

Q. How did vaping make you feel as opposed to cigarettes?

A. Initially, I began breathing better. Six months after I quit smoking cigarettes, I signed up for a local 5k that supports DIPG, or diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, which is a rare brain cancer. Now mind you, I had zero training, didn’t eat any better, nothing. I just wanted to support a good cause. It was $60 to sign up and I finished this 5k within an hour. When I was still smoking cigarettes, I wouldn’t have even bothered to attempt a 5k or even a one-mile walk.

Q. When did you quit smoking cigarettes and how has it affected your life now?

A. It has been five years since I’ve stopped smoking cigarettes. My health overall has increased. My doctors were concerned about my lungs as I have a condition called Vocal Cord Dysfunction–which can close my airway. They told me if I continued to smoke, this condition could get worse, and I could suffocate myself. Since I switched to vaping, none of my doctors are concerned. They congratulate me on staying smoke-free and believe that vaping is a great way to quit smoking while continuing to get nicotine.

Q. Do you have any advice to those that are currently cigarette smokers and want to make the switch?

A. For those who currently smoke cigarettes, please stop. You and I know the dangers of smoking. You have 7,000 chemicals inhaled on each cigarette. E-liquid contains vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, natural and artificial flavorings, and nicotine if you choose. Your body will thank you. Your home will thank you. Your washer and dryer will thank you. Your taste buds will thank you. Your family will thank you. Your friends will thank you.

It takes a lot of determination to quit smoking cigarettes, I know. Go into a local vape shop, have a discussion with the employees, and make the switch. You will be so glad that you made the switch. Your local vape shop isn’t just a vape shop, it’s your support system. It’s friends and family. As a vape shop manager, I don’t care how much money you spend in the store, as long as you have successfully quit smoking cigarettes, I’m happy. We want you to live a healthier life, and we want to support you.

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