Peer pressure and curiosity drive many people to start smoking. But they also seek a sense of community and a way to reduce anxiety.
"I probably would have quit earlier if vejping had been available" says Micke Bodén, one of thousands of vejpers in Sweden. He and several others answered Vejpkollen's questions about smoking and e-cigarettes.
In the context of an article on young people and vejpning asked Road studs some questions on our largest Swedish e-cigarette forums on Facebook.
How old were they when you started smoking? Why did you start? And would you have followed the current trend and chosen e-cigarettes instead, if possible?
We also wondered whether nicotine itself played a role in the decision to start smoking?
Here are the answers! Uncensored except for a light spell check. Note that the word "vejp" is spelled slightly differently here and that's ok, because the language belongs to the writer.
Swedish vejpare tells us:
"Would definitely have started vejpa instead. If vejpning had existed, back then"
"I'm not so sure, it's been a while since I started smoking and I've never really disliked it. At that time it was cool. I don't know if I ever thought it was cool with the 1TP9 thing or heard that my kids have said that. Maybe I should also mention that none of them have done any of it yet, and they are 26 and 16 years old.
"Difficult question! I'm 39 so I guess I count as older. I probably would not have had the money to buy a vejp, so I would probably have smoked anyway. But it depends a bit. Maybe it would have been really lame to smoke and then I probably wouldn't have done any of it, which I now in retrospect really wish I had done."
"Wow, I started smoking so long ago. It's impossible to know if I would have started vejpa instead, but I don't think so. The reason I started was kind of peer pressure and curiosity. But I definitely would have quit smoking earlier if vejping had been around then. I tried to quit smoking many times but nothing worked in the long run until I found vejping 5 years ago."
"I had not started vejpa instead of smoking. I was just 'the kid', cigs were easy to steal had it not been so easy to come across a vape and access to juices. But very likely I would have switched to vape much earlier."
"Probably had vejpat instead, it was not good with cigarettes, but cool. I'm 65 years old"
"Now there are age limits and so on both vejp and cigarettes, so it would have been harder to start with both. I started smoking when I was 13 years old"
"I am 24 years old and started vejpa partly for health, partly for all the good flavours! Smoked cigarettes from 17 to 21/22 years.
"I probably would have started smoking anyway (I'm 60 years old). Started smoking to be cool, it was a bit "tough" to hang out in the smoking area, even though you were just unsure. I think it's the same problem even today; that teenagers start smoking as some kind of security. Because it didn't taste good in the beginning when you smoked. Vaping becomes the solution later, when you want to stop smoking and it tastes good too!"
'I started smoking in a boarding school, under pressure. Everyone else smoked and was cool. I was 16 years old. Stopped smoking because of fear when an X-ray found a spot on my lung. (However, it was "only" traces of pneumonia). The vape was what allowed me to quit. Countless times I have tried to quit with plasters, sprays, chewing gum etc without success. I didn't just have an addiction, I enjoyed smoking. After 5 years without a cigarette, I can still "feel" the flavour of a freshly lit cigarette when someone lights one (and shortly afterwards think it smells like sewage). Hopefully I would have chosen the vejp if it had been available in the 80's."
"I started smoking when I was 12 to be tough, stopped 6 years ago and started vaping. I am 57"
"Started vejpa 5 years ago after smoking since I was 14 years old. Felt it was the only solution to get away from cigarettes. Quit during the day and haven't had a single cigarette craving. The best thing I ever did. Tried just for fun to take a puff on a cigarette 2 years ago and said "never again". Love my vejp and feel great."
"If vejp had been available when I was ten years old and started smoking, I would have chosen vejp every time! I am 49 now"
"I got tired of the stink and the impracticality of the place + lots of cigarette butts."
'I started smoking when I was 12 or 13. I don't know why. Probably to feel "adult". Had to stop in autumn 2011 when I was 33, due to a severe cold and was looking for an alternative (snus is not possible?). Read about e-cigarettes, became curious and ordered an ego-t for fun. No real good model at all, but it worked for me and I was happy with it. The highlight of that time was when the boss came to me and told me that people were complaining about me "smoking crack with a pen in the smoking area" ????
If I had started vejpa instead of smoking when I was young? Hmm, no idea. Perhaps.
But cigarettes were easy to get. There was a cigarette vending machine right next to the school, and near my parents' house."
Christof With F
"I remember a packet of yellow blend cost 4.50 when I started smoking, so I'd probably be stupid enough to choose the cigar."
"You were poor as a 13-year-old. A vejp package was therefore out of the question (even though it would have been cheaper in the long run)."
"Most people smoke cigarettes because of stress or anxiety, or it builds up to that anyway. The younger ones might be attracted to something that can reduce it, I guess."
"Well, I vejpar because nicotine has helped with my anxiety and also the trembling in my hands that I've had since I was 12."
"For me, it was very much a matter of heritage and environment. I grew up with two heavy smokers in the household and the closest relatives, apart from the family, were snusers, so it was quite natural to become a smoker when everything smelled of smoke in the house anyway. I started my "smoke-free journey" by promising myself to never smoke indoors and kept it for many years and cold winters. Now 3 years ago I started to feel the real effects of my cigarette consumption, after countless attempts to quit smoking with extreme side effects and withdrawal. But after a lot of trial and error, I managed the feat of becoming both smoke-free and snuff-free."
"Socially, the smoking area is always full at events and so on. "Let's go for a smoke", or "Let's meet for a cigarette" are very common phrases."
"I am now almost 63 years old and I started smoking when I was 12.5. So I don't think it would have helped with e-cigs at that time. But I might have quit smoking earlier if vejp had been available then. I've been vejping for 6 years now and haven't smoked since I switched to vejp."
"I probably wouldn't have started smoking or snuffing if vaping was available when I was younger. But then again, I'm only 46!" Andreas Fenton