sunnuntai 21. helmikuuta 2016

Part 3: Personal thoughts on addiction and dependence

Increasingly common phrases among vaping communities in Finland nowadays seem to be something along these lines:

"This can't be so easy, can it?"
"I never thought I'd be able to quit smoking"

And so on.
I found myself wondering those exact things after about a year and a half ago, when I decided to give vaping a proper go as an alternative to smoking. Suddenly my 25 cigs a day habit was down to one in the mornings, rest of the time I was very much happy just vaping, eventually dropping that last one too.

For me, the alternative quickly became the much better option because the intrinsic qualities of the technology made it much more satisfying:
- It's much more convenient. I can take a puff, three or more if I feel like it, meaning the use is much more precise than smoking.
- It's controllable. Virtually every variable in the experience can be tailored to fit specific preferences, from volume to strength to temperature and so on. There's none of that in smoking.
- It's a lot more enjoyable. Flavor variety and intensity is the major selling point of the behavior for me. The taste of cigarettes is mostly ash.
- While cigarettes are much more efficient in nicotine delivery in general, that's only true for naive users. Vaping can deliver nicotine equally well, but has the added benefit of specificity. Vaping is the first product to show that users have wildly differing preferences for nicotine both in dose and frequency, making the ability to control these two aspects precisely to suit personal preference a very valuable quality.

So in hindsight, it's not really surprising that it was easy to switch. Dependence, just like any continuous behavior, is a phenomenon that relies on the reward of the behavior.
It's entirely logical that when offered an option that inherently has more potential to be rewarding specifically on an individual level and use turns out to be more satisfying, the choice is not really a choice at all, but an inevitability.
This of course, is largely mediated by the fact that users so far have decided what they want, instead of others imposing their view what the standardized option should be. Though standardization does exist for a valid reason, the fact still remains that people are not standardized. Human beings have exceedingly differing preferences, there really is no one-size-fits-all to pleasure, enjoyment and having a satisfying experience.

I would even go as far as present a hypothesis, based on my personal experience and observations, that vaping is not the alternative.
It's the primary option. A true kodak moment.

But the real question is, how do we get the tailored option to the majority of smokers who have not yet found their "sweet spot", so to speak?

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