"Experimenting with flavours helped me to switch"
New research released this month by Mintel showed seven in 10 UK smokers think their lung health is more important to them now than before the Covid-19 outbreak.
The survey showed four in 10 smokers intend to quit in the future, and that 87 per cent of “smokers/ex-smokers who vape and are currently trying to quit/cut down on smoking use e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation method” – demonstrating the potential in the market for vape retailers.
The market research company also found that e-cigarette sales have increased by 7% to reach £214million in the UK in 2020.
These figures backing up the popularity of vaping as a less harmful alternative to cigarettes come as the UK vape industry marks its annual awareness campaign VApril. They closely follow Public Health England’s 2021 review, which cites vaping as the most popular tool in the journey to quitting smoking, with 27.2 per cent of people having used a vape product as part of a quit attempt during the past 12 months.
And one of those is Dinner Lady’s Mohsin Desai, known as Mosh, who has made the switch to vaping as a less harmful alternative to cigarettes this year – and isn’t looking back as he shares that experience with vapedinnerlady.com.
“I’ve smoked since the age of bike sheds – let’s put it that way,” the FMCG Business Development Officer for the US admitted. “I remember smoking at college, so at least since 16. That’s 22-plus years I have smoked, until January this year.”
The long-standing addiction firmly engrained, Mosh’s days were planned around his smoking habits and rituals.
“My pattern of smoking made me a ‘heavy’ smoker,” Mosh said. “It’s not so long ago though that 16-18 cigarettes a day wouldn’t have been classed as ‘heavy’, but society has changed. Even heavy smokers do smoke less now, because of the cost.
“It was the first thing I’d do in the morning, before breakfast even, have a cigarette. After breakfast, have a cigarette. Another two on the three-mile journey to work. 10am, cigarette break, and one before – and after – lunch. Another around 2-3pm, another two on the drive home. That’s 10 by 6pm. Then before and after my evening meal and another couple during the evening and before bed.
“When you put like that – it’s a lot isn’t it?”
FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE…
Mosh made a ‘spontaneous’ decision at the start of the year to cut down his cigarette habit and he used the new disposable Dinner Lady Vape Pen to keep any nicotine cravings at bay.
“I always think, in the back of your head, you know you need to quit – but you have every reason under the sun not to actually do it,” he admitted. “You set deadlines, ‘next year’, ‘later’, but they never actually come. When you’re a smoker, there’s something about it and you do enjoy it.
“This time though, I decided I would slow down. I had five cigarettes, and said ‘That’s what I’ll have today’. In my head, I didn’t really believe it – but that day it happened and I cut right back. I went home that night and said ‘Tomorrow, I’ll have four’, and the next day ‘Tomorrow I’ll have three’. It wasn’t long before I said ‘Two’, still thinking I would buckle.
“Before I had that ‘cut down day’, I had used the Vape Pen occasionally during the day because there were samples in the office. But, when I made that decision to cut down, I bought some to replace the cigarettes properly and that really helped me make the transition away from smoking.
“It wasn’t long before I was only using the Vape Pen during the day, and would maybe have just one cigarette in the evening.”
FROM VAPE PEN TO POD-MOD
The Dinner Lady Vape Pen disposable e-cig is designed to support adult smokers in making the change – providing a simple introduction to vaping, but one which requires no specialist kit or knowledge to use, while still supporting the nicotine cravings. For vape retailers it’s a perfect product to support those new to vape in their first steps to finding an alternative to cigarettes.
Within a few weeks of using the Vape Pen, Mosh had smoked his very last cigarette and moved on to using a refillable pod-mod device with Dinner Lady Salts premium e-liquids, and he’s already planning to drop down from 20mg salt nicotine vape juice to 10mg nicotine strength.
“At that point I knew I was no longer a smoker,” Mosh said, although he admits there are occasional moments of temptation. “But because I have the option of vaping instead, it means I haven’t given in.
“Thinking of all the triggers, those ritual moments when I’d have a cigarette, I don’t reach for my vape at those same times – it’s not the first thing I do when I get in the car, for example. Or coming in from work, my vape’s in my bag, I’ll get on with whatever, and it can be a couple of hours later that I realise.”
Like many smokers-turned-vapers, Mosh initially tried tobacco and menthol flavour vapes – thinking the familiar tastes would help his transition.
“They just weren’t for me, they weren’t right because, let’s face it, cigarettes taste disgusting,” he explained. “I preferred a flavour that moved me away from cigarettes and the Dinner Lady Vape Pen had flavours like Strawberry Ice and Mango Ice.
“I knew pretty quickly I didn’t want a direct replacement for cigarettes, but you have to experiment to find your favourite, and that concept was really helpful in switching to vape,” Mosh added.
“There’s so many different flavour profiles and flavours, if tobacco or menthol work for you, that’s great, but if not, within just the Dinner Lady e-liquid ranges there’s Desserts, Sweets, Fruits, Ice, Drinks… That’d be my advice, actually, choose something you like in general, and work through that range and narrow it down to your favourites.”
Mosh has calculated his savings on making the switch away from cigarettes, where he was spending around £400 a month, and is now spending £10 for a pair of refillable pods and around £20 on e-liquid.
“The pod-mod is a simple set up; the tank and coil are all in the one unit, and I can just refill it until the coil goes – you get a slightly burnt flavour, then I can replace that piece,” he explained. “It’s not as simple as the Vape Pen, but still easy for someone relatively new to vaping.
“Some people change the pod for each different vape juice, but I don’t even worry much about that, because I use fruity flavours so they don’t clash if they’re mixed a bit.
“It’s great that I’ve been able have the consistency to carry on with the same e-liquid formulations, flavours and strength with Dinner Lady’s premium e-liquids in the pod-mod that I was used to from the Vape Pen. The Vape Pen is ready-to-vape with 20mg nic salts e-liquid, which is perfectly suited for a heavy smoker – the throat hit is similar, and the speed the nicotine reaches your system, it really keeps the cravings in check.”
“NEVER GOING BACK”
As many smokers who quit – whatever the method – notice, Mosh found his sense of taste improved almost instantly, with a more gradual change to his sense of smell.
“That definitely hits me most when there’s a smoker around,” he added. “I think I feel healthier, but that will take more time to really have in impact. My determination is stronger now, I never want to go back, I’m committed to staying smoke free.”
Mosh has been inspired to keep up his vaping journey by his children, with his eldest soon to start secondary school.
“My children are six and 11, so the youngest didn’t really understand about smoking, but my eldest would have little digs ‘Dad you need to stop smoking’, and that did have an effect.
“I’m their role model, so I don’t want them to think smoking is OK.
“Plus, my eldest will be going to secondary school soon, and I think back to when I first started smoking – it’s not far off that age. It’s awful to realise that.
“I look at my children now and know I needed to knock it on the head. And I’m glad I have.”