Chest pain, anxiety and coughing. Oh my!
I’m sure my story is a lot like the others. Senior year of high school, I was offered a vape pen. After turning the offer down a few times, my friends continued to peer pressure me until I finally hit it.
I didn’t even like it that much, but I kept on accepting my friends’ offers and eventually bought my own to look cool. I slowly fell into the habit of hitting it while driving or when I was stressed.
A year into it, I was so dependent on nicotine. It was disgusting. I poured an insane amount of money into this bad habit.
Sometime in January of my freshman year of college, I ended up in the hospital late at night. I had a nagging, pinching feeling in my chest. I was shaking and breathing rapidly. After a full cardiopulmonary workup, the doctors determined that I was all clear. My heart and lungs looked healthy.
They chalked my symptoms up to anxiety. I hadn’t told them I was vaping. I didn’t want to admit it and, more importantly, I didn’t want my mom to know.
I continued this awful habit for yet another year — more money down the drain. My health was spiraling and that pinching feeling came back quite often. Working out would leave me huffing and puffing. My chest always hurt. I was always tired.
Finally, over winter break during my sophomore year, I had quit completely. First day back to school for the spring semester, I asked my roommate to hit hers.
I fell into this cycle of quitting/relapsing for a couple more months until I finally called it quits this May.
I’m not proud of it. I wish I had never started, but I’m thankful that it is over now. I’m not writing this article to make you feel bad — I’m writing this article to share my story.
Now that I’ve quit, the nagging pinching feeling in my chest has gone away. I breathe a lot better at night and when I exercise. Overall, I’m happier, I feel healthier and I will never, ever hit a vape again.
There’s only one person to blame for this — myself. I shouldn’t have ever picked one up in the first place. I shouldn’t have bought one to look cool. I should’ve said no.
I feel like I sound cliché, like one of those commercials or “Just Say No” drug campaigns from high school. If you’ve got your vape attached to your hip, I encourage you to try and go a few days without it. You’ll be feeling better before you know it. Believe it or not, I actually get sick from the smell of vapes now.
Quitting cold turkey is hard, but there are a lot of resources to help you through it. I recommend This Is Quitting for strategies, encouraging text messages and information on vaping during your teen and college years.
I wish I never had the experience to write this article. Thankfully, it’s over for good now. Do yourself and your lungs a favor. We will only ever be this young and healthy once.