This is Mike, and This is His Story
Mike (far left), vapes with his family
I am 43 years of age, married to my high-school sweet heart & best friend for 23 years now. We have 2 wonderful boys. One is 20 and contributes to society, works hard each day and provided me with my 1st Grandson, Luke. My other Son is 19 years old and has a form of Autism; he resides with me and my wife.
I started smoking, heavily, at the age of 13 because I thought it was cool and hip to smoke cigarettes back in those days.
At the young age of 37, I had a mild stroke. After many long days spent at Methodist Hospital, tests, scans, etc. the doctors learned that I had not only had Lung Disease, COPD & Emphysema; but that I had the lung function of an 84 year old man. I also had a tumor in my heart as the result of a childhood heart condition or disease, which was just then discovered. I was told to quit smoking, but only if I could do it “stress free”. If I couldn’t quit stress free, they said to continue to smoke, but live each day as if it were my last. Stress was going to be the deciding factor whether I lived or died. I was classified as Disabled. I tried all the methods of quitting, none of which worked and do not work for many.
Finally, at the age of 42, I tried E-Cigarettes, on my own, not wanting to quit smoking because I was scared of the “Stress Factor”, but I was curious…and I was amazed! It was simple for me to quit smoking, stress free, and in one day! I’m now 43 years old, and have been Vaping for 8 months. Tests say I have the healthy lungs of a 54 year old man…something that was never foreseen by doctors! They stated that I would have been lucky to get my lung function back down to that of a man in his mid 60′s! I feel that each time I Vape, I exercise my lungs and the function of my lungs improve!
#VapeFamous For a Cause
My story was published in the Dec. 2013 Issue of the N.Y Times. The original Story was supposed to be about “Invading Species. The Crazy Ants” but was more focused on my story. John M. the writer, learned of the work I do for Wounded Warriors, Kids w/ Cancer, Troubled Teens, etc. with my “Therapy Through the Outdoors Program”, which I started when I became disabled. I also use my time to help smokers quit with Vaping. I do this because quitting is easy to do (and stress free) with Vaping. I cannot see how it can be regulated as either medicine or tobacco, since it is neither. Vaping is just a tool to use as an easy way to quit smoking and start living a healthier lifestyle, without harming others. (As Many Studies show, second hand vapor is harmless). We all want “reasonable” regulation, not costly legislation which would be passed down to me, the Vaper, making analogs much easier and cheaper to use than the safest, most effective tool known to help smokers quit and save lives, e-cigs!
Yes, damage was done from when I was a smoker and I’ll never get full lung function back, but my life has improved dramatically. I can now take long walks w/ my beautiful Wife or one of our Warriors, or push a child that has cancer in a wheelchair through the outdoors without the need of oxygen or gasping for air with each step I take. Which means spending more time outdoors, with the people I love to share it with. It means doing more of what I love to do, helping others.
P.S.A. for the F.D.A.I hope my story can help you consider how E-Cigarettes should be classified and/or regulated. Think really hard about what E-Cigs are, what they can do for the many American’s who are just like me, and who have similar stories. These devices save lives each day.
Mike Foshee (Vulgar Vape Dude)