“Every time you light up a cigarette, you are saying that your life is not worth living” – Anonymous.
I was a smoker for three years. Although that may not sound like a long time compared to some life-long smokers, it was enough for me to begin feeling the negative effects of lighting up that we are all warned of. Nicotine pouches quite literally saved my life. Here is my story.
Throughout my childhood and adolescent years, I was a keen athlete, having competed at national level in road cycling with ambition to turn professional, I had absolutely no reason to smoke. I was fit, healthy, and fast on a bike. My family were also hugely anti-smoking, instilling fear into me by reminding me of the consequences of smoking, and how they would feel if I were to start. I was convinced I would never be a smoker, that was until I reached my teens.
At this point, I was still a competitive cyclist with great drive to perform. However, some deviant traits of mine, that I was previously unaware of, began to surface. Parties became more of a regular occurrence, and despite heavy underage drinking not complimenting high-level sport in the slightest, the temptation to go was far too great. Alcohol has always been a big part of my family, they seemed to turn a blind eye to the health effects of it, and the fact it is also carcinogenic, perhaps because it does not look or feel as detrimental to sports performance as inhaling a concoction of tar laden, cancer-causing compounds. At parties, alcohol was my vice. I was used to the effects as I had been introduced to it at a young age and I felt, at the time, invincible to it because my parents were accepting of it, meaning I thought it was ok.
Despite thinking I would never be a smoker; I became obsessed with the idea of cigarettes. I had still never smoked at this point, but the urge was there, especially with constant exposure to it in friendship groups, on TV programmes, and on the street. I had no idea where this obsession came from, but it grew rapidly, to the point (a very low point) where I would try to inhale the smoke from another person’s cigarette on the street, just to see what it was like.
I began to like the smell, the packaging, the aesthetic, all of it. The parties continued and so did my newfound cigarette obsession. It was only a short matter of time before I lit my first smoke. I was at a party that was organised to plan for a festival that my friendship group would be attending. The beers were flowing and the excitement for the festival made the atmosphere amazing. I was walking around the house, constantly surrounded by a fog of cigarette smoke, and rolling paraphernalia was scattered around on all the tables.
“This baccy pouch yours mate?”
“Can I pinch one?”
“Of course! Can you roll?”
That was the conversation that would start the next few years of addiction, relapse, secrecy, and remorse. I already knew how to roll, having watched a YouTube video prior to the party. I had constructed something that was almost reminiscent of a cigar. I took deep inhalations, handling the cigarette like I was already a smoker. The nicotine coursed through my system and went rapidly to my head. I loved it.
“I have to buy a pouch for the festival mate!”
“That’s a bad idea bro! But do what you want!”
Of course, I did not listen to this advice and bought 30 grams of cutters choice from a corner shop that was renowned for selling to the underage. From this moment on, I was a smoker. I was in denial, thinking it was just for an extra buzz on top of the beer at parties, but the truth was I was hooked and would be for the next few years.
Fast forward three years, I hated smoking. I had grown up, realised that this was not me, and that I was meant to be fit and sensible. The only issue was, I absolutely loved nicotine. Nicotine for me was, and still is, a wonder drug. It sharpens my mind, gives me focus, drive, and courage. I knew that cigarettes were disgusting and unattractive, and I was completely ready to quit.
On the day that I decided to quit, my search history was bombarded with “best nicotine replacement”, “smoking alternatives”, “NRT for the best buzz” … you get the idea. I wanted to quit smoking, but not nicotine. I was switched on for my age and loved research, so I knew that nicotine by itself is not overly harmful.
“People smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar.” – Dr Mike Russell
This quote stuck by me, reminding me that I could continue to enjoy nicotine, without the aspect of self-inflicted early death by smoking.
Nicotine gum, lozenges, patches, sprays, inhalators, and even vapes. I tried them all and none of them hit the mark. Despite hating smoking at this point, I relapsed many times, due to a lack of better option for nicotine satisfaction.
It was not until I walked into Tesco and noticed a small cylindrical container with ‘Nordic Spirit’ on the front of it and a nicotine warning label, that I finally found the perfect product to satisfy my nicotine needs. I was immediately drawn to the can and its design and purchased it with the excitement of the contents inside.
From the moment I used my first nicotine pouch, I knew that I would stop smoking forever.
The nicotine delivery was bliss, and I enjoyed the longevity of each dose. As I began to look for new brands, I loved looking at the different can designs, portion materials, flavours, and of course, the nicotine content. Not thinking about smoking had never been easier, for I was now presented with a whole new product that was healthier, cheaper, and far more fun.
Since then, I have continued to use and enjoy nicotine pouches daily, with no adverse health effects and far more money in the bank. I enjoyed nicotine pouches so much I even began writing about them, which is why you are seeing this text now!
Anyone can make this switch, and in 2021, the time has never been better to do so. New brands, products, content, and research are all regularly seen in the nicotine pouch industry, and these are all things that you can get your teeth stuck into.
If you have not already, ditch those cigs and join the revolution!