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Sunday, 30 November 2014

My Lungs Hate...

…well, a lot of things.

But today I'm telling you about e-cigs and my lungs.

Don't get me wrong, e-cigs - the things above - are great for so many people. They can really do wonders for people who struggle to quit smoking, and they are better for most people than normal cigarettes.

However, being the definitely-not-normal person that I am, e-cigs are worse for me than normal cigarettes! I know, weird, right?

I don't mean smoking them. I don't smoke, never have and never will, but I don't have to smoke an e-cig in order for my chest and throat to tighten and that cough to start up and that evil little headache..I just have to breathe in the vapour. It is, of course, far worse when I am in close proximity to the person smoking. Only the other day, I was sat on the bus when a guy sat next to me and started to smoke his e-cig. My chest tightened, my cough began, I grabbed my inhaler. My chest kept tightening, my throat felt odd, I tried my inhaler again. The cough worsened, and the headache started up and I felt sick so I tried again. No improvement. I had to do something.

ME: You do realise you aren't allowed those on the bus, right?
HIM: Aren't allowed what?
ME: *gesticulates towards e-cig*
HIM: Yeah.
ME: ..you do realise there are reasons why you aren't allowed those on the bus, right..?
HIM: Like what?
ME: *brings inhaler out of pocket*
HIM: I've opened a window! *takes another puff* *glares at me*

Well, as you can see, that didn't work. Luckily for me, he was talking to his friends and didn't smoke again at least until I had left the bus. It really annoyed me, though. He knew from before that incident that I am asthmatic, and didn't stop even when I was clearly having difficulty. He only opened the window at his friends' suggestion, and to be honest he shouldn't have had it on the bus as it was. However, I am willing to consider for now that he may not have realised the e-cig could be a big trigger for me, and that he genuinely thought that there weren't any important reasons why e-cigs are prohibited on all current forms of public transport in the UK, and truly believed that opening a window would make it all okay.

If, on the other hand, he does it again, then I shall be forced to take action; I would rather be a 'grass' than end up in the emergency department of Royal Blackburn Hospital because I can't breathe. Seriously, lung friends, don't feel afraid to speak out. Asthma attacks can be life-threatening, and even if someone genuinely doesn't realise, it is of paramount importance to educate them while you can still breathe. And if they do realise, then they should not be allowed to get away with it. They could kill someone some day, and they have to know that their actions have consequences.

Now, maybe it sounds crazy to you, but looking at the picture above makes me anxious now. Not just because I think of e-cigs and how badly they set me off, but also because the sight of the vapour reminds me of the sight of it on the bus earlier on in the week and how that made me feel when I inhaled it. It scares me to think of how much worse it could be if it happens again. It scares me how blasé people are about asthma. It scares me that someone had the audacity to smoke one on a bus without even considering how dangerous it could be to those around him. But what really scares me is how little he knew and cared. It's a very real possibility that I could be in the same situation again. A very very very real possibility. And it's terrifying.


I have a theory about the whole 'e-cig/normal cigarette' thing. The particles in e-cig vapour are smaller than those in normal cigarette smoke, meaning they can get deeper into my lungs, through the bronchi and into the bronchioles. Constriction in the bronchi is bad enough but constriction in the bronchioles is worse, so seeing as I am sensitive to e-cig vapour, it sets me off worse than normal smoke does. I don't know, I'm not a scientist yet, but it seems like a decent explanation.

Have any of you had attacks because of e-cig vapour? Do any of you smoke e-cigs with no trouble at all? I'd love to hear from you down in the comments section!