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Letter: Vaping can help people quit smoking

The same holds true for many vape shop owners. Most are ex-smokers who tried to quit for years. As smokers they were looked down upon and shamed by society. As they stood out in the freezing cold puffing away, they struggled to find a way out.

To some, discovering vaping is nothing short of a miracle. This form of Tobacco Harm Reduction is helping people all over the world quit smoking! Lives of smokers and their loved ones are being saved. They are breaking free of tobacco and will not become a burden on society. They are getting their health back and enjoying a newly found active life with their families. As vape shop owners it becomes a mission to help others quit smoking. It is very rewarding to see first hand hundreds of people finally succeed!

Teachers, doctors, lawyers, group home staff, police officers, firefighters, and vape shop owners don’t usually get in their chosen field based on how much money they think they might make, they get in those fields because they believe they can help people. Anyone working in a small town knows they are not going to get rich quick, and yet must make enough money to support their families. There is nothing wrong with advocating to help others and making a living in the same field. Who better to advocate for a better education system than the teachers working with our kids everyday? Do we accuse them of having a conflict of interest because they teach? Sometimes advocates do what they do for their cause and not for their job or business.

The sad fact is that some governments and anti-tobacco activists have chosen to classify vaping as tobacco. Vaping is not smoking. There is no tobacco in an e-cig. It is a safer alternative to smoking. The falsehood of being as evil as tobacco forces the advocates in the vaping community to have to fight on the wrong side, because they have to fight anti-tobacco laws that include vaping in them. After watching the movie “A Billion Lives” I learned just how big the ravine is between the two sides. Those falsehoods also scare away smokers from trying to quit. What a shame, we have two opposing forces who want the same thing – to make the world a healthier place by helping people quit smoking and educate non-smokers so they never start. If the two opposing sides worked together, I wonder how many more lives could be saved?

I smoked for over 40 years and became an expert at failing to quit smoking. My son had a heart attack from smoking related issues and almost died at the age of 29. He tried vaping and succeeded at quitting smoking. He then sold most of his worldly possessions and opened a vape shop. He was the driving force in helping me finally succeed at quitting smoking. I enjoy spending time at my son’s vape shop, and have made it my mission to help other senior citizens quit smoking and to advocate for the disabled.—Kim Murray, Brainerd

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