ECCR traveled the American Southwest visiting seniors and learning how to use ecigs as part of a happy retirement. The Southwest is a premiere destination for retirees from all over the Western United States and Canada. Retired folks boast ample wisdom and life experience and they certainly understand the disadvantages of smoking but as many in the American Southwest have come to learn, the risks of tobacco now include what many are referring to as the silent epidemic, namely Valley Fever. Valley fever is a fungal condition that effects the lungs.
Retirees and seniors are more vulnerable than anyone to the ravages and expense of a tobacco habit so we checked in with a number of retired seniors to ask about their ecig experiences.
Our first stop was in the retirement mecca of Palm Springs. A walk through any of the local casinos quickly told us that so far most seniors are sticking with tobacco! The smoky haze in most casinos looks like LA smog in the 80s! We did not see an vapers in the casino so we spoke to a few smokers.
We asked a couple from Nebraska about ecigs and while they have heard of them, they are not interested at this time as they don’t see the benefits nor do they believe that the technology really provides a satisfying experience. We spoke to a number of other people that have tried ecigs but did not have the best experience. Unfortunately, in those cases we found that it would have greatly benefited these unsatisfied consumers to have read about the reasons not to choose cheap ecigs. On the other side of the equation were the many seniors that we encountered who have greatly enjoyed their ecig experience. While we did not find them in huge numbers, we were able to find ecig users.
Very near the giant Marylin Monroe statue in the heart of Palm Springs, we met the Jacobsens and the Divines, both from Seattle, as they were enjoying their ecigs. When we approached them, they were more than happy to share their experience. The two couples retired in the last 5 years and enjoy spending winters in Palm Springs. Together, they all began their ecig experience during the 2012 holiday season. As the couples share a condo and living expenses, the savings became immediately apparent. Sharon Jacobsen explained, “We were buying cigarettes by the carton and paying $120 a week. After we started ecigs, we still smoked but without realizing it we cut down our smoking to such an extent that we were suddenly saving $240 a month from our budget. With our fixed incomes, it was amazing.”
Beyond the financial gains, the Jacobsens, Divines and their friends from the condo complex often share tee times as well as ecigs. While ecigs have not taken any strokes off of their golf game, they have noticed an improvement when it comes to walking the course. “I rarely get winded anymore” said Mr. Divine, “not even when I slice deep into the rough. Which is often.” he added. They were also grateful for ECCR’s article dealing with ecigs and TSA traveling regulations which had them well prepared when it came to catching their flight to Palm Springs last November.
We moved on to Phoenix and spoke to a number of retired people from across the country who have settled into the comfortable lifestyle offered by the Great State of Arizona.
Jim from North Dakota has been using ecigs for only 2 months and has found that while he has not made the switch completely, he has noticed that he is smoking much less.
Jim’s motivation is not related to the fixed income of his retirement, rather he wants to see his grandchildren grow. Jim’s wife, also a smoker, has yet to try ecigs. She feels that she is just not ready.
Jean is a grandmother of 2 and recent retiree that has struggled with smoking since she was 15 years old. She has become a proud ecig beginner and she is very happy to talk about how she can now enjoy socializing in a restaurant with friends without having to excuse herself every 30 minutes to have a cigarette. While she has not completely given up smoking she has reduced her tobacco usage significantly. While this is all good news, her proudest accomplishment comes from the fact that she began her ecig journey at the request of her grandchildren. They always call to make sure that grandma is smoking less!
As we traveled across the desert through the retirement communities of California and Arizona, finding seniors that have made the switch to ecigs was comparatively rare. We approached many people that were smoking to ask them about ecigs. Many had heard of them and knew someone that ecigs had helped but they remained reluctant to try nonetheless. The majority had tried some type of smoking cessation aid at least once in the last decade but with limited or no success. The seniors that had tried ecigs had generally tried with a cheap model as opposed to a reputable, quality brand. Had they tried one of our recommended brands of ecigs, they would likely have had a very different experience. Another prohibitive factor is the fact that many seniors view ecigs as a youthful fad and not something for them. Of course they could not be more wrong.
Seniors are always looking for ways to improve the quality of their lives and maximize their budgets. While anyone would benefit from reducing the impact of tobacco in their lives, seniors would especially experience the immediate benefits of ecigs. A happy retirement depends on managing a fixed income. The cost of living is not fixed. As seniors move further and further into retirement, economic pressures mount and become more prohibitive. This is a demographic of our society that is often reluctant to try new technologies but in this case the benefits are so clear and so immediate that the seniors that are more willing to try are experiencing an enhanced, more secure retirement and better health.