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Interview with Kristopher Brady – Vaping In The Army

I’ve heard many positive stories from vapers in the past year and a half. But, of all the hearings I’ve been to and watched live or via replay, Kristopher Brady is the first current member of the military that I’ve seen speak for a hearing on electronic cigarettes. This could be a major reason that the committee members asked questions to this young gentleman while adamantly denying the opportunity to ask questions of most of the rest of the community, elected officials and even professionals who spoke. Putting your life on the line for our freedom is the greatest honor anyone could give. And to have Kristopher on our side of the equation speaks volumes to politicians. I wanted to take this opportunity to sneak a peak into vaping in the armed forces.
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Alex – If you would, please tell the readers a little about yourself.

 

Kristopher – I smoked cigarettes for 3 years. I started when I was about 15. I started asking people for cigarettes on the street as just one of those normal things that teenagers do. Then, my mom found out I smoked. She bought me my packs of smokes from there, so I wasn’t going out on the streets to get them. She figured if I wanted to smoke I would do it anyway. This way she could monitor it. It turned around just before my 18th birthday; I had a friend that got me into vaping, and it changed my life. Everything about it changed my life.

Q – When did you enter the army?

 

Kristopher – I’m stationed in Fort Lewis near Tacoma Washington. I entered the army a year ago, so I haven’t been in as long as many of the other members that vape have been in the army. And, I quit smoking by using electronic cigarettes a year before I joined the military. But, if it wasn’t for vaping, I would still be smoking. My PT scores would be low, and I might not have made it through basic training. As hard as it was, basic training would have been a lot harder as a smoker. Vaping also helped me with the withdrawls that I was having. All I wanted to do was vape. I got through AIT (Advanced Individual Training), and the privilege of having done that, and vaping helped me through that more than I can ever explain.

Q – Can you tell me a little about the availability of either tobacco products or vapor products on base as a member of the military?

Kristopher – There isn’t any vapor products on base. We get the privilege of going off base so we support our local shops and purchase from there. I don’t live on base, and I’m not on active duty at the moment, I’m a reserve. Either way though, you get chow time or numerous breaks throughout the day that we can leave base to go support our local vape shops, get e-liquid, get the new and latest tanks, mods and all the rest. On the base you can buy cigarettes. You can’t buy vapor products on base, except at the gas station on base they might have the cigalike styles, but I haven’t really noticed them. In my opinion the cigalikes don’t help me. If you’re vaping with nicotine, you’re not going to be able to quit with cigalikes, and you get better flavor from vape shops.

Q – How far is the local vape shop from the base?

Kristopher – It’s only about a mile and a half. So, if I’m on base I just have to take a right out of the base and the Vaporium is easily accessible for me. We also have the Vapor Cafe on 6th avenue that has amazing people. Everyone in the vaping community is amazing. I’m privileged to live in the Pacific Northwest where if you were to go down south or to the east coast there isn’t as much available. You have all the main-stream vape shops in Washington including Nectar, Savory Vape, Fat Clouds and of course Mt. Baker Vapor. All the big-market vape shops are in Washington state.

Q – How many people would you say are vaping vs smoking in the army there?

Kristopher – As of what I’ve seen, a lot of people smoke and a lot also vape. When I go on base I usually use a Sigelei with a Sub-Tank, but it depends on what I’m doing that day. Some people on base look down on vaping and they say “get that cloud away from me”. Some people vape, and others say they would rather smell vape than cigarettes. It’s just like anywhere else, it depends on the individuals point of view.

Q – Have you helped people switch to vaping on your base?

Kristopher – A few people had switched before I came to base, and I’ve become friends with them. A lot of people have come up to me and asked “what is that?”. I tell them it’s a vape. I’ll let them try it, and they’ll go buy a vape. Sometimes they continue to smoke and vape for a while. Then, eventually they’ll realize that smoking is nasty. Soon enough, they’ll smell a cigarette and want to throw up from the smell. The other day I was walking up to a vape shop. There were two females standing on the sidewalk smoking. All of us walked into their cloud of smoke and we turned white, it was gross. I don’t like the smell of cigarettes anymore, I hate the smell of cigarettes. I switched my mom, brother-in-law, sister, sister’s friend and another friend. All of us bought vapes and just quit smoking. It helps tremendously.

Q – Let’s talk a little bit about the House Commerce and Gaming Committee hearing on HB 1645 this past Monday. How did you hear about the hearing?

Kristopher – There was a big invite to a rally that was on Northwest Vapers Facebook page. It told everyone where and when to show up. Everybody and their mom showed up to that vape rally! We filled 4 rooms in the basement of the capitol. We had that building packed. Kim, the owner of the Vaporium, came up to me and asked me if I would speak. I’m not very good at public speaking, but I did the best I could. It was more interesting than anything to hear the other people’s side of the story, and then we spoke in opposition to it. We think that it shouldn’t be banned or taxed and that everyone is going to lose their job because of this bill. And, people are going to convert back to smoking, and that’s not what any of us wants. Hopefully we made a difference.

Q – Do you think in the future that we can get more members of the military to come to hearings to testify as you have done?

Kristopher – A few people I know on base wanted to go speak at the capitol. The only reason they weren’t able to is because, again, I’m reserve and they’re active duty. They had to work that day. It all really depends on what they’re doing that day and what their schedule is. On short notice, you can’t just tell your Sgt. Major that you’re going to a vape thing and get approved for leave. If you have more time you might get approved for something like this, but not in a day or two. So, I was fortunate enough to go, and I wanted to talk. So, I spoke my peace. Hopefully we’re going to defeat this bill so people will have a safer alternative to go to, so the members of the military won’t fail their PT’s, and they can walk up stairs without losing their breath because they smoke. It has helped me tremendously, and the community is wonderful. Everyone helps everyone here. It’s a nice feeling to get somebody to switch to vaping from smoking and then see how it impacts their life positively.

Q – What would you say to vapers about speaking at local or state levels in the future?

Kristopher – I always say, if you have something to say you should say it, before something happens. To all the vapers, continue to do what you’re doing. Help people quit smoking. Help people find that safer alternative that works for them. Help people make a difference in their life. Continue to be there for each other like we have been through this entire bill. There might be drama between people in the vape community. There might be times where people get banned from shops from doing dumb things, and other issues. Keep continue fighting, vape strong and at the end we all become a family. I don’t go on vape sites to show off my vape gear. We have vape meets, we help one another and support one another. If one of us is out of juice, we do the best to get that vaper some juice on the house. It’s just a wonderful community.

Tim Mechling
 

Tim is Mt Baker Vapor's resident creative weirdo. He writes, composes music, draws, designs, produces podcasts, investigates, and blows the trumpet for the Common Man.

  • Josh says:

    #1. Every gas station and PX has e-cigs and juice. #2. He has never put his life on the line for our freedom. #3. He is a reservist. #4. He just openly admitted his mom bought a minor cigarettes. #5. If you want him to represent the Vaping community then fine, but he does NOT represent the military! I am a Sergeant First Class if you want some soldiers to speak to I can name hundreds that Vape! Not this kid!

  • Kevin says:

    I am retired military, 21 years active duty, and this kid is as far from the “real” military as you can get. Here are a few things I’d like to add as a former 21 year long smoker who recently took up a e-cig.

    1. We will probably never see vaping accepted in the military period. AAFES (Army/Air Force Exchange Service) runs all the shopping exchanges on bases, and they make millions if not billions a year of tobacco sales alone (cigs and snuff), so to go to my base exchange and get juice will never happen. The politics alone would kill any chance of it taking hold.

    2. Vaping does, and will continue to carry with it that “smokers” mentality. People are going to see people vaping, and just categorize it as smoking. The military is no different, if not much worse.

    3. As long as people stand around, trying to blow the biggest vape cloud possible, then trying to be outdone by someone standing with them, the stigma of vaping is smoking will never go away.

    4. The handful of people in the Army that I know quit smoking and have switched to e-cig/vaping treat it just like smoking. The don’t do it in the buildings, they go outside just like the smokers do, the military won’t change that mindset.

  • Tom Ford says:

    Don’t put the kid down. He’s just speaking out for something he believes in that he hopes could help others stop their addiction to tobacco. Don’t really care if he’s a reservist or a 5 star general, I’m glad he’s speaking out.

  • r says:

    Who at MBV thought it would be a good idea to post an article with someone stating they vaped as a minor?!?! This needs to be brought down immediately. Our opponents are looking for every opportunity to push these bills through and one of the biggest companies in the country just handed them the ammo.

  • hailey c. says:

    Publishing this saying that it was just before his 18th bday is horrible. We cannot have this article floating around with him saying it was before he turned 18. That’s the last thing this community needs. It’s only mentioned in a small part but they will rip this article apart for that exact reason.

  • Maria says:

    Those in our Military Reserves work hard & are willing to put their life’s on the line and Kristopher’s opinion counts! Although, I’d be very interested in hearing supportive Vape opinions from a Sergent First Class or any other wonderful Military person!

  • Andrew D says:

    ^ where were all the sergeant first classes when that meeting in the capital was going on. I’m sure you are putting your neck out in the war against the middle east, but you have not done anything for us in the Vapors’ rights movement.

  • D says:

    I agree that it’s counter productive to have someone reveal that they came into the vaping community as a minor. Please consider taking this down.
    It’s a reality that we cannot deny though. And that’s why many at the rally were very vocal about supporting the part of the bills that protect minors from nicotine, through smoke, or vape.
    As the young man admitted, it seriously curtails stamina even at his 18 years, after only 3 years of smoking cigarettes.

    • The point I appreciate is that they did not start vaping just because. He had already been smoking for years, and was able to use vaping to stop smoking cigarettes. Mt baker vapor does not condone the usage of vapor products under the age of 18.

  • hailey c. says:

    Michelle harden. I did not say your company sells to minors, and as for condoning the sale to a minor….you guys implied that all on your own by publishing this article. When he said it was a little while before he turned 18 he started vaping should have thrown a red flag in your “journalists” mind. With the taxation that is upon us it is NOT every man for himself. Together we stand. Divided we fall. And by replying to my comment mentioning NOTHING about your editors mistake shows that you are only worried about your company getting a bad rep from the HUNDREDS that are pissed off about this poorly executed interview…this mistake NEEDS to be addressed. This is nothing against kris…this is about this company brushing their mistake under the rug. Like my friend “R” said in that comment you just handed the enemy ammo.

  • McDonalds says:

    All the SFCs were exactly where they were supposedbto be. Work. Just because Kris, a private maybe even a PV2 RESERVIST had the time to come out and speak doesn’t mean that any and every active member of the military has the time to go to something like this. As for condoning minors vaping, you have done just that. He clearly stated that he was underage the first time he tried vaping. He stated, just in case you missed it, “It turned around just before my 18th birthday; I had a friend that got me into vaping, ” If that line right there isn’t you condoning minors vaping, you are a sad sorry company and will never receive my business!

  • Mr. Gallup says:

    I am taken a little back that this interview was even published by a company in the vaping industry. We are in a fight for vaping rights and clearly one of the main arguments is keeping them away from kids. So you choose to publish an interview where he admits starting vaping as a minor! This is further propaganda that the politicians want to use against us. He admits to starting smoking and that his mommy would buy his smokes so she could monitor his use. No, no, no…a parent should set boundaries and do what they can to keep their children from making bad decisions. When we become an adult, that is when we make decisions like this. During that hearing, that is the underlying message over and over, protect the kids from vaping…because I guess they realize it’s up to society because it can’t be done at home. The consequence is that vapers like me and many others could pay the price so that the State can “protect” kids. At the conclusion of this interview you should have realized it was going to send the wrong message. I know many vapers currently overseas actively protecting our country that could have done an interview via email, Skype, etc.
    This was a poor decision to publish this interview!

    • Mt baker vapor does not condone the usage of vapor products under the age of 18. This was an interview of just one persons story. Mt baker vapor does not advocate or sell to persons under the age of 18.

  • r says:

    This is reduliculous, way to not even address the concern about the article. MBV should be on top of this now more than ever. Hailey I can think of 3000+ local WA vapers that would love to see this, I will no longer support this company.

  • Maria says:

    Some people are missing the point of the above interview completely. The fact is Kristopher would have been smoking tobacco had he not switched to vapor; both are illegal activities for anyone under the age of 18. But, let’s get real here. How many people out there smoked tobacco as minors? How many smokers got their 1st cigs from a parent? I’m guilty on both counts. Nobody at MBV condones minors that vape, & this company certainly doesn’t sell to those under the age of 18. Personally, I like it when people are “real” about their PAST experiences with tobacco verses vaporizing, at any age. I started smoking cigarettes, when I was 14 years old, so what Kristopher confessed, is relevant to my experience, & I’m thrilled that this young man was able to make the switch to something safer, at any age.

    Kevin, I just wanted to thank you for keeping it “real” in your post about the military & vaping. I have 2 children in the Air Force and what you wrote makes perfect sense to what I know about Military standards.

  • Alex Carlson says:

    As the author, it is my duty to report what was said in the interview. In no way shape or form should this article be interpreted as Mt Baker Vapor advocating the use of electronic cigarettes, or any other tobacco products to minors.

  • Bob L. says:

    I’m very much against this vaping movement and all the harm that has been done by it. How many people need to get stuck and die from the chemicals? How many kids need to due from ingesting the nicotine? Now, you’re advocating underage kids using nicotine!

    • Kenny Spotz says:

      We understand your concerns, but also support the rights of consumers to make their own informed decision. And we have never, and will never, advocate advertising vaping to kids.

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