Jerry Iozzo runs 30-40 miles a week and according to him, he owes it all to vaping. Iozzo was a smoker for 23 years and says that could not run over three miles without a hacking cough. After switching to vaping he now runs full 26.2 mile marathons. He sports a shirt that reads NOTBlowingSmoke.org as a show of support for vapers and those trying to quit smoking. “I wanted to run a full marathon because of all the years cigarettes held me back. This was a way to celebrate being healthy finally,” says Jerry.
Jerry has run countless 5k and 10k races, 2 half marathons and 2 full marathons. When asked how he felt after his most recent finish, he said, “Physically my legs hurt, but felt great otherwise… I truly owe my health to vaping… It pains me to see smokers who think vaping is just as bad as cigarettes.”
Jerry started smoking while serving in the military, fighting in Kuwait from 1990-1991. RJ Reynolds sent troops “care packages” that contained cigarettes. That’s when he became addicted to smoking combustible tobacco cigarettes. “That’s why I hate Big Tobacco,” says Jerry.
He decided to try to quit smoking after his physician warned him that he was developing symptoms of COPD. He had tried for over a year using the approved methods of quitting. The nicotine patch, gums, lozenges, acupuncture, hypnosis, Zyban (Wellbutrin), cold turkey, cutting back, Chantix and even a smoking cessation class.
“With nicotine gums, lozenges and the patch, it didn’t seem to relieve my cravings for a cigarette. I was actually taking over 60 mg (of nicotine) a day with all three and it did nothing.”
After trying a vapor device for the first time, Jerry told the employee,”That’s what I’m missing!”
“This was the first time I ever believed I could truly quit. I guess I would have to give credit to the first vape shop I went to, Lake Effect Vapor in Duluth, MN. I drove 60 miles to check out their e-cigs. I was a smoker walking into the store and left the store a non-smoker.”
“After two weeks using an e-cig, I didn’t crave a cigarette anymore and actually preferred an e-cig.”
“Being from Hibbing, MN I didn’t see much about advocacy. For the longest time I didn’t know these advocacy groups existed.”
Iozzo became interested in advocacy after he discovered vaping advocacy groups CASAA, AVA, and Vaping Militia. He was also inspired by vaping advocates Alex Carlson and Greg Conley. The most recent movement he became interested in was NOTBlowingSmoke.org created by Stefan Didak. He liked the message of NOTBlowingSmoke and decided to have the logo printed on a shirt.
I asked Jerry what he thought about the anti-vaping campaigns.
He said, “They are VERY deceitful and I hate the way they use children to sway opinions. They take 1% of the truth and make it the whole truth. It’s frustrating. The proof is in the pudding. My running will outweigh any flawed lab rat study that says e-cigs will disease the lungs. I am proof that not only can e-cigs reduce harm, but can also reverse harm (caused by smoking.)
“The vaping community in general is awesome! I feel we are a tight group. We’ve now all become non-smokers and we all want to stay that way.”
Jerry plans on running another full marathon and a few half marathons between now and then.
We applaud you Jerry. Thank you for leading the way for current smokers to become former smokers. Lets hope that runner’s high is contagious.