I started smoking because my mum did.

Ever since she died, all the thousands of memories and moments I had with her have folded inwards like a paper fan, to just one: Her sitting at a table in the garden, with a glass of sav, a copy of the Listener and a pack of B&H Classics.

Blonde pixie cut, huge forlorn blue eyes, and a wine and a ciggy in either hand, she was a beautiful hybrid of Princess Diana and Cheryl West.

As a tween, I learned a glass of wine and a durry was how a sophisticated career woman "decompresses" after a "Helluva Day".

Advertisement

A few years later, I'd stumble upon a TV series about another sophisticated career woman named Carrie Bradshaw.

She wrote and mused and smoked in bed. It was all so glamorous and grown up. And for just 10 bucks a pack (back in the good old days) I could pretend to be those things too.

I smoked Pall Mall menthols all through uni and they became the glue that galvanised many of my friendships.

Post-exam ciggies on the steps of AUT tower.

Drunken ciggies passed around in dark alleys behind nightclubs.

Quiet ciggies in my car at 3am because I couldn't go home, because my mum's breast cancer wasn't going away and I couldn't face it.

Last ciggies around the corner from the hospice.

I switched to vaping after that, because they told us it "wasn't as bad for you". It was just lolly-flavoured obnoxious clouds.

Advertisement

The best part was, you could do it anywhere and you didn't stink like a TAB ashtray for days afterward.

For the small price of looking like an absolute twit, I was a millennial Carrie Bradshaw – incessantly sucking on a light-up stick in class, in bars, in bed.

I've been vaping for five years now and the worst part is, I love it.

I love lying in bed on a Sunday morning with Netflix and a plunger coffee and my vape. I love vaping while I drive, and vaping after sex.

But I also work in news, and the news on vaping isn't good.

In the wake of six vaping-related deaths and 380 cases of confirmed and probable lung disease across the US, doctors and health officials are concerned, to say the least.

According to a new report by health department officials in Wisconsin and Illinois, who conducted a joint investigation of 53 patients: "The severity of the illness and the recent increase in the incidence of this clinical syndrome indicates that these cases represent a new or newly recognised and worrisome cluster of pulmonary disease related to vaping."

I used to think the stupidest thing I could do would be dying of lung cancer, which is utterly preventable.

Now that's been trumped by dying from huffing on a USB stick and exhaling Mentos-flavoured vapour.

Vaping was a rebound fling to fill the void. A vice that came in on a white horse when I needed one - but we're through.

I love vaping, but not enough to end up a headline.