By Robert Kirchner JR / 10/02/2021

Harm Reduction Story of a Vape App

Oct 2nd, 2021


Harm Reduction

The Effects of Combustible Tobacco Products on the Lower Class

Growing up in a poor suburb in the Saint Louis Metropolitan Area, I had tremendous exposure to combustible tobacco products. My grandparents, parents, aunts/uncles and neighbors all were victims of cigarette addiction.

With a convenience store on nearly every corner, they dealt almost exclusively in alcohol and tobacco, and almost exclusively to the poor people who lived within walking distance. Each store covered from top to bottom in Tall Boy and Cigarette advertisements, it is only natural for young poor people to be tricked by tobaccos charm.

Countless days and nights I watched my grandfather smoke cigarette after cigarette, only pausing to have an intense coughing fit. Sadly, I think I was destined to be another lower class victim of big tobacco. After years of battling COPD, all while smoking several packs of PallMalls everyday, my grandfather eventually succumbed to a stroke.

My Father, a two pack a day smoker, was diagnosed with heart and circulation issues in his thirties. Tobacco does some very nasty damage, but seems to be very hard to put down.

A Smoke-Free Alternative

In 2011, I discovered e-cigarettes. Small, cigarette looking tubes, with a red LED at the tip. While it ultimately had taken me years to switch, I know that vape had the potential to be a real low harm alternative to traditional cigarettes.

I have been on a mission since then to help smokers switch and potentially live decades longer.

Vape Calculator App

In 2015, when the vape we know today was just getting started, I decided to build VapeCalc. I had only been into programming for a few years at this time, and VapeCalc was my third Android app project.

The app initially consisted of a coil calculator that only supported basic coils. The app was very ugly, I knew nothing of Android UI styles, but people used it everyday.

It is very hard to launch a mobile app with no money that people will actually use. So in many ways, VapeCalc, was my first success. Over time, I added a lot of functionality to that ugly native android app.

Taking a Break

Towards the end of 2017 I stopped working on the app to work on my career in software development.

Rebooting a Classic Vape App

After several years as professional Software Engineer, I decided to reboot my most successful app in order to learn React Native mobile development and to pickup my harm reduction advocacy.

Given that I now have given up the stinkies, and I am so passionate about harm reduction, this is a great way spend my spare time.

The vape community is full of great people that truly care about helping others overcome the stranglehold of traditional tobacco addiction. It is a pleasure to serve and interact with you folks.

Future of My Vape Toolbox App

The app has really started to shape up. I have built quite a bit of infrastructure for development of the vape app, and as long as people keep using it, I will keep iterating and continually improving the ultimate vape app.

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