Vaping has proven to be an effective smoking cessation aid. Many qualitative studies have shown that the likelihood of smoking reduction or abstinence is higher in those who use e-cigarettes than those who do not. With that in mind, why is vaping a $1.7 billion industry compared to big tobacco at $80 billion? Why aren’t more smokers making the switch? There are plenty of variables to consider. Access to vape shops may be difficult for those who live in rural areas, concern about the safety of vaping, and the costs associated with switching to a vaporizer.
Cigarettes in Ontario can cost approximately $14/pack for premium brands. Cigarettes produced by the First Nations community (AKA “native” smokes) are considerably cheaper but are not regulated for quality control – there is no way of knowing what’s in them.
Vaping is a much cheaper alternative to smoking after the initial equipment purchase. But what happens when someone can’t afford to make the switch? What about those who want to quit smoking by using an e-cig or vaporizer but have limited financial resources?
This disequilibrium in equal access to vaping is what led Deanna Rooke to create the Diva Donation Program (DDP). Based in Kitchener-Waterloo, DDP provides low income vapers and smokers with vaping supplies they would otherwise be unable to afford.
The program works by submitting an application directly to Deanna. There are two types: one for current vapers, and one for prospective vapers.
Created in April 2015, the program has an acceptance rate of approximately 85%. Deanna has already approved more than 40 current vaper applications and 80 new vaper applications. Current vapers often receive bottles of e-juice and coils for their vaporizers, while new vapers are given starter kits and e-juice. All products are donated by the vaping community to any of the 15 drop off locations in Ontario and BC.
To offset the costs of the program, Deanna occasionally holds raffles for new donated equipment. They are generally held in vaping groups on Facebook and the proceeds help to pay for shipping fees.
Deanna is proud of the Diva Donation Program, as well she should be: “Every single vaper that has continued vaping, or every new vaper we have created is a success in and of itself… it’s my life. It’s what I wake up every morning for. It’s my baby.”
To learn more about the program or submit an application, check out https://www.facebook.com/groups/divasdonations/.