What may start as an innocent inhale can rapidly spiral out of control.
You may have gone out with friends and someone offered you a hit, then you went to buy your own e-cigarette.
Before you know it, you’re unconsciously puffing as you watch your favorite television show, and leaving your vape resting on your nightstand for your morning hit.
Perhaps what is most dangerous about vaping is how consuming this behavior becomes.
Often advertised as a healthy alternative to smoking, vaping can be a great segue into quitting for smokers. Traditional cigarettes contain over 7000 chemicals that when inhaled, enter your lungs.
Vapes tend to have fewer toxins and they work by heating up the e-liquid in the pen before you inhale it into your lungs.
While the damage to your lungs can be less, this does not make vaping a safe alternative.
Ultimately, both smoking and vaping administer nicotine into your bloodstream and can lead to a myriad of health complications, some of which can become dangerous or fatal.
If you have started vaping and are trying to quit, don’t beat yourself up for struggling.
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, making the habit hard to break.
Establish Reasons for Quitting
Breaking the habit of vaping requires conscious effort.
You need willpower along with an established set of reasons for quitting. Along with your personal reasons, here are a few important reasons to quit vaping:
- Vaping is highly addictive
- It is expensive
- It can disrupt your daily life and negatively impact your relationships
- Vaping will more than likely not help you quit smoking cigarettes and you may consume more nicotine if you do both
- E-cigarettes contain harmful chemicals
- The long-term risks are still unknown
Challenges in the Process
According to one of the top-selling e-cigarette manufacturers, the nicotine in one pod is equivalent to a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.
If you are vaping consistently, you run the risk of nicotine poisoning from overconsumption.
The wide range of flavors e-cigarettes are sold in — including fruit, candy, mint, and more — may also be enticing, and make it more difficult to quit.
This is particularly problematic for young adults.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 8 out of 10 young people turned to flavored vapes with a majority of those users admitting that the appealing flavors are the main reason for use.
This creates a huge challenge in the process of quitting as the flavors can mask the potential serious side effects as a result of continuous vaping.
Setting Goals and Planning Ahead
Designate a quit date and set goals for yourself.
This can be effective whether you plan to wean yourself off vaping over time or quit cold turkey.
Create a plan and set goals along the way.
You may want to start by vaping every second day, moving to only vaping once a week, then finally quitting altogether.
It’s also important to reward yourself. If there is an outfit you have your eye on or a new game for your console, treat yourself when you reach a certain period of time abstaining from vaping.
You could also put aside the money you would usually spend on e-cigarettes and save it for a nice meal or trip away.
Identify Triggers and Cravings
Identifying what triggers you to use your vape can help you learn what to avoid when quitting.
Some common triggers include:
- Being around other people who vape
- Relationship problems
- Alcohol and other mind-altering substances
- Certain activities such as driving, watching television, or going for a walk
- Certain foods that you associate with the activity
When you quit vaping, your body will typically go into nicotine withdrawal.
Nicotine has a short half-life of about two hours, with the withdrawal period kicking in as early as four hours.
Your symptoms typically peak after three days and will gradually subside over the three to four-week mark as your nicotine levels drop until it completely leaves your system.
Learning what to expect can help you overcome this period.
There are several symptoms associated with vaping withdrawal from nicotine.
- Nicotine cravings and urges to smoke
- Anger, frustration, and irritability
- Feeling anxious, sad, or depressed
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Weight gain or increased appetite
In addition to tackling the withdrawal period and knowing what to expect, certain lifestyle changes can help you avoid vaping.
Consider the following:
- Be more physically active: Incorporate a daily workout into your routine to boost your mood and distract you from your nicotine cravings. You may want to even try to replace vaping with physical activity; when you crave a pull from your vape, go out for a run instead.
- Stay busy: Create a plan for your day that will keep you distracted so you don’t vape.
- Find a replacement behavior: This could be chewing on a straw or paddle pop stick, or sucking on a lollipop when you feel the urge to vape.
- Reward yourself: Engage in activities that you enjoy or treat yourself when you have passed personal goals related to quitting.
- Talk with a healthcare provider: They will be able to help you with your withdrawal symptoms and in some circumstances, they may prescribe you medications to help you manage this period.
If you are struggling to quit vaping, you are not alone. Fortunately, there is an abundance of free resources available to you to help you.
Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or 1-877-44U-QUIT to talk with a tobacco cessation counselor who can offer you support and advice.
You can also chat online using the National Cancer Institute’s LiveHelp service.
In addition to this, there are support groups available in most towns for people trying to quit nicotine.
You may want to attend one of these meetings to help you meet people who are going through similar experiences as you and can support you.
When to See a Medical Provider
An outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury (EVALI) along with many deaths has been researched by the CDC.
They have found that many e-cigarettes may contain several chemicals which can be harmful to your health.
If you vape, you put yourself at risk of EVALI.
The symptoms are quite similar to the flu and other illnesses, making it harder to diagnose.
Visit your healthcare provider if you have any of the following symptoms and are a regular vape consumer:
- Shortness of breath
- Dry cough
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Coughing up blood
- Unusual weight loss
Your doctor will do a physical examination of you.
They may also run some tests depending on your symptoms.
More than likely, they will advise you to quit vaping and in some circumstances, they may prescribe medications to help you quit.
How K Health Can Help
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Frequently Asked Questions
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
7 Common Withdrawal Symptoms. (2021).
5 Vaping Facts You Need to Know. (2022).
Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products. (2021).
Results from the Annual National Youth Tobacco Survey. (2022).