Are you struggling to quit vaping and break free from its addictive grip? It’s no secret that vaping has become increasingly popular with its appeal and ease of use over the years. However, it’s essential to understand the harmful health risks associated with vaping and take control of your well-being.
Whether you’re looking to quit for personal health reasons or to set a positive example for your family, know that you’re not alone. This guide will provide the tools, resources, and support to successfully learn how to quit vaping and live a healthier, happier life.
Let’s start the journey towards a vape-free lifestyle with 10 steps to quit vaping successfully.
1. Understand the risks of vaping
Vaping involves inhaling aerosols produced by electronic cigarettes, which often contain nicotine, flavourings, and other chemicals. While some view vaping as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, there are still health risks associated with vaping products and e-cigarette use.
Vaping can lead to lung damage and respiratory problems, such as chronic bronchitis and asthma. A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people who vaped were twice as likely to experience wheezing and difficulty breathing compared to those who didn’t¹.
Vaping can also increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks and strokes. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that people who vaped had higher levels of oxidative stress, which can lead to arterial damage and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease².
The nicotine rush of e-cigarettes is highly addictive and can lead to dependence. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, vaping can lead to the use of other tobacco products and increase the risk of developing a nicotine addiction³.
The liquids in vaping products can contain harmful chemicals, such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein, which can cause health problems. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the aerosols produced by some e-cigarettes contained high levels of these toxic chemicals⁴.
Adolescent Brain Development
Young people who vape are at risk for brain development problems. Nicotine can harm brain development and increase the risk of addiction, mood disorders, and impulse control. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that adolescent use of e-cigarettes was associated with a higher risk of future smoking⁵.
2. Identify your triggers and cravings
Identifying your triggers and cravings is a crucial step when quitting vaping. By understanding your triggers and cravings, you can better prepare for them and develop smoking cessation strategies to overcome them.
Triggers are situations, people, or emotions that make you want to vape. Common triggers include stress, social situations, boredom, and the desire for a nicotine hit. While cravings are the intense desire or urge to vape. They can be intense and may be accompanied by physical symptoms such as headaches, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.
To identify your triggers and cravings, keeping a journal and tracking when and where you feel the urge to vape can be helpful. This can help you identify patterns and common triggers and find ways to distract yourself with they arise.
It’s important to remember that cravings and triggers are a normal part of quitting. By identifying and developing strategies to overcome them, you can increase your chances of quitting smoking e-cigarettes long-term.
3. Set goals and make a plan
Without a clear plan, it can be difficult to stay motivated and avoid relapse. Setting specific, achievable goals and creating a plan can increase your chances of successfully quitting vaping.
When setting goals, it’s important to make them specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). For example, instead of setting a goal to “quit vaping,” a more specific and achievable goal could be “reduce vaping by 50% in the next two weeks.” This goal is measurable, achievable, and time-bound.
Once you have set goals, create a plan to achieve them. Your plan can include strategies to manage cravings, identify triggers, and cope with stress. By setting goals and making a plan, you can create a roadmap to quit smoking for good.
4. Use Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a medication that can help quitting vaping by reducing cravings and nicotine withdrawal symptoms. NRT comes in various forms, including nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers, and nasal sprays, and delivers nicotine to the body in smaller and more controlled amounts than traditional vaping devices.
When someone vapes, they inhale nicotine, which can cause dependence and addiction. NRT works by providing the body with nicotine without the harmful chemicals and toxins from vaping. By gradually reducing the amount of nicotine the body is used to, NRT can help individuals wean themselves off nicotine dependence over time. This can make smoking cessation less challenging and reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.
It’s important to note that NRT should be part of a comprehensive quit plan that includes support from friends, family, or healthcare providers. NRT should be used as directed and under the supervision of a healthcare provider, as some people may experience side effects or interactions with other medications.
5. Find support from friends and family
Finding support from friends and family is a huge part of quitting nicotine. Giving up e-cigarettes can be challenging, and having a solid support network can provide encouragement, motivation, and accountability. They can also help to provide a distraction when cravings arise.
It can also be helpful to join a support group or seek guidance from a healthcare professional. Support groups provide a sense of community and a safe space to share experiences, struggles, and successes with others who are trying to quit vaping.
Some individuals may also benefit from therapy or counselling, as vaping addiction can have psychological effects. Therapy can help individuals identify triggers, develop coping strategies, and address underlying emotional issues that may contribute to vaping.
6. Seek professional help and resources
Seeking professional help and resources is critical for those who want to quit vaping. Professional help can provide personalised support and guidance and access to resources that can make smoking cessation and handling nicotine withdrawal easier.
Primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare professionals can offer guidance on the best methods for quitting vaping based on an individual’s medical history, nicotine dependence, and other factors. They may also recommend medications or other therapies to help manage withdrawal symptoms.
Other quit vaping resources include online support groups, mobile apps, and quitlines. Online support groups can provide a sense of community and support to individuals who may not have access to in-person support groups. Mobile apps can help track progress, provide educational resources, and offer reminders and encouragement. Quitlines, which are free telephone counselling services, can provide one-on-one support and advice from trained professionals.
7. Learn how to cope with nicotine withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms are common when quitting vaping, and they can be uncomfortable and challenging to overcome. Yet, learning how to cope with withdrawal symptoms can make the quitting process easier and help with avoiding relapse.
Whether you decide to quit cold turkey or via another method, withdrawal symptoms typically begin within a few hours to a few days after your last e-cigarette and can last for several weeks. Common symptoms include irritability, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, insomnia, and cravings for nicotine.
To cope with withdrawal symptoms, the following strategies may help:
Nicotine replacement therapy can help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms by providing a lower, more controlled dose of nicotine.
Exercise can help reduce stress, boost mood, and increase energy levels.
Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Distractions such as reading, watching a movie, or pursuing a hobby can help take the mind off withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.
Keep in mind that everyone’s experience with withdrawal symptoms may differ, and what works for one person may not work for another.
8. Incorporate healthy habits and activities
When you quit vaping, your body may experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, and depression. These symptoms can make it challenging to maintain your motivation and stay on track with your quitting journey.
To cope with withdrawal symptoms, it can be helpful to incorporate healthy habits and activities into your daily routine. For example, regular exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve mood, and eating a balanced diet can also help to reduce withdrawal symptoms.
Nicotine can suppress appetite, so you may notice that you have an increased appetite when you begin to quit vaping. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you to manage your appetite and provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function properly.
Other healthy habits that can help you manage withdrawal symptoms include getting enough sleep, practising relaxation techniques, and finding activities you enjoy, such as reading, dancing, or spending time outdoors.
9. Stay committed and motivated
The process of quitting vaping can be challenging, and it is common to experience setbacks or moments of temptation. However, staying committed and motivated can increase your chances of successfully quitting e-cigarettes.
One way to stay committed and motivated is to remind yourself of your reasons for quitting. Whether it is for your health, finances, children, or personal goals, keeping your reasons in mind can help you stay focused and committed to quitting.
Another strategy is to set small, achievable goals for yourself. Breaking down the process of quitting into smaller steps can make it feel more manageable and increase your sense of accomplishment as you reach each goal.
10. Celebrate your success and maintain your quit
After quitting, it is important to acknowledge and celebrate your achievements to help build a sense of pride and accomplishment. Maintaining your quit is also important to prevent relapse and ensure long-term success.
One way to celebrate your success is to reward yourself for your hard work. This could involve treating yourself to something special, like a massage or a favourite meal, or doing something enjoyable you may have put off while vaping. Celebrating your success can help to boost your confidence and motivation and remind you of the benefits of quitting vaping.
Maintaining healthy habits and behaviours after quitting vaping is also a good move. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress in healthy ways. Practising self-care and engaging in activities that bring you joy can also help to maintain your motivation and prevent relapse.
It’s time to look after your health!
Whether it’s traditional cigarettes or e-cigarettes, quitting nicotine is a journey! And it’s completely normal to experience occasional cravings or setbacks. With determination and support, you can celebrate your success and maintain your quit for good.
We’re here to help!
Our Australian-based medical team is here to help you quit with online access to quit vaping treatments and ongoing support. Start your consult today!
- Barrington-Trimis, J. L., et al. “Electronic Cigarette Use and Respiratory Symptoms in Adolescents.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol. 55, no. 2, 2018, pp. 169-175. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2018.03.003.
- Bhatnagar, A., et al. “Association Between Electronic Cigarette Use and Myocardial Infarction.” Journal of the American Heart Association, vol. 7, no. 19, 2018, doi: 10.1161/JAHA.118.008830.
- “Electronic Cigarettes (E-cigarettes).” National Institute on Drug Abuse, updated 2020, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-cigarettes.
- Jensen, R. P., et al. “Hidden Formaldehyde in E-Cigarette Aerosols.” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 372, no. 4, 2015, pp. 392-394. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc1413069.
- Leventhal, A. M., et al. “Association of Electronic Cigarette Use With Initiation of Combustible Tobacco Product Smoking in Early Adolescence.” Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 326, no. 21, 2021, pp. 2164-2173. doi: 10.1001/jama.2021.2072.