How To Quit Vaping – Cleveland Clinic

No one is surprised to hear that smoking cigarettes is bad for your health. Decades of warnings from the Surgeon General and chilling public announcements (PSAs) have really made that point loud and clear.

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Less clear, however, is the guide to vapes (or e-cigarettes, mods, Juuls®, or whatever you call electronic pens that deliver nicotine and other products without a lighter).

So, let’s get that out of the way for now: Undoubtedly, vaping is not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. Period. Hard stop.

True, there is a wide variety of vaping pods (or e-liquid, vape juice, or whatever you want to call the cartridges that contain the chemicals used by a vape) that contain nicotine. And these pods have different contents. Some have more nicotine, some less, some are fruit flavored, some can be manipulated to add other ingredients. But none of them are without significant risks to your health, including a high possibility of nicotine addiction, says pulmonologist Humberto Choi, MD.

“Vaping addiction is treated the same way as nicotine addiction in people who smoke cigarettes because that’s basically what it is,” says Dr. choi “When you vape nicotine products, you are exposed to nicotine throughout the day. We know that nicotine is a highly addictive chemical. Quitting is not easy for most people.”

We spoke to dr. Choi on the dangers of vaping and nicotine addiction and brought us his advice on how to break the habit. (Separately, some vape products are used to smoke marijuana. The recommendations for quitting these products would be similar to these ways to quit smoking weed.)

The dangers of vaping

Vaping nicotine products carries some of the same risks as smoking cigarettes. Both vaping and smoking are addictive and introduce potentially dangerous chemicals into your body. While cigarettes have been extensively studied for decades, vaping is relatively new – they were first sold in the US around 2007. So the long-term effects of vaping on your health are still not known for certain.

effects of vaping

But some of the known dangers of vapes are:

Another well-known effect of vaping is a serious lung disease called EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping, product use connected lung damage) that sent thousands of people who used vaping to the hospital in 2019 and 2020. The outbreak has been primarily linked to people using vapes containing THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana that makes people feel “high”), but EVALI can also develop in people using nicotine vapes .

Unknown additives

When you go to the gas station and you see that wall of different types of cigarettes behind the counter, you pretty much have an idea of ​​what’s inside. The boxes may have different logos, but they are all tobacco products that contain nicotine and other chemicals.

However, e-liquids used for vaping are much more diverse, making it harder for scientists to figure out what’s in each of those little capsules and what effects they may have.

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To complicate matters further, the internet is full of “advice” from the vaping community with hacks to make your own e-liquid yourself by adding alcohol, flavors, vitamins and other ingredients. And in case you’re wondering, tampering with your own e-liquid isn’t recommended, says Dr. choi

“It’s really difficult to track exactly what substances are used in e-liquid, and when people try to make their own e-liquid it can make things even more dangerous,” he adds.

risk of nicotine addiction

Nicotine addiction is the most pressing danger in vaping, says Dr. choi This is especially true because vaping can be done discreetly and without some of the restrictions that come with smoking cigarettes.

“The biggest concern is nicotine addiction,” explains Dr. choi “The contents of an e-liquid cartridge can be equivalent to an entire pack of cigarettes. And since you don’t have to light something and go outside when vaping, people can use it continuously throughout the day. You can easily use a full cartridge in a very short time and be exposed to very high concentrations of nicotine.”

Are you addicted to vaping?

You might be thinking, “Okay, maybe I’m vaping, but that doesn’t mean I am addicted – the old “I can stop whenever I want” mentality. Let’s look at the signs of nicotine withdrawal.

When you stop using nicotine products (or are between uses), a person with nicotine addiction may experience:

mood and behavior changes physical symptoms
Urge or craving for nicotine.
This is the most common symptom.
Headache.
Feeling anxious, nervous, irritable, grumpy, or angry. nausea.
frustration, sadness or depression. Dizziness.
Sleep disorders. Increased appetite and weight gain.
difficulty concentrating. constipation, bloating or diarrhea.
Cough, dry mouth, sore throat and nasal drops.

These changes (and more) occur because nicotine binds to receptors in your brain to release the chemical dopamine, the “feel good” hormone. When you take away the nicotine, you release less dopamine, which can negatively impact your mood and behavior. Additionally, quitting nicotine use can disrupt certain chemicals in your body, leading to the physical effects of withdrawal.

How to stop vaping

The desire to quit nicotine is an important and necessary first step. And you deserve hearty congratulations on your determination to quit. (Your body – and your wallet – will thank you!)

The ways to quit vaping are similar to the recommendations for ways to quit smoking, including:

  • Throw away your vape pens and pods.
  • Identify habits and rituals associated with your habit and break those cycles.
  • Distract yourself with movement and relaxation techniques.
  • Building a support system.
  • Talk to a healthcare provider about pharmacological options like medications and nicotine replacement therapy like patches, lozenges, and gum.

dr Choi emphasizes that talking to a doctor about your addiction and goals can be helpful.

A doctor can help you determine the best ways to treat your addiction. For adolescents and young adults, nicotine replacement therapies such as patches, lozenges, and gum are the main recommended treatments. Adults may also be prescribed certain medications to help kick the habit.

In addition to the physical tools, there are social and mental aspects to vaping. Understanding your triggers and why you vape in the first place can help you quit vaping forever.

“An important part of your quitting journey can be understanding why you vape,” says Dr. choi “Sometimes we have to go deeper and see what’s going on. Some people use vaping to self-medicate their anxiety or depression. Or are you trying to use vaping as a way to “fit in”? Knowing why you started vaping in the first place can help you overcome any underlying issues and increase your chances of success.”

How long does it take to quit vaping?

There is no one particular schedule that works for everyone when they decide to quit vaping. No two people will have the same experience once they stop vaping nicotine. How long it takes you to quit likely depends on a number of factors, including:

  • how much you vape
  • The ingredients in your vape.
  • Why you vape
  • How long have you been vaping.
  • Your commitment to quit vaping.

“My best advice for someone quitting vaping is to be patient and give yourself some grace,” advises Dr. choi “Quitting is a process. Nicotine is highly addictive. It may take a few tries, and that’s okay. Try again. And don’t hesitate to ask for help.”

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