Best Way to Quit Vaping
Vaping simulates tobacco smoking, but the user inhales vapor generated by an electronic cigarette rather than tobacco smoke. Although many people believe vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes, the practice can have serious health consequences and may contribute to death.
Reasons to Quit Vaping
Multiple studies agree vaping can damage your health, and in some ways may be more deadly than cigarettes. In a November 2019 news release, the American Heart Association announced the results of two studies that found e-cigarettes increase heart disease risk factors by:
- Negatively affecting total and LDL cholesterol.
- Decreasing blood flow to the heart.
The studies also found these detrimental effects happen at a level equal to or greater than similar effects caused by cigarette smoking.
After analyzing data from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that as of Feb. 18, 2020, 68 deaths have been linked to vaping. The CDC and others also continue to investigate a nationwide outbreak of hospital ER visits because of EVALI, which stands for “e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury.”
Testing has found most EVALI cases to be linked to vaping products that contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the compound derived from marijuana that produces a psychoactive effect. Vaping also causes vitamin E acetate, frequently found in vaping materials, to interfere with proper lung function. The compound is often present in the lungs of those suffering from EVALI.
Other research has found vaping causes lung and respiratory dysfunction, changes in the brain, and organ damage. The 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) found young people who regularly vape may have difficulty concentrating, problems with memory, and impaired decision-making skills.
How to Quit Vaping
Most vaping materials contain nicotine, sometimes at greater levels than found in conventional cigarettes, making the habit seriously addictive. E-cigarettes can also contain chemicals linked to lung disease, dangerous metals like nickel, tin, and lead, and other toxic substances.
A significant amount of research has found vaping increases the risk of lung, breast, gastrointestinal, and pancreatic cancers. For these reasons and more, many people who vape have a strong desire to quit the habit.
What is your motivation for wanting to quit?
Be honest, are you quitting because you really want to, or are you quitting because someone you care about wants you to quit? If someone is pushing you to quit vaping, but you don’t really want to, it will be difficult to be successful.
If it is for yourself, why do you want to quit? After you have identified your key motivation, keep that motivation firmly in mind during and after the quitting process.
Do you plan to quit “cold turkey” or gradually?
While some studies have found those who quit cold turkey have slightly better long-term success than those who quit gradually, either method can work. Pick the method you feel will work the best for you.
Plan for success
No matter which quitting method you choose, the following tips can help:
- Dispose of all vaping products
- Increase your water intake to flush toxins
- Keep your hands and mind busy with activities you enjoy
- Let others know of your quitting plan and enlist their support to stay on track
- Plan how to handle cravings (gum, hard candies, worry beads, contact someone in your support network)
- Spend time with family and friends who do not vape or smoke cigarettes
- Go to restaurants, movies, or other locations where you cannot vape
- Consider using a nicotine patch or gum
- Watch and read inspirational stories, adopt positive thinking techniques
- Practice mindfulness, meditation, yoga
- Connect with nature
- Talk to a smoking-cessation counselor
If you plan to quit gradually:
- Set your target quit date, circle it on the calendar, and plan to reward yourself when you reach your goal
- Pick a period of time with the least expected stressors
With either method, change up your routine. If you used to vape after a meal, do something different after you eat, like taking a walk, listening to a self-improvement recording, doing a puzzle, etc.
Incorporate other healthy habits into your life. Exercise regularly, eat nutritious meals and get plenty of sleep. All positive changes work together to reinforce your motivation to be a healthier, happier person.
Online programs offer education, support, and community
Besides the tips noted above, take advantage of helpful online resources like BecomeAnEx, which provides valuable support for those wishing to quit vaping or smoking cigarettes. The program offers great tips on dealing with withdrawal symptoms and trigger situations, as well as a continuing support network once you have kicked the habit.
Mayo Clinic helped develop the BecomeAnEx program which has already helped over 800,000 smokers quit. BecomeAnEx may quadruple your chances of successfully quitting, according to research.
Don’t give up hope if you happen to slip. Instead, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests, “think about what you learned when you were not smoking. What helped you to stay smoke-free and what caused you to have a slip? What can you do differently now to help yourself be smoke-free again?” Plan for success as you step right back into your smoke-free journey.
Other Resources To Help You Quit
The following organizations offer a variety of patient education and support resources for smoking cessation.
CDC (resources and publications)
American Heart Association (quitlines, online resources)
Midwest Recovery Centers
At Midwest Recovery Centers, our compassionate staff specializes in treating prescription or illegal drug dependence, alcohol dependence, co-occurring disorders, and other addictive behaviors while also providing education through a monthly support meeting for the families of those struggling. Contact Midwest Recovery Centers today to start your recovery.
Reviewed and Assessed by
Taylor Brown, B.A.Com., MAADC II
Tim Coleman, M. of Ed.