Best Way to Quit Vaping
Before we can discuss the best way to quit vaping, it’s important to answer the question, what differentiates an e-cigarette, or “e-cig,” from a vaporizer, or “vape”? Vaporizers use a rechargeable module combined with interchangeable e-liquid. A vaporizer works in much the same way as an e-cig. A rechargeable battery heats a small element that in turn vaporizes the e-liquid in the device. Unlike e-cigs, however, most vaporizers use a tank to hold the e-liquid rather than a cartridge.
Is Vaping Addictive?
During substance abuse recovery, many clients frequently begin vaping and using e-cigarettes to replace their former addiction. However, the chemicals used in vaping are just as addictive and detrimental to overall health as other addictive substances. Vaping is just as addictive as regular cigarettes because nicotine, a toxic and highly addictive chemical, is the primary component, causing individuals to experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings when they stop vaping. The nicotine in vape smoke elevates blood pressure and adrenaline levels, increasing chances of a heart attack.
Vaping Health Risks
Whether through cigarettes, e-cigs, or vapes, smoking harms nearly every organ in the human body, specifically the heart. Consistently throughout the years, and among different research studies, users show a desire to quit smoking, with 70% of smokers wanting to stop on average.
Despite widespread knowledge about nicotine’s dangers, there are still many unknowns about the health effects of vaping. Due to the relatively new nature of the products, the other chemicals that compose the vapor are still not fully understood, and researchers are unsure about how they affect physical health over the long term. The chemicals in vapes expose users to all kinds of toxic substances that we do not yet understand and that are probably not safe.
As of January 21, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 60 deaths in patients with e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI). Scientists have also confirmed an outbreak of lung injuries and deaths associated with vaping.
The question then comes down to, what is the best way to quit vaping? In general, trying to develop a new habit or stop an old one is a tough process that takes dedication and determination.
How Addiction Starts
Dr. Phillippa Lally, a researcher from University College London, conducted a rigorous study in 2009. Lally and her collaborators recruited ninety-six people who were interested in forming a new, daily habit like, say, drinking a glass of water before bed, and monitored participants over twelve weeks. Every day, participants were asked to self-report on how “automatic” their new, self-chosen habit felt, including whether it felt “hard not to do” or if they could do it “without thinking.” The results from this study were varied. Some participants only needed eighteen days for a behavior to become a habit. For others, habit formation takes two hundred and four days. The big takeaway from this research was that on average, it took participants sixty-six days to solidify their new habit, almost three times what had been previously thought to be the average time, twenty-one days. The Lally et al. study also determined that the first couple of days are the most impactful in laying a foundation for success.
An additional study also showed that stating a resolution makes individuals ten times more likely to be successful at forming a habit. Stating intentions helps put the brain to work. A group of nuclei embedded in the midbrain called the basal ganglia, deal with adopting new, goal-driven actions and integrating them into consistent behaviors. The basal ganglia also handles memory, pattern recognition, and motor control. These nuclei are deeply connected to other parts of the brain. Research into brain activity suggests that a key point in habit formation occurs when the basal ganglia take over for the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex, the frontmost part of the frontal lobe, controls decision-making.
How to Stop Vaping Completely
Deciding on Date to Quit Vaping
Considering all the aspects that contribute to forming a habit, now let’s consider the best way to quit vaping. The first step to quitting vaping is to confirm a date to quit. There are important components to consider when choosing a date:
- Give yourself time to get ready. Getting ready can help you feel confident and give you the skills you’ll need to stay abstinent.
- Don’t put it off for too long. Picking a date too far away gives you time to change your mind or become less interested in quitting. Choose a date that is no more than a week or two away.
- Set yourself up for success. Try not to pick a quit date that will be stressful, like the day before a big test.
Overcoming The Challenges of Quitting
As mentioned above, the first few days of quitting vaping are not only impactful but also the hardest. People looking to quit will experience challenges along the way, and knowing what to expect alleviates some of the resulting anxiety associated with quitting. Below are some challenges you may face when trying to quit vaping:
- Know your triggers. Certain people, feelings, or situations can cause you to want to vape. It’s important to know your triggers. It may be best to avoid situations that can trigger you to vape when you’re in the early stages of your quitting period.
- Prepare for cravings and withdrawal. Think about how you will fight cravings and deal with withdrawal symptoms. Knowing what to expect and having strategies for handling uncomfortable feelings or urges to vape will help you succeed and stay with your desire to quit in those tough moments.
- Resist temptations. Avoid places and situations where others are vaping. If you can’t avoid being around vaping, plan for how you will handle these situations. Maybe you will need to take a temporary break from friends you vape with and think about what you will say if somebody offers you a vape.
- Make A list. Last, make a list of all the reasons that you want to quit vaping and put it in a place where you will see it often. When the urge to vape is intense, looking at the list will be a reminder of why you wanted to stop vaping. Frequently reminding yourself about the big WHY behind the reasons you want to quit can help you maintain focus.
Many people who vape also use cigarettes or other tobacco products. Perhaps you can even transition to quitting tobacco altogether. Putting energy into quitting vaping makes this an ideal time to quit tobacco products, too. Overall, the sooner you quit, the faster your body can rebound and repair itself.
Talk to health care professionals about what smoking cessation program or treatment plan will personally work best for you.