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The Ultimate Guide to Overcoming a Vaping Addiction



vaping addiction guide

For many years, many argued that vaping was less dangerous than smoking, perhaps nearly harmless.

Since many cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke do not appear in vapour, some have claimed that vaping is safe.

The argument that vaping is safe does not take into account the presence of other unhealthy ingredients in e-cigarettes. It also does not take into account the harmfulness of nicotine itself.

The argument that vaping is harmless depends on the idea that nicotine on its own is safe, which it is not.

While vaping may be less harmful than smoking, it is nonetheless dangerous. Vaping can cause severe respiratory illnesses.

While most vaping horror stories deal with poorly produced homemade vape juice, these stories are nevertheless real. Those who use even well-produced and relatively safe vape juice still expose themselves to unhealthy chemicals.

Those who want to quit vaping have to overcome nicotine addiction and face the same challenge as those who want to quit smoking.

While nicotine withdrawals are not as severe as withdrawals from hard drugs, the addiction lingers for a long time. Even after staying away from nicotine for years, one can get back into the drug quickly.

Nicotine addiction is, therefore, a challenge to beat in the long run. One who vapes may have a slight advantage over one who smokes, and that is that one can switch to a low nicotine vape liquid for a while before quitting. Sometimes, this can be easier than cutting down gradually on cigarettes.

However, quitting vaping is as hard as quitting smoking because one is addicted to the same substance in both cases.

How does a vaporiser work?

A vaporiser is designed to heat a liquid until it becomes inhalable vapour. With an e-cigarette, the juice is heated and vaporised without being burned.

The lack of combustion is said to make vaping less dangerous, as the burning of tobacco creates some of the carcinogenic chemicals.

While some vaporisers are disposable and are thrown away after use, most are refillable.

People also use vaporisers to inhale marijuana extracts.

Is vaping anywhere near as dangerous as smoking?

One dangerous chemical found in e-cigarette smoke is formaldehyde [1].

While formaldehyde is not an ingredient in e-cigarettes, it appears as a result of vaporisation. Formaldehyde is a toxic substance used for embalming the dead. Formaldehyde also sees use as a pesticide.

The e-cigarette company JUUL has been in trouble with the Food and Drug Administration for marketing their products as a healthier alternative to cigarettes [2].

Nicotine is also harmful to the heart in its own right. And let’s remember both vaping and smoking is all about Nicotine!

How did vaping become so popular?

Companies selling vaping products were able to market them successfully for many years. The vaping companies succeeded in convincing a significant fraction of younger people to vape.

Vaping companies promoted their products as a cheaper and healthier alternative to cigarettes.

The companies also advertised their products as a way of quitting smoking. In reality, they are an alternative to cigarettes for most of their users.

How addictive vaping is relative to smoking depends on the strength of the liquid used.

A potent liquid may deliver more nicotine and be even more addictive than tobacco.

Can vaping cause sudden and severe respiratory illness?

It was in the summer of 2019 that people suddenly became much more aware of the dangers of vaping.

Teenagers and young adults ended up in the hospital with difficulty breathing and chest pain, with vaping as a common cause.

These hospitalizations led to many attempts to raise awareness of the dangers of vaping and to sue the larger e-cigarette companies.

Medical science also became much more interested in vaping during this time.

The medical term EVALI was created in 2019, referring to “e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury,” which is now a subject of medical research.

In the vast majority of cases, those who have EVALI find it very hard to breathe. EVALI often also involves diarrhea and vomiting.

A person with EVALI may also have a high fever. Symptoms vary and are, by definition, serious. Acute respiratory symptoms occur with those who use vaporisers to inhale THC rather than nicotine.

This risk may be because those who buy THC liquid purchase them from an illegal source, and these vape liquids may, therefore, be poorly produced and dangerous.

Whether or not vaping can cause cancer is not yet known.

It may turn out to be true that vaping is less carcinogenic than smoking, but there is not enough evidence to determine what vaping for decades will cause.

Lung infections related to fat deposits in the lungs, also occur in vapers [3]. Vaping is also capable of causing lung infections associated with inhaling chemicals.

Is vaping harmful to the heart and arteries?

Yes, vaping is capable of causing cardiovascular damage. The idea that nicotine on its own is relatively harmless is false. Nicotine is enough to damage the cardiovascular system.

If a person uses nicotine, they raise their blood pressure, which forces the heart to work harder [4].

High blood pressure can lead to cardiac arrest if a person has a diseased heart. Cholesterol is also affected by the presence of nicotine in the blood.

As well as the nicotine that e-cigarettes contain, the flavouring includes chemicals that are harmful to the blood vessels. The blood vessels contain endothelial cells, which help the blood vessels expand and contract.

Endothelial cells are also vital for blood to be able to clot properly. Substances harmful to endothelial cells appear in some but not all flavours of vape liquid [5].

Can e-cigarettes explode?

One danger that e-cigarette users but not smokers face is the risk of an exploding vaping device. The devices heat the liquid and pressurize it using electricity. As the pressure will rapidly rise if the flow of vapour is blocked, this can be dangerous.

The FDA warns users to keep batteries used for e-cigarettes away from metal objects that may trigger a short circuit. The FDA also advises users to only charge vaping devices with chargers intended for them. One should not use a cell phone charger to charge an e-cigarette, even if the cell phone charger is capable of charging it.

How dangerous is an exploding e-cigarette? It can result in serious injury. One can end up with a broken jaw and plenty of cuts if an e-cigarette explodes in your mouth [6].

You can damage or lose some of your teeth as a result of one of these explosions.

Vaping may also cause seizures

Taking a very high dose of nicotine can cause a seizure. There have been a few dozen cases of seizures linked to e-cigarettes over the last ten years.

As is the case with alcohol, too much nicotine will lead to nicotine poisoning, which can cause seizures. Pure nicotine is a very potent poison. Only thirty or sixty milligrams worth of nicotine is enough to cause death.

A small drop of pure nicotine can kill [7]. Drinking a relatively small quantity of a liquid containing nicotine can also be deadly.

It is not yet evident whether or not anyone who uses e-cigarettes puts themselves at risk for seizures. Although the food and drug administration can find 35 cases of seizures that e-cigarettes seem to have caused since 2009, the seizures may have other causes [8].

These seizures might occur as a result of unusually high strength forms of e-liquid.

It also might be true that these seizures occurred in persons already prone to them, but that is not clear. Substances other than nicotine may be involved in some cases.

Nicotine is more than slightly addictive

A person often becomes addicted to nicotine before they realize they are addicted. After trying to break a casual smoking or vaping habit, they become aware of their addiction.

Once they know that quitting is going to be a challenge, they often delay stopping vaping repeatedly and remain in the habit for years or longer.

A person who uses nicotine may not be sure whether or not they are addicted. The best test is to quit nicotine and see how it makes you feel. If one finds it difficult to stop, they are addicted.

Those who experience more negative emotions such as sadness or nervousness when away from nicotine are also addicted.

Cravings are, of course, a sign of addiction as well. If you feel like you are no longer able to control whether you vape or not or find yourself spending too much money on vaping, you are addicted to it.

While breaking a nicotine addiction is a challenge, countless people have done it. Many of them were addicted to nicotine for decades.

It is realistically possible to quit forever, even if one has been using nicotine for most of their life. Shorter-term addictions can also be a challenge to break, but it is less stressful if you have only been using nicotine for a short time.

How to break a nicotine addiction

Usually, a person who is attempting to quit nicotine manages to get through the first few days, even though the worst withdrawal symptoms occur during this time.

A person who is seriously determined to stop will be able to get through the initial withdrawals.

What gets nicotine addicts back into the habit is being hit with cravings for nicotine weeks or months after quitting. An occasional desire for nicotine might appear weeks, months, or perhaps even years after you stop vaping.

Thankfully, cravings become infrequent, then very rare, and finally disappear entirely. One will not frequently want nicotine months after quitting.

The most important thing you can keep in mind is that cravings after the first week or so are not likely to last for a long time.

If one resists, the feeling of need for nicotine will disappear. Therefore, quitting nicotine is not a painfully hard task, even if many people repeatedly try to stop and fail. Cravings only last a few minutes [9].

One strategy for quitting nicotine that many people do not bother with is talking to a doctor or another health care professional. A health care professional may be able to prescribe drugs that do not contain nicotine but do minimize the cravings for it. A health care professional may also be able to talk to you about effective strategies for quitting.

A visit to the doctor will also make your plan to stop vaping seem more serious.

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are often less and not more severe than they are reputed to be. They can include headaches, depression, anxiety, and tiredness. A person may be a lot more sensitive to hunger and thirst after quitting nicotine.

A person may find it difficult to sleep during withdrawals, which is one of the worst parts of nicotine cessation. Keep in mind that nicotine reduces one’s sleep quality, so someone who quits will soon be able to sleep better than before.

While waiting for a perfect time to stop using nicotine will result in not quitting nicotine at all, one might be able to find a good time to face the worst withdrawal symptoms. Choose a weekend when you have little going on to quit vaping.

School, work, and possibly even social activities will be challenging when you are in the early stages of withdrawal. Getting a lot of sleep, if you can, is a good idea when quitting nicotine.

Tiredness, loneliness, boredom, and stress can all trigger the craving for nicotine. Running can undoubtedly help you quit smoking, as is the case for exercise of any kind, but fast-paced cardio is best.

More than anything else, remind yourself that cravings will become less frequent and most noticeably shorter over time.

The support of friends and family can help as well. Let people know you are quitting – if you don’t want to have to admit defeat, you will be less likely to go back to nicotine.

Keep in mind that your mood often improves after you quit nicotine. You will sleep better, feel more in control of your life, and be healthier without nicotine.

Beating withdrawal symptoms with a plan

Make a list of quitting strategies before you quit vaping, and stick to them. Attempting to stop suddenly and without a plan is not likely to work. Suddenly deciding that you are going to stop smoking tomorrow may fail.

1) Make a schedule

Have an exact quit date in mind. Know precisely when you are going to be quitting. If you plan on cutting down rather than going cold turkey, know how much less you plan on vaping in a few weeks or months.

2) Use lower strength nicotine

Immediately switching to weaker vape juice will not necessarily cause any withdrawal symptoms. Even if it does, gradually lowering the strength of nicotine one uses may be more comfortable than the cold turkey method.

3) Vape less often

As well as using lower strength liquid, you should use your vaporiser less often. Perhaps, you could decide that you cannot smoke in the last few hours before bed, followed by only vaping in the morning. Or you could count the number of times you vape each day and reduce it.

4) Get rid of all of your vaping gear

Once you are ready for the final step, get rid of everything. Do not keep any bottles of liquid, vaporisers, or cartridges in your possession. All of these things will remind you of vaping and make it harder to stay away from it.

5) Have something that you always do when a craving hits

When a craving hits, you might go for a run, eat, or text a friend that you are experiencing a desire for nicotine. The activity you choose to get your mind off of vaping might be easy (eating, for example) and not something more challenging, like running.

More tips for beating withdrawals

One of the most critical steps in quitting is resolutely deciding to stop vaping. One must take this decision seriously.

Plan a quit date, tell people that you are going to stop vaping, and be willing to experience some disappointment if you fail and pride if you succeed.

One should also chew gum or hard candies when quitting to reduce and prevent cravings. One might also use zero-nicotine vape liquid as one is addicted not only to nicotine but to the activity of smoking or vaping itself.

Practising controlled breathing can calm you down and make you resistant to stress and cravings. Breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and then hold your breath for another four seconds.

Repeating this many times will allow you to calm yourself down. Keep in mind that vaping just once is too risky to consider.

One cannot usually go from being an addict to being an occasional nicotine user. If one was ever an addict, one should quit entirely forever.

1. Make a list of what you have to gain by quitting:

Write down a list that includes the health risks you will no longer face, the money you will save, and the sense of accomplishment you will experience. Focus on shorter-term health benefits and not only the long term health risks.

A heart attack in a few decades might be too distant to consider. In the short run, you might stain your teeth and worsen your skin.

There is some evidence that nicotine causes depression. That may sound hard to believe. One might assume that people smoke because they are depressed and not the other way around.

However, there is some evidence that nicotine causes mental health problems. While the research applies to tobacco rather than vaping, people do become more depressed as a result of nicotine use [10].

2. How other people can help you

Doctors, friends, family, telephone support lines, and online support groups can all help. There are also in-person support groups for nicotine addiction. Probably some of your friends and family members are former nicotine addicts. Ask them about they beat the habit.

Ask people to not vape when they are around you. Asking for support in this way may be difficult, but there is a good chance that your friends will understand. It is not too much to ask.

Asking people to at least go outside to vape is reasonable. Don’t be too shy to ask. Rely on the support of your friends as much as possible. Possibly, you should warn your friends that you are going to act differently during the early stages of nicotine cessation

. Tell them to expect you to act sad, angry, or nervous. Tell them to have at least some tolerance for annoying behaviour on your part.

3. Talk to your doctor

One can use medications to minimize cravings for nicotine. Using nicotine gum is probably not the best idea.

Just as one can end up addicted to vaping after trying to use vaping to quit smoking, some people can become addicted to nicotine gum as well.

Ask your doctor for non-nicotine medications that block cravings for nicotine.

4. Substitutes for vaping

Since vaping involves the mouth and hands, other activities that keep one’s hands and mouth busy can make it easier to quit nicotine.

Eating more while getting through withdrawals might be a good idea. Some people say that brushing your teeth can get rid of a craving.

Since vaping also stimulates the lungs, one might try running or deep breathing to help them quit vaping. For the hands, squeezing a stress ball might be a good idea.

5. Quitting slowly

One might choose to be very lenient with themselves in terms of how long they take to quit nicotine entirely.

If one currently vapes 24mg liquid, one might cut down to 18mg rather than immediately cut down to 6mg. One might then remain at 18mg for a long time before choosing to go down to 12mg.

Very mild 3mg liquid can be purchased. Slowly cutting down the strength that one uses over months rather than weeks is sometimes successful.

6. Reduce how often you vape and throw away your gear

Sometimes, a person who cuts down to a lower strength liquid will vape more often and therefore make no progress.

One might always vape in the morning, vape after work, and vape before driving. Make a list of times during the day in which you vape and try to eliminate these times.

When it comes time to stop vaping entirely, make sure that you get rid of everything.

A smoker does not keep lighters and ashtrays around, so a vaper should throw away all vaping accessories as well.

7. Cold turkey

Cold turkey is sometimes the right way to go. Everyone is different, and one might prefer quitting immediately to slowly cutting down.

While withdrawal symptoms are worse when quitting cold turkey than when cutting down, the worst of the withdrawal symptoms might still disappear quickly.

Write the day you intend to quit down on the calendar and stick to it. Seriousness is critical when quitting cold turkey.

Throw away everything at once. Don’t even leave your vaping supplies in a small garbage can where they can be retrieved.

The morning is when cravings are often the worst, so schedule some activities do to in the morning that will keep your mind away from vaping.

Boredom can be just as much of a trigger as stress, so take up some new activities.

7. Quit with a friend

If you have any friends that are considering giving up the habit, you should try to get them to stop with you.

As well as telling your friends and family about your plan, try to encourage one friend to quit with you.

You do not want to feel like you are up against the world alone when quitting nicotine. The best support comes from a friend who is as determined to stop as you are.

8. Know your triggers

It may be easier to give up caffeine and nicotine at the same time than to give up nicotine alone.

One might want to vape after drinking coffee if they habitually have nicotine and caffeine at the same time. Caffeine is often a trigger.

Being around certain people can trigger cravings, as well. Anything that you associate with vaping will make you want to vape.

If you drink alcohol, you might have to avoid it at least for a while to successfully quit vaping.

9. Consider all options

Some people find a nasal spray that contains nicotine to be an effective method of quitting smoking or vaping. These sprays are prescription only.

Talk to your doctor if you think a nasal spray would work for you. It will help you deal with the worst nicotine cravings without having to vape.

Don’t give up if the cold turkey method fails!

If you find quitting immediately to generate a lot of stress that interferes with your responsibilities, consider stopping as slowly as possible.

Quitting the habit slowly still takes effort – there will be a side of you that wants to smoke more rather than less over time.

However, one may be able to quit without highly unpleasant states of mind if they are cutting down slowly.

Use Alan Carr’s EasyWay method:

One of the best systematic ways of quitting smoking is the EasyWay method developed by Alan Carr. The EasyWay method works just as well for vaping.

The ticket through each of the steps is to remind oneself that vaping has no real advantages.

It does not relieve stress [11], for example.

Nicotine addicts are more and not less stressed than those who do not use nicotine.

Quitting nicotine may quickly rather than slowly bring you to a happier and calmer state.

1) Continue to vape up until the quit date

Don’t cut down. Instead, you are going to use the cold turkey method. Plan to quit a week or more in advance, but vape as much as you want before then. Cutting down will make vaping seem special and precious. Think of vaping as pointless and unimportant, and you will be able to quit.

2) Look forward to rather than fear being nicotine-free

Don’t psyche yourself up for an unpleasant world where you do not have nicotine to comfort you. Instead, think of nicotine as useless. Tell yourself that nicotine has plenty of disadvantages and no advantages. You should look forward to being in better health, having more money, saving time, and feeling proud of yourself.

3) Have one last vape

Have one last vape and make a vow. Make a vow that neither the positive nor the negative events of the future will cause you to vape either to celebrate or to cope. Tell yourself that you will face the best and the worst of the future without nicotine.

4) Remind yourself that withdrawal isn’t that bad

Nicotine withdrawals are not nearly as bad a hard drug withdrawals. There is no pain or vomiting involved. Nicotine withdrawals are painless and only moderately unpleasant.

Don’t give anything up for the sake of quitting. If you like coffee or tea, continue to drink coffee or tea without having any nicotine as well.

Continue to go to the bar if you like, as long as you don’t use nicotine while you are there. Think of quitting as an all advantages / no disadvantage choice.

5) Don’t avoid social situations where people smoke or vape

If you really and truly understand that life without nicotine is better, you will not experience many cravings when you are around people who vape. You won’t envy them for being able to vape.

They will envy you. They are the ones who are wasting health and money on a mildly enjoyable habit with no real advantages.

6) Don’t bother trying to avoid thinking about vaping

Avoiding thinking about vaping is not realistic. If you try not to think about something, you will end up thinking about it. You will think about vaping. But, make sure that you think about it in a positive way.

Never think, “isn’t it so awful that I can’t vape” so much as “isn’t it so great that I don’t vape anymore.”

7) Quit nicotine, don’t minimize it

After quitting nicotine, you should never use even a little nicotine under any circumstance.

The decision to use a small amount of nicotine will lead to many more decisions to use nicotine until you are back to being an addict again. Zero nicotine is the right way to go.

8) Don’t use nicotine replacement products

Just as using vaporisers to quit cigarettes doesn’t make sense, it also doesn’t make sense to use gums or patches to quit vaping. Quit nicotine completely for life.

9) Never keep an e-cigarette with you for the sake of strong cravings

You will not experience any “emergencies” where you are completely desperate for nicotine. You will only experience cravings that go away quickly.

Throw all of your vaping products away, or else you will use them.

Keeping an e-cigarette at home “just in case” while attempting to quit is planning to fail. Your cravings will go away faster than you think and be milder than you think.

10) Enjoy life without nicotine

Life without nicotine will be better than and not worse than it was before. Always consider using any nicotine at all, even years later, to be a decision to go back to vaping. Quitting nicotine is a choice.

The withdrawals are not nearly bad enough to defeat people who attempt to quit nicotine.

All that is needed is a firm decision to quit nicotine forever, and one can live a happier life without it.

References

[1] – https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/formaldehyde/formaldehyde-fact-sheet

[2] – https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/warning-letters/juul-labs-inc-590950-09092019

[3] – https://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2019/07/vaping-pneumonia.php

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28332500

[5] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109719346960?via%3Dihub

[6] https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMicm1813769

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3880486/

[8] https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/statement-fda-commissioner-scott-gottlieb-md-and-principal-deputy-commissioner-amy-abernethy-md-phd

[9] https://smokefree.gov/challenges-when-quitting/cravings-triggers/how-manage-cravings

[10] https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/depression-and-smoking/B678E576A1AC1771F944BCE184E71041

[11] https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/news/20000814/nicotine-equals-stress-relief-not-so-fast-experts-say

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