Vaping has been a popular alternative to smoking cigarettes for years and is especially prominent among young people. The first electronic cigarette was developed in China back in 2003, but the use of vapes has significantly spiked in recent years.

It has been thought that vaping could be deemed as a ‘healthier’ substitute for smoking cigarettes, but the reality is they are not risk-free and vaping may come with side effects. In young adults and teens, the use of nicotine can harm the developing brain, specifically the areas that control mood, learning, attention, and impulse control.

If you’re interested in ending your vaping habit for good or want to support someone on their quit journey, read on for vaping insights and evidence-based exit strategies.

Why should I quit vaping?

Vaping is often considered a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes, but recent research demonstrates that the habit may not be as safe as first thought.

Healthcare providers have seen an increase in patients presenting with vaping-related lung injuries. This illness is called EVALI; E-cigarette, or Vaping Product use, and Associated Lung Injury. It is most commonly connected to THC vapes with the additive vitamin E acetate.

Symptoms of EVALI can include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Shallow breathing
  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Rapid heart rate

As vaping is a relatively new practice, the long-term health risks are not yet properly understood by professionals. However, emerging research suggests that vaping may in fact be just as harmful as smoking cigarettes.

Why is vaping so addictive?

Vapes commonly contain nicotine, and nicotine is a highly addictive substance. The more often that you vape, the more severe nicotine cravings you may experience, hence why it can be so hard to quit.

When your brain hasn’t received a nicotine hit, you may experience withdrawal symptoms that are hard to ignore. Symptoms of withdrawal can include strong urges to vape, restlessness, sleeping difficulties, irritability, and anxiety. It’s important not to let these symptoms put you off quitting, as they certainly don’t last forever! Most people find that the withdrawal symptoms settle down after 2-4 weeks.

How hard is it to quit vaping?

Nicotine addiction is undoubtedly hard to break. When one part of your brain is encouraging you to quit, another part is begging you to pick up that vape for a nicotine hit. But just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Millions of people worldwide have been able to quit vaping and smoking for good, and so can you.

You may find the start of your quit journey the trickiest as you begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. Come prepared with an understanding of why your body feels this way, and remind yourself of the reasons why you have decided to put vaping behind you. Withdrawal symptoms are a sign that nicotine is leaving your body, and this is a good thing!

How long does it take to quit vaping?

Every person’s quit journey is different. Your individual circumstances such as your social circle and living situation, your desire to quit, and the level of dependency your brain has on nicotine will all affect how long it takes you to quit vaping.

Don’t be disheartened if your first, second, or even third attempt to quit doesn’t work. It takes a smoker on average 30 attempts to quit!

Often this is because smokers are choosing to quit cold turkey, without a plan in place to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. So let’s talk about ways of quitting, to help you quit for good.

Four ways to help you quit vaping

It can be hard to quit vaping and break your dependence, but with determination and an exit strategy in place, you’ll be able to kick the addiction to the curb. It can be helpful to speak openly and honestly with your family and friends about your desire to quit. Make it known that you wish to leave vaping in the past. This can help to keep you accountable and reduce the number of lapses you may experience.

You may also wish to work with a healthcare professional to support you along the way.

1. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

If your vapes contain nicotine, it’s likely that you may experience withdrawal symptoms. NRT works by giving your body a regulated and therapeutic dose of nicotine to keep your cravings manageable. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you decide which type of NRT is the right fit for you, as well as the deciding on the dosage.

NRT comes in the following forms:

  • Transdermal patches
  • Gum
  • Lozenges
  • Spays
  • Inhalators

NRT is an effective and safe way to manage nicotine cravings, however, there are a few uncomfortable side effects that may be experienced. Some of these include heart palpitations, nausea and/or vomiting, abdominal pain, hiccups, coughing, dizziness, insomnia, and muscle aches and pains.

It might be helpful to have non-NRT tools available to manage the cravings until they pass, such as:

  • keep your mouth moving by chewing gum
  • go for a walk or do some sort of exercise
  • make a cup of tea
  • call a friend or family member
  • practice deep breathing

Nicotine cravings can be quite intense, but remember that it will get easier in time. Your body is just adjusting to its new normal state.

If you’re experiencing symptoms that become unmanageable, please make an appointment with your healthcare provider.

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2. Hypnotherapy for nicotine addiction

If you’re new to the world of hypnotherapy, it may surprise you that hypnosis is commonly used by professionals for smoking cessation. It addresses the underlying impulses in an attempt to weaken the desire to smoke.

Hypnotherapy can be done in person with a professional, or, can be accessed via an app on your mobile device. Finito is one such hypnosis app designed to help users strengthen their desire to quit and remain a non-smoker. The program was designed by Dr. Gary Elkins, a world-leading neuroscientist, and director of the Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory at Baylor University.

3. Avoid triggering scenarios

Being in an environment that is as temptation-free as possible is important for your success.

  • Remove any vapes from your living environment. Try to make sure that vaping materials aren’t as easily accessible as they once were.
  • Speak to friends and family about your desire to quit vaping. It can be a little bit more difficult if your friends or family vape, but remember that it’s okay to remove yourself from a situation if necessary. Be as honest as possible and explain why you may need to make some changes to social interactions for a while.
  • Stressful situations can be a reason why we reach for a vape or cigarette. If you’re dealing with stress or anxiety, try other ways to calm yourself. Exercise can be a great way to get the endorphins flowing, so how about experimenting with a yoga or meditation class?

4. Quit vaping cold turkey

Going cold turkey is a common way that people attempt to quit vaping, but it can be challenging to uphold. Firstly, you’re throwing yourself into the deep end of nicotine withdrawal and not necessarily addressing the reasons why you vape in the first place.

If you plan to go cold turkey, your healthcare provider can be a great support through the withdrawal process. Be open and honest with them about your situation and symptoms, and use their professional guidance to your advantage. You don’t need to quit alone!

The Wrap Up

Vaping, the act of inhaling flavored aerosols through a battery-operated device, has risen in popularity over recent years. While many consider it a ‘healthier’ version of cigarette smoking, it can still be dangerously addictive and invite a range of health concerns. EVALI, a vaping-related illness, causes an inflammatory response in the lungs with symptoms similar to pneumonia. To prevent developing an illness like EVALI, or other long-term side effects from vaping that are still not yet properly understood, there are several strategies that can be explored including NRT (nicotine replacement therapy), trigger avoidance, going cold turkey, and hypnotherapy for smoking cessation.

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Could it be IBS?
Take the quiz to find out.
Free guide to managing IBS with hypnotherapy
Calm IBS in 6 weeks
Diet and drug free program
50,000+ people helped
Created by Dr Simone Peters
What if you could calm IBS in just 6 weeks?
Diet and drug free program
50,000+ people helped
Created by Dr Simone Peters from Monash Univeristy
Could it be IBS?
Take the quiz to find out.
Calm IBS in 6 weeks
Diet and drug free program
50,000+ people helped
Created by Dr Simone Peters
Calm IBS in 6 weeks
Diet and drug free program
50,000+ people helped
Created by Dr Simone Peters
Calm IBS in 6 weeks
Diet and drug free program
50,000+ people helped
Created by Dr Simone Peters
Calm IBS in 6 weeks
Diet and drug free program
50,000+ people helped
Created by Dr Simone Peters
Manage IBS with gut-directed hypnotherapy
Start free trial
Sleep better, without hormones
App based
Low risk
Evidence based
Manage hot flashes in just five weeks
Start Now
Manage hot flashes without hormones
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Low risk
Evidence based
Refer, monitor and grow
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