Vaping can be defined as the act of inhaling and exhaling an aerosol created by a device, such as an electronic cigarette. The sensation it produces is similar to smoking tobacco. Many vapers claim the act is a relaxing one and that it makes them feel at ease.
Vaping is increasingly a fashionable way for people to give up smoking nicotine cigarettes. In recent years, it has become a huge worldwide business and there is a multi-billion dollar vaping industry keen to attract customers.
For many people, giving up cigarette smoking is very difficult, and vaping offers a way in which they say they can simulate the same feelings of relaxation they associate with smoking, but with less risk to their health.
Why do people vape?
The reasons are numerous, as in all human behaviors. But one of the main reasons is that vapers say it is because they want to cut down on the number of cigarettes they smoke.
Others enjoy the e-juice itself, as the e-juice can be flavored to simulate sweet tastes. You will unquestionably have scented the smoke from vaping outside pubs, bars, or just on the streets. Not unpleasant as smells, we should nonetheless not be seduced by the pleasing scents!
Others vape because they enjoy the social ritual, as it can resemble those rituals around smoking, and they like the cloud of ‘smoke’ that is puffed out when they exhale. For those seeking to give up vaping, the loss of the social ritual is often the hardest part.
Understanding the risks associated with vaping
You should not think vaping is risk-free. Far from it.
Vaping has been linked to the following health problems.
- Respiratory issues
- Increased risk of throat infections, often serious ones
- Lung damage
- Nicotine addiction
- An increased risk of various cancers
Once you understand the dangers vaping presents, giving up may be psychologically easier for you. It’s essential to take the time to educate yourself on the risks associated with vaping. Hopefully this article will help.
The pros and cons of quitting
As with all behavioral adaptations, when it comes to quitting vaping, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons.
On the one hand, quitting vaping can help reduce negative health impacts, such as those outlined above. This is a really important consideration for you to have in mind.
It is also highly likely to improve your overall physical wellbeing, certainly over time.
In economic terms, it is also likely to have a very positive impact on your personal finances, as you will immediately find you have significantly raised levels of disposable income. Do not underestimate this aspect of things. Saving money is a great motivator.
On the other hand, giving up any habit is hard, and you will naturally find you may have feelings of withdrawal and frustration in trying to break a habit to which you have become accustomed.
It is also possible your social group may change, as we often find we associate, and are friends with, those who share our habits.
The important attitude to strive for is one of self-care. You have to identify the advantages and disadvantages and then weigh them up. However, you really should be aware of the long-term medical and economic advantages of not vaping, and you should remember to be positive that changes to our routines and health habits can be made if we have the willpower.
Bear in mind what is most beneficial for your life in the long run. Physically, mentally, economically and in terms of positive thinking, giving up vaping is better than carrying on vaping, so stay positive.
Self-motivation is key!
Factors that may make it difficult to quit
The following areas are some factors about which to be especially conscious, so that you can find strategies to alleviate them.
- You will have cravings. This is a reality when we adapt our behaviors. Do not be put off your long term goal by these.
- You may feel stressed or anxious at points. This, too, is natural. Find other ways of alleviating the stress, such as deep breathing, exercise, or even a relaxing drink, such as camomile tea, honey drinks, or watching a favorite comedy show. These can help take your mind off your anxiety and lift your mood.
- If you have other people in your life who are vaping, try to break free from them when they vape. This can be hard, but it is essential you are straightforward with them about why, and that you disengage to avoid being drawn back into vaping with them.
- Share your goals! This is really important. If you let other people in your life know you want to quit, they will support you. Once you tell the world you’re quitting, you’ll also feel more compelled to live up to your word!
Steps for Quitting Vaping
Developing a plan
As with all big changes to our lives, we need a plan! You won’t quit vaping easily without a clear idea of how to get there.
Firstly, understand your core reasons for giving up vaping. Among the reasons may be some of the following –
- Saving money
- Improving your health
- Getting rid of a feeling of dependency
- Not showing your children bad habits
- Making working life easier
- Changing your friendship group
- Altering your routines to give your life a bit of an uplift
- Improving your overall fitness, or perhaps because you want to take up sport again
The key thing here is to know your own mind! You will have reasons, so be very clear about them and do all you can to keep them in mind.
Deciding on a timeline
Once you have determined your goal, decide on a timeline. This is important. You need to remember that giving up vaping won’t happen overnight and you will have ups and downs. Don’t beat yourself up about that, but of course try to stick to your timeline as much as you can – or even get ahead of it!
Setting achievable milestones is essential.They must be defined clearly, and they must be achievable, or you will soon lose heart.
Share your intentions, and make sure that those who are around you in life also know that you are trying to give up. This helps build a supportive network of key people who can assist you. You need people to help you out and make sure you remain accountable to yourself – and, indeed, to them too!
You will find it more motivating if you feel you might be losing a bit of respect among your peers if you slack off and lose focus too soon. This is the power of sharing your goals – it keeps you true to your purpose.
Setting realistic quitting goals
This is important. You must make sure you have goals, but you must also ensure they are sensible and sane!
Don’t just say, for example, ‘I want to reduce my vaping.’ Instead, say, ‘I want to cut one vape per day out of my routines each day for the next week.’ Keep your goals specific, countable and achievable.
Don’t just say, ‘I will vape less next month.’ Instead, try saying, ‘I will make sure my last vape of the day is no later than 5.00 p.m., so that my evenings are vape-free.’
Another way to think of your goals is to make them situation-specific. You may say, for example, ‘I won’t vape the next time I am out for a drink with Harry, even though Harry vapes.’ This kind of goal, what you might think of as a ‘situation-specific’ goal, is another great kind of goal to set.
Remember, you are in a medium to long term plan here. Success will come if you are measured, if you persevere, and if you are reasonable.
Know what triggers you, and avoid those moments
As you likely know, ‘triggers’ are factors that lead to cravings for something. You will almost certainly have your own vaping triggers, where the urge to vape is suddenly high.
Stressful situations, annoyance, or a pretty rubbish part of your day, like a journey to or from work, for example, can be triggers for having a ‘relaxing’ vape.
Often, these are subconscious. You may not be aware that you fall into daily repeated vaping patterns.
To identify your potential triggers follow this process –
- Start by keeping a weekly diary of the times of day you vape
- Then analyze these to see if they follow patterns of time, or place, or people, or events
- Then reflect on whether a vape was really necessary, or just part of a habit, or part of a situation that upset you
Try to develop strategies for avoiding each individual trigger. For example, when you find yourself in stressful situations, practice deep breathing or head outside for a short walk.
Over time, understanding your routines and triggers will actually feel empowering, as you will find that you feel great when you can say, ‘That event would usually have made me want to vape, but I managed to get through it without one.’
Seeking support from friends and family
Any change to our lives is tough if we feel alone. Friends and family can be a great source of motivation and understanding. As we said earlier, shared goals are easier to fulfill, as you have committed to more than just yourself.
Your family can check in with you periodically to see how you’re getting on, and they can also help you structure out what are sometimes called ‘accountability systems’, where they, for example, may take you out for a good dinner when you get through the first week of your plan.
You also need people who will listen to you explain how you feel, so really do make sure you have a trusted ally or two to lean on! Sometimes, when we are trying to give up vaping, we need social support, so make sure to build it into your life.
Strategies for Successful Quitting
Finding healthier alternatives to vaping
The need for alternatives is significant when we are trying to change a vaping habit and later our routines.
One fantastic and hugely successful option is exercising!
When you work out, or even just enjoy a twenty minute walk, your body releases endorphins, which improve your mood, distract you from your cravings, and therefore help lower the instinct to vape.
Meditation is also an excellent way to distract your mind and body from its cravings.
Related to meditation, yoga is also a wonderful discipline to add to your life that can help you assert control over your body. They are excellent ways of focusing your mind and centering yourself towards positivity.
Hobbies are also important. You may find it helpful to spend the money you are saving on something really fun or interesting, so that you can be reminded of the benefits of giving up vaping. Having a new item of clothing you love, for example, is a good trick, as when you wear it you are reminded of your new vaping-reduced lifestyle!
Keeping the mind focused on quitting
The following little tips can be very helpful to you, as you seek to quit vaping entirely. It is important to have that long term goal regularly supported by the way you think.
- Reward yourself when you have a good day with fewer vapes
- Tell people how far on you are in your journey
- Replace vaping with new, better habits and be very conscious of the fact that that is what they are
- Write down your thoughts and feelings as you progress, especially how good you feel. Journal notes can be an excellent stimulant to long term goal-delivery
Remaining proud, focused and accountable. Self-respect matters!
Related to the above section, make sure to stay proud of yourself, but also accountable. You do need to remember that, ultimately, only you can do it. Nobody else can stop vaping for you.
To do this, acknowledge and tick off daily achievements – but also daily setbacks. You need to know the difference between what a good day feels like and a bad day feels like, so that you can focus on the power of those good days. Get to a position where the good days are addictive.
Acknowledge the small setbacks, so that you can avoid them when they next get ‘triggered’, but do not be overly frustrated by them and suddenly feel hopeless.
Many people will have ups and downs in the process of giving up, but make sure that if you do go backwards for a few days you do not slip back altogether and give up. Many of the strategies we have discussed here will help you, but if you are to avoid falling back into full-on vaping habits, you need to be determined, self-respecting, strong-willed and clear-minded.
Only you can do it. Don’t forget that.
And don’t forget to imagine how good you’ll feel when you finally do make it to being a former vaper!
Managing Withdrawal Symptoms
Recognizing cravings and withdrawal symptoms
As you progress, you will definitely have withdrawal symptoms.
Irritability. Impatience. Short-term thinking, Sleeplessness. Anxiety.
All these are common symptoms of anyone giving up vaping.
Firstly, you will overcome these symptoms by acknowledging them. That’s key.
Secondly, make sure you reward yourself when you have a good day, or even a good morning. Maybe allow yourself a pudding at lunchtime, or a bit of chocolate. These little substitutes can be really important in palliating the feelings of distress giving up vaping may cause.
Thirdly, look at your plan again when you feel frustrated, and make sure to remember how bad you would feel if you gave up and gave in to these temporary little cravings.
Strategies for managing cravings
When you have a craving, distract yourself! This is a really important psychological approach to take.
Go for a walk. Change your environment, even if that means just going to different room. Breathe deeply. Talk to yourself positively. Call a family member or friend who is supporting you.
If you can, go for a run or a swim. Get fresh air in your lungs.
These approaches will unquestionably make you feel progressively better.
Professional help is always out there
There is always the option of seeking professional assistance as you seek to give up on any craving or addictive habit. This is always worth remembering.
Psychological help may be required if you are having real difficulties. Talking to an addictions counselor may be wise for some of you who have very high levels of vaping.
In addition, you can always talk to your health service or doctor, as they will have strategies to assist you and may even have drugs that they recommend.
There are also many support groups online for those who are giving up vaping, so be aware of that extra layer of emotional and psychological support. It may be the key for you. Hearing others’ stories, whether good or bad, can act as an additional and very strong strand of support.
Recap of the steps for quitting vaping
To close, here is a summary of the strategies we have discussed to help you. Keeping these headlines in mind will really assist you as you do all you can to put vaping into the past!
Steps for quitting vaping:
- Find a support system, whether it’s a family member, friend, or group, and share your inventions with them
- Know your triggers and devise strategies to avoid them
- Ensure you have a great personal plan to outline your short, medium and long term goals
- Make sure you acknowledge and then manage your cravings when they come along
- Track your progress daily, weekly and monthly, and make sure to reward yourself at key points. (This is an essential part of how to quit, as it will incentivise forward momentum and enhance your progress. Be kind to your body and yourself.)
- Ideally, bring more exercise or physical activity into your life too, as this assists the body by releasing endorphins that act as an uplift and distract you from any negativity you feel about not being able to vape
- Reward yourself with the money you are saving so that you can embody your new lifestyle in a little treat, whether that’s a new purchase, or a new experience, or even a weekend away or a holiday. You will be amazed how much money you save!
- If you really feel you need to, talk to professionals to help you. This is all part of sharing your goals.
Underlying all these steps is the need for you to remember this is your goal, and that only you can ultimately achieve it. Self-respect, self-worth, self-determination and self-help are all absolutely essential elements of giving up vaping. Do not underestimate the challenge, and have belief in yourself.
And remember that when you achieve your goals, and become vape-free, you will feel brilliant. You will be richer, healthier, quite possibly more fit, and you will be able to show to your family, friends and, most importantly, yourself, that you did it!