12 Easy Steps To Quitting Vaping For Good

12 Easy Steps To Quitting Vaping For Good
12 Easy Steps To Quitting Vaping For Good

Walk down any street and you are bound to see at least one person holding a (usually brightly coloured) vape. While the general consensus seems to be that these e-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking tobacco – and therefore can be a useful tool to help people quit smoking – experts are by no means relaxed about their health consequences.

Little is known about the long-term effects of the chemicals used to make up the vapour, while emerging research about vaping isn’t particularly positive. For instance, it has been linked to chronic lung disease and asthma, and most vapes contain nicotine which has been shown to raise blood pressure and increase the likelihood of heart attacks.

Still, vaping has exploded in popularity in recent years, particularly among the younger generations: one report from the Action on Smoking and Health group showed that in March-April 2023, the proportion of children experimenting with vaping had grown by 50 per cent year-on-year, from one in 13 to one in nine.

The problem is, much like traditional smoking, vaping is addictive. In fact, many e-cigarettes have a higher concentration of nicotine than traditional cigarettes. However, this doesn’t mean it is impossible to kick the habit. Here, experts share 12 strategies to help you stop vaping for good.

Little is known about the impact of vaping on your health (Photo: Yana Iskayeva/Getty)

Do a health inventory

Change requires attention and effort. “Start with a review of how healthy you are feeling – whether you’re tired most of the time, what your typical sleeping patterns are, mood levels, hormonal symptoms, how your memory and concentration is, whether your skin is healthy, are you anxious and do you have high stress levels, good digestion or bloating?” advises Pamela Roberts, a psychotherapist and addictions specialist at Priory Hospital in Woking.

“Do a similar inventory for your energy levels and blood sugar health – are you too tired to exercise? Do you overreact to stress? Experiencing energy slumps? Feeling more irritable? Gaining weight or finding it harder to lose weight? Although not directly linked to vaping, looking at your health inventory and then developing a plan to maintain good health helps create a focus of attention when tempted to vape.”

Identify your triggers

Ask yourself, what is it that is making you want to reach for that e-cigarette? “Try to identify and address any triggers that may make you want to vape,” says Dr Katie Tryon, director of health strategy at Vitality Health. “Whether it is boredom, stress, socialising, or just the taste – once you have identified the main reason behind why you vape, the better you will be able to develop strategies to manage these feelings. This could be as simple as avoiding environments you associate with vaping.”

Keep your body busy

“Aim to keep your cravings at bay by leading an active lifestyle,” advises Dr Tryon. “Keep your mind and body busy – exercise can be a great way to help you avoid reaching for your vape. This can also help you to come up with a plan to combat cravings. For example, going for a walk when you want to vape is a great way of controlling that urge.”

Find your baseline

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“Vapes come in different strengths of nicotine, so take note of the strength you usually use,” says Dr David McLaughlan, a consultant psychiatrist and addictions specialist at Priory and co-founder of Curb.health, an interactive app to support people to avoid high-risk behaviour. For example, this could be 3mg, 6mg or 9mg.

“Tracking how often you use your vape, as well as the total amount of puffs per day, serves as useful information to work from when beginning to try and break the habit.” Doing so should also help you reduce the number of times you mindlessly reach for the e-cigarette.

Create a gradually reducing schedule

“Create a schedule of gradually reducing strength, frequency and total number of puffs per day,” says Dr McLaughlan.

“Try delaying your first vape of the day, then increasing the time between using your vape. Also, you can substitute for a weaker strength of vape, such as 3mg instead of 6mg.”

Set a realistic stop date

“Have a specific date in mind, by which you want to have quit,” says Dr McLaughlan. “And be realistic: the NHS’s stop smoking programmes often suggest setting a date 12 weeks in the future.”

Make yourself accountable

Behavioural science has long extolled the benefits of accountability when it comes to making or breaking habits. “It can help to tell people that you are quitting vaping, so that you can be held accountable for it,” agrees Dr McLaughlan.

List your reasons

Whether it is saving money or for health reasons or both, it is worth knowing exactly why you want to stop vaping. “It is important to focus on your motivation to quit,” says Dr Tryon. “Listing your reasons can help ensure that you stick to them.”

Come up with some distraction methods

“Try developing some new interests and hobbies which will help to distract you from urges,” says Roberts. She believes journaling is a great method, while Dr McLaughlan adds: “Distract yourself with activities which require active participation. So playing, not watching, and walking rather than sitting.”

Vaping is now ubiquitous in the UK (Photo: Rapeepong Puttakumwong/Getty)

…And craving swaps

“You could try and replace the habit with a new healthier alternative,” says pharmacist Abbas Kanani. “For example, it could be drinking a glass of water every time a craving kicks in, or trying a particular breathing technique.”

Use a mindfulness practice

Mindfulness has become a cliché for a reason: it works. So next time you want to vape, practise a mindfulness technique by naming five things you can see, four you can feel, three you can hear, two you can smell, one you can taste.

“Becoming aware of what is going on within you in response to a current situation or interaction is key,” explains Roberts. “It will help you to avoid succumbing to automated responses, such as picking up the vape.”

Celebrate your success

“Acknowledge that quitting any harmful habit is hard, especially the ones we enjoy,” says Dr McLaughlan. “Promise yourself a treat or reward for sticking to your schedule. Share your success when you achieve your goal.”



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