When ceasing unhealthy habits, it’s best to make sure that the behaviors you decide to replace them with don’t come with their own risks. Case in point: quitting cigarettes is one of the best things you can do for your overall well-being. In our article ‘Four Things Your Cardiologist Wishes You Knew About Heart Health’, we note that quitting can reduce your likelihood of cardiovascular disease and death.
More importantly, though, smoking is the primary risk factor for lung cancer. In fact, quitting as early as possible doesn’t just prevent you from getting it—NIH Research Matters notes it increases your chances of survival if you’re diagnosed with it. However, to quit, many people turn to vaping products instead.
E-cigarettes and vaping pens differ from cigarettes in that they deliver nicotine by heating an e-liquid rather than burning tobacco, which supposedly causes less harm. Unfortunately, this action can still damage your lungs. Here’s an overview of how that works and how you can quit vaping.
How vaping damages your lungs
The popular claim is that vaping products are 95% less harmful than cigarettes. However, that assertion is now under scrutiny. According to a recent BMJ review, there have been reports of vaping-related acute lung injury since 2012—though the most severe outbreak happened in 2019, when 2,807 cases of vaping-related idiopathic acute lung injury predominantly affected otherwise young and healthy individuals and resulted in 68 deaths. These numbers peaked in September 2019, when the link with vaping was discovered, and the offending agents were removed from circulation. Since then, researchers have found that the vape aerosol of e-cigarettes harbors several toxic substances with potential adverse respiratory effects. The longitudinal effects of long-term vaping are still yet to be seen, but based on current evidence, it’s best to give up vaping as soon as possible.
How to stop vaping
Plan your quit date carefully
The first step is to choose a quit date and prepare for it. It’s best not to pick a time when you know you’ll be stressed, like the night before an annual review or a big presentation. Instead, try choosing a tension-free date that is significant to you, like your birthday. This will help remind you how far you’ve come in your vaping journey and give the date extra importance. You may also want to do test runs of quitting vaping before the date for extra practice.
Quitting vaping is best done gradually and with help from smokeless nicotine replacement therapy products. These products include nicotine pouches—packets filled with food-grade fillings, flavorings, and nicotine that you place between your gum and upper lip—and nicotine inhalers, which you puff continuously to imbibe the stimulant. Using these will prevent further lung irritation and, because of their different nicotine strengths, give you a way to lower your dosage over time. You can start with the On! nicotine pouches at Prilla, which are 100% tobacco-free and available in a portable, discreet mini-dry format. They also come in flavors like cinnamon and citrus if you miss the taste of your e-liquid. Meanwhile, using Nicorette inhalers is a popular e-cigarette cessation method because it mimics the feel of vaping, which can help ease the transition.
Another way to reduce cravings for your vaping pen is to exercise. Physical activity boosts serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, making you feel healthier and decreasing the urge to vape. It’s essential to take it slow. If you decide to engage in tougher activities like hiking or running, you’ll notice that you get out of breath quickly—which is likely to do with your previous vaping habit. However, you can use that as another milestone. When your lungs fully recover with time, you can breathe easier and do as many fun and strenuous exercises as you like.
Vaping has its own risks and dangers. Quit as soon as possible by trying the strategies above.