Quitting smoking can be challenging to say the least. It isn’t just the nicotine addiction you have to battle with, but the ritual of smoking: something to do with your hands, a habit that is hard to break. You may enjoy a cigarette with your early morning coffee or when out with friends at a pub. Perhaps you like the after-dinner smoke that gives you that sense of satisfaction. Whatever your habit, you can quit it. One of the ways is to approach it in a way that enables you to still enjoy some of the ritual, even the nicotine, and this is where vaping can help.
Although vaping is different from smoking, it really can help you to quit altogether. You do inhale differently, it will taste different from a regular cigarette, but it is far less dangerous to your health, and the key is to persevere until you get used to it. It may seem confusing at first, so this guide will hopefully help to point you in the right direction to your vaping future.
Preparing to Quit
The first thing you need to do is get into the right mindset to quit smoking. With vaping, you can start by swapping out a few cigarettes a day for a vape, and gradually work up to fully switching. You do not need to stop altogether immediately. This may help you to transition from smoker to vaper.
Also, it is important that you make the decision that you want to switch to vaping. If you are determined, you are less likely to fail. Tell a friend or family member what you are doing, they can help support you on your journey.
Things to be Aware of When Switching to Vaping
There are many types of e-cigarettes and e-liquids. It may take you a few attempts before you get the right mix for you. It may be useful to talk to a friend who vapes or ask at a store that sells vaping products.
Vaping is a different sensation to smoking, so you may cough at first. This is usually because you are inhaling like a smoker rather than a vaper and the change in sensation may agitate the throat. Vaping like a vaper means taking long, slow, steady puffs rather than puffing harder to get more smoke like you would with a regular cigarette. You will get used to it, and the coughing will pass.
You may get a dry mouth, nose and throat when you begin vaping. To combat this, simply drink an extra glass of water every now and then as the ingredients in many vape liquids draw water out of you. You will become more accustomed to this the more you vape.
It may not be plain sailing; you may find you have to cut down on your cigarettes gradually over time. Some people will quit cigarettes as soon as they start vaping. Others may still crave a regular cigarette. This can often be combatted by adjusting the strength of nicotine in your e-liquid.
Try not to get frustrated. A smoker will receive a nicotine hit almost instantly from a cigarette, whereas the hit from vaping takes a little longer to reach you. The benefit of this is that it lasts longer, so you will feel satisfied longer. It won’t take you long to adapt to this feeling.
It is possible to vape too much, just as you can have too many cigarettes. The side effects are similar; you may get a headache, mild nausea or dizziness. If this happens, stop vaping and wait for the feeling to pass.
Get Stocked Up
It is vital to be prepared as a vaper; there is a lot more to think about than simply carrying a lighter and cigarettes around.
Your essentials for your first week as a vaper are:
1. An e-cigarette - this could be a pod system, pen or a mod.
2. A spare battery or vape device ensuring that you always have one on charge while using the other. Always make sure you keep your device charged up before leaving the house to avoid taking cigarettes with you.
3. A selection of e-liquid - you may wish to experiment with different types of flavours and different strengths in the beginning until you find your preferred taste. Even if you are sure what e-liquid you want, it is advisable to have a couple of bottles just in case.
4. If you have a vaping tank that uses a coil, it is a good idea to have extras in case anything goes wrong.
Shops that stock vaping equipment are an ideal place to get advice and stock up on the basics.
How to Choose the Right E-Liquid
There are two things to consider when buying your first E-liquid, one is nicotine strength and the other is flavour. The strength of nicotine may be guided by the number of cigarettes you usually smoke in a day.
In general terms, the fewer cigarettes you smoke, then the lower the nicotine strength in your e-liquid. However, you may find that you need a higher concentration than what is listed for your level, especially if you are finding that you are still craving a cigarette.
Here is a general guide to levels:
However, it is important to remember that it will also depend on the type of e-cig you use. Pen-style e-cigs are generally on the higher side dosage wise, and this table is a good starting point. But with Mods, you can afford to lower the levels. A heavy smoker may only need 12mg/ml as the 18mg/ml may feel a little harsh. At the other end of the spectrum, a light smoker of less than 10 a day may only need 3mg/ml unless they want a stronger hit.
Choosing a flavour is a little more complex as this is down to personal taste. Again you can seek advice from a reputable seller on this. As a general rule, smokers tend to start with either tobacco e-liquids or menthol flavours as this generally makes the transition from smoking to vaping a little easier. But once you are a fully committed vaper, there are so many flavours to choose from, and it can be part of the fun finding out which ones you like.
Getting the right nicotine level for you is probably the biggest priority in the beginning, and as this can be a bit of trial and error, it is better to buy a couple of different strengths to try rather than stocking up on a few bottles of one strength initially.
So What Do I Do When the Cravings Hit?
Firstly make sure you have support. This can be from family, friends or vaping forums, whatever you feel will help you when you have a wobble. It may not be as easy as you think, but vaping certainly does help reduce cravings.
If you feel the need to vape, then do. It is better to vape more often in the beginning rather than meeting your craving with a cigarette. If you have a particularly bad craving, then you could increase your e-liquid strength to get you through the bad patch.
Cravings are only short-lived, and after 5 to 10 minutes they pass. So each craving you can avoid is a reason to celebrate. Try doing something to take your mind off of it, listen to a song you like, go for a walk, read a chapter in a book or even do housework.
Recognise your triggers and try to break the associations. If for example, it’s that morning coffee and cigarette you are craving, then try to do something else while you have your coffee. That could be vaping, or you may like to read the paper or do a puzzle.
Make a list of all the reasons you want to give up smoking and keep it somewhere at hand to refer back to when the cravings hit. Was it for health, financial, fed up of being stuck outside to enjoy a cigarette, or maybe you don’t want to smell like an ashtray? Whatever those reasons you chose to give up, use them to give you the strength to stay committed.