Vaping can work without needing to be a long-term crutch. Luckily, quitting vaping is considered easier than quitting smoking. Though not without its own drawbacks and difficulties, of course.
One added difficulty to vaping cessation is the arrival of nicotine salts. A classic blessing/curse: vaping became more satisfying but more habit forming. Whether the potential harm is not comparable to the known harm of smoking, some people just want the freedom from vices.
If that’s you, there are some strategies here that can work.
Tapering down the nicotine content of your e-liquid is the advisable method to quit vaping, as it will minimize the mild withdrawal symptoms. In fact, some people do it naturally, as they find that they require lower nicotine out of their vape as time progresses.
If you vape on commercial juices, gradually lowering the nicotine concentration is usually dictated by nicotine strength availability. Most juices come in strengths of 0, 3, 6, 12 mg, and sometimes 18 mg or 24 mg. There are some factors to consider when gradually lowering the strength of your e-liquid.
Going from a mouth to lung inhale to a direct lung inhale will have you consuming more nicotine per puff. If you want to eventually vape on zero nicotine, switching inhalation methods will skew your perceived nicotine intake.
Self-titration is a very common phenomenon in vaping: people consume more e-liquid to cover for their cravings. Reducing the strength of your liquid in half will probably result in consuming more juice.
A way to make tapering down easier is to DIY e-liquid. This way you can create your own steps without having to cut nicotine strength in half every time; you can go from 6 mg to 5 mg instead of 3 mg, which will reduce cravings even more. If you don’t want to make your own e-liquid, an easier way to do it is to mix your nicotine containing e-liquid with some zero nicotine juice of the same flavor. You can gradually add more zero nicotine juice every time until you eventually switch to zero altogether.
Once you reach zero nicotine, quitting vaping will be a much easier process. But, as with quitting cold turkey, it is advisable to keep a vape and a bottle of e-liquid stored somewhere.
If you already vape on very low strength e-liquid, don’t have access to many nicotine strength options, or have just stocked a lot of e-juice, you can try gradually lowering your e-liquid consumption. But take note that this method will require careful monitoring, along with a lot of self-control.
If you use a vape mod, or any device that has a puff counter, you can check your numbers and create targets for the day. Otherwise, keeping track of vaping consumption is not as cut and dry as counting cigarettes.
Changing from a direct lung device to a mouth to lung one can be helpful when following this route. But while you will certainly manage to vape less e-liquid on a mouth to lung device, it is true that some people find it hard to change inhalation methods.
No weaning, tapering, or any kind of easing into it. You go from a vaper to a non-vaper by making the decision and sticking with it. This method can be dictated by factors such as the fear vaping on your health, unwanted side effects, uncertainty, doctor’s advice, or even legal reasons such as moving to a country where vaping is illegal.
If you’re going to attempt to go cold turkey, you will not be able to mitigate physical withdrawal symptoms. Luckily, the withdrawal symptoms are largely mild, and none of the withdrawal symptoms are a guarantee, let alone likely to be all experienced.
When quitting vaping, and especially when going cold turkey, you will most times experience some nicotine withdrawal symptoms. You might feel the urge to vape or smoke (if you were previously a smoker). For that reason, it is advisable to not throw your vape away. Keep it in a drawer, next to a bottle of e-juice. This can be your defense to against returning to smoking, as finding cigarettes is much easier than obtaining vape gear and e-liquid on demand.
Other possible withdrawal symptoms include:
Bear in mind that, as discussed, nicotine withdrawal symptoms are believed to be less intense when quitting vaping than when quitting smoking.
It is also widely accepted that a large part of withdrawal symptoms is dependent on the hand-to-mouth action. If you don’t want to store nicotine containing e-liquid, keep some zero-nicotine juice instead. In most cases, this will suffice to keep your urges in check. Having something to fidget on would not hurt either.
The JUUL was designed to cover your pack-a-day needs, and some people find it hard to quit, especially when doing it cold turkey. If you decide to quit the JUUL, there is an easier two-step method that will help you avoid any possible withdrawal symptoms.
Step one: use lower strength pods.
JUUL pods are available in roughly 5% and 3% strengths (59 and 35 mg/mL). If you don’t have access to 3% pods, or if you vape on a flavor that is not available in this strength, go directly to the next step. If your flavor of choice is available in 3% strength, then you can try switching to that as a first step of lowering nicotine strength. Try not to vape more, which should be easy to control if you are vaping one pod a day. The key here is to keep track of how many pods you use and deplete.
Step two: switch to an open pod system.
Switch to a well-recommended pod vape that lets you vape the e-liquid of your choice. This will allow you to gradually lower nicotine strength and make quitting much easier. If you want a bit of an extra throat hit, go for freebase nicotine liquids since they hit stronger at less nicotine concentration than nicotine salt. It is advisable to start at relatively high levels (12 mg and above), to reduce any possible withdrawal symptoms.
From that point on, it’s up to you. You can slowly lower your nicotine levels in 3 mg increments, or even cut it in half. But don’t do it hastily. If you go too low on nicotine strength, chances are that you are going to have some cravings. If you feel like smoking, then don’t hesitate to raise your nic levels a little bit.
You might feel that quitting vaping will be an overwhelming process, but it doesn’t have to be. Most of this feeling stems from the misconception that vaping and smoking are similar habits. Put it in context: if you are a vaper, you are not a smoker, and according to Public Health England, you have already done yourself a huge favor.
If anything, vaping is much closer to NRTs like the gum or the patch than it is to smoking processed tobacco leaves. Quitting vaping is a completely separate thing to quitting smoking, and it should be viewed as such.