ad Quitting smoking is a challenge. No one who’s successfully dropped the habit said it was easy. It requires courage and determination. Vaping simulates smoking in a couple of ways — the sensation of “puffing” and the hand-to-mouth motion — which make the switch from smoking to vaping natural.
With vaping, you remain social, spend less and feel better, but how does it compare to other options?
Why Stop Smoking?
Anyone who’s seen the gruesome images and stark warnings on cigarette packets knows the answer: “Smoking kills — quit now”. It’s blunt but accurate. Tobacco products contain thousands of cancer-causing chemicals.
Vaping is fundamentally different. Although e-liquids contain nicotine, the drug isn’t harmful — just addictive. So compared to smoking tobacco, vaping reduces the risk of respiratory conditions and cancer, not just for you.
Remember the thick smog that used to haunt pubs and bars before the ban hit? In that case, you’ll know about passive smoking. Second-hand tobacco smoke is dangerous, especially to children.
Shocking stats from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal that smoking kills over eight million people a year — 1.2 million of those are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke.
And what about the NHS, which has taken such a beating throughout Covid? Well, smoking costs the NHS an estimated £2.5 billion a year. Clearly, the situation is grim.
What Methods Are Available to Help You Quit?
NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy)
Nicotine replacement therapy has pros and cons. One advantage of NRT over other quitting methods is the many available options, including patches, chewing gum, inhalators, lozenges and nasal sprays. These all work by releasing nicotine into the bloodstream.
However, these therapies don’t replicate the hand-to-mouth movement associated with smoking, which becomes so natural that not doing it can make quitting even harder. Patches can also irritate the skin, and nasal sprays the nose, throat and eyes.
Going cold turkey means stopping altogether. Unfortunately, this route often leads to dead ends as nicotine cravings get the better of people, and they return to smoking.
Are you a coffee drinker? Imagine your mornings without that first cuppa or having to cancel a lunchtime latte with friends. Nicotine is more addictive than caffeine, with more disruptive withdrawal symptoms, so it’s no surprise the cold turkey method consistently fails.
Vaping is a new player on the quit smoking scene and has boomed in popularity. You’ll find a dedicated vaping shop almost anywhere you go in the UK.
As opposed to NRT, vaping mimics the action of smoking. If you’re a social smoker, you might not want to sit inside on your own while your smoker friends go out for a cigarette, but with a vape, you can join them — without the risk of giving into temptation.
Why Quit with Vapes?
Vaping is recommended by Public Health England to help people quit smoking. According to a UCL-led survey of smokers in England, it’s also three times more effective than nicotine gums.
And what’s more, vaping saves you money. You can work out how much you currently spend by using a calculator. Based on the maximum cost of £13.60 for a packet of cigarettes, a 20-a-day smoker spends close to £5,000 a year. In comparison, vapers only need to spend a one-time cost for a vape kit, plus buy e-liquid and coils, which are considerably cheaper. To illustrate this, a small bottle of vape juice can cost as little as £1 and last several days.
Top Tips for Quitting with a Vape
Find your preferred nicotine strength
The amount of nicotine in e-liquid ranges from zero to 18 mg. The right strength for you will depend on how often you smoke. If you’re a heavy smoker, you’ll likely want a higher strength — if you aren’t getting a satisfying hit, you might be tempted to abandon vaping altogether and go back to cigarettes.
The key is experimentation, but with e-liquids available from just £1, it’s no great expense to grab a couple of different options to see which hits the spot (it’s certainly less expensive than buying a packet of ciggies!). The benefit of vaping is that you can also adjust the dose over time, gradually decreasing the nicotine strength until you’re just vaping for the flavour, if at all.
Vape in moderation
When you first start vaping, it can be tempting to vape all the time. But vaping too much, too quickly could make you feel nauseous — so aim to vape as you would smoke — take a few hits, then put it to the side for a while.
Head to your local stop smoking service
Local stop smoking services can boost your chances of quitting. They offer advice and guidance on the options available, and they’re free to attend.
While e-cigarettes aren’t available on the NHS, your adviser will provide information and help you decide if vaping is the right method for you.
Picking the Right Vape to Stop Smoking
When you first step into the vaping world, the amount of gear available may surprise you. Don’t feel overwhelmed. Think about what it is you want out of your device.
When shopping for your first vape, there are some key things to look out for:
Vapes vary in colour and size, from pocket devices to heavier kits that pack a punch. The best middle-ground for most beginners is a pod-style kit like the Doric 20 or Vinci Q from vape brand VOOPOO. These devices are light and won’t feel like you’re carrying a brick in your pocket (at least compared to carrying a box of cigarettes around) but also have a longer-lasting battery life than smaller kits.
Ultimately, though, finding the perfect vape comes down to your personal preference.
You’re bound to have a dedicated vaping shop near you. Go along and see if something catches your eye. Most vaping outlets will let you sample and talk you through your options.
Prefer to buy online? Read reviews on YouTube, which will help filter out under-performing and over-expensive kits. You can also take to Instagram to get an idea of how the device will fit in your hand.
Unlike a cigarette, where you can light up and go, a vape is powered by a battery, and it’ll drain as you vape during the day.
Why not pick up a portable power bank to keep in your bag or pocket in case you forget to charge the vape? You could also consider buying a vape that uses external batteries. These will make your kit heavier, and you’ll need to buy them separately, but if you invest in a couple, you’ll always have a fully charged battery spare.
Look at the charging method, too — many vapes use Type-C USB, commonly used in smartphones for fast charging.
In today’s world, there are many options available to help you quit smoking. Vaping isn’t for everyone, but it may be just what you need to help you put down the cigarettes for good.