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Quitting Vaping: Why and How?

Written by: Editors

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Vapes have grown in popularity in recent years, especially among teens and young adults. Although often seen as a healthier alternative to smoking, vaping is far from risk free. This article focuses on the impact of vaping on your health and discusses quitting methods, the challenges of addiction recovery and the withdrawal symptoms you can expect.

The Impact of Vaping on the Body

  1. Lung damage: Vaping can cause serious lung damage, including EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury). This medical condition causes symptoms such as breathing problems and chest pain, and can even impact long-term lung health. 
  2. Cardiovascular diseases: Research suggests that people who use ecigarettes are significantly more likely to develop heart failure and other cardiovascular problems compared with those who have never used them. The chemicals in vape products can damage blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure and increases the risk of heart problems. Research supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) shows that the use of both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes may cause an even greater risk than the use of either of these products alone. 
  3. Addiction: Nicotine is the primary agent in vapes, and it is highly addictive. Vaping can quickly lead to long-term dependence on nicotine, making it very difficult to stop. Nicotine addiction can also affect your mental health and may exacerbate anxiety and depression. 
  4. Immune system: Vaping may weaken the immune system, making the body more susceptible to infections. This means that people who vape are more likely to fall ill and take longer to recover when they're hit with an illness. 

The findings of these studies, published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, confirm that long-term use of e-cigarettes is seriously harmful to health. Blood samples from e-cigarette and cigarette users showed a significant decrease in nitric oxide production and an increase in blood vessel permeability, contributing to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Methods for Quitting Vaping

There are various ways to quit vaping, ranging from seeking support from friends and family to nicotine replacement therapy and professional counselling. We will discuss several quitting methods below.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy is designed to wean users off nicotine through a controlled reduction in nicotine intake while reducing the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Common forms of nicotine replacement therapy include: 

  • Nicotine gum: helps control sudden nicotine cravings. 
  • Nicotine patches: release nicotine throughout the day which is absorbed through the skin. 
  • Nicotine spray: is absorbed into the blood rapidly to reduce acute cravings. 

Cessation Medicines to Treat Nicotine Dependence

There are effective prescription medications that support smoking cessation and controlling nicotine dependence. These medications can be used to reduce nicotine cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms. Examples of cessation medicines include: 

  • Zyban (bupropion): This medicine may be prescribed as a therapy to help people quit smoking. It can help reduce nicotine cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms when quitting. 
  • Champix (varenicline): This medicine may be prescribed to help smokers quit by reducing the pleasurable effects of nicotine. It can also help reduce withdrawal symptoms. 

Treatment with cessation medicines should always be prescribed and supervised by a qualified doctor. Cessation medicines may have side effects and are not suitable for everyone. Always consult a doctor before using cessation medicines and nicotine replacement products. 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Recovering from addiction is a multifaceted journey that involves physical as well as psychological aspects. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help with quitting by uncovering underlying causes and helping vapers to achieve behavioural changes. CBT can be useful in helping individuals learn the coping skills required to manage urges and avoid triggers.

Withdrawal Symptoms when Quitting Vaping

The withdrawal symptoms you feel when you quit vaping can vary depending on individual factors and the severity of the addiction. Possible withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Irritability and mood swings 
  • Anxiety 
  • Concentration difficulties 
  • Fatigue and sleep problems 
  • Headache and dizziness 
  • Excessive sweating and tremors 
  • Increased appetite or weight gain 
  • Coughing and shortness of breath 
  • Cravings 

Challenges when Quitting Vaping

Although there are many good reasons to stop vaping, it can be difficult to break your dependence on nicotine and change your daily habits. The most common challenges people face when quitting are: 

  • Physical dependence: Nicotine is highly addictive, so the withdrawal symptoms can be extremely intense. 
  • Psychological dependence: Vaping may have become a habit that is difficult to break without help. 
  • Social pressure: Many teens have friends who vape, making them more vulnerable to social pressure. 

Helpful Smoking Cessation Websites 

  • American Lung Association: On the website of the American Lung Association you can find information and support if you want to stop smoking or vaping. How to Quit Smoking or Vaping  


Quitting vaping has huge health benefits but it can be challenging. Understanding what vaping does to your body and using the tools and resources that are available will increase your chances of quitting. Take the time to make a plan and get help to take this important step towards a healthier life. 

If you're concerned about possible severe withdrawal symptoms and need support to prevent relapse, then consider professional counselling. It’s important to choose a programme that suits your specific needs. For some, a specialised rehab clinic might be the best option, and for others an outpatient treatment programme and guidance from a psychologist could be a good fit. 

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