- As a growing number of studies show the dangers of using e-cigarettes, many people have made quitting vaping a goal for this year.
- Experts say there are a number of steps people can take to successfully quit e-cigs.
- To stay off e-cigs for good, experts recommend writing down your reasons for quitting, finding a support person, and making a plan to deal with stress.
“New research out from Truth Initiative shows that nearly half of young people are looking to quit vaping as their New Year’s resolution,” said Megan Jacobs, who designed the Truth Initiative’s text-based quit-vaping program for teens and young adults.
While most cases of EVALI — or e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury — have been
This includes a long-term study linking vaping nicotine to a higher risk for respiratory disease, and another showing that nicotine-containing e-cigarette vapor may encourage the growth of harmful bacteria in the lungs.
“The studies that have been published to this point have demonstrated that there seems to be an increased risk of chronic lung disease with the regular use of nicotine-containing e-cigarette products,” said Dr. Sean D. Levy, a pulmonologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
If quitting vaping is something you want to make a priority this year, here are a few strategies that might help make it easier.
He said these also work for other forms of tobacco, including smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes.
And with the
Programs like these are helpful because they meet you where you’re at in terms of quitting, and give you personalized options for how to move forward.
“Identifying the reasons for quitting is a very powerful tool for anyone who’s quitting, regardless of what stage of their quit they’re in,” said Jacobs.
Truth Initiative data shows that the top reason that young people give for wanting to ditch their e-cigarette is health, followed by cost and freedom from addiction.
It also helps to look ahead and see how quitting vaping will change your life.
“Setting some goals around what you will buy with all the money you save from not vaping can be really helpful,” said Ylioja.
Jacobs recommends that people write down their reasons for quitting — maybe even text them to a friend. Later on, if you’re having a craving, this can be a “powerful reminder” of why you’re going through this.
Although you’re the one who’s quitting vaping, you don’t have to do it alone.
“Quitting is hard, and you’re going to need supportive people in your life,” said Jacobs, “whether that’s friends or family members, or even if it’s just the This Is Quitting program.”
Before your quit date, identify people who will be supportive of you quitting vaping, such as a friend, family member, teacher, or guidance counselor.
“What we hear from young people is that they have a lot of stress, and they’re using vaping products to help relieve stress,” said Ylioja. “So we talk to them about finding other ways of dealing with stress.”
This could be going for a walk or listening to music. Or clicking your pen several times when you feel a craving coming on. Or even keeping silly putty or a small toy in your backpack to play with when you’re stressed.
Jacobs suggests that once you make a plan for how to deal with stress, stick with it. But be prepared for the unexpected.
“If those plans don’t seem to be working, it’s OK to change your plan,” said Jacobs.
Even if you have quit vaping, you may still have friends or family members who do it — and chances are at least one of them will ask you to vape.
Ylioja said one way to avoid this social pressure is to adjust your routines. Like taking a different route to school. Or not going to the bathroom with friends who are vaping.
You should also be prepared to say no.
“It’s empowering to have thought of — and to practice — a phrase beforehand that you can say if someone offers you a Juul but you don’t really want it,” said Jacobs.
It’s easier to resist vape cravings if you don’t have your device nearby.
“Those lingering remnants are just temptation,” said Jacobs. “They make it harder to stay quit after that quit day comes.”
So right before your quit day comes, clean house: Get rid of your e-cigarette and pods, and make sure there’s nothing lurking in your backpack, locker, or car.
To safely dispose of e-cigs, you should remove the battery and take the device to a hazardous waste facility, according to the Oregon Poison Center.
If you know you want to quit vaping, but aren’t quite ready to commit to giving it up completely, you can still dip your toes in the vape-free waters by doing what Jacobs calls “mini-quits.”
“Try getting through one craving without Juuling, or try leaving your e-cigarette at home for one whole day,” said Jacobs.
This gives you a chance to practice different strategies for getting through times when you want to vape. Keep at it “until you find something that feels comfortable,” she said.
Levy said many products are available to help people quit cigarettes, ranging from medications like bupropion and varenicline to nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) such as patches, gums, and inhalers.
These methods may also help people quit vaping, although there’s less
“[NRTs] allow you to reduce the [nicotine] cravings that you feel,” said Levy. “And then hopefully you are eventually able to stop using the nicotine replacement products as well.”
NRTs are available over the counter to adults and by prescription to children under age 18. Medications are available only by prescription and require supervision by a healthcare professional.
And what about using e-cigarettes to quit smoking?
This works for some people. But Levy pointed to a recent study that found that over 90 percent of smokers who started vaping continued to use both cigarettes and e-cigarettes even after 3 years. This puts them at a higher risk of respiratory disease than either vaping or smoking alone.
“I would say ideally people would go from cigarettes to nothing with the aid of [NRTs] or other therapies,” said Levy. “And just avoid the use of e-cigarettes as an intermediary altogether.”