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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

It has been one month, eight days, 19 hours, 34 minutes and seven seconds since I quit vaping. Well, since I have hit my own vape. Okay, it has been 17 days, 19 hours, 34 minutes and 25 seconds since I have hit a vape in general. Well, the other night I smoked a cigarette. Okay, it has been one day, nineteen hours, 34 minutes and 35 seconds since I inhaled toxic chemicals and nicotine into my lungs. 

Quitting vaping is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I started in November of 2020, and technically quit about a month ago. Addiction is different for everyone. For me personally, vaping became a self-soothing method for anxiety and depression. Little did I know it was causing those things to get worse over time. 

I wish I could say that quitting has been easy. It was for a while. I chewed nicotine gum every day to help with the cravings and did breathing exercises to help with the ritual of inhaling and exhaling when I was anxious. I was broke at the time and could not afford a vape, and my car was in the shop, so I couldn’t drive to get one either. It was the end of summer with little to no stress or triggers and I thought that I had made it past the worst of the withdrawals. 

I was wrong. 

Nearly a month into quitting, I hit my friends vape while out drinking. I told myself that it didn’t count because I was drunk and the vape wasn’t mine. My body and mind had other ideas. I have been replaying the feeling of hitting a vape for the first time in weeks over and over in my head. Nearly every day I think about buying one. But that’s the addiction talking. 

School started in August and that is when I noticed myself craving vaping the most. I started vaping in my freshman year of college, so this is my first semester without it. Although vaping makes things like depression and anxiety worse, it felt like an instant stress reliever at the time. I miss that, but I also miss being able to walk up the stairs and not be winded.

Before I quit, I read articles and medical research and even talked to others about their experience quitting. The responses I got varied from person to person. Some people were able to quit cold turkey with no behavioral or physical withdrawals, while others have tried to quit many times but have never been successful.  

As someone who has tried to quit roughly 20 times since I have started vaping, I knew it was going to be tough for me. I suffer from Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), which comes with side effects of anxiety, depression, and addiction. Vaping, for me, was much more than an addiction to nicotine. I was addicted to escapism, the habit, instant gratification, and dopamine. 

I wish this was a personal essay that told you that quitting is easy if you just follow these steps and buy these products. The truth is that quitting is hard. I have more frequent anxiety attacks, I am more irritable, and I have trouble focusing. I know what you’re thinking; Why quit then?

These are only short-term effects. Once I create new habits and rituals to cope with my stress and anxiety it will become easier – and healthier – to deal with these emotions. 

Quitting for me has been extremely difficult, but also extremely rewarding. Ever since I became addicted, I genuinely thought I would not be strong enough to quit. I was wrong. Something I like to tell myself is that even if I did not accomplish everything I wanted to today, at least I didn’t vape. Deciding to not vape every day gives myself a reason to be proud, feel strong, and celebrate. Although it has not been a perfect journey to being vape-free, it’s my journey and I am so proud of myself for choosing my long-term health and wellbeing. Sometimes I feel guilty for slipping up, but relapse is part of recovery. What matters is that you wake up the next day and continue to choose yourself over an addiction. That is the most beautiful thing. 

Useful tips for quitting: 

  • Nicotine gum (chew and then tuck in your cheek) 
  • Breathing exercises 
  • Chew gum, mints, or hard candy (similar flavor to your go-to vape flavor)
  • Mindful journaling
  • Bring your hand to your face when inhaling and bring your hand down while exhaling (to mimic the feeling)
  • I Am Sober app 
  • Telling friends and family 
  • Celebrate your milestones
  • Use the money you would have spent on a vape and buy something nice for yourself
  • Incorporate daily self-care habits such as cooking, cleaning, baths, skincare etc
  • Say out loud, “I used to do that, but I don’t anymore” (this helps rewire the brain) 
  • Learn about how addiction works in the brain
  • Keep in touch with other people who are also quitting

Helpful Videos

The biggest piece of advice I have for people who are struggling to quit is to give yourself the space to experience withdrawals, emotions, and loss that comes with quitting. It is important to reward yourself for the hard work you have done, and remind yourself why you are quitting. Most importantly, remember that you can do hard things.

Emma George-Griffin has been a staff writer for the Michigan State University Chapter of Her Campus since fall of 2022. George-Griffin is Senior at Michigan State University Studying Journalism with a concentration in writing, reporting and editing, and a minor in Documentary Production. She plans on earning her bachelor degree from Michigan State University in the spring of 2025, and plans to earn her Masters degree from the University in the winter of 2026. When she isn't working or in class, George-Griffin enjoys spending time in nature, reading Tarot, and painting.