The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Vaping sucks. Nicotine addiction sucks. It is one of the stupidest decisions I have ever made in my life. And, let’s be honest, I would never have tried it if they didn’t make it taste like literal candy!!! But enough is enough. I want to stop hurting my lungs because of a dumb decision I made at fifteen. I am writing this article as motivation for myself to stop spending money on a habit that is ruining my body. And hopefully, it can help others who are also struggling to quit. Below are some of the tips and practices I am using to help myself quit.
Take a minute and think about all of the things that are suffering because you vape. Your lungs probably hurt. Your skin might be breaking out. You might not be able to taste food the same as you used to. Your throat probably hurts constantly from inhaling who knows what. You spend hard-earned money on an industry that literally feeds off people’s addictions. And with every puff, you put yourself at further risk for developing cancer. The 10-second head rushes you get from nicotine are NOT worth the cost. Taking time to fully reflect on the consequences of vaping can help build up the motivation to finally quit.
2. Find the Root
Take time to find the reason you vape. Most likely, it’s a coping mechanism; I know that’s definitely true for me. I have tried to quit before, but when life gets stressful, I feel the cravings come back. Instead of using nicotine as a vice, it’s important to find an alternative, healthy coping mechanism. Some good, healthy habits I want to develop are exercising regularly, journaling, and meditation. Finding stress-management strategies to replace nicotine will help lower my cravings and make it easier for me to maintain quitting long-term.
3. Counting the Days!
One way to encourage yourself to stay away from nicotine is to keep track of the days. Personally, milestones are a big motivator. The longest I went without nicotine was when I kept count of the days. As that number grew, I felt proud of myself and wanted to continue. In fact, the only reason I started vaping again was that I stopped counting and lost that drive to continue my streak. The longer you go without it, the more disappointing it is to start again.
4. Pick a Goal Quit Day
Sometimes, the conditions in your life may not support you going through withdrawals and altering your routine. It is okay to decide to quit on a specific day in the future. In fact, it may increase your success and make things just a bit easier if you have time to prepare yourself for it. For me, I chose to quit over spring break. Being home and around my dogs and family helped me to stay distracted and occupied during the first week of withdrawals. By the time I came back from break, the worst of it is almost over as we move into the second half of the semester. So, look at your schedule, find a time where you’ll be busy (but not stressed) and mark it on your calendar. Commit to that day. You can do it!
5. Temporary Replacement
Sometimes, it’s not just the nicotine that makes quitting hard. When you have a vice that you can always turn to, it can be really hard to suddenly stop. For me, just the act of inhaling something is calming. So, I looked into devices that would allow me to get the sensation of inhaling without the nicotine. I came across personal diffusers, which are small, vape-like devices that contain essential oils only. This gave me the feeling of inhaling without delivering dangerous chemicals to my lungs. It’s not a perfect fix, but it did help me to slowly wean myself off of the need to inhale something the last time I quit. Basically, your brain will expect nicotine when you inhale anything, but it won’t get it. So, in a couple of weeks, that desire to inhale something will begin to dissipate, as it doesn’t give you the same satisfaction as it used to. It really works!
6. Get Through Two Weeks
The hardest part of quitting is the two weeks that follow your last hit. In those two weeks, you will experience annoying, and sometimes painful, withdrawal symptoms. Headaches, constant cravings, irritability, inability to focus, difficulty sleeping, high levels of anxiety, constipation, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, most of these are unavoidable, but after two weeks, it gets so much easier. After those two weeks, you’ll start to notice your lungs feeling better, your throat hurting less, your skin clearing up. The benefits will start pouring in. And you can get through it! During those two weeks, focus on self-care. Spend extra time relaxing, eating well, exercising, enjoying the fresh air, and listening to your body’s needs (excluding nicotine). Be gentle with yourself during these two weeks, and be proud when you get through them.
7. Do Not Let Up
Over time, the craving will decrease and increase depending on your environment. For example, if you get stressed you may feel strong cravings come back, or if you’re around another person who vapes, you may be tempted to give in. One day, you may get to a place where you think that you can handle a hit or two here and there if someone around you offers. DON’T DO IT. I can not stress this enough. That is exactly how I started back up again after the last time I quit. That is not how addiction works. You either do it or you are done. And for your health, be done. It is not worth it.
Quitting is hard. It is okay if it doesn’t work the first time. Me? I’ve quit four different times now. It is a tricky road to navigate, especially when it is so much easier to just continue. But it is worth it! You’ll feel so much better! So, put down the “cancer stick” for good and start taking care of yourself the way you deserve.