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I Am a Quitter!: Thoughts on Cutting Out Nicotine

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 UMKC chapter.

I’ll admit it. I, Maddy Bremer, fell victim to the teen vaping epidemic. I am partially responsible for all those ads you see from Truth.gov. I contributed to those gnarly statistics showing just how many teenagers use nicotine products. Yes, I was addicted to nicotine before I could even legally buy it, but I am quitting.

I made my decision to quit about three months ago. My boyfriend (who has been vaping about as long as I have been able to watch PG-13 movies without my parents) told me that I hit my JUUL more than anyone else he knew. I was appalled. That was my wake-up call. 

Nicotine is a sneaky thing—you don’t know you have a problem until you can’t stop yourself. I only vaped for about a year, but my nicotine dependency got so bad that I was going through a four-pack of JUUL pods a week. According to the Truth Initiative, there is enough nicotine in one JUUL pod to equal an entire pack of cigarettes. I thought back to myself at 11, signing my life away to a DARE officer, professing that I would never even think about touching a substance. And yet, here I was, a fiend. 

I started by sporadically hitting my friends’ vapes. I tried it “just one time,” and then tried it dozens of times after that. When we first started dating, I didn’t have my own, and I would only hit my boyfriend’s vape when we were together. I first realized I had a dependency when I didn’t see him for a week; the only thing I missed more than him was his vape.

I don’t want to sugarcoat it—quitting is hard. I tried to quit several times before I cut it out completely, and each effort failed for one reason or another. The first week is the worst. There are headaches, too many emotions and you are hungry all the time. Trying to quit nicotine means forcing yourself to feel uncomfortable for weeks on end, and I was always too stressed, too busy or too bored to quit. 

However, quitting is genuinely one of the best decisions I have made for myself. 

I hated vaping. I was embarrassed to feel so attached to something I knew was doing me harm. I was constantly sneaking away at family events to hit my JUUL in the bathroom. I would count down the minutes until my class ended, or until my lunch break would start, just so I could go hit my vape. I hated the way it made me feel. I had headaches if I hit it, and even worse headaches if I resisted the urge. I felt congested all the time, and I would get heart palpitations. I couldn’t go for a jog without feeling like my lungs were on fire. 

In just a few weeks, I feel like I can breathe again. If you vape and are thinking about quitting, you should do it. It’s not easy, but as soon as you quit, you feel so much better. If you don’t vape, don’t start—unless you’re prepared to sacrifice your time, money and mindset. You don’t realize how much energy and time you waste when you have a nicotine dependency. Since quitting, I am enjoying my life as it happens rather than constantly waiting for the moment I can vape again.

Maddy Bremer (she/they) is a sophomore at UMKC studying Mass Communications and Journalism. Maddy loves to write and enjoys music, changing their hair color, and hanging out with her cat Steve. After graduation, Maddy plans to attend law school.