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Wellness > Health

Vaping & E-Cigarettes: A Guide to Quitting

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 UPRM chapter.

Smoking has been around for about 8000 years, approximately, as a cultural and religious practice in ceremonies. It is a traditional activity that has been around long before it was discovered that it can cause lung illnesses. But, with time, smoking and cigarettes have evolved due to the industrial impact. Most cigarettes contain chemical additives and tobacco. Over the years, the industry has modified its products, and currently, one of the most recent and used products are the e-cigarettes, better known as “e-cigs”, “vapes”, and “hookahs”.

E-cigarettes have different shapes and packaging, but they are all made to heat liquid (chemical additives) at a high temperature to produce vapor and create the sensation of smoking, referred to as vaping. The e-cigarette contains nicotine which is a stimulant drug that all tobacco products have. Nicotine usage can become an addiction since its consumption causes a sense of pleasure, and cravings because of the dopamine rush. One of the many reasons why people start vaping is because it is cheaper than smoking traditional cigarettes. In addition to that, it smells, tastes better, and it is “less harmful”. Other reasons to pick up this habit include stress relief, curiosity, peer pressure, to help stop smoking, or others. The body can develop a resistance to nicotine, which leads to a higher rate of smoking to produce that sense of pleasure, which creates a dependency.

There is not enough scientific evidence that proves vaping can help quit smoking or is less damaging than traditional smoking. Vaping, like traditional cigarettes, can cause health issues such as altered brain development, anxiety, problems of focus and memory, lung illness, and cancer. Nicotine, toxins, tobacco, and chemical additives are the reason for these adverse effects. Nonetheless, the long-term effects of vaping are still under investigation because researchers need to gather more information before reaching any conclusions.

Quitting Vaping

Vaping has become not only a “feel good” feeling, but a social activity where the smoker creates a pattern in their daily routine. The cravings can appear at any moment of the day. For some people it can appear when they are alone, bored, or feeling stressed. For others, it can be when they are on a break and hanging out with friends or colleagues. Yet for other people both situations can cause smoke cravings. By making smoking a daily habit, it makes it even more difficult to quit. 

If you are wanting to quit vaping, you should ask yourself these questions first:  why do you want to stop vaping? Is it because you really want to quit or because someone else wants you to quit? The answer must be because you really want to quit. Willpower is the one thing with which you will remain firm in this decision, considering smoking is not an easy task. Having people around you that support your decision to quit will be important to help you keep your word. Friends and family who acknowledge your efforts of quitting this addiction will be essential.

Some tips for quitting are:

  1. Make others aware of your decision and goal.
  2. Prepare for withdrawal and throw away the temptation.
  3. Surround yourself with friends or people who are trying to quit or do not smoke.
  4. Tell your friends that you are trying to quit, and tie yourself to their support system.
  5. Picture the rewards that you could earn when you stop smoking.

Remember that withdrawal symptoms are common to appear during this process. Some of the symptoms include headaches, feeling down, restlessness, environmental triggers, temptation to buy or share vapes with friends, problems concentrating, anxiety, and others. To calm these symptoms, get rid of smoking devices and think of activities that you like to do to keep your mind busy. E-cigarettes are expensive, so you can save money for other activities that you want to do. You can talk with people that you love about how you are feeling. If you want, you can also talk about what they can do to help you. Make a list of small goals, and remember that quitting is not easy so you will like to celebrate and acknowledge the milestones. The small steps are bigger than it seems.

For the people who are around and do not practice smoking, recognize the milestones that the person has made, and I would say that the most important thing is to never give your back to this person who wants to quit, it just takes a little patience, support, and love.

Laura S Pierantoni Marrero is Sub-Secretary and writer for her campus. She likes to share some of her experiences as a tool for readers. Her most frequent topics are Sex + Relationships, Academics, Entertainment and Her 20's. Currently, she is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Project Management. She has participated within UPRM Aero Design as part of the Project Management department and as the Project Manager of the team. She was also a mentor at the Pharmaceutical Engineering Summer Camp (PESCa 2023) that takes place at the campus. She is a certified mosaic artisan from Puerto Rico and during her free time she likes to write stories, poems and short novels. https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-pierantoni-23974830/