Quitting smoking is hard, there’s no doubt about it. But with the right mindset and the right tools, along with a healthy dose of willpower, it’s more than possible to accomplish.
According to the CDC, among all current U.S adult cigarette smokers, nearly 7 out of every 10 reported that they wanted to quit completely. Smokers know that what they’re doing is harming themselves but many continue to smoke. Why? The nicotine in cigarettes is extremely addictive and so it often takes more than just going cold-turkey to truly quit. Oftentimes, even patches and other quit smoking aids aren’t enough to drop the habit for good.
If you’ve tried quitting smoking before without success, this guide is for you. Since 2013, thousands of people have used e-cigarettes, or vapes, to successfully quit smoking. In fact, according to a study, those who used nicotine e-cigarettes were more likely to quit smoking than those who used a nicotine patch or a placebo.
The health departments of the U.S, Canada, and England have also weighed in on e-cigarettes and their effectiveness for quitting smoking:
The CDC states “some research suggests that using e-cigarettes containing nicotine is associated with greater smoking cessation than using e-cigarettes that don’t contain nicotine, and more frequent use of e-cigarettes is associated with greater smoking cessation than less frequent use.”
Health Canada states that “While evidence is still emerging, some evidence suggests that using e-cigarettes is linked to improved rates of success.”
Public Health England published an independent expert e-cigarette evidence review that found that “e-cigarette use is associated with improved quit success rates over the last year and an accelerated drop in smoking rates across the country.”
E-cigarettes are a great tool to help those struggling with quitting smoking. While thousands of smokers incorrectly believe that vaping is as harmful as smoking, this is actually not the case. In fact, vaping poses only a small fraction of the risks of smoking and switching completely from smoking to vaping conveys substantial benefits.
In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to quit smoking and start vaping instead. You’ll feel better, smell better, and even save money. Let’s get right into it!
Why You Should Quit Smoking
To truly quit smoking, it helps to be fully aware of all the harm that you’re leaving behind. We all know as a general fact that smoking is bad for you, but how bad is it really? Well, really bad. There are more than 7,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke and more than 70 of those chemicals are linked to cancer.
- Cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases, and reduces the health of smokers in general.
- Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
- Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. This is nearly one in five deaths.
- Smoking causes more deaths each year than the following causes combined: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Illegal drug use, Alcohol use, Motor vehicle injuries, Firearm-related incidents
- More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the United States.
- Estimates show smoking increases the risk: For coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times, For stroke by 2 to 4 times, Of men developing lung cancer by 25 times, Of women developing lung cancer by 25.7 times
The good news is that quitting smoking has substantial positive health effects:
- Quitting smoking cuts cardiovascular risks. Just 1 year after quitting smoking, your risk for a heart attack drops sharply.
- Within 2 to 5 years after quitting smoking, your risk for stroke may reduce to about that of a nonsmoker’s.
- If you quit smoking, your risks for cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder drop by half within 5 years.
- Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk for dying from lung cancer drops by half.
Aside from the health risks of smoking and the benefits of quitting listed above, there are tons of other reasons to quit. For one, smoking makes you smell like an ashtray. It’s an unpleasant odor that every non-smoker can smell from meters away.
Smoking is also a very expensive habit. In recent years, governments have been increasing the prices of cigarettes in an effort to curb their use. Accounting for inflation, cigarette prices have more than doubled in the last ten years. By quitting smoking, you’ll be keeping a lot more money in your pocket.
Why You Should Vape Instead Of Smoke
Health Canada states that “Vaping is less harmful than smoking. Many of the toxic and cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco and the tobacco smoke form when tobacco is burned.
Vaping products do not:
- produce smoke
- contain tobacco
- involve burning
- Except for nicotine, vaping products typically contain: a fraction of the 7,000 chemicals found in tobacco smoke, and lower levels of several of the harmful chemicals found in smoke.”
E-cigarettes can be a great way to help smokers quit smoking cigarettes. Using an e-cigarette is called “vaping”. There are two components to vaping: a liquid that is vaporized to produce vapor (ejuice), and a device used to vaporize this ejuice. Some devices are pocket sized, have built-in batteries, and use ‘pods’ to hold the ejuice. Other devices are larger, use a ‘tank’ to hold ejuice and require external batteries.
The vaping device heats up the ejuice to produce vapor (not smoke), which is then inhaled. Inhaling the vapor is a very similar action to smoking and so a lot of smokers may find it easier to quit this way.
In addition to the familiarity of inhaling the vapor, you can also get ejuices that contain nicotine. Nicotine is the primary chemical in cigarettes that makes them so addictive and hard to quit. The nicotine used in some ejuices is the same nicotine that is used in other smoking cessation products such as nicotine patches and gums. Nicotine is similar in effect to caffeine, in that it is a mild stimulant that increases heart rate and elevates your blood pressure.
While many think that nicotine is what causes cancer, this is not the case. It is not the nicotine in cigarettes that causes cancer, but rather the tar that is produced from the combustion of chemicals and material. The common nicotine content of ejuices are: 3mg/ml, 6mg/ml, 9mg/ml, and 12mg/ml. Alternatively, those looking to lower their nicotine consumption or quit altogether have the option of thousands of e-liquids that contain zero nicotine.
The other components of an ejuice are propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and food grade flavorings. Propylene glycol is a viscous colorless liquid with a faint, sweet taste and is what produces the “throat hit” that many smokers crave. Vegetable glycerin is also colorless and viscous. It is commonly produced from plant oils such as palm, soy, or coconut oil. Both propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin are “generally recognized as safe” by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
Are E-Cigarettes Completely Safe?
When you compare the ingredients between vaping and smoking, it’s clear that vaping is safer than smoking. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any potential hazards when using an e-cigarette. Mainly, a lack of long-term research leaves it unclear whether vaping and e-cigarette use are completely safe for your health. So far however, there have been no reports of vaping causing cancer or lung disease.
On the other hand, cigarettes are known to cause cancer and lung disease and are definitely bad for your health. Comparatively, e-liquid contains only a handful of FDA approved ingredients. While more long-term research on the health-effects of vaping is still needed, e-cigarettes have been proven to be at least 95% safer than smoking and can help smokers quit.
Benefits of Vaping
Vaping instead of smoking can carry many benefits. Here are just a few of the most notable benefits of vaping instead of smoking:
- You’ll feel better: Vaping doesn’t burn anything so many of the toxic and cancer-causing chemicals in tobacco smoke are absent from vapor. You’ll feel that it’s easier to breathe and you’ll feel healthier, too.
- You’ll save money: There are minor start-up costs to vaping (purchasing a device and ejuice) but they’ll quickly pay for themselves with the amount of money you’ll save from not buying cigarettes. A beginner vape device costs anywhere from $20 to $40. You can buy a 120ml bottle of ejuice for $15 USD or less and this will last you for at least two weeks of vaping, if not more. Depending on how many packs you smoke per day or per week, the savings can be tremendous.
- You’ll smell better: Anyone who doesn’t smoke can smell a smoker. But vaping doesn’t leave a lingering scent on your clothing or your breath. In fact, the vapor from many ejuices actually smells really good!
- Better indoor air quality: If you smoke in your home, you’ll notice the difference right away. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) conducted a study to test the indoor air quality in places where people vape. They concluded that the exposure of vaping chemicals to bystanders are below regulatory standards used for workplaces or general indoor air quality.
How to Switch to Vaping
Even if you had no idea about vaping until you read this guide, don’t fret. It’s simple to start vaping. You only need a few things: some ejuice and a device. If the device doesn’t have a built-in battery then you’ll also need to purchase some vape batteries. If this is the case, a vape battery charger is also highly recommended.
Choose the Right Nicotine Strength Ejuice
Perhaps the most important part about sticking with vaping is choosing the right nicotine strength ejuice. This can be the difference between sticking to vaping and giving up on the spot.
If you choose an ejuice where the nicotine strength is too low, it may not be satisfying enough and will leave you craving for more. Choose an ejuice where the nicotine strength is too high, and it may be too intense and harsh on the throat, causing coughing. Picking just right will give you the satisfaction your body craves while delivering that relaxing, calming feeling that you’re used to.
Ejuices come in various nicotine levels that are described in mg/ml or milligrams per milliliter. This means that for every milliliter of eliquid, there is x amount of nicotine.
For example, if an ejuice is 6mg/ml, that means that there are 6mg of nicotine in every 1 milliliter of eliquid. So if you have a 3ml tank filled with a 6mg/ml nicotine strength then you have: 3 X 6=18mg of nicotine in your tank.
There are two types of nicotine: regular nicotine and nicotine salt. Nicotine salts are able to deliver higher concentrations of nicotine without the harsh throat hit of regular high nicotine ejuices. Regular nicotine ejuices come in strengths from 1.5mg/ml all the way up to 24mg/ml. Nicotine salts go from 10mg/ml to 60+mg/ml.
If you’re a heavier smoker, you’ll probably want to pick up a nicotine salt ejuice. Anything above 12mg/ml with a regular nicotine ejuice will deliver a very harsh throat hit that can induce coughing. For most people it will be a painful draw. Nicotine salts will allow you to vape 30-60mg/ml strengths while providing a much smoother and more pleasant draw.
If you’re a social smoker, or someone who smokes less than 10 cigarettes a day, then you’ll want to go with a low nicotine strength ejuice. This falls in the range of 1.5-6mg/ml for regular nicotine ejuice and 10-20mg/ml for nicotine salts.
Medium nicotine strength ejuices are best for those who fall somewhere in the middle range of smokers of around a pack a day. Strengths of 6-12mg with regular nicotine or 20-30mg/ml with nicotine salts will work best and will provide the most satisfaction.
On the far end of the scale, high nicotine strength ejuices are best for those who smoke two packs a day or more and will provide the maximum nicotine satisfaction in an ejuice. This will be around 12-18mg/ml with regular nicotine and 30-50mg with nicotine salts.
If you get an ejuice and you’re not feeling satisfied after vaping that nicotine strength then you should try adjusting it one strength at a time. For example, if you’re vaping a 3mg ejuice and aren’t feeling satisfied enough, try a 6mg/ml ejuice. On the other hand, if you’re feeling the throat hit is too harsh from a 9mg/ml ejuice, try a 6mg ejuice.
Choose the Right Device
Choosing the right device for your ejuice is crucial. For beginners there are only a few types of vaping device setups you should be aware about: pod vapes, and box mod and tank vapes. If you need help choosing a device, check out our guide on the best vape starter kits.
Higher strength nicotine ejuices and nicotine salts will work best in low-powered devices called pod vapes. These vapes work at a lower power than larger box mod and tank setups. This makes them perfect for delivering high nicotine strength ejuices because they ensure that you won’t feel sick from getting too much nicotine at one time.
Pod vapes are much simpler and easier to use than box mods and tanks. They consist of a device with a built in battery, and a pod that holds ejuice. These pods can use coils that have to be changed every few weeks or they can use pods that have the coils built in.
Changing the coil on a pod vape is as simple as buying a pack from the store, pulling the old coil out of the bottom of the pod, and pushing the new coil into the pod. Pod vapes require little to no maintenance and are thus perfect for a beginner vaper.
Box Mod & Tank Vapes
Box mod and tank setups work best with lower strength, regular nicotine ejuices. Because these devices are generally higher powered, they aren’t suited to nicotine salts. If you use a nicotine salt in a box mod and tank setup, you’ll end up with a nicotine head rush.
Box mod and tank setups are made up of two parts: the box mod and the tank. Most box mods use vape batteries that are sold separately. You can purchase these from any brick and mortar or online vape shop. Most box mods literally have a boxy, rectangular design, but you’ll find plenty of vape mods that are more rounded, or even tube shaped. In any case, a box mod is a power source that usually has a variety of customization features built-in.
Generally, all box mods feature a “fire” button which must be pressed in order to vape. Pressing the button will deliver power to your coil, vaporize your ejuice, and thus produce vapor. Different types of box mods will have varying levels of power capabilities and functionalities, and most box mods include screens that display useful vaping information as well as the ability to adjust your wattage.
The tank is just that, a tank that holds ejuice. Vape tanks use premade, replaceable coils. These coils simply screw into the tank. You can purchase the coils for your tank from any reputable vape shop.
Tanks are very easy to take apart and clean and they have large tanks that will hold tons of ejuice. This allows you to vape for longer without having to refill. Vape tanks also provide great flavor and huge clouds.
Confused About Which Device to Choose?
If you want the easiest setup possible, get a pod vape and nicotine salt ejuice. If you want something more customizable and with more power, get a box mod and tank setup. Check out our guide to the best vape starter kits for more help on choosing a device.
Make Sure to Stock Up
When you’re purchasing your device and ejuice, it’s a good idea to stock up. You’ll need to replace the pods of a pod vape approximately two weeks. Same goes for if your pod device uses coils or you’re buying a vape tank. Make sure you purchase replacement coils with your device to ensure that you’re not stuck without them. If you don’t have your vape, you may very well go back to smoking.
The same thing applies for ejuice. Make sure you purchase enough ejuice that you’re not going to run out and be left in a pinch. In the beginning it’s very easy to go back to smoking if you don’t have any ejuice to vape.
Sticking With It
The hardest part of quitting is sticking with it but remember that you can do this. Along with maintaining the right mindset, there are a few other things that you can do to increase your chances of quitting:
- Throw away your cigarettes: Not having cigarettes readily available can increase your chance of sticking with vaping.
- Find out your smoking triggers and vape instead.
- Remind yourself why you’re quitting: better health, financial reasons, for your family, etc…
- Get support from your family and friends: A strong support system can vastly increase your chances of quitting. Make sure to talk to your family and friends and get their support for you quitting and switching to vaping.
The first week of quitting smoking is always the hardest. You may even develop flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, congestion or even acne. This is called the “smokers flu” and in most cases is not related to vaping. If you continue to feel unwell, you may have an allergy to the propylene glycol in your ejuice and should see a doctor.
Stay Strong! You Can Quit Smoking!
If you put your mind to it, along with a little help from vaping, you can definitely quit smoking cigarettes. We hope that this guide has taught you everything you need to know to help you make the transition. If you need support or if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to send us an email using our contact form.
If you have a family member who smokes, please send them this guide. It just might help them quit.