The First Week
You’re finally taking the plunge. You’ve decided to quit smoking and take up vaping. So, what happens now and how do you deal with the cravings, mood swings, and having your whole world turned upside down during that first week? Well, as hard as it may seem, you can do it and here’s some things to help you fight the good fight.
How Do I deal With these Cravings?
The road to quitting smoking with vaping might be easier to travel than trying to quit without any support, but you’ll still have a few rough moments. While vaping is very useful when it comes to reducing cravings, you’ll still probably experience some when you’re trying to quit.
I know this seems obvious as hell, but if you can vape, do it, do it, do it! Don’t worry if you think maybe you’re vaping a lot. We all feel that way when starting. It’s a heck of a lot better to vape more and feel better, than to waste your time wishing you could have a cigarette. If you have a higher-strength e-liquid, fill up a tank of that when your cravings are especially strong. You can adjust the strength anytime, but I found it particularly helpful to have more nicotine when I first started out.
If you’re unable vape, there are still plenty of other approaches you can use to get you past a craving.
It may help to keep in mind that cravings are short-lived. After five to ten minutes, the craving will have passed. I know it seems like time has stopped but I assure you, it’s a short while, time to do the dishes or go shower or flip through a magazine. Then it’s done. Remember that each and every craving you avoid is a victory, which makes each future cravings easier to deal with.
Try being active. Jump up and down, play with your children or dog, or something practical like housework and gardening can take your mind off the cravings for long enough to get through it.
Keep focused on why the reason you decided to quit smoking. Reminding yourself of your original reasons for quitting can give you enough motivation to get through a craving. You can write these down as a list or just recall them from memory.
Try to break any associations which are your usual triggers. You might have always smoked after a meal, for example, and be finding it especially difficult to stop having these cigarettes. Choose another activity to do in these times to break the association with smoking. Personally, I just started vaping in these times, but you could do anything: read, do a crossword puzzle, chew gum, have a mug of hot chocolate, or anything you like as long as it isn’t smoking.
You just have to remember is that all cravings will pass. As you get through your first week, the physical cravings pretty much have disappeared, and although the psychological links will take a little longer to be free of, if you stay focused on your goal and vape when you need to, you’ll get through them too. Trust me, if it worked for me, it works!
After a few days of vaping and not smoking, you’ll be feeling a lot more confident about your decision. But that doesn’t mean everyone you know will be happy with the decision you’ve made. Although major organisations are becoming more supportive of vaping, the media and many people think it’s dangerous, or not effective helping smokers quit, or a whole host of different things. Here are a few common objections and some responses to them:
You may hear this, “vaping is just as bad for you as cigarettes.” Which simply isn’t true. Every major group who has looked at the evidence, including Public Health England, the Royal College of Physicians and many others, have concluded that vaping is much safer than smoking. It might not be completely risk-free, but it is far less dangerous than smoking. And that’s what we need to keep in mind with all of the he said she said crap out there.
“You’re still addicted to nicotine.” They throw at you as if that is proof that vaping doesn’t work.
Yes, I’m still dependent on nicotine for now, but the main reason I’m vaping is to reduce the risks of me using nicotine. I can gradually reduce my nicotine use over time, but for now the most important thing is that I’m not inhaling all of the nasty stuff that comes with smoke. Beating addiction isn’t my priority at the moment, reducing harm is.
“Doesn’t vaping cause popcorn lung?” Not really. Some companies use a flavouring that’s been linked to popcorn lung in factory workers, but most vaping companies don’t use it at all. And the risk of popcorn lung has been overstated a lot in the media: in reality, no vaper has got popcorn lung and there probably isn’t enough of the chemical in there to cause it.
“Vapour is formaldehyde!” The only time large amounts of formaldehyde have been detected in vapour is in really unrealistic situations. When you vape like people do in the real world, there is much less formaldehyde in an e-cig than there is in a cigarette.
If people are telling you that vaping won’t help you quit smoking, keep this in mind. Based on the evidence we have so far and not to mention countless stories online, Vaping does help you quit. This is agreed by many major organisations, United Kingdom stop smoking services and most researchers in the field. The best-quality studies tend to show a benefit to vaping. So, those doubting thomases are just wrong and annoying. Hang in there, baby.
When vaping first became popular, people said you could “vape anywhere.” Well, you’re not able to vape just anywhere, and so it’s important to be respectful and considerate.
Although vaping indoors isn’t illegal in the United Kingdom, there are many pubs, restaurants and other public spaces which have chosen not to allow vaping on their premises.
In my opinion, it’s better to assume you can’t vape indoors unless you are in a vaping-friendly establishment or you’ve asked permission beforehand. Respectful and considerate.
This basic advice goes for the houses of friends and family. Ask before you vape, but in practice most people don’t mind vaping and will probably allow you to do so without going outside. The issue of etiquette is a bit complicated because things are still evolving.
Hang in There, baby!
Quitting smoking is a marathon, not a sprint. Like a marathon, the start is less important than how long you can stay strong mentally and keep pushing on. Even if you have a false start or two relapsing and having an occasional cigarette, this doesn’t mean the race is over and it doesn’t mean you’ve lost. You can make up the ground and keep moving forward. It might be difficult at times, and there will certainly be moments where you want to give up, but like a marathon runner, you have to dig deep down and find the strength to keep moving in the right direction. You can do this!
There will be challenges along the way, especially in the first few days after quitting. All battles require strength, but vaping will make it easier for you and before you know it, just like those marathon runners, who gets out of breath or feels the pain of a side stitch, the most important thing is to not give up. It won’t always be easy, but the only way you can really lose is if you give up. On your journey to quit smoking, your e-cigarette gives you support, and you should depend on it as much as you need to, just keep going.
Each and every day that passes is a victory, and if you can keep moving on, through your first week, every subsequent day will get easier and easier. It won’t always go smoothly, but you can do it. Your body will thank you when you come out of the other side, smoke-free, healthier and happier than you could have imagined possible.