Quitting smoking is not easy — and there are two key aspects that make it difficult.
First, there is the nicotine. As a highly addictive substance, nicotine makes it very difficult to stay away from the cigarette — especially when trying to quit cold turkey.
Second, there is the habit itself. In addition to developing nicotine addiction, most smokers get attached to the little things about the cigarette: how it feels after a coffee or meal, the many ways it can be helpful in social situations, how calming it can be stressful moments and more.
Vaping is the most efficient smoking cessation aid because it takes care of the two reasons for which smokers find it hard to quit. Vaping can be an efficient way to deliver nicotine into your system and it can also help you control your intake of the substance slowly lowering nicotine concentration in your e-liquids or going all the way down to zero Nic.
Secondly, vaping lets you keep the lifestyle elements about smoking that you do not want to give up: vaping with a cup of coffee, in social situations or to handle stress is very similar to doing the same with the cigarette. With that, according to Public Health England, vaping is 95% less risky than smoking.
So, what do you need to go from smoking to vaping? This is what we will cover in this guide.
Have the Right Attitude
The first thing you will need to get ready for your first smoke-free week of vaping is the right attitude. You need to make a commitment to leaving cigarettes behind and welcome new less health risky habits into your life. If you make a firm decision that you are not going back to cigarettes, it will be much easier for you to make the switch from smoking to vaping for good.
While vaping does mimic a lot of the addictive aspects of smoking and does deliver nicotine into your system, it is still not the same as smoking and it may take you some time and some adjustments to get close to the sensation you used to get from traditional smoking. You should also be ready to:
✔Experimenting with vaping devices and e-liquids to get the right fit
✔Going through symptoms of nicotine withdrawal if you use e-liquids with less nicotine
✔Mastering a different inhale technique: the way you inhale when smoking is a bit different from the way you inhale when vaping
✔Experiencing new sensations and side-effects like different e-liquid tastes or a dry mouth sensation
✔And so on.
Thus, you need to prepare yourself that your first week of vaping will not be the same as smoking. But, once you get used to it, you will actually learn to appreciate this fact — as well as the freedom vaping can offer.
What You Will Need for Your First Week of Vaping
In addition to having the right attitude, you need to have the right equipment. Another way that vaping is different from smoking is that you can’t simply buy a pack of cigarettes at the nearest kiosk — you need to plan ahead. In order to start vaping, you will need the following:
A vaping device.There are several types of vaping devices you will find in a vape shop: some are more complicated than others; some are meant for more experienced vapers, some are pod systems, some are box mods. You will encounter a lot of new lingo like RDTAs and RDAs, etc. All of this may seem quite overwhelming at first, so we suggest you go with the simplest pod mod you can find for your first week and learn more about your device alternatives in the meantime. A compact pod mod is really simple to use and takes a lot of the complications out of your first week of vaping: you won’t need to tweak with any settings, refill e-liquids or take your vaping device apart.
E-liquid/pods.Naturally, you will need some vape juice to start vaping. If you are using a pod mod, then you will need to stock up on pods. It’s best if you get a wide range of flavors as well so that you can pick and choose throughout the week until you settle on your preferences. The next choice to make will be whether you are vaping Free-base or Nic Salts. The best way would be to try both types of e-liquids and check your sensations after vaping each one. Nic salts are known for giving you more bang for your buck as you will be able to vape at higher nicotine levels while avoiding the harsh throat hit that typically comes when vaping free-base e-liquids with high nicotine concentrations.
Tip: if you used to be a heavy smoker, Nic salts would probably be a better option (at least, at the beginning), as the would give you the sensations that are closest to smoking and help you avoid harsh nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
Coils.If you are not using a pod mod, but a device that requires refills, make sure to get a few spare coils as these parts of your vaping device will wear out the quickest. A typical coil would reach the end of its lifespan after two to three weeks of standard use — and you will need to replace it with a new one. How to know when to replace your coil? As soon as you start feeling that the flavor of your e-liquid has somehow changed or if there is a burnt taste in your vape, it’s time to get a new coil. Moreover, it is generally advised to replace coils in-between changing e-liquid flavors as well.
How to Choose the Right Nicotine Concentration?
We’ve briefly touched upon e-liquid nicotine level above. But as this choice may significantly affect your first week vaping experience, we think it deserves a segment of its own.
Choosing the right nicotine level is essential for ensuring your first week of vaping goes smoothly. And there are two key things to watch out for here:
If you use e-liquid with too much nicotine, you may feel light-headed or experience what’s called a harsh “throat hit”, which can be unpleasant for some users.
If you vape e-liquid with a nicotine concentration that is too low, your cravings may not be satisfied and you may be tempted to go back to smoking.
The most important aspect here is choosing the right balance. And to do this, you will need to consider what type of mod you are using.
For a compact pod mod:
- If you used to be a light smoker, consider getting a vape juice with the nicotine concentration of 6mg/ml to 12mg/ml.
- If you used to smoke a pack a day, go with the e-liquid from 12mg/ml and up.
- For heavy smokers (more than a pack a day), 18mg/ml is a recommended starting point.
- Nic salt e-liquids go all the way up to 50mg/ml.
For bigger mods:
As bigger mods get more e-liquid into your system, the recommendations for nicotine concentration will be slightly different.
- If you were a light smoker, you can start vaping from as low as 3mg/ml. If you want a stronger hit, you can go up to 6mg/ml.
- For those smoking up to a pack a day, 6mg/ml would be a good place to start from.
- Heavy smokers aren’t likely to need e-liquids with concentrations higher than 12mg/ml.
How to Deal with Cigarette Cravings?
Even if you’ve chosen the right device, the right e-liquid and have the right attitude, you should still be ready for cigarette cravings. Here are a few tips that can help you get through them:
Allow for an adjustment period.You first week of vaping will be full of inconsistencies. You may need to vape a lot, switch between e-liquids and nicotine strengths. During this time, it’s important to do anything you can do to manage your cigarette cravings: if you need to vape more, vape more. If you feel like you are not getting enough of a hit, go up in nicotine concentrations.
Know that most cravings go away after 5-10 minutes.Cravings can be quite strong — but they don’t last long. So, all you need to go here is kill a bit of time: go for a walk, talk to a friend, watch a YouTube clip — and your craving will go away without you even noticing.
Manage triggers.You probably have some things or activities that you associate with smoking. Some enjoy a cigarette with a cup of coffee, others smoke when working on a project — and so on. Start creating new traditions and try replacing smoking with other activities. Naturally, this can be vaping — but it doesn’t have to be only vaping. You can chew gum, have a cup of tea, even use a fidget spinner — whatever works for you.
Finally, remember that your first week is your most difficult week. Things will get much easier from here on and dealing with cravings will get easier and easier.
Don’t Get Disheartened by Naysayers
As you make the switch to vaping, you may encounter people who do not quite understand it. Even though vaping has been around for quite a while and has been scientifically proven to be a less health risky alternative to smoking, it is still surrounded by lots of myths and misconceptions. Here are some of the most “popular” comments that you may come across:
“Vaping is just as bad as smoking.”Vaping may not be entirely risk-free, but that fact that is safer than smoking has been proven multiple times. You can always use the statement made by Public Health England that says that vaping is 95% less risky for your health than smoking. Or, simply explain that a quick Google Search will bring up plenty of research that will prove your “opponents” the opposite.
“What’s the difference if you are still using nicotine?” Yes, most vapers vape e-liquids that contain nicotine — and what vaping does is lower the risks of nicotine intake. What’s more, vaping gives you lots of options when it comes to choosing how much nicotine you want to consume and you also have the choice of vaping zero Nic.
“Nobody really knows what’s inside e-liquids.”Yes, we do. In fact, there’s no mystery as to what e-liquids are made of and you can see all the components of the e-liquid on your vape juice label (and we can’t say the same for a cigarette pack). Most vape juices have only four main ingredients: Vegetable Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, flavoring and nicotine (which is optional as you can vape zero-Nic).
“There are toxic chemicals in e-liquids.” While there are definitely chemicals in e-liquids, none of them have been proven to cause any harm to your health. As mentioned above, one of the main chemical components in e-liquids is Propylene Glycol. The substance has been recognized as safe for human consumption and friendly for the environment by both the EU and FDA. If you are still not convinced, it may be comforting to know that Propylene Glycol is also used when making ice cream and margarine.
“Second-hand vaping is just as bad as second-hand smoking.”The difference between second-hand vapingand second-hand smoking is pretty much the same as the difference between smoking and vaping. Smoking a standard cigarette is a process that involves combustion and releases over 7000 chemicals into the air (many of which are known carcinogens). Vaping, on the other hand, is the result of a different process. It’s technically an aerosol exhaled by a vaper and is not a product of combustion. Thus, you are not inhaling second-hand smoke but rather clouds of flavorful steam. The vapor from vaping devices is the result of e-liquid being heated by a vaporizer and no carbon monoxide or tar is released in the process. Thus, it will not linger in the air, clothing or hair and does not have the sharp smell that cigarettes do. Most importantly, it does not pose any known health risks.
The list of myths surrounding vaping goes way beyond the few examples we’ve listed above and you may encounter some negativity even in your first week. The important thing here is to do your own research and have your facts ready knowing that science is on your side.
Know Where You Can Vape
Last but not least, your first week of vaping is a good time for getting acquainted with vaping rules and regulations in your country.
Some countries have very relaxed rules regarding vaping, while others treat it the same way as smoking. There are also states that ban vaping altogether. In order to avoid legal troubles during your first week and beyond, it’s important to know what you can and cannot do.
To start with, it’s best to assume that you can’t vape indoors or in public places (unless you are in a vaping-friendly establishment) and always ask for permission before you start vaping.
Everything else depends on your country of residence. If you are looking for a detailed overview of vaping regulations in different countries, we have prepared a comprehensive Vaping Travel Guide for 2019.
And there you go! We hope you now have all the tools you need for a light and enjoyable first week of vaping. Even if you come across challenges at the beginning, we assure you that these are temporary setbacks — and things will get much easier as you progress into you second, third and fourth weeks. And by then, we will be here to congratulate you on your 1-month vaping anniversary!