Many smokers choose to switch to vaping for the health benefits. Because it is easier to control your nicotine intake with e-cigarettes, vape kits can also be used to help people slowly wean themselves off the addictive drug.
For this blog post, we spoke to one ex-smoker who used e-cigarettes to slowly reduce his nicotine intake and eventually quit smoking and vaping altogether.
Vaping can help you stop using tobacco
An estimated 2.9 million adults in Great Britain use e-cigarettes and more than half of these have been able to completely stop smoking cigarettes, according to the National Health Service (NHS).
Landmark studies show that vaping holds a fraction of the health risk of smoking combustible cigarettes. And several health authorities have recommended that smokers switch to e-cigarettes.
This year, the American Cancer Society changed its policy on e-cigarettes. They said that some smokers should be encouraged to “switch to the least harmful form of tobacco product possible,” and “the exclusive use of e-cigarettes is preferable to continuing to smoke combustible products.”
Vaping can help you control your nicotine intake
One of the key advantages of e-cigarettes is that you can control your nicotine intake more precisely. If they want to cut down their nicotine consumption, smokers can switch to ‘light’ cigarettes, or smoke less.
Vapers can also vary their nicotine intake according to what kind of device they use. While a low output disposable e-cigarette or pod vapes may only burn a few millilitres of vape juice per day, a more powerful box mod can get through ten or twenty millilitres depending on how much you use it.
Many advanced vape mods also have puff counters which allow vapers to monitor how many puffs they take in a day. Some even have puff timers so you can track the length of your hits.
Because vapers have more control over the level of nicotine that they use, it gives them more power to try and reduce their nicotine consumption,
Not every e-cigarette user will want to wean themselves off this way. Many vapers are happy taking the same nicotine hit that they got with combustible cigarettes. But for people who are trying to get over nicotine, this slow reduction is a more effective quitting strategy than simply going cold turkey.
Nicotine is the main addictive chemical in cigarettes and e-liquid. The Government’s SmokeFree service estimates that around 80-90% of regular smokers are addicted to nicotine.
When you stop smoking or vaping, your body has to adjust to no longer having nicotine in its system. Anyone that has tried to quit cigarettes will know that the effects of nicotine withdrawal can be quite uncomfortable.
Nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, sprays and lozenges can help lessen these nasty effects, because they give your body the nicotine it craves. E-cigarettes have not been approved by the FDA as a stop-smoking aid, but many vapers have used them in this way.
How one vaper quit nicotine for good
vaping.com spoke to 20-year-old Bruno Rodrigues about how he used e-cigarettes to reduce his nicotine level to zero and eventually quit cigarettes and e-cigarettes for good.
Bruno started smoking when he was sixteen and became more heavily addicted to nicotine when he went to college in Portugal.
“No one cared if we would smoke in the campus, so I started smoking pretty much at any chance I got,” Bruno said.
“I smoked about half a pack a day at that time. But I felt it was taking a toll on my body, so I asked people in the college who had vape setups and did my own research and ended up getting an iStick Pico 80W with the Melo III mini.”
Bruno started vaping using 6mg vape juice. Higher output e-cigarettes like box mods vaporize more e-liquid than lower output devices, so the nicotine content needs to be lower. We recommend 6mg e-liquid for most moderate smokers using a higher output box mod.
Bruno found that 6mg of nicotine was too high, so he quickly switched to 3mg vape juices. After vaping for around a year, Bruno told his friends that he was going to try and reduce his nicotine intake and quit.
“At first, I tried going straight for 0mg e-liquid. But this didn’t work. The cravings were too strong, especially after lunch or while I was having a coffee”, he said.
“I didn’t have any goals per say. All I did was carry two bottles, usually of the same flavor juice, but one with 3mg of nicotine and the other with 0mg. Sometimes I also carried a third one with a minty flavor to avoid vaper’s tongue at 0mg.
“I vaped the 0mg juice until I felt that I needed a nicotine hit, then I switched to the 3mg liquid. After that it was just progressive, trying to vape less and less of the 3mg juice and more of the 0mg e-liquid.”
After a few months of vaping at zero nic, Bruno thought it was time to quit and even posted a farewell message on an e-cigarette reddit forum.
“It’s so surreal to think that when I put a cigarette in my mouth a few months after I started vaping it tasted so bad I coughed so hard and it was like putting coal in my mouth,” he said.
He continued: “I don’t feel the need to even vape anymore. I’ve been down to 0 nicotine for a while now and while it’s pretty good to have strawberry cake flavor in my mouth all day, I don’t take the same pleasure anymore. Maybe it’s my body telling me I’ve finally gained control over this addiction.”
It wasn’t all easy though. Bruno told us that the hardest times were when he was at home or college and wasn’t doing anything. “I caught myself thinking, ‘man I’d like to take a few puffs now,’ but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the cigarette cravings I used to have.”
Using a puff counter to control your nicotine intake
Controlling your nicotine intake when you’re vaping isn’t just about choosing the right nicotine level. How much nicotine you take into your system also depends on how often you use your vape.
If you go from a 6mg nicotine e-liquid to a 3mg nicotine vape juice, but you take double the number of puffs, then you will still be putting the same amount of nicotine in your body. When you reduce the nicotine level in your e-liquid, your body may yearn for the same level of nicotine so you might find yourself hitting your vape more frequently.
You can guard against this by choosing a box mod with a puff counter. A puff counter tells you how many times you hit your vape in a day so you can track your consumption and try to reduce the intake.
Mods with puff counters
Every vaper is different and your nicotine consumption will depend on the power on your set-up as well as your e-liquid, so there isn’t really a ‘right’ number of puffs for you to aim for.
Instead, try monitoring your e-liquid over a week or a month to find out your average. And if you want to vape less, try reducing it from there.