Is Vaping a Good Way to Quit Smoking?
While the number of smokers has gone down over the past few years, cigarette smoking accounts for almost 500,000 deaths per year, and it’s the leading cause for preventable death and disease.
If you’re a lifelong smoker, or just a casual nicotine addict, you might be looking for ways to kick the habit. It’s hard to break an addiction but it’s better than becoming a statistic.
How can you break addiction though?
People have plenty of methods, some better than others, but vaping seems to be the most popular option in 2020.
But does vaping help you quit smoking? And if so, are there any risks involved?
Let’s talk about it.
Keep reading to learn all about vaping and how it might impact your addiction journey.
What is Vaping?
Vaping is a cousin to smoking and there are a few different ways to do it. Not so long ago, vaping was done by heating up whatever plant material that was being used (in this case, tobacco) gently and then inhaling the “vapor” that was released.
Now, vaping is a bit different.
It’s incredibly trendy and you’ve likely seen it glorified on social media. Young adults blowing vapor rings and large white puffs of “vapor” adorn every “explore” page.
This kind of vaping is done with liquids (otherwise known as juices or e-liquids). The vapes are sometimes referred to as e-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes.
The vape liquids can come plain, or they can come in fun flavors (though these are controversial and often illegal).
They function similarly to standard cigarettes or cigars where the user can either hold the “vapor” in their mouth to do tricks or they can inhale. Most of these liquids still contain nicotine and they still come into contact with the lungs.
Are There Dangers Associated with Vaping?
For a while, there was a huge push towards the idea that vaping is a safe alternative to smoking, but is this actually true?
Well, yes and no.
There are complications that come from cigarettes that won’t come from a vaporizer. The carcinogenic materials that are in cigarettes aren’t as present in vapes, though they are still there. There’s also no combustion involved in vaping, so in that way, it is safer than smoking cigarettes.
That said, vaping isn’t “safe” in the traditional meaning of the word.
First, vaping is still addictive. The liquids still contain nicotine. They often contain less, but this is a factor.
Also, what’s released isn’t actually vapor when it comes to these common e-cigarettes. It’s an aerosol. Unlike plain vapor, the aerosol isn’t safe for the body. When we think of vapor, we think of water. This is misleading.
E-cigarettes can release formaldehyde and VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and less regulated brands can have any number of harmful chemicals, especially in the flavorings.
There is not yet enough research on e-cigarettes to compare their safety with traditional cigarettes, but they are clearly not the “safe alternative” that they’ve been branded as.
Does Vaping Help You Quit Smoking?
Okay, so they’re not safe. So what?
Is vaping a good way to quit smoking anyway?
In reality, it depends. If you’re someone who can manage yourself fairly well, vaping might not be a terrible idea for you. Many people, however, go into the switch thinking that vaping is going to be less addictive and this simply isn’t true.
If you start vaping you very likely will have an easier time quitting smoking. Is this the right decision though?
Vaping is easier on the lungs (as far as sensation goes), making it easier to continue doing. It feels safer, so a smoker may feel less guilty consuming nicotine in this way.
While the amount of nicotine varies, JUULs, a popular brand of e-cigarettes amongst teenagers, contain a lot of nicotine. They contain more nicotine per inhale than any other known brand.
This means that the flow of nicotine (and thus the addiction) isn’t being slowed down.
On that note, you can vape anywhere. There are rules about it, certainly, but more people are going to turn a blind eye to a subtle puff of scentless (or fun-scented) vapor than they would to smoke.
Vaping is considered only harmful to the person doing it, so while it’s disallowed, it’s easier to do in public. Some teens even vape in school much to the chagrin of the administration.
So in short, you’re really just replacing one addiction with another. Will you stop smoking? Maybe. But at what cost?
Other Ways to Quit
Rather than quitting smoking via vaping, you might find more success by doing it the old fashioned way. Whether you’re quitting smoking or you now need a guide to quitting vaping, there are better ways.
There are other options that can help you wean off of nicotine without replacing it fully with another bad habit. There are nicotine gums and patches that help you slowly decrease your usage until you’re ready to quit completely.
Other people may be able to quit cold turkey. Those who do this will likely experience some negative side effects. They may feel antsy, irritable, or even sick.
It’s best to find distractions for your mind and body when you’re quitting. Focus on exercise to release some of that pent-up energy and to get your body and lungs back into shape.
Many people often find it helpful to find something for their fidgety hands and mouths to do. Keeping candy, gum, or sunflower seeds on hand to fidget with and chew on can be a total lifesaver.
Vaping: Not as Helpful as It Seems
So does vaping help you quit smoking? Probably, but then what helps you quit vaping? At the end of the day, replacing one addiction with another isn’t remarkably helpful.
There are better ways to quit. Vaping might look cool and seem safe, but it’s not a reliable alternative.
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