How to Quit Vaping

Illustration for tips to quit vaping

Verywell / Alex Dos Diaz

Your vaping habit may have started innocently enough. Maybe you started vaping to help you quit smoking. Or maybe you were curious after watching your friends vape. Regardless of your reasons for starting though, now you probably find yourself in a situation where you want — or need — to quit. But you may be finding that saying you'll quit is much easier than following through.

In fact, research shows that vaping is a highly addictive habit and a hard one to break. One study found that e-cigarettes can be as much two times more addictive than smoking traditional cigarettes.

Plus, those who start vaping before they are 25 are particularly at risk for developing an addiction especially because using products that contain nicotine or other harmful substances can harm the developing brain and impact learning, memory, and attention.

Why You Should Quit

Aside from the fact that vaping is an expensive habit, it also is a dangerous one. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there has been an outbreak of EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product associated lung injury) with nearly 3,000 cases reported as of February 2020. What they discovered is that patients who came to the hospital having difficulty breathing all had one thing in common—vaping.

What's more, everyone with this mysterious illness, which can develop quickly, were vaping either nicotine, THC (marijuana), or CBD oil or a combination of the three. Symptoms of EVALI often include coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, abdominal pain, and sometimes even fever.

And even though vape pens were initially marketed to help people quit smoking, they may not be a safer alternative. In fact, they still expose you to a number of harmful substances including nicotine. According to the American Lung Association (ALA), e-cigarettes not only contain huge amounts of nicotine, they also contain a number of toxic chemicals that can cause cancer as well as irreversible lung damage.

Likewise, the ALA reports that some e-cigarettes have tested positive for formaldehyde as well as substances, like acrolein, that are found in weed killer, which can all cause health issues. In fact, formaldehyde can cause both lung disease and cardiovascular disease while acrolein has been linked to COPD and acute lung injury.

How to Quit

When it comes to quitting vaping, it's important to have a plan in place, which often begins with knowing why you want to quit. For instance, is vaping controlling your life, ruining your health, and impacting your relationships?

Regardless of your reasons for wanting to quit, knowing what is motivating you will help strengthen your resolve when the cravings hit and you're struggling not to sneak a quick hit off your vape pen. Here are some other ideas that will help you get started on building a quit plan that works for you.

Know Why You Vape

The first step to quitting vaping is knowing why you vape in the first place. In fact, knowing your triggers such as certain people, places, or feelings, can help you recognize what or who to avoid in the early stages of trying to quit. In fact, identifying the role vaping plays in your life gives you some insight into areas you might need to address. A huge part of quitting is addressing that role and replacing it with healthier habits.

Seek Professional Help

Quitting vaping can be scary especially if you're not sure how to begin. Plus, you will be more successful at quitting if you take advantage of the resources that are available to you. For instance there are a number of online and in-person cessation groups that are designed to help and support people like you who are trying to quit vaping.

For instance, you can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or 1-877-44U-QUIT to talk with a cessation counselor or you can chat online using the National Cancer Institute's live chat option, called LiveHelp.

Avoid Smoking Cigarettes

If you're like many vapers, you may have started vaping in order to quit smoking only to realize that vaping is a worse habit. But, don't make the mistake of going back to cigarettes. You're just replacing one addiction for another. As a result, you need to view any type of smoking or vaping as as addiction and refrain from using them.

Make Use of Tools

Some people consider nicotine-replacement therapy a form of cheating; but some doctors feel that when used appropriately these aids are useful in the beginning stages of quitting. Talk to your doctor about whether or not nicotine-replacement therapy is right for you. Likewise, there are a number of other tools available to help you quit. For instance, you can download the quitSTART app, which is a smartphone app with tailored tips, inspiration, and challenges.

Use a Journal

When you are struggling with cravings or the temptation to vape, it can help to have an outlet for your feelings. For this reason, many people have found that journaling is an effective way to channel or release their frustrations, anxieties, and worries.

Try to carry a small journal with you, so that when a craving hits or you find yourself longing to vape, you can turn to your journal instead. Likewise, you may want to keep inspirational quotes as well as reminders as to why you're quitting in the journal so that you can remind yourself why you're doing this and hopefully strengthen your resolve.

Try Meditation

Some people have found that mediation is extremely useful when it comes to quitting vaping. In fact, one study found that smokers reduced their smoking intake by 60% when they were given meditation training.

You could see if meditation works for you too or you might even try mindfulness, which is a form of meditation. In many cases, you will find a healthier way to cope with anxieties and fears instead of vaping.

Find Support

Whether you join a support group, talk to your doctor, or enlist the help of your friends, don't try to quit vaping on your own. You need people around you who will help you meet your goals by encouraging you and holding you accountable.

Likewise, try to distance yourself from people who ridicule your efforts to quit or try to pressure you into continuing to vape. Interacting with people who do not respect your decisions will not only undermine your efforts but it also is indicative of an unhealthy relationship.

A Word From Verywell

When it comes to quitting vaping, it's important to be patient with yourself and remember that quitting is a process. There will be times when it's hard, or you feel tempted. There may even be times when you give in to your craving and then have to start all over. The important thing is that you keep trying until you are successful. Sure, quitting will be hard and it will test your resolve at times. But you can do it and it when you do, it will be so worth it in the end.

5 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Jankowski M, Krzystanek M, Zejda JE, et al. E-cigarettes are more addictive than traditional cigarettes-a study in highly educated young peopleInt J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16(13):2279.ublished 2019. doi:10.3390/ijerph16132279

  2. Centers for Disease Control. E-cigarettes: talk to youth about the risks.

  3. Centers for Disease Control. Outbreak of lung injury associated with the use of e-cigarette, or vaping products.

  4. American Lung Association. The impact of e-cigarettes on the lung.

  5. Tang YY, Tang R, Posner MI. Brief meditation training induces smoking reductionProc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013;110(34):13971-13975. doi:10.1073/pnas.1311887110

By Sherri Gordon
Sherri Gordon is a published author and a bullying prevention expert.