Rethinking vaping: There are better ways to quit smoking
If you’re trying to quit smoking, switching to vaping might seem like a good idea. After all, it’s not the same thing as inhaling burned tobacco, right? That’s true. But vaping is not without health risks.
We’re still learning about the long-term effects of using vaping products—such as e-cigarettes, JUUL devices and vape pens. But we do know that the aerosols from these products could expose you to potentially harmful chemicals and particles, including:
- Diacetyl, a flavoring that has been linked to a serious lung disease called popcorn lung.
- Ultrafine particles that may be inhaled deep into the lungs.
- Cancer-causing chemicals.
- Heavy metals, such as nickel, tin and lead.
In addition, just like cigarettes, most vaping products contain highly addictive nicotine. So you could end up getting hooked on vaping.
Quitting without vaping
Since switching to vaping could be risky to your health, you may want to use other strategies to kick a tobacco habit. Here are a few ideas for quitting cigarettes or vaping:
- Pick a quit date and add it to your calendar.
- Consider how you want to quit. For instance, do you want to go cold turkey—stopping smoking or vaping all at once? Or would it be easier to cut back, between now and your quit date, on the number of cigarettes you smoke or how much you vape?
- Talk to your primary care provider about medicines that may make quitting easier, such as nicotine gums, patches and lozenges.
- Stock up on healthy and lower-calorie smoking substitutes—like carrots, celery, nuts and seeds, or sugarless gum—to munch on or chew when the urge to smoke or vape hits.
- Think about other things you can do to handle the need to smoke or vape. For example, do you usually light up after a meal? Take a short walk, sip a soothing tea or brush your teeth instead.
- If you’re having a tough time quitting, call a trusted friend who will support you. Or call a tobacco quitline, such as 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Most of all, hang in there!
Remind yourself that cravings and urges will get better as time goes by. The world is full of former smokers and vapers, and there is no reason why you can’t be one of them.
Sources: American Cancer Society; American Heart Association; U.S. Surgeon General