In mid-November, I caught a really nasty cold. The typical coughing, sneezing, and wheezing kind. After four or five days, the main symptoms subsided, but I realized that my lungs needed a break from vaping. The cold had made it harder to feel like I was getting a full breath of air, regardless of whether I was chain vaping or just periodically taking a one-hitter. Switching from dessert flavours to lighter menthol and fruity flavours made little-to-no difference. I begrudgingly accepted my fate. I was going to have to put down my mod, and inevitably start crying and ripping my hair out. Was it really going to be as bad as when I smoked cigarettes?
Concerns and Initial Perceptions
I was worried, to say the least, that I would be going into this hiatus with the hatred of a thousand suns combined with the irritability of a cat getting baptized. I asked a few coworkers who vaped, and got some surprising answers. These reformed smokers found that, although they did have some form of craving, it felt more habitually than physically nagging. When one of my friends had caught a similarly nasty cold, he used the “out of sight, out of mind” approach—he left his vape at home, kept busy with work and studying for his midterms. The craving to vape, allegedly, never crossed his mind.
Another encouraging point of reference was a YouTube video by the channel Indoor Smokers, who stated that similar circumstances plagued his health, and he found himself having to set down the vape. The video entitled “I HAD TO QUIT VAPING!” stated that he found himself thinking periodically about vaping, but found solace in the “out of sight, out of mind” approach as well. I decided to take on this challenge for the sake of my health, and indulged my curiosity to prepare for the day I take the big step and quit altogether.
The withdrawal symptoms did not remind me of my smoking days whatsoever, but I still found myself missing the vaping experience. Luckily I was able to make a full recovery from whatever was happening to my lungs, and am now fine. I found that the “out of sight, out of mind” method was the most tried and true. Furthermore, the nagging feeling to get nicotine into my bloodstream was muted compared to when I smoked cigarettes. The thing I missed most about vaping, in all honesty, was the flavours. One of my primary interests in vaping is all the advanced flavour profiles, but eating some fruit or candy satisfied me enough to move past that for the week.
When I smoked and was experiencing withdrawal—whether I was out of cigarettes or was actually trying to quit—the sensation in the back of my throat and hyperactivity in my brain begging for nicotine drove me crazy. Unlike cigarettes, e-juice only has three main chemical components: vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, and additional food grade flavourings. And for that matter, flavourings are optional. Nicotine is also optional. In essence, the lack of a vast chemical profile that vapes possess pales in comparison to the multi-page documents explaining what their analog counterparts contain. This, perhaps, is what contributes to the lack of extreme withdrawal people experience when quitting vaping versus cigarettes: the less chemicals in the vapour, the less things your body craves.
Summatively speaking, these testimonies stick pretty close to the truth. Mind you, all of the statements by YouTubers, coworkers, and myself alike are strictly anecdotal, which means that your personal experience can vary. In the future, if I do want to take a break much longer than a week (hypothetically forever), I would definitely make sure to ease myself off of the nicotine first. In most smokers’ experiences, they typically have between a half pack to a full pack of cigarettes a day. This translates to about 6mg of nicotine in their vape juice, or 12-18mg in a beginner (low wattage) device. If you find yourself at this level, you may experience stronger cravings, which is why it’s always a good idea to consider taking that step down in strength before attempting to quit completely. If going a whole step down in nicotine is too much too soon, consider diluting your e-liquid. Ask your local vape shop about how they would approach your situation. Chances are you’ll find yourself using a secondary bottle for mixing, which in turn will give you a lower but more manageable strength.