Quitting smoking is perhaps the hardest habit to break of all time. Because smokers have an oral fixation automatically built in, we tend to reach for something else to put in our mouths whenever we try to quit, usually cookies, candy, or some other sweet that gives us that temporary “high” that cigarettes tend to provide. When we quit smoking, we tend to gain a few pounds, become more easily agitated, and perhaps begin to demonstrate some rather severe mood swings. But there is a light at the end of the smoking tunnel. That light is called the electronic cigarette, or e-cig, for short.
The Benefits of e-Cigs to Quit Smoking
- E-cigs tend to reduce these many different withdrawal symptoms that we normally feel when trying to quit “cold turkey”. One of the reasons is because the e-cig device curbs our mental addiction to oral fixations.
- E-cigs allow us to feed our mental addiction of breathing and inhaling deeply as a method of relaxation without having to ingest all of those harmful carcinogens, tar, and nicotine that tobacco cigarettes provide.
- E-cigs help boost our energy levels almost instantly simply because we can breathe easier. Many people who first transition to e-cigs immediately begin jogging or exercising once again, simply because of the huge bursts of energy that e-cigs provide.
- E-cigs save money, another example of positive reinforcement that gets us off tobacco and keeps us off permanently.
Before you decide to make the transaction to e-cigs completely, the first step will be to experiment with the many different brands available, finding one with e liquid flavors that you really like. There are many interesting brands and flavors to choose from, many of which can be found online instead of through your local drug store. You would also need to decide if you wanted menthol or regular, too. Take your time and find a brand that you can live with for the long term.
The second step will be to decide on the type of device that you want to use. With many ecig starter kits on the market, one is certainly right for you. A two-piece device can be very convenient, but they can sometimes cost a bit more. On the other hand, the three-piece option can be a bit messy when you refill the vaping chamber with new e-juice throughout the week. You will also want to select the level of nicotine that you want to begin vaping. Your choices range from 36 mg to zero.
Weaning yourself off Tobacco Completely
So how do you determine which level of nicotine to start at? This will most likely depend, to some degree, on your current brand of tobacco cigarette. But be careful. Some people try to quit smoking by first choosing an e-cig that is substantially lower than their traditional brand. This may cause you to vape the e-cig more often that you would normally smoke a tobacco cigarette. As a result, you might get discouraged and go back to your traditional tobacco brand once again. Here is a general guideline of nicotine levels that may help.
- Full-flavored brands: 24 mg
- Regular Flavored brands: 16/18 mg (this is the most common)
- Light brands: 11/12 mg
- Ultra-light brands: 6/8 mg
- No nicotine at all: 0 mg
You will want to start with an e-cig that has comparable levels of nicotine in tobacco eliquid flavors that your traditional brand provides. Then, gradually, you will reduce the mg count until you have completely weaned yourself off of smoking both tobacco and e-cigarettes entirely. There are two simple steps to follow:
- Come up with a plan. Pick a day that you will make the initial transition to e-cigs and stick to it. Include in the plan specific dates that you plan to transition down to a lower level of nicotine, perhaps every 30 to 60 days or so. You will probably experience some very minor withdrawal symptoms, but they will be nothing like those that you would experience from traditional cigarettes. You’ll do just fine.
- Pay attention to your vaping habits. Are you vaping on your regular smoking schedule? Or are you vaping more often, simply because you know that the electronic options are far less toxic? Do you really need that fix? Or are you gradually able to decrease the frequency of your vaping? If you are using your e-cigs more and more, simply because you love smoking them, then you are far less likely to quit permanently.
One last thing. If you begin to feel dizzy or lightheaded when you first transition to e-cigs, this can mean that you have chosen a brand that is much higher in nicotine than your traditional brand. Downgrade and see if the dizziness disappears. Or try taking smaller puffs. Sometimes, getting used to the water vapor just takes a little time.