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Vaping to quit smoking: Managing your nicotine levels

Most people pick up vaping as a healthier alternative to smoking. Vaping is tobacco free and has been scientifically proven to be less harmful than cigarettes, so it's certainly a useful tool when it comes to quitting. Dependency on cigarettes comes from two things - the addicitive qualities of nicotine and the behaviour associated with smoking. As well as getting 'hooked' on nicotine, we also get hooked into the act of smoking as part of our routine. The challenge smokers have is giving these things up, and vaping helps in a number of ways, including the ability to micro-manage nicotine levels. 

Breaking the habit

As we've already mentioned, smoking cigarettes isn't just a chemical addiction - it's a habit. In the instance of cigarettes, the habit itself is harmful as it involves inhaling large amounts of tobacco. Vaping is tobacco free, so you can still enjoy the 'habit' (i.e. the act of smoking) without actually smoking. This makes the routine habit less harmful all around, so you don't actually have to give your 'smoking' breaks and rituals - simply swap the dirty cigarette for a cleaner vape kit. 

The nicotine problem

Vaping might make a bad habit less harmful, but what about nicotine? Some vapers choose to put nicotine free e-juice in their vape tank and just enjoy the experience and the flavours which is fine. Others still enjoy the 'hit' nicotine offers and still need it to enjoy the experience. Either way, vaping is far superior to all cigarettes because you can choose your own nicotine levels. Instead of being black and white (nicotine free or not), different e-juices have subtle differences in the amount of nicotine present, so it's far easier to use vaping as a means of weaning yourself off it if that's your main goal. 

Choosing the right nicotine level

This can be tricky at first but you'll find your way. If you're a keen smoker and switch to vaping, going for a plain nicotine free e-juice probably isn't going to cut it for you. Going cold turkey seldom works. What you need is to juice an e-juice with a nicotine strength that's slightly less than your favourite brand of cigarettes. Over time, you can lessen the potency of nicotine in your e-juice incrementally until there's barely any there, and you'll still be having a great time vaping without the chemical dependency. Most common e-juices come in the following nicotine strengths:

3mg (low)
6mg (medium-low)
12mg (medium)
18mg (medium-high)
24mg (high)
and even 36mg (very high)

The numbers above refer to the amount of nicotine per mililitre of juice. You may also see them written as percentages when shopping around (for example 12mg/ml may be written as 1.2%) but it's all effectively the same. It may take a bit of shopping and you may have to try a few different strengths, but you'll eventually find that sweet spot that satisfies you while lessening your overall intake. 

In essence, it's all about balance. Go with nicotine levels that are too low and you'll vape a whole lot more to compensate which can be frustrating and will dampen the experience. Too much and you'll just make matters worse and become even more dependent, perhaps even making yourself light headed with a hit that's much harder than you're used to.  On the whole, it's best to start low and work your way up to something that isn't too strong and still leaves you slightly wanting. Pick some delicious e-juice flavours and your body will adapt! 

Did you use vaping to give up smoking? How did it go and what nicotine levels did you choose? We'd love to hear about your journey in the comments below. 

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Eve Wang

Post by Eve Wang , 18 Dec 2017

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