Switching to Vaping: What to Expect
E-cigarettes are the perfect substitute for smoking. Not only are they 95% less harmful but vaping makes quitting cigarettes a lot easier! You still have something to occupy your hands by the hand to mouth action and the right nicotine strength to curb the cravings.
Here’s a few things you might find as you progress through the journey.
Improvement in taste and smell – Smoking can impact both your ability to taste and smell. Some vapers have reported walking into the kitchen and being able to clearly smell the taste of coffee for the first time in years. It can be a surprise, as very often you won’t have realised how much smoking has impacted your senses.
Improvement in smoking related diseases: Multi year studies have shown that smokers who switch to vaping experience significant improvements in smoking related diseases including asthma, high blood pressure and COPD.
More money! The average smoker spends £1971 a year on cigarettes – and it can be much more for a 20 pack a day smoker. In contrast many vapers spend £10 a week (£520 a year). In fact, we even know of one vaper who was able to finally buy a house after quitting smoking…
Improvement in the ability to exercise: One thing that comes up time and time again is an improvement in ability to exercise. Some vapers notice that they can climb the stairs without puffing, while others have taken up running for the first time in years.
Whenever you try to kick an addiction, you can run up roadblocks.
You are taking a big step in changing what could be a habit that you have had for years. While some vapers take one vape and never touch a cigarette again, others need time to fully make the switch. Fortunately, research shows that many people who dual use (both vape and smoke) eventually move to just vaping.
If you are feeling discouraged, assess whether the number of cigarettes has dropped. Every cigarette you don’t smoke represents progress, even if you can’t yet completely switch.
If you are still getting strong cravings, it may well be worth increasing your nicotine strength and experimenting with different vape devices.
What about side effects?
The good news is that research has shown that vapers do not experience significant side effects. For example, one study found that:
“The use of e-Cigarette substantially decreased cigarette consumption without causing significant side effects in smokers not intending to quit.”
A survey of 19000 vapers found that while there were some side effects, these were:
“…mild and in most cases partially or completely resolved after the initial period of EC use…health benefits are substantial, especially for those who completely substitute smoking with EC use.”
In the UK, we also have the yellow card scheme which documents side effects experienced by vapers. Despite there being millions of vapers in the UK, there have been only … cases reports, and again most of these were only mild.
Some vapers do experience side effects, and these include:
Some new vapers do cough when they smoke. This is usually down to technique. Some new vapers draw air in when they vape, which can cause coughing. Others take short sharp drags, like they would on a cigarette.
To solve coughing, try adapting your technique. Close your mouth firmly around the mouthpiece, and take a long slow inhale. Hold the vapour in your mouth for a second before inhaling into your lungs.
Some vapers also report a dry mouth/dry nose and occasionally a sore throat when they start vaping. This is likely caused by Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerine, two of the ingredients in e-liquid. These help create the cloud of vapour you see, but they also draw moisture in.
Fortunately, a glass of water is usually enough to resolve this.
Effects of too much nicotine
In general, it’s rare to take too much nicotine. But you are getting used to a new way of using nicotine, and if you use a high strength e-liquid and vape too much, you may feel dizzy.
Simply put down your vape for a while, and let the feeling pass. You can then either adjust your nicotine strength, or vape a little bit less.
Side effects of quitting smoking
Unfortunately, quitting smoking itself can cause side effects. You are still vaping nicotine, but there are hundreds of carcinogens and thousands of chemicals that you are no longer inhaling. Suddenly removing these can lead to unpleasant side effects such as mouth ulcers, head aches, mood swings and chest pains.
Not everyone experiences these, and they are usually temporary.