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Quitting any habit is hard, but quitting a habit that is literally addictive is especially so. Biting your nails, cracking your knuckles, chewing on pens, or simply spending too much time on your phone are all bad habits that can interrupt the flow of your life. But then there are also the things that impact your health, like smoking. Per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking causes about 90% of lung cancer deaths and increases your risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, COPD and other forms of cancer.
However, while there is a sharp decline in the smoking of regular cigarettes, millions of Americans have picked up a new vice in the form of vaping. The use of vaping devices, e-cigarettes and Juul is on the rise, and it’s increasing especially among teens. Many people assume that e-cigarette products like JUUL are less addicting or problematic, but the truth is we don’t really know much at all about the long-term health impacts of vaping. They’re almost certainly not good.
Want to learn how to quit JUUL or another type of e-cigarette? We talked to some experts to find out the best strategies for tobacco and nicotine cessation. We know that quitting JUUL isn’t easy, so talk to your doctor about strategies that will work for you. With the right help, you can learn how to quit JUUL for good.
Is Vaping Bad For You? What We Know About the Dangers of E-Cigarettes
As a relatively new product, there are a lot of question marks when it comes to e-cigarettes. However, we do know that these substances contain some of the same toxic ingredients as cigarettes. And, like all tobacco products, they are extremely addictive.
“Anecdotally, many people do speak to the benefit of weaning themselves off of cigarettes by using a vape, but vaping can, and often is, just as addictive as smoking cigarettes,” says Jason Woodrum, ACSW, therapist at New Method Wellness.
Plus, research shows that 90% of those who used vaping to quit were still smoking after a year.
“And though it doesn’t contain the same tars and toxins present within cigarettes and other tobacco products, vaping does come with some health risks,” Woodrum says.
According to the National Institutes of Health, an e-cigarette is an electronic device that heats a liquid into a vapor that can be inhaled. The vapor can contain the addictive drug nicotine, among other chemicals, and flavoring. Some of those avoidable health risks include long-term harm to brain development in young people, exposure to toxins that may cause cancer, and the inhalation of tiny particles that are harmful when you breathe them in.
“The concentration of nicotine is usually much higher in vaping devices which could lead to addiction faster, says Dr. Indra Cidambi, MD, Psychiatrist and Medical Director of Center for Network Therapy. “Additionally, some vaping pods have as much as 50mg of nicotine per ml of liquid, equal to more than four cigarettes, which typically have 12mg per cigarette.”
In fact, according to the American Lung Association, JUUL pods contain about as much nicotine as one pack of cigarettes.
How To Quit JUUL
For a variety of reasons, you may have decided that the time has come to quit vaping. Whether you prefer JUUL devices or some other type of e-cigarette, there are a variety of resources available to you to quit. We know that quitting e-cigarettes or any form of nicotine addiction can be challenging. We’re not doctors, and we can’t give you medical advice, so we would strongly recommend that you consult a physician as you embark on this journey.
As you try to quit JUUL, try following these tips from the experts.
Have A Plan
The first thing you want to do is decide when you want your last day of vaping to be. Also, read as much as you can about withdrawal symptoms so that you know what to expect and how to combat them when they begin, says Woodrum. And try to avoid situations where others may be smoking or vaping in the first few weeks, especially if you don’t want to be tempted.
Enlist the Help of Others
With any addiction, you want those in your immediate circle to function as your support group, and they can help keep you remain accountable. You should also reach out to your healthcare provider and enlist other services to assist you with your desire to quit. There are e-cigarettes quit programs that can help, like the one suggested by the Truth Initiative, a nonprofit that focuses on ending tobacco and nicotine use. “Look into apps such as QuitNow! or Smoke Free, and move them to the front page of your phone for easy access,” says Woodrum.
Decide Between Cold Turkey or Tapering
Cold turkey is an addiction recovery method that involves immediate cessation of the substance. Unlike quitting alcohol, stopping use of tobacco cold turkey won’t put your life in danger, although the side effects may be very unpleasant.
On the other hand, many people choose to taper off tobacco products, using less and less over time. During this process, you can also use nicotine replacement products, which deliver small doses of nicotine orally or through your skin.
“No matter if you choose to go cold turkey or taper off, you can enhance your chances of succeeding through the use of nicotine replacement products,” says Dr. Cidambi. “They are available in different concentrations (of nicotine), making it easy to execute a slow taper, she says. These nicotine replacement therapies can help you deal with your withdrawal symptoms and cravings, allowing you to make lifestyle changes needed to maintain abstinence. “Recognize that what you are experiencing does have an expiration point and that you will soon begin to reap the rewards of a life free from nicotine addiction,” says Woodrum.
Nicotine Replacement Therapies
“While every person is different, nicotine replacement products provide a safe option that can help to curb cravings and address withdrawal symptoms, as the FDA approves many nicotine replacement products,” says Dr. Cidambi. But it would be best if you worked with your healthcare provider to determine which options are suitable for you. “I prefer to customize the treatment protocol for every patient because some may benefit from therapy to address psychological symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, or even boredom, associated with stopping nicotine use, she says.
Popular Nicotine Replacement Therapies
When using over-the-counter products, you must read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You can also check the FDA website for information on the particular product.
Transdermal nicotine patches are applied much in the same way that you would an adhesive bandage. Before use, you should tell your doctor and pharmacist what medications prescribed or OTC that you are taking. Also, let them know if you have experienced any health conditions including heart attack, irregular heart rate, chest pain, ulcers, high blood pressure, or overactive thyroid. Also, if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding, always consult a doctor and do plenty of research before starting any new drug.
Below, you’ll find information on some popular over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies. As you learn how to quit JUUL, you may want to consider some of these tobacco cessation products.
Nicoderm CQ Patch
Nicoderm CQ Patch is touted as a low maintenance way to prevent the urge to smoke. The patches are meant to relieve cravings and other nicotine withdrawals. It is available in different strengths allowing you to pick which is best for you based on where you are in the process.
Nicorette Nicotine Gum
Nicorette Nicotine Gum is marketed as a stop smoking aid used to help quell cigarette cravings. It is supposed to release a low dose of therapeutic nicotine absorbed by your body at a measured rate. It is said to ease issues often associated with smoke cessation, such as insomnia, depressed moods, anxiety and irritability. As with all medications, Nicorette Nicotine Gum comes with possible side effects like mouth issues, indigestion, severe sore throat, irregular heartbeat or palpitations or allergic reactions like rash or difficulty breathing.
Nicorette Nicotine Lozenges
Available in two strengths, Nicorette Nicotine Lozenges are another alternative to curbing your nicotine cravings. The brand suggests that you use it as a part of a 12-week program along with a behavioral support program. As with other Nicorette products, there are potential side effects.