What to Expect when Switching To Vaping?
What to Expect when Switching To Vaping?
Let’s walk through the process of switching from combustible cigarettes to vaping. It's worth mentioning here that everyone's journey will be different, but we'll try to address the most common experiences we've had or heard about over the years.
No matter whether your switching journey takes days, weeks, or even months, rest assured you'll be happier when you arrive at your final destination.
Ready Your Mind, Ready Your Cabinet
Many people pick up vaping on a whim, and stories abound about "accidental quitters" who one day just happened to notice they weren't smoking any more, just vaping. Sadly, that's not the case for most of us.
Whether you've tried vaping in the past or not, accept up front that switching from smoking to vaping is a serious undertaking. It's certainly a worthwhile goal, but chances are it's not going to be easy.
Think about what motivates you to quit. Is it to save money? For what you believe to be a reduced risk? For a family member or loved one? Take inventory of what matters to you and envision your life as a non-smoker. There will be trying times ahead so it'll be helpful to remind yourself why you're choosing to switch.
First, you're going to want to pick up some vape gear and e-liquid. You don't want to go all-in on your first vaping setup. Choose a lower-priced model that appeals to you, maybe even more than one kind of vape device. You'll want access to a backup device in case you run into problems, and since you don't have much (if any) experience, it's hard for you to know up front what'll best match your lifestyle.
The same goes for liquids. Try a handful of different flavors and nicotine levels that'll give you a chance to experiment until you find your happy place. If you're opting for an open-system device, an extra tank will make it handy to switch flavors and/or nic strengths without having to drain, waste a coil and refill.
Cold Turkey or Tapering Off?
Pro Tip: We think you should taper off of cigarettes. But make it a controlled, manageable pace of reduction. Say you smoke a pack a day right now, try limiting yourself to 18 cigarettes a day or less for the first week, then 16 the week after, then 14 and so on. If you're able to come in under your count, great! But don't let that be an excuse to smoke too much tomorrow because it's easy to backslide and end up back at square one.
At Breazy, we've generally found that by the time most new vapers have tapered their cigarette use to about a third of what they were smoking initially (it could take a couple months to get there) they're ready to make the leap into total tobacco abstinence. If that's not you, don't worry. We've said this before, but you should celebrate the cigarettes you're not smoking rather than beating yourself up over the ones you are…as long as you're making progress on cutting down. That said, you should not continue to smoke and vape simultaneously in the long run as some studies indicate this could be the worst thing you can do.
Prepare for the Phlegm
Yes, we know. That sounds gross. If you've smoked for any length of time, you're familiar with the dreaded smokers' cough. You know, the hacky, mucous-y rips that usually arrive somewhere between waking up and lighting your first heater.
We're sorry to say this, but it gets worse once you begin to taper. When your cigarette use drops considerably, and even after you quit, your body goes into overdrive when it comes to expelling the crud you've spent years depositing into your lungs.
It's easy to mistake this for an adverse side effect of vaping. Don't. When you quit smoking your lung tissue begins to rebuild itself almost immediately, and as your lungs become stronger the new healthy tissue will be working to expel toxins so it has room to grow.
While the process of restoring your lungs to a pre-smoking state can take as long as 12 years, the morning hacks should resolve themselves much sooner. If they don't subside within a few weeks after quitting, talk to your doctor. It's a good idea to let her know you're switching, as she'll likely want to monitor your progress.
Watch for Sensitivity
There are times when some of the nastiness you're feeling may be related to what you're vaping. In these cases, it helps to be aware of what's in your liquid, because your body may be telling you it's time for a change.
Propylene glycol is one of the two base liquids that comprise most vaping fluids. While it's incredibly common and found in everything from asthma inhalers to soaps to lotions, as many as one in ten people experience PG sensitivity. If you're experiencing harsh sore throats after heavy vaping, or respiratory irritation, you may want to switch to a liquid with a lower PG concentration.
While much rarer, some vapers also report a sensitivity to vegetable glycerin, a thick, mildly sweet liquid that's usually extracted from palm or soy, which comprises the other primary base ingredient in e-liquid. Only about one in 1000 vapers report VG sensitivity, which is usually described as a "heavy" feeling in the lungs after an extended vaping session. If you're experiencing this, it's best to seek out a liquid with at least a 50 percent PG content to minimize the amount of VG you are taking in.
Some people also report problems with artificial sweeteners. Most heavily-sweetened e-liquids (e.g. bakery or dessert flavors) contain sucralose, best known by its trade name Splenda. Sucralose can alter insulin response and blood sugar levels, so if this is a concern for you it may be best to stick with flavors that don't have a heavy sweet note, or be sure to monitor your body’s reaction carefully if you choose to experiment with them.
Throwing a Nic Fit
Getting the right nicotine level is important. It's a finicky business and, even worse, it'll be a moving target throughout the switching process. If you don't get enough nicotine, it'll be hard to keep the cigarette cravings at bay. You'll likely become agitated, cranky, and vaping will begin to seem like a lost cause. Get too much nicotine, on the other hand, and you'll find yourself jittery and on edge. You'll still become agitated and cranky, and you'll have a hard time focusing or getting to sleep at night.
This is why we recommend experimenting with different nic levels in your e-liquid and keeping more than one tank handy with varying nic levels in each. Say your regular liquid contains 6 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of liquid, you may want to keep a tank filled with 12 mg liquid handy to vape on if the urge to smoke gets particularly strong. Conversely, you may want to keep some 3 mg on hand to vape in the evening hours when you're unwinding before bed so the stimulant properties of nicotine don't keep you awake with your mind racing.
Nicotine Moves in Mysterious Ways
Remember, nicotine uptake (the process of nicotine being absorbed into your bloodstream) is a very different process with smoking than it is with vaping. Cigarettes have been chemically engineered to give you the strongest nic hit in the shortest amount of time possible. It's literally a design feature purposefully intended to make them more addictive.
Without these added chemicals, and because vapor molecules are mostly absorbed in the mouth and throat rather than the lungs (which means they take longer to hit the nervous system), you won't feel the nicotine effects of vapor nearly as quickly as you will with smoke. This means that instead of taking a handful of puffs in rapid succession like you would when spending five minutes smoking a cigarette, vapers are more likely to puff once or twice before taking a break, but vaping sessions overall last longer.
Understanding how nicotine uptake works is key to controlling your cravings. It may take longer to satisfy cravings once they hit, but you shouldn't feel bad about puffing more often but in smaller amounts.
Stick with It
We've already exhausted the "life is a journey" clichés, but they're clichés because they're true. Switching from smoking is a monumental undertaking, and the road to a smoke-free life is fraught with hazards. Along the way make sure to never forget your "why," celebrate your successes, forgive your failures, and keep looking forward. Millions have traveled this path before you, you can make it too. We'll see you on the other side.