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New Zealand Study: Quitting Cigarettes Not Easy, Even When Vaping Helps

New Zealand Study: Quitting Cigarettes Not Easy, Even When Vaping Helps

New Zealand Study: Quitting Cigarettes Not Easy, Even When Vaping Helps

Quitting combustible cigarettes is incredibly difficult - ask people who've done it, or who've tried and failed, and many will tell you it's the hardest thing they've ever done.

With the heavy push to classify vaping as a smoking cessation tool in recent years, some smokers have been led to believe that replacing smoking with vaping is a foolproof plan to immediately quit. But in a new study released by the University of Otago in the very vape-friendly country of New Zealand researchers found that transitioning from smoking to vaping isn’t as easy as it might initially seem.

This study provides an opportunity for a few points of discussion. First, smoking cessation needs to be treated as a commitment, not a casual affair. Without fully investing in the idea of complete cessation, you won't realize most of the health benefits that come with not smoking state the researchers.

Next, vaping alone doesn’t cut it when it comes to quitting. You need to have plan that includes things like an encouraging social network, perhaps a brick-and-mortar vape shop to help you along with the process. Work on phasing in your vaporizer if you don't take to it right away - use it instead of reaching for that first smoke in the morning and see how long you can go, or focus on gradually eliminating the "habit" cigarettes, such as after a meal or before bed.

Finally, vaping is not the same thing as smoking - even the best tobacco e-liquids won't taste like burning leaves, paper, and chemicals (after time you'll realize they actually taste better), for example. Nicotine delivery through vapor also works differently than through smoke - the much finer particles of smoke penetrate your lungs more deeply, delivering a quicker nicotine hit but also leaving behind damaging particulate matter. These things take getting used to and the researchers really emphasize these points.


For these reasons, new quitters need to temper their expectations. The study in question highlights some faulty expectations that non-vapers sometimes harbor. There were 20 people interviewed for the study, and according to the lead author Dr Lindsay Robertson, most of them thought that in switching from smoking to vaping they'd find a similar experience, and when that wasn't the case it leads to tobacco relapses.

"Many started their quit attempt expecting that vaping would offer them exactly the same experience as smoking," Robertson told TVNZ. "However, they often became disappointed when their experiences didn't replicate smoking and continued smoking as well as vaping."

The drawbacks to combustible cigarettes are both varied and well-known (cancer!), but perhaps the most powerful factor discouraging quit attempts is nostalgia. People have social cues and pressures that make cigarette smoking appealing and, to a certain extent, it’s expected by the culture that supports it.

Committing to Quit

In the modern age that's given rise to the vapor industry, committing to anything is difficult. Especially if it means giving up something that your body screams out for. Committing to quit cigarettes can be a quick process or it can be a long and drawn out process with many relapses.

Part of the reason for relapses is not having a strong support structure for a person who’s decided to try to quit. That’s where brick-and-mortar vape shops come in. These specialized storefronts provide safe havens for vapers, where they can go to try out new products and get their mind off of smoking. Additionally, knowledgeable shop owners can be helpful to people who are looking to quit but don't know where to start.

"Participants see specialist vape-shop staff as expert advisers ... (so they) could help remind people of the importance of giving up entirely," said Professor Janet Hoek, who leads the Health Research Council-funded research project.

Further, in England, a study found that the rising number of vape shops has contributed to a reduction in the national smoking rate.