The FDA cracked down on disposable, flavorful vapes last year, and although you can still find Puff Bars and their counterparts all over, the likelihood that you’re getting a sketchy counterfeit is increasing. The mystery of what’s in the phonies makes them even more dangerous than the original nicotine delivery devices, which weren’t super great for you in the first place. It might be time to quit, so here’s what to expect.
You’ll never find the perfect time to quit
“There’s no good time to do it,” said Robert S., a 30-year-old who started vaping to quit smoking four years ago, but found himself smoking again to get off vapes. “It’s like a Band-Aid. You just have to rip it off and do it.”
Robert quit, ultimately, because he was annoyed he couldn’t play with his four-year-old niece without getting winded.
“I was tired of being so dependent on a foreign substance to continue my day-to-day life,” he said, recalling that he’d hit his Juul “at all times,” no matter where he was or what he was doing. “I see a lot of adolescent people smoking these vapes and they can’t function without it and it’s really sad to see.”
He said that prior to quitting, he felt “tied down,” like he couldn’t go anywhere without his portable device. When he switched to his Juul and disposables, he even noticed physical issues he hadn’t had with the cigarettes: migraines and sores in his mouth.
You’ll have mental changes
Clarity can come with quitting, but you can also be an irritated mess for a while, too. The withdrawal symptoms are well-known at this point, but expect anxiety, depression, and a stinky attitude.
Try to think positively, though. Focus on how good what you’re doing is for yourself, how good it is for your family, or how much money you’ll save. It’ll be hard, especially during rough cravings, but it’s necessary.
To that end, don’t get down on yourself if you take a rogue puff here and there. This might not be linear. You could start and stop repeatedly; plenty of people do. These little devices are designed to be hard to quit, not only because of the nicotine they contain, but because they give you so much else: flavors, something to do with your hands and mouth, an excuse to leave a room you don’t want to be in, etc. Saying goodbye to all of that is no easy task. This is a mental challenge as much as a physical one. About that, though…
You’ll notice bodily changes
Robert said he craved sugar a lot after quitting, which is a sentiment reflected across online forums. (More on those later.) You’ll probably be inordinately hungry for a while and might be a little constipated. Gross, but true!
Beyond a sudden interest in sweet foods, there were other physical changes Robert noticed right away and even more over time.
“I’ve noticed my skin returning to its normal color,” he said. “About a month after, I wasn’t spitting up mucus every morning. Finally, after about two months, I had little to no shortness of breath.”
Look in the mirror. Is your skin an unusual color? If it is, did you even notice that happening? That’s a little alarming, and is another vaping side effect that is discussed widely on forums. OK; it’s time to talk about those now.
You’ll need a support system
It’s easier to do difficult things when you have someone on your side, especially someone who gets what you’re going through. The Quit Vaping subreddit has more than 6,000 members, so you can start there.
Tell your friends and family what you’re up to, too. They can help keep you accountable by calling you out if you try to sneak a puff. Plus, if you’re going to be irritable or going through cravings, it’s best to give a heads-up about why you might be ‘tude-y.
You’ll lean on a few crutches
Robert said he wouldn’t have been able to get so far into his quitting if not for nicotine patches and coffee. Look, you might not like the idea of replacing one habit with another, but if that’s what it takes, you might have to consider it, just for now.
If it’s the nicotine you’re after, patches are helpful. If you like the sweet, fruity tastes or have a little bit of an oral fixation, try sugar-free hard candies or flavored seltzer. If you love to have something to play with in your hand, look into fidget toys or anxiety rings.
You’ll end up happy you did this
However tough the journey is, the payoff is great—literally. For starters, you’re about to save serious money. Disposable vapes are pricey, as is the e-liquid you can buy to put in more long-term devices. (Put the $10 or so dollars you would have spent on a disposable into a jar every time you get the urge to buy one. Channel your cravings into a money-saving technique and spoil yourself after you hit a certain amount of time off the Juul.)
You’ll be healthier, breathing better, and just generally in a better place. Keep that end goal in mind and trust that you can do this.