How to Quit Vaping: 9 Steps for Success (2023)

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If you’ve picked up the habit of vaping nicotine, you might be rethinking things amid reports of vaping-related lung injuries, some of which are life threatening.

Or maybe you want to avoid some of the other negative health effects associated with vaping.

Whatever your reason is, we’ve got tips and strategies to help you quit.

If you haven’t already, allow yourself some time to think about what’s motivating you to quit. This is an important first step. Determining these reasons can increase your chance of success.

“Knowing our why can help us change any pattern or habit. Being clear on why we’re changing a behavior helps validate the decision to break that habit and gives us the motivation to discover a new habit or way of coping,” explains Kim Egel, a therapist in Cardiff, California.

One key reason for quitting might be concern over possible health effects of vaping. Since e-cigarettes are still fairly new, medical experts haven’t fully determined their short- and long-term health effects.

However, existing research has linked chemicals in e-cigarettes to:

If health reasons aren’t a big motivator, you might also want to think about:

  • the money you’ll save by quitting
  • protecting loved ones and pets against secondhand vape smoke
  • the freedom of not feeling agitated when you can’t vape, like on a long flight

There’s no right or wrong reason for quitting. It’s all about figuring out what matters most to you.

Once you have a clear idea of why you want to quit, you’re ready for the next step: choosing a start date (or quit date, if you’re planning to go cold turkey).

Quitting can be tough, so consider choosing a time when you won’t be under a lot of added stress. In other words, the middle of finals week or the day before your annual review may not be ideal start dates.

That said, it’s not always possible to predict when life will get busy or complicated.

Once you commit to quitting, you can start anytime you like. Just keep in mind you might need a little extra support during stressful periods. That’s normal and nothing to be ashamed of.

Some people find it helps to choose a day with some significance. If your birthday or another day you like to remember is approaching, quitting on or around that day can make it even more meaningful.

Plan ahead

Ideally, try to set a date that’s at least a week away so you have time to:

  • identify some alternative coping skills
  • tell loved ones and enlist support
  • get rid of vaping products
  • buy gum, hard candies, toothpicks, and other things you can use to help fight the urge to vape
  • talk to a therapist or review online resources
  • practice quitting by doing a “test run” a day or two at a time

Ramp up your motivation by circling the date on your calendar, dedicating a special page to it in your planner, or treating yourself to something on that day, like a dinner out or a movie you’ve been wanting to see.

Research suggests the “cold turkey” method, or quitting vaping all at once, may be the most effective way to quit for some people.

According to the results of a 2016 study that looked at 697 cigarette smokers, those who quit cold turkey were more likely to be abstinent at the 4-week point than those who quit gradually. The same held true at the 8-week and 6-month follow-ups.

A 2019 review of three randomized controlled trials (considered the “gold standard” of research) also found evidence to suggest people who quit abruptly were more likely to quit successfully than those who tried to quit by gradually cutting back.

That said, gradually quitting can still work for some people. If you decide to go this route, just remember to keep your end goal of quitting completely in sight.

If quitting vaping is your goal, any method that helps you achieve that goal can have benefit. But going cold turkey may lead to greater long-term success with quitting.

It’s worth repeating: Quitting can be super tough, especially if you don’t have much support. Then there’s the whole issue of withdrawal, which can be pretty uncomfortable.

Nicotine replacement therapy — nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, sprays, and inhalers — can help some people. These products provide nicotine at a consistent dose, so you avoid the nicotine rush you get from vaping while still getting relief from withdrawal symptoms.

Your healthcare provider or pharmacist can help you find the right dosage. Some vaping products deliver more nicotine than cigarettes, so you may need to begin NRT at a higher dosage than if you smoked traditional cigarettes.

Experts recommend starting NRT the day you quit vaping. Just remember that NRT doesn’t help you address emotional vaping triggers, so talking to a therapist or getting support from a quit program is always a good idea.

Keep in mind that NRT isn’t recommended if you’re still using some form of tobacco along with vaping.

What about cigarettes?

After hearing about the lung injuries associated with vaping, you tossed out your vaping equipment and resolved to give it up. But cravings and withdrawal can make it tough to stick with your decision.

Given all the unknowns around vaping, switching to cigarettes might seem like a safer option. It’s not that simple, though. Going back to cigarettes might lower your risk for vaping-related illnesses, but you’ll still:

  • face the possibility of nicotine addiction
  • increase your risk for other serious health effects, including lung disease, cancer, and death

Before starting the quitting process, you’ll also want to identify your triggers — the cues that make you want to vape. These can be physical, social, or emotional.

Triggers vary from person to person, but common ones include:

  • emotions like stress, boredom, or loneliness
  • doing something you connect to vaping, like hanging out with friends who vape or taking a break at work
  • seeing other people vaping
  • experiencing withdrawal symptoms

Patterns in your use and feelings that trigger use are good things to be mindful of when you’re evaluating your relationship with a given substance or trying to make changes, according to Egel.

Taking note of potential triggers as you plan to quit can help you develop a strategy to avoid or deal with these triggers.

If your friends vape, for example, you might have a harder time quitting if you spend a lot of time with them but don’t consider how you’ll address the temptation to vape with them.

Recognizing emotions that trigger vaping urges can help you take more productive steps to manage those emotions, like talking to loved ones or journaling about them.

Once you quit vaping, the first week (or two or three) might be a little rough.

You might experience a combination of:

  • mood changes, like increased irritability, nervousness, and frustration
  • feelings of anxiety or depression
  • tiredness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • headaches
  • trouble focusing
  • increased hunger

As part of withdrawal, you’ll probably also experience cravings, or a strong urge to vape.

Come up with a list of things you can do to deal with the craving in the moment, such as:

  • practicing deep breathing
  • trying a short meditation
  • taking a quick walk or step outside for a change of scenery
  • texting a quit smoking program
  • playing a game or solving a crossword or number puzzle

Taking care of physical needs like hunger and thirst by eating balanced meals and staying hydrated can also help you manage cravings more successfully.

It’s normal to feel a little nervous about telling loved ones you plan to quit vaping. This is especially the case if you don’t want them to think you’re judging them for continuing to vape. You might wonder whether you should even tell them at all.

It’s important to have this conversation, though, even if it seems like it might be difficult.

Friends and family who know you’re quitting can offer encouragement. Their support can make the withdrawal period easier to cope with.

Sharing your decision also opens the door for a conversation about your boundaries.

You might, for example:

  • ask friends not to vape around you
  • let friends know you’ll avoid places where people are vaping

Your decision to quit vaping is yours alone. You can show respect for your friends’ choices by focusing solely on your experience when talking about quitting:

  • “I don’t want to become dependent on nicotine.”
  • “I can’t catch my breath.”
  • “I worry about this nasty cough.”

Some people will probably be less supportive than others. If this happens, you might try restating your boundaries once more, and then taking some time away from the relationship.

Egel explains that when you make a major lifestyle change like quitting vaping, you may need to limit certain relationships to honor your decision to go nicotine-free.

“Everyone has a unique situation and needs,” she says, “but a huge part of the recovery process is having a social circle who supports your choice.”

According to the American Cancer Society, only a small percentage of people — between 4 and 7 percent — quit successfully on a given attempt without medication or other support.

In other words, slip-ups are very common, especially if you’re not using NRT or don’t have a strong support system. If you end up vaping again, try not to give yourself a hard time.


  • Remind yourself how far you’ve come. Whether that’s 1, 10, or 40 days without vaping, you’re still on the path to success.
  • Get back on the horse. Committing to quitting again right away can keep your motivation strong. Reminding yourself why you want to quit can also help.
  • Revisit your coping strategies. If certain strategies, like deep breathing, don’t seem to help you much, it’s OK to ditch them and try something else.
  • Shake up your routine. Varying your usual routine can help you avoid situations that make you feel like vaping.

If you’re quitting nicotine (or any other substance), there’s no need to do it alone.

Medical support

If you’re considering NRT, it’s wise to talk to a healthcare provider to find the right dosage. They can also help you manage physical symptoms, provide tips for success, and connect you to quitting resources.

Some prescription medications, including bupropion and varenicline, can also help people overcome severe nicotine withdrawal when NRT doesn’t cut it.

Emotional support

Therapy can have a lot of benefit, particularly when you have underlying issues you’d like to work through.

A therapist can help you:

  • identify potential reasons for quitting
  • develop coping skills to manage cravings
  • explore new habits and behaviors
  • learn to manage emotions that factor into vaping

You can also try support that’s accessible 24 hours a day, like quit helplines (try 800-QUIT-NOW) or smartphone apps.

Quitting vaping, or any nicotine product, can be far from easy. But people who quit successfully generally agree the challenge was worth it.

Remember, you never have to quit on your own. By getting professional support, you increase your chances of a successful quit.

Crystal Raypole has previously worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues.


What is the most effective way to quit vaping? ›

Quitting vaping? Here are 5 tips for handling nicotine withdrawal
  1. Exercise. Physical activity is a reliable way to crush a craving, according to many experts and young people alike. ...
  2. Use a distraction. ...
  3. Lean on your support system. ...
  4. Find stress solutions. ...
  5. Celebrate your accomplishments.
Jan 10, 2023

What is the hardest day of quitting vaping? ›

The withdrawal timeline is also different for everyone, but according to a 2015 study, symptoms like these set in between 4 and 24 hours after the last use, peak on day 3, and typically subside during the following 3-4 weeks.

Is it possible to completely quit vaping? ›

Quitting vaping can be challenging, but it is doable if you have the desire to quit and a plan to get you through kicking the habit. Vaping is a relatively new phenomenon, so there isn't much research on how many people try to quit or how successful they are.

Can your lungs recover from vaping? ›

Breathing in the harmful chemicals from vaping products can cause irreversible (cannot be cured) lung damage, lung disease and, in some cases, death. Some chemicals in vaping products can also cause cardiovascular disease and biological changes that are associated with cancer development.

Is it good to stop vaping immediately? ›

Reduced Risk of Heart Attack. After just 24 hours of not vaping, the risk of having a heart attack begins to decrease. A regular e-cig habit, according to at least one study, can double a person's risk for having a heart attack.

Should I quit vaping cold turkey? ›

According to LloydsPharmacy, vapers should quit the habit slowly by gradually cutting back. “Unlike smoking where it is advised you ideally quit all at once or go 'cold turkey' as it's known, the NHS promotes quitting vaping slowly - especially if you started vaping to help you quit smoking," he explained.

How long does it take to detox from nicotine? ›

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms usually begin a few hours after your last cigarette. They are usually strongest in the first week. For most people, nicotine withdrawal fade and are gone after about 2 to 4 weeks. Chat to your doctor or a Quitline counsellor if you find that nicotine withdrawal is lasting longer.

What happens 72 hours after quitting vaping? ›

After just 72 hours, nicotine is completely out of your system. During that time, you may experience headaches, chills and feel irritable as a result of nicotine withdrawal. Nicotine is shown to decrease blood flow around the heart, and some physicians believe vapes can have similar effects.

What happens to your body after you quit vaping? ›

When you go without vaping, the nicotine level in your bloodstream drops, which may cause unpleasant feelings, physical symptoms, and strong urges to vape. This is nicotine addiction.

How long does it take to stop being addicted to vaping? ›

Understand that the most intense feelings of withdrawal and cravings will often diminish after the first week, and the addiction will begin to subside. Nicotine withdrawal usually lasts about one month, and will get much easier after that time. Find healthier activities to replace vaping.

What is a healthy alternative to vaping? ›

Exercise is one of the most effective alternatives to vaping, as it releases endorphins that can improve mood and reduce stress levels. Encouraging your teenager to engage in physical activities like running, playing sports, or doing yoga can provide a healthy outlet for stress and anxiety.

Does popcorn lung go away? ›

Can popcorn lung fix itself? The short answer to this is no. Bronchiolitis obliterans is irreversible. Once the damage happens, you can't fix it.

What are the symptoms of popcorn lungs? ›

While the name "popcorn lung" may not sound like a threat, it's a serious lung disease that causes coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath, similar to the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

What causes popcorn lung? ›

Popcorn lung (bronchiolitis obliterans) is an uncommon type of lung disease, but it is not cancer. It's caused by a build-up of scar tissue in the lungs, which blocks the flow of air. A possible link has been suggested between the disease and a chemical called diacetyl.

What happens if you vape all day? ›

ADDICTION Chronic use of Juul and other e-cigarettes may lead to nicotine addiction. LUNG INJURIES AND RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS Vaping may cause severe lung injury and can result in cryptogenic organizing pneumonia (COP), popcorn lung, increased cardiovascular risks and even death.

Is 0 nicotine vape safe? ›

Vaping overall, even without nicotine, can have harmful effects. Vaping, the act of vaporizing a liquid to inhale, is an increasingly popular alternative to cigarette smoking. However, it could damage health by irritating the lungs and throat and introducing toxins into the body.

Is vaping once in a while OK? ›

Smoking and vaping, even in small amounts or only sometimes, can be harmful to your health while also increasing your chances of becoming addicted. Even if you're only smoking or vaping sometimes, the effects can be just as risky to your health as a daily smoking habit.

How can I speed up nicotine withdrawal? ›

Remind yourself that cravings will pass. Avoid situations and activities that you used to associate with using tobacco products. As a substitute for smoking, try chewing on carrots, pickles, apples, celery, sugarless gum, or hard candy. Keeping your mouth busy may stop the psychological need to smoke.

How do you flush nicotine out fast? ›

There are several things you can do to speed up this process:
  1. Drink water. When you drink more water, more nicotine is released from your body through urine.
  2. Exercise. This increases your body's metabolism rate, which may lead you to clear nicotine faster. ...
  3. Eat foods rich in antioxidants.
May 11, 2022

What is the quitters flu from vaping? ›

Flu-like symptoms are also a common side effect of nicotine withdrawals, sometimes known as “quitter's flu.” Symptoms usually last for a couple of days as your body gets used to the new state it's in and can include a mild fever, coughing, and body aches, including the infamous nicotine withdrawal headaches and ...

What are the signs of vaping addiction? ›

Symptoms of Vaping Addiction
  • A strong, almost irresistible urge to vape.
  • Continuing to vape even if you think that it's harmful to you.
  • Irritability when you can't vape.
  • Intrusive thoughts about vaping.
  • Vaping behavior that causes problems with family, friends, school, or work.
  • The inability to stop vaping even when you try.
Jun 30, 2022

How long does brain fog last after quitting nicotine? ›

Yes, it is absolutely normal to feel like your brain is “foggy” or feel fatigue after you quit smoking. Foggy brain is just one of the many symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and it's often most common in the first week or two of quitting.

What are 5 risks of vaping? ›

Risks / Benefits
  • Asthma. Vaping can make you more likely to get asthma and other lung conditions. ...
  • Lung scarring. ...
  • Organ damage. ...
  • EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury). ...
  • Addiction. ...
  • Cigarette smoking. ...
  • Second-hand exposure. ...
  • Explosions.
Aug 22, 2022

What are the hardest days when quitting smoking? ›

What day is the hardest when you quit smoking? While a challenging day can happen at any time, most smokers agree that day 3 of not smoking is the hardest because that's when symptoms of physical withdrawal tend to peak.

Is it harder to quit vaping or smoking? ›

E-cigarettes are closely associated with tobacco cigarettes and for obvious reasons: Both are popular among teens, both contain highly addictive nicotine, and both can ruin health and potentially the brain development of adolescents. One big difference: It's harder to quit vaping than traditional cigarettes. Why?

Can I get sick after quitting vaping? ›

A cough and sore throat are also symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. If you have a cough or sore throat, you may worry about COVID-19. So it's important to remember that these symptoms can also happen when you quit smoking or using vaping products with nicotine.

Does quitting vaping improve mental health? ›


The common misconception that nicotine relieves stress, anxiety, and depression, may be rooted in the cycle of nicotine withdrawal. Irritability, anxiety, and depression are some of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, and using nicotine relieves these symptoms temporarily.

What can I replace Vapes with? ›

Your local drug store stocks several nicotine replacement products over the counter. These include patches, lozenges and gum. Other products, like pills, inhalers and nasal sprays, need a doctor's prescription.

What are oral alternatives to vaping? ›

5 Best Ways to Ease Your Oral Fixation
  • Sugarless Gum and Hard Candy. Stock up on sugar-free cigarette substitutes from the candy aisle such as gum, breath mints, and lollipops. ...
  • Vegetable Sticks. ...
  • Toothpicks. ...
  • Water. ...
  • Nicotine Coated Lozenges.

How can I vape without nicotine? ›

How to zero vape
  1. Multiple short inhales: Take a small puff. Instead of immediately exhaling, quickly inhale a short bit of air again from mouth and nose. Still not exhaling. ...
  2. One deep inhale: Take a small puff. Then take that puff down to the lungs in a long and deep inhale, lasting about three to five seconds.
Apr 18, 2023

How long will it take to quit vaping? ›

Understand that the most intense feelings of withdrawal and cravings will often diminish after the first week, and the addiction will begin to subside. Nicotine withdrawal usually lasts about one month, and will get much easier after that time. Find healthier activities to replace vaping.

Is it harder to quit vaping than smoking? ›

Vapes with nicotine can be as addictive as cigarettes, which doesn't do anything to help you quit. In fact, some e-cigarettes can deliver even more addictive nicotine, making it even harder to give them up.

Is cold turkey the easiest way to quit vaping? ›

Quitting cold turkey has such a low success rate due to the nature of nicotine addiction. Addiction undermines willpower, or the ability to control impulses through decision-making.

What are the worst days of nicotine withdrawal? ›

Nicotine withdrawal involves physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. The first week, especially days 3 through 5, is always the worst. That's when the nicotine has finally cleared out of your body and you'll start getting headaches, cravings, and insomnia. Most relapses happen within the first two weeks of quitting.

What part of quitting vaping is the hardest? ›

The first few weeks of quitting vaping are usually the hardest. Take it one day at a time. You may face some challenges along the way, but knowing what to expect and being prepared can help. Learn your triggers.

What can I replace nicotine with? ›

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
  • skin patches.
  • chewing gum.
  • inhalators (which look like plastic cigarettes)
  • tablets, oral strips and lozenges.
  • nasal and mouth spray.

How many puffs of vape equals one cigarette? ›

Typically, manufacturers advise that 10 puffs on your vape are about the same as 10 puffs on your cigarette. They further speculate that 10 puffs are all you take on one cigarette. Of course, this varies based on how big your puffs are, how strong your vape device is, and how much nicotine you are using.

What are signs of vaping addiction? ›

Symptoms of Vaping Addiction
  • A strong, almost irresistible urge to vape.
  • Continuing to vape even if you think that it's harmful to you.
  • Irritability when you can't vape.
  • Intrusive thoughts about vaping.
  • Vaping behavior that causes problems with family, friends, school, or work.
  • The inability to stop vaping even when you try.
Jun 30, 2022

What does vaping do to your brain? ›

Brain Risks

These risks include nicotine addiction, mood disorders, and permanent lowering of impulse control. Nicotine also changes the way synapses are formed, which can harm the parts of the brain that control attention and learning.


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