Probably the worst part about quitting smoking or vaping is the side effects that you’ll experience in the first couple of weeks after you quit. These side effects range from psychological to physical and will most likely make you feel like complete garbage for the first few days.
Have you ever thought about why cigarettes make you feel so good? You’re having a bad day or feeling stressed out at work, and then all it takes is a puff of a cigarette to make you feel a little more relaxed. When you smoke, nicotine releases a chemical called dopamine into your body. Dopamine can make you feel happy, motivated, and focused.
You’ll get a hit of dopamine every time you smoke. Since a typical smoker takes at least ten puffs on each cigarette, someone smoking a pack a day gets at least 250 mini-hits of dopamine per day. And your brain will quickly adapt and want more dopamine, more often.
So it’s not surprising that over time, your body starts to associate smoking with dopamine - and those positive feelings.
What are the side effects when you quit vaping?
And it should be even less of a surprise that when you quit smoking, your body will miss those hundreds of daily dopamine hits. A lot.
When you try to cut back on smoking, you’ll start to experience withdrawal symptoms. This is because your body wants nicotine - and the release of dopamine that it knows will follow. Withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Restlessness and irritability
- Feeling tired and groggy
- Increased anxiety and depression
- Brain fog and trouble focusing
- Mood swings
- Abdominal cramps
These symptoms can start to hit in the first few hours (usually starting when you’d go to pick up another cigarette and don’t). The worst of the physical side effects will happen in the first week after your last cigarette as the nicotine starts to clear your system. The psychological side effects, including depression and anxiety, will start to get worse during week two.
The intensity of withdrawal symptoms is what makes quitting smoking so hard. But if you pick your cigarettes back up after trying to quit, you’re definitely not alone. Less than half of people who try to quit smoking or vaping are successful on the first attempt, and for some people, it can take anywhere from six to twenty tries - or sometimes even more - before they completely kick the habit.
Cope with vaping side effects
It’s almost impossible to quit smoking without experiencing side effects, but there are some strategies to make it a little easier:
- Be prepared: by reading this blog post and learning what to expect when you’re cutting back on cigarettes, you’ll be able to mentally prepare for how challenging this will be. You’ll be less surprised when things get hard, and you’ll be able to make plans for the challenging moments.
- Get support from a doctor, mental health professional, and your personal support system (or really, all three). A doctor can help you figure out strategies for cutting back on cigarettes, a mental health professional can help you manage the psychological impacts, and your friends and family will be there to help you out in the hardest moments.
- Stay hydrated: This will help ease symptoms like headaches, hunger, and fatigue.
- Prioritize sleep: You might have the double-whammy of being super tired AND having trouble sleeping when you cut back on cigarettes. If you focus on getting enough quality sleep, you’ll feel a little bit better during the day.
- Stock up on snacks: You’ll probably feel hungrier when you’re experiencing withdrawal symptoms. If you have snacks like carrots or nuts on hand, you’ll have something to reach for other than cigarettes or vape pens.
This all sounds like it’s going to suck. What are the positive side effects of quitting vaping?
All of this aside, the positive effects of quitting smoking or vaping cannot be overstated. You’ll experience so many health benefits, starting within hours of your last puff. Some of the health benefits you’ll experience include:
- Reduced risk of heart attack
- Increased lung capacity and lung function, making it easier to breathe and engage in physical activity.
- Higher chances of having a health pregnancy, since smoking can impact the health and strength of sperm and the ability of women to carry a pregnancy to term
- Reduced risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and a whole host of cancers. After just a year without cigarettes, your risk of coronary heart disease will be half that of a smoker.
- Improved oral health, since smoking can harm your teeth and gums
- Improved skin health, since smoking can cause yellowing of your skin and nails
- Adding several years to your life expectancy
How to quit vaping without withdrawal
Unfortunately, there’s not really a great way to quit smoking without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. It’s almost impossible to avoid withdrawal symptoms completely when you cut back on cigarettes.
But there is a way to make nicotine withdrawal symptoms less miserable. Nicotine replacement therapies, such as nicotine gum, patches, or lozenges, are a clinically proven way to cut back on cigarettes, and using them properly can help to minimize your withdrawal symptoms.
Nicotine gum isn’t like typical gum, where you just chew on it. To use a piece of nicotine gum, simply chew on it and then let it sit on the inside of your cheek for several minutes. (Nicotine gum isn’t like typical gum - rather than chewing on the gum until it loses its flavor, you bite down slowly on the gum until you feel a tingling in your mouth. Then “park” the gum for about a minute between the inside of your cheek and your gums. This is when the nicotine is released into your body.
When you first start using nicotine gum, it’s recommended to use one piece of gum every hour or two, in order to beat your craving before it hits. The CDC recommends using at least 9 pieces of gum per day (but no more than 24 pieces per day) for the first six weeks, in order to ease your withdrawal symptoms.
Cutting back on cigarettes is really hard, but the health benefits are worth it. If you’re ready to take the plunge, LUCY’s wide variety of nicotine products, including gum, lozenges, and pouches, are a great alternative to smoking cigarettes or vaping. They’ll be a great tool to have in your smoking cessation toolbox as you embark on this journey.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should not be construed as a substitute for, professional medical or health advice on any subject matter. Please consult your physician regarding any medical treatment decisions.