Kicking a tobacco habit is never easy, but when it comes to helping smokers quit, e cigarettes have shown to be generally more effective than nicotine replacement therapies such as patches and gums. Switching to vaping can be a challenge at first, which is why you should do some research to prepare for the transition. This guide to vaping will tell you everything you need to know before you enter the world of e cigs.
Helpful Tips for Smokers to Switch to Vaping
When you go to buy your first e cigarette, you’ll likely feel overwhelmed by all of the options. To help narrow things down, there are a few basic types of e-cigs you should be aware of:
- Cig-a-likes, which look like tobacco cigarettes and typically use disposable e liquid cartridges
- Vape pens, which are bigger devices with refillable e juice tanks that are button operated
- Mods, which are larger devices that offer features like temperature settings and voltage control
Picking a device that is comfortable for you to use is an essential first step to becoming a vaper. Most smokers prefer cig-a-likes because they are so similar to tobacco cigarettes. Research has suggested that some mods may deliver nicotine more efficiently than cig-a-likes, but you can always up the nicotine strength of your e liquid to get a better fix. White Cloud’s 5.4% nicotine strength should satisfy most heavy smokers.
Understanding E-Liquid Nicotine and Flavors
Choosing the right device is only half of the challenge; finding an e-liquid that suits your cravings is equally important. You may have to experiment a bit to find a flavor you like, but nicotine strength is the most important factor for smokers to consider. White Cloud offers six different nicotine strengths, including a nicotine-free option.
So how much nicotine are you currently taking in? A single tobacco cigarette usually contains between 10-20mg of nicotine, but only 1mg gets absorbed into the smoker’s bloodstream. Nicotine patches usually contain between 5-22mg of nicotine released over a 24 hour period while gums, lozenges, inhalers and nasal sprays typically come in 1-4mg doses.
However, measuring nicotine content in a liquid is slightly different than measuring it in a solid. Although some companies still use milligrams to quantify their nicotine strengths, White Cloud uses nicotine by volume, or NBV, which is similar to how alcohol content is measured. White Cloud has a helpful tutorial on choosing the right nicotine strength based on your smoking habits.
As for flavors, smokers tend to gravitate toward e-liquids that taste like tobacco, but your options are practically limitless. It’s common for vapers to become less sensitive to certain flavors over time due to a phenomenon called vape tongue, but switching to a different flavor and then switching back again can remedy that problem. Just make sure to only buy e-liquids from reputable companies who disclose their ingredients.
Understanding How to Inhale Vapor
Smokers typically don’t put much thought into their smoking “technique,” but vaping requires a different approach to achieve the same effect. Recent research has found that e cigs are less efficient at delivering nicotine than tobacco cigarettes, so vapers take in less nicotine per puff than smokers do. That’s because the other chemicals in cigarettes act like jet fuel so that smokers feel the effects of nicotine instantaneously. Since e juices lack those extra chemicals, it takes longer for the good feelings to kick in.
Also, smokers who switch to vaping often have trouble achieving a throat hit, or the tingly feeling in the back of your throat when you inhale. Upping your nicotine strength can help with this issue, but so can adjusting your vaping technique. Taking short, quick puffs from an e cig will not produce very much vapor; you’ll have to take longer drags than you’re used to. There are two primary approaches to vaping:
- Mouth-to-lung, or MTL: Vapor is taken into the mouth momentarily before inhaling into the lungs. The user tastes more flavor but feels less of a throat hit.
- Direct-to-lung: Vapor is taken straight into the lungs, which results in bigger clouds and a more intense throat hit.
While mods and vape pens require you to press a button to activate the heating element, most cig-a-likes are controlled by the user’s breath, which is another reason smokers prefer them.
Understanding Vaping Side Effects
It’s common for smokers to feel sick after they abruptly stop smoking. They may experience chills, fever, coughing and a number of other flu-like symptoms. This phenomenon is called smokers flu, and although switching to vaping can calm your anxiety, you’ll probably still feel ill for a few weeks as your body cleanses itself of tobacco and the other carcinogens in cigarettes.
Smokers flu is not a side effect of vaping, but new vapers may experience a sore throat from vaping too much, too often. That’s because the two base ingredients in e-liquids, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, attract moisture and therefore dry out your mouth and throat. Drinking plenty of water can help you stay hydrated. If you find yourself vaping a lot because you can’t get enough nicotine, then consider going up to a higher nicotine strength.
Can E-cigarettes Really Help Smokers Quit?
Despite what you’ve heard from the anti-vaping lobby, e cigs were not created by tobacco companies to lure people into smoking. In fact, the opposite is true: The first commercial e-cig was created by a doctor named Hon Lik who lost his father to cancer resulting from years of tobacco use.
Dr. Lik envisioned a device that would help smokers transition to a safer alternative, and we now have over a decade of research suggesting that e-cigs are indeed safer than cigarettes. Today, the Royal College of Physicians in the UK actually recommends that doctors encourage their smoking patients to switch to e cigs as a harm reduction strategy. Doctors in the US have been hesitant to embrace e cigs for smoking cessation, but the data doesn’t lie. Taking up vaping has helped a lot of people reduce or eliminate their tobacco intake.
Related: Electronic Cigarettes Promote Quitting, Says New Study
Join the Vaping Community
The vaping revolution has brought together ex-smokers, public health advocates, tech enthusiasts and many others who have found common ground in the principles of tobacco harm reduction. If you have questions about vaping, there are tons of people who will gladly educate you. Thousands of former smokers have successfully switched to vaping, and most of them want to share their experiences and help others escape tobacco addiction. You’ll find that many local vape shop owners are former smokers, so they can likely provide advice on switching to vaping from smoking as well.
Aside from communities on social media sites like Reddit, there are a number of vaping forums such as the ECF where you can connect with other vapers. The White Cloud customer service team is always willing to offer tips to new vapers, so don’t hesitate to contact us if this article has left you with any lingering questions!
Related: Quitting Tobacco: A Vaper’s Journey in Switching to E-Cigs