Note: This Why Quit Smoking Guide has been co-authored by Dr Andres Maldonado MD of University Hospital of Zulia, in line with the 'Vape and Juice Medical Review Policy'. See our Medical Editorial Team.
You’ve been contemplating the ideal of stopping smoking for a while now. You might have even tried before with vape juice, gum, patches but it wasn’t the right time. You’ve got to ask yourself, is it ever going to be the right time?
Maybe the right time to get healthier, fitter and smell better, is right now.
Here’s what we’re going to cover in this blog
The reason why people continue to smoke is usually because of a nicotine addiction, so it causes physical dependence to the user. As it is a drug, it does have withdrawal effects when you stop taking it. This can appear within 3 days and can last more than 3 weeks. The symptoms may include:
There are lots of nicotine replacement therapies out there to help you manage these withdrawals. In the last 10 years there has been a rise in the e-cig, the vaporiser, which mimics the act of smoking, while delivering that much craved for nicotine hit.
Here are some nicotine replacement therapies for stopping smoking to help manage withdrawal:
You aren’t stupid. You know that there are cancer risks when it comes to smoking. After all, it is written on packets of ciggies.
Here’s a fact from the FDA website.
“There are more than 7,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke. More than 70 of those chemicals are linked to cancer.”
Even smokers with cancer, smoking cessation will decrease the risk of developing a second smoking-related cancer and may improve the outcomes of cancer treatment.
Less risk of heart attack
Cigarettes are responsible for approximately 10% of global deaths related to cardiovascular disease.
Just by stopping smoking for 1 year you have halved your risk of a heart attack compared to a smoker.
It can reduce up to 50% of the risk of suffering a cardiovascular event and the risk decreases proportionally to the time of smoking cessation.
However, it takes at least 10 years for overall incidence rates of former smokers to approach those of "never" smokers.
If you are a smoker you won’t notice that musty smokey smell. However, quit smoking and stand next to someone who has not long had a fag and you’ll know about it. And not just in a nostalgic way I miss smoking kind of way. More like “Jeeze, did I used to smell like that?!”
Yes. Yes you did.
Smoking lessens the taste buds. One study by Cheruel F and collaborators published in the Journal of Tobacco Induced Diseases found that smoking can dull taste buds and smoke cessation lead to a rapid recovery of taste. Smoke and already think cheesecake and a raspberry coulis tastes good? Try stopping smoking and then having a slice! What a treat to get those taste buds tingling once again.
Ref: Chéruel F, Jarlier M, Sancho-Garnier H. Effect of cigarette smoke on gustatory sensitivity, evaluation of the deficit and of the recovery time-course after smoking cessation. Tob Induc Dis. 2017;15:15.
Smoking is the most important risk related to Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the leading cause of death among smokers. Smoking cessation reduces the accelerated decline of lung function and risk of COPD. With smoking cessation within 5 years the risk of COPD will be only 4% compared to individuals who have never smoked.
Ref: Løkke A, Lange P, Scharling H, Fabricius P, Vestbo J. Developing COPD: a 25 year follow up study of the general population. Thorax. 2006 Nov;61(11):935-9. doi: 10.1136/thx.2006.062802. PMID: 17071833; PMCID: PMC2121175.
You will notice you can breathe easier, you’re not breathless going up the stairs, you can chase your kids, grand kids, someone else's kids (who you know, obviously!) around the park without wheezing or having to cut playtime short so you can have a fag.
Erectile dysfunction and infertility.
Erectile function is directly proportional to the degree of exposure to smoking, and quitting smoking improves male sexual function in 30-60 years men regardless of how many cigarettes you smoke.
Ref: Sahin MO, Sen V, Gunduz G, Ucer O. Effect of smoking cessation on sexual functions in men aged 30 to 60 years. Int Braz J Urol. 2020 Jul-Aug;46(4):642-648. doi: 10.1590/S1677-5538.IBJU.2019.0541. PMID: 32374127; PMCID: PMC7239286.
The number of cigarettes smoked daily is associated with an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus over the long-term.
Ref: Willi C, Bodenmann P, Ghali WA, Faris PD, Cornuz J. Active smoking and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA. 2007 Dec 12;298(22):2654-64. doi: 10.1001/jama.298.22.2654. PMID: 18073361.
Second hand smoke is a killer too. The WHO reports that almost half of children regularly breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke in public spaces. Here’s the stinger. 65,000 die every year from illnesses related to secondhand smoke.
Heart rate and blood pressure will drop.
CO2 level in your blood becomes normal.
2 - 12 weeks
Circulation and lung function improves.
1 - 9 months
Symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
Risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker's
Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker.
Risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker and risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decreases.
The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker's.
Ref: WHO (2020). Health benefits of smoking cessation.
Did you know tobacco kills half its users? That’s quite a stat isn’t it. We didn’t pull it out of our arse either, this comes from WHO, World Health Organisation.
We can help you to quit smoking if you feel that you want to keep up the act of smoking and enjoy a nicotine dose for now. We can do this by sharing with you the best vape starter kits to get you started.
Basic kits that you will want to look at when you are stopping smoking are easy to use, work with juices which can go up to 18mg nicotine and have a cigarette like draw.
Vaping is said to be 95% safer, we can help you get onto your vaping journey, and stick with it.
So how exactly does vaping help you quit smoking? Well...
Generally stopping smoking should be considered a great money saver, but of course if you take the vaping route, then there are some costs to consider. We like to call them investments :)
You can start off with a starter system and the basic juices, which might set you back around £15 - £30; probably much less than you’d spend on gum and patches. And if you like it, you can move on to different more advanced kits and really tailor your vaping experience to fit your needs.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, and we don’t pretend it is. However, we believe with the right support, tools and attitude you can do it, like so many others.
An important point is that doctors can help you through this process by the 5 "A" approach that has shown good results over the years.
Ask about tobacco use and exposure
First things first, we need to get to know the problem. Find out how much you smoke, if you use other nicotine compounds, among other things. All this to be able to ascertain the degree of dependence of the patient and the difficulty it represents.
Advise smoking cessation
It starts with the basics and is the recommendation of smoking cessation. The power of the word should not be underestimated (especially if it comes from a doctor). It is so much so that a systematic review in 2013 of 42 trials with over 31,000 smokers concluded that a brief advice intervention could increase the quit rate by a further 1% to 3%.
Assess readiness to quit
Change begins with oneself and it is important to know how committed a person is to change. Understanding the smoker’s perspective is essential to providing help.
There is a concept of change that can be applied to the process of smoke cessation. This model establishes 5 stages: Pre-contemplation (not ready to quit), Contemplation (considering a quit attempt), Preparation (actively planning a quit attempt), Action (actively involved in a quit attempt) and Maintenance (achieved smoking cessation)
Ref: DiClemente, C C et al. “The process of smoking cessation: an analysis of precontemplation, contemplation, and preparation stages of change.” Journal of consulting and clinical psychology vol. 59,2 (1991): 295-304
Assist smokers ready to quit
When the individual is ready to take the big step, that's when family, friends and doctors play an important role in supporting the individual during the change.
This is also where the recommendation for the use of nicotine replacement therapies such as Vape comes in, in order to support the individual in coping with the desire to smoke.
The most difficult part of the process has already happened and all that remains is to follow up on the person's change process. During this follow-up, the positive behaviors that the person has learned are reinforced.
Tell your friends
Tell people that you’re going to give up smoking and that you might need their support with helping you to stay on track. Then they can remember not to offer you a smoke or light up when you’re around.
If someone in your family or friendship group isn't ready to give up themselves then you might find they are negative about you trying to quit. Keep focused and stay on track.
Much of the addiction to smoking is the habit. When people seek help with how to give up smoking there is usually lots of talk about habits and triggers for smoking. If you always go outside on your lunch break for a cigarette after food, then consider something else you could do instead. Some people might chew gum, go for a walk, while others might vape.
Using a vaporiser can be a great way to come off of nicotine gradually, and you can still keep up the habit of smoking without inhaling all of the chemicals found in fags. You can reduce your nicotine intake slowly to avoid coming off it all at once. Eventually you could find yourself on 0mg nicotine and have no desire for a cigarette.
When you have a craving it can last for about 5 minutes. Before you give in, write a list or think up five strategies to curb the craving. If you’re out then you could go to the bar, have a dance, use the bathroom etc.
Research has found* that just 5 minutes of stretching or walking can reduce your cravings by your brain releasing certain chemicals.
When you are really in the depths of a craving you’ll probably forget all of the reasons you have to quit. Make sure you write them down and keep them somewhere safe. That way, when you find yourself really wanting to smoke you can take out the list and remember why you wont give in.
Stopping smoking isn’t easy. Whether you have been smoking a pack a day for 10 years or a few fags a day for 2 months, you will have habits ingrained around smoking.
It is important to tackle these habits and create new, healthy ones. Some ex-smokers say they find walking or running a great distraction from wanting a cigarette. Also a way to show off your new found lung capacity!
Ready to stop smoking? Make sure you read our Ultimate Guide to Vaping so you know what you need to do to start.
*Plag J, Schmidt-Hellinger P, Klippstein T, Mumm JLM, Wolfarth B, Petzold MB, Ströhle A. Working out the worries: A randomized controlled trial of high intensity interval training in generalized anxiety disorder. J Anxiety Disord. 2020 Sep 24;76:102311. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2020.102311. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33007710.