While many of us find it fairly easy to switch from smoking to vaping, there are unfortunately a small but significant group of people that it just doesn't seem to work out for.
It can be frustrating for both them and people who are trying to help and support them. Why is this happening and what can we do to help those people?
These are a few things I've heard smokers say about vaping and some possible solutions.
“Vaping makes my throat sore.”
This might sound like an ironic comment coming from someone who's been inhaling the smoke from smouldering leaves for years. However it's a fairly common complaint and there's a number of things that could be going on here.
Some people find vaping will dehydrate them, especially if you aren't drinking much throughout the day already. It's not something I ever suffered from myself as I used to almost always have a drink while I was smoking and that continued into when I started vaping.
If you are finding that vaping is making your throat sore, try sipping some water between puffs. I feel that PG allergies are often overstated and are far less common than people think, however it's absolutely true that PG isn't as 'smooth' to inhale as VG is. Switching to a higher VG content might also help in some cases.
In my experiences the most likely answer is that it is a combination of stopping smoking, which is a big shock to the system if you've been smoking a long time, and the fact that you aren't used to vaping yet. For a lot of people it really is a case of just sticking with it for a while.
“Vaping makes me cough”
Vaping might make you cough at first, much like when we started smoking and it made us cough, but fairly quickly we all got used to it. I think most people get used to vaping in much the same way. The first time you inhale the vapour from an e-cigarette it's going to be a new experience. You will be inhaling something you aren't used to inhaling and that might make you cough. It's pretty 'normal' and it's not usually something to worry about.
For the first few months of vaping I always used to have to turn the wattage right down on my e-cigarette device in the morning or it would make me cough. I would gradually turn it up throughout the day to my usual 'all day' level. Start at low power, inhale gently and it should help.
“I tried but I still found myself wanting to smoke”
Vaping is a fantastic and proven tool for harm reduction, but as we always say, it's not a magic wand. You do still need to want to quit smoking and that desire usually needs to be stronger than your desire to smoke. Even after years of not smoking I still get the urge to smoke occasionally. That doesn't mean vaping isn't working for you, the years of mental dependency we had while we smoked just doesn't disappear for many of us. However the ability to knock those thoughts away becomes much easier over time.
It's also important to make sure you are getting enough nicotine to stop your cravings. That is essentially the purpose of vaping in the first place. Without it, it's like trying to give up with nicotine patches without enough nicotine in them.... useless for most people. If you aren't getting enough nicotine then the desire to smoke and get that fast nicotine hit from a cigarette will be much greater.
Many people see quitting the dependency of nicotine as part of their goal. That is a great goal to have but it should be a long term goal that is achieved gradually. When you first switch from smoking to vaping the only goal you should concentrate on is stopping smoking and replacing that with vaping. If you want to gradually lower your nicotine after that, then you'll also be in a much better position to do it once you've been smoke free for a while, at least until you feel that any desire to smoke is fully under control.
Here's some other more general things to try; change your flavours, change your pod system, change your tank, change your nicotine strength, try a different coil type.
One of the best things about vaping (and sometimes the worst!) is that you have a lot of choice to tailor the vaping experience to your own preferences. With smoking, a cigarette is largely a cigarette. You might prefer one brand to another but they are essentially the same and 'smoke' the same way. Because of the vast array of choices when it comes to vaping it might take a little longer to find your perfect set up. I think it's worth investing a little time and money in trying to find that before completely giving up.
“I've tried everything, it's just not working for me”
For the majority of people that try an e-cigarette it is often the perfect solution for them, especially where other methods of smoking cessation have already been tried and failed, but we are all different and there's never going to be a single solution. If you've tried and still feel that vaping isn't ever going to work for you, then you might have to look at other alternatives.
If you've not tried any other methods of quitting smoking or other NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) products before them maybe one of those might suit you more. Nicotine pouches are a fairly new product and are available in different flavours. They are simply placed under your top lip and it just rests there between your lip and your gum. Like vapour products they contain no tobacco and are considered another very safe way to ingest nicotine. They won't replace the hand to mouth action of smoking or the action of blowing 'smoke' in the way vaping does, but they are a good way to replace your nicotine intake without having to go back to smoking. In my experience they are more effective than patches and far less disgusting than nicotine gum! I've used them a couple of times when vaping wasn't an option and while I did miss vaping, it did keep any serious cravings at bay.