In the last week, the number of people who have died from vaping increased to 18. The number of vaping illnesses increased to 1,080 people.
If you vape regularly, you’re addicted to nicotine. Whether you vape or smoke tobacco, the effect is the same. Nicotine makes you feel good―which is why people keep smoking, knowing it’s doing them harm. Nicotine is as addictive as cocaine and heroin and has the same effect on the brain and changes the brain.
Vaping produces the same addiction as cigarettes do.
Obviously, quitting can mean withdrawal: symptoms include anxiety, irritability, cravings, and over-eating.
So how do you get off nicotine?
It should be noted, kicking an addiction can make you feel like you’re at war with yourself. Ask for help. The most effective means is medication with counseling. That’s because you’re not just rewiring your brain, but changing daily habits. That might mean turning a smoke break into a walk break.
In addition to counseling, there are a number of FDA-approved tools for quitting smoking. Nicotine by means other than smoking (or vaping) is called nicotine replacement therapy ( NRT). The most familiar methods are nicotine gums, lozenges, and patches―all of which are available over the counter. These products provide smaller doses of nicotine to control withdrawal symptoms while weaning off the drug.
Prescription drugs, are options that don’t include nicotine, but can help its effects. Varenicline (brand name Chantix), blocks the rewarding effect if one uses nicotine. Without that reward―the rush of the puff―it’s easier to quit. This is the most effective and safest medication on the market today. Its side effects include: nausea, sleep problems, constipation, gas, and vomiting.
The antidepressant Bupropion (sold as Wellbutrin) is also approved for quitting. Like varenicline, it contains no nicotine. Its mood-improving effects may help blunt the side-effects of withdrawal, such as irritability and, yes, depression. This can make it easier to quit. Possible side effects: nausea, dizziness, constipation, insomnia, and others.
While it’s best to stick to tools that are FDA approved, other methods, such as hypnosis or acupuncture, may still work.
Vaping arrived with little monitoring and a sense of security. Vaping kind of made smoking cool again, and from a public health perspective, that’s a problem. We need to change the narrative to remind people these are harmful products.
The best thing is to never start using. Its harmful, and once you’re in it is hard to get out.
What’s more, addiction can happen in as little as a few puffs over a few days to weeks. There is no ‘magic pill.’ The easiest way to quit is with medicine and help from trained professionals.
Staunton Primary Care offers in office and e visits for to quit smoking to anyone in Ohio. Call or text to learn more (513) 685-8853.
Lastly, visit SmokeFree.gov. and SmokefreeTXT, a text-based service for anyone looking to ditch nicotine.