Learn / How to Quit Vaping

How to Quit Vaping

Grace Ogren
 July 5th, 2024|   Clinically Reviewed by 
Dr. Malasri Chaudhery-Malgeri, Ph.D.

Key Points

  • The health and addiction risks of vaping often aren't fully understood.
  • Misleading marketing and social pressure make youths more likely to vape.
  • Quit strategies, counseling, and various support services help people quit every day.

Vaping has surged in popularity, partially due to aggressive marketing and the general misconception that it’s safe to vape. Vape companies often target young adults because they’re less likely to know the true dangers of vaping. As such, young adults are more likely to vape than adults1. But as more people become educated on the dangers of vaping and see the effect it has on their lives, more and more seek to quit.

The highly addictive nature of nicotine can make quitting a challenge. But the right support, a thorough “quit plan”, and mental determination can get you to long-term recovery. 

Understanding The Urge to Vape

The urge to vape comes primarily from nicotine, an addictive chemical2 that quickly reaches your brain when inhaled. It can make you feel soothed and satisfied3–even just the motion of bringing your vape to your lips can give you a dopamine hit. Since vaping is more accessible than drinking, taking hard drugs, or other substances, it’s easy to vape repeatedly throughout the day. Stepping out to smoke/vape is both accepted and common—think of the “smoke breaks” available to most workers. It can feel unnecessary to resist the urge to vape when people have the means and ability to do so easily.

For young adults, resisting can be particularly hard due to peer pressure, social acceptance, and the near-constant presence of vapes. Many young adults aren’t even aware vapes have nicotine4. And with a variety of tasty vape flavors and appealing packaging, it can be hard to view vapes as bad or dangerous. A few puffs can quickly turn into a habit, which can lead to addiction.

Nicotine withdrawals also cause cravings2 or a very intense urge to vape. Resisting cravings can be tough, but a myriad of benefits await you in recovery.

The Benefits of Quitting Vaping

Vaping is commonly misunderstood as less dangerous than smoking cigarettes. While most vapes do have less harmful chemicals than cigarettes5, they still have them. Both vapes and cigarettes contain cancer-causing carcinogens. Vaping and consuming nicotine can lead to lung cancer, damage brain development, and harm fetuses. 

Once you stop vaping, you’ll notice immediate and long-term benefits.

Immediate and Long-Term Health Benefits

When you quit vaping, you’ll notice these immediate health benefits6:

  • Less irritation in your lungs, throat, and mouth.
  • Improved mental health, since vaping can make symptoms of depression and anxiety worse6.
  • Improved physical health.
  • Less preoccupation with vaping, which can lead to better relationships, more mental clarity, and an overall positive outlook.

Long term, you’ll experience better health and more resilience to both mental and physical ailments since nicotine actively harms the body5 and worsens mental health conditions. You’ll also save money and lower your chances of developing cancer, especially in the lungs.

Financial Savings

When you quit vaping, you’ll save the money normally spent on vapes. This can amount to a lot. For example, an average vape costs $12-20 dollars. The average vaper takes 365+ puffs a day7 and typically goes through 1+ vapes a week, though the average use, cost, and puffs-per-vape can vary widely. But you can expect to spend $1,000 to $1,500+ each year on vapes and cartridge refills. This breaks down to:

  • A month or two of rent, depending on where you live.
  • A few months of your utility payments.
  • A $5 cup of coffee every weekday for a year.
  • A new phone or laptop.
  • Getting a nice manicure or pedicure every month for a year.
  • Ordering takeout once every week for just under a year. 

The money you save by quitting vaping could go towards any of the above examples, or you could put it in savings, your 401k, a Roth IRA, or any other investment account. If you put $1,500 a year into a Roth IRA in your early twenties and retire at 65, you could accrue over $370,000.

Improved Quality of Life

Without a dependence on vaping, you’ll enjoy an improved quality of life. You can expect to feel more present in day-to-day moments, which can benefit your friendships, relationships, and feelings about yourself. You won’t feel preoccupied thinking of vaping, when you can vape next, and where your vape is.

Explore Smoking Cessation Treatment Centers

Preparing to Quit Vaping

Preparing to quit and setting up a strategy, or “quit plan”, can streamline your quitting process and help you prepare for any potential setbacks or detours. Your quit plan includes your motivations and reasons for quitting, which can remind you of your goals when things get tough. It will also include your quit date, your triggers and vaping habits, and your support system.

Set a Quit Date

Set a clear quit date rather than waiting for the right time or enough motivation. It could be a day or a week from now, but it should be close enough to anticipate and mentally prepare yourself.

Mentally preparing can set you up for success. You’ll know what’s coming and when it’s going to happen, which can make you less resistant to change. 

Tell your friends and family about your quit date, too. They can help you stay accountable and offer support as the day gets closer, as you begin, and as you navigate the ongoing quitting process.

Understand Your Vaping Habits

Knowing when and why you vape can help you quit. Keep a notebook handy or use your phone to track when you vape and what triggered the urge. You may notice you vape more at certain times of the day or when stressful events happen. 

Your quit plan can accommodate your habits and triggers once you know they’re there. For example, if you tend to vape once you wake up, you could incorporate a new habit into your morning routine to take its place. Yoga, journaling, or exercise could work for you. If you vape out of boredom, you could try playing a game on your phone, working on a puzzle, or taking a walk.

Build a Support System

Friends, family, and healthcare professionals can offer vital support during your quitting process. Let them know you’re planning to quit, your quit date, and what would help you most. 

For example, you could recruit a friend to be your daily accountability partner. Your doctor, therapist, or other professional can offer their support and clinical advice during your quitting journey. They can also refer you to therapy, quitting programs, or other resources.

Strategies to Quit Vaping

You can quit vaping with several strategies. Each has its pros and cons, so keep your lifestyle and goals in mind as you decide which would fit your needs. 

Gradual Reduction vs. Cold Turkey

Gradually reducing how much you vape means you slow your use in increments, like 50 less puffs a day, then 100, then 200, and so on. You could also limit yourself to one vape a week, then one for two weeks, then no vape at all. Gradual reduction can give your mind and body a chance to adjust to less nicotine and potentially soften withdrawal symptoms. However, gradual reduction takes longer. If you’re looking to achieve abstinence quickly, it may not be the best strategy for you. 

Going “cold turkey” means you stop all vaping and tobacco use at once. Some studies find this method significantly more effective8 than gradual reduction because the end goal and process is clearer than gradual reduction. Going cold-turkey means you stop vaping quickly, but the withdrawal symptoms can be more harsh and disrupting. If you’re adequately prepared for cravings and withdrawal symptoms, going cold turkey can work for you. 

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can help quitting feel more comfortable9. It provides a small, controlled amount of nicotine to make withdrawals and cravings less intense. NRTs don’t contain the harmful chemicals and carcinogens found in vapes and cigarettes. The U.S.’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 5 types of NRT:

  1. Patches
  2. Gum
  3. Lozenges (hard candy)
  4. Nasal sprays
  5. Inhalers

You can find these NRTs at most drug stores, pharmacies, or grocery stores with a Health section. Their accessibility and affordability makes them a practical quitting tool. 

Prescribed medications like bupropion10 and varenicline11 can also help you quit by targeting areas of the brain that contribute to addiction and cravings. Talk to your doctor or psychiatrist to see if these medications may be a good fit for you.

You can manipulate NRT to fit your needs, which makes it a diversely effective tactic and harm-reduction strategy. You can even combine two methods, like patches and gum, and reduce them at-will. Many NRTs are sold in incremental doses, helping you reduce your intake over time. 

Behavioral and Psychological Strategies

Therapy can help you quit vaping. Working with a therapist or counselor, you’ll uncover if vaping has become a coping tool and behavioral strategies you can replace it with. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has become “the most well-established and efficacious” intervention12 for quitting vaping and smoking.

In cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), you’ll learn to identify the thought patterns or distorted beliefs that lead to vaping. You’ll then learn how to correct thought distortions before they lead to negative emotions, rumination, and the desire to cope with them through vaping. 

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBI) have also been found to help12 people quit vaping. Mindfulness brings a greater awareness to triggers, your mental state, and your environment to help you navigate cravings. By identifying potential triggers and the emotions you feel, you’ll learn practical ways to protect yourself and how to tolerate discomfort without vaping. 

Managing stress can also help you during your quitting journey since stress can trigger the urge to vape. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and eat nutritious foods to help your body accomplish its daily functions. Regular exercise can improve your physical health and reduce stress. Practice self-care by giving yourself time to rest, relax, and enjoy hobbies.

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

As you reduce or completely stop vaping your mind and body will go through withdrawal symptoms. Keep in mind nicotine withdrawals won’t harm you13, though they’ll likely feel uncomfortable. Here are some common nicotine withdrawal symptoms14

  1. Trouble concentrating on work or school.
  2. Feeling irritable and getting annoyed.
  3. Intense cravings.
  4. Feeling tired and groggy.
  5. Sleeping less or worse than usual.
  6. Frequent headaches.
  7. Increased appetite and hunger (nicotine reduces appetite15).

To deal with nicotine withdrawals and cravings, make sure you’re drinking enough water. This helps your body flush out toxins. Set a regular sleep schedule for yourself to combat daytime grogginess and trouble sleeping at night. And make sure your support system knows about your situation and can help as needed. A few other tips include:

  • Eat healthy snacks and keep them on-hand as your appetite returns. 
  • Take over-the-counter pain medications as needed for headaches.
  • Plan ahead for cravings and keep distraction tools on you. These could include fidget toys, a gaming system, a notepad for doodling/journaling, or relaxing phone games.

Staying Vape-Free: Long-Term Strategies

Relapse may be part of your recovery journey, and that’s okay. Remember why you decided to quit and reference your quit plan. Implement long-term strategies to keep your recovery strong, even after relapses.

Avoiding Triggers

Understanding your triggers helps you avoid them. Once you know what they are, you can adjust your daily habits or schedule to avoid them. For example, if a certain venue, bar, or restaurant triggers the urge to vape, try a new place. If people trigger the urge, keep a safe distance between them and connect with friends who make you feel supported and safe.

Songs, books, and TV shows/movies may also trigger cravings if you listened to or watched them when you vaped or if they feature vaping. Be mindful of how media makes you feel and how it can support, rather than damage, your recovery journey. 

Embracing a Healthy Lifestyle

New habits and lifestyle changes can improve your overall well-being, which can help you manage stress and other negative emotions without vaping. Try incorporating these habits and lifestyle changes into your daily routine: 

  1. Exercise for 30+ minutes daily. Do whatever feels enjoyable to you, whether that’s going on a walk, weightlifting, or swimming. 
  2. Eat a healthy, balanced diet with whole foods to fuel your mind and body.
  3. Set aside time for hobbies. If you already know what your hobbies are, invest time in them. If you don’t, try exploring new activities to see what you like.
  4. Practice self-care by doing something that soothes or relaxes you, like watching your favorite TV show, reading a book, or baking.
  5. Spend time with friends and those who make you feel loved.

Seek Ongoing Support

Ongoing peer, familial, or therapeutic support can strengthen your recovery. Stay in touch with loved ones and regularly attend therapy sessions to cope with challenges as they arise. Online forums and communities on social media also offer convenient support and a sense of camaraderie.

Resources and Help for Quitting Vaping 

You have many resources to use at any point in your quit journey, including online support, books, and podcasts.

Online Support

Websites like Smokefree.gov, CDC.gov/quit, and Truth Initiative offer educational resources and tips for how to quit vaping.


You can call or text quitlines to get immediate support, or sign up to text-based programs and get motivating texts during your journey. 

  • Get daily supportive texts through Smokefree.gov by texting QUIT to 47848.
  • Teens and young adults can enroll in This Is Quitting by Truth Initiative.
    • Text DITCHVAPE to 88709 and get daily text support related to your progress, concerns, and quit date. You can text COPE, STRESS, SLIP or MORE to get instant support.     
  • Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to connect to a quitline in your state. You can talk to a quit coach, get a referral to treatment, and in some cases, receive free NRT.  
  • Search for quitlines and other quitting resources in your state.



Listening to podcasts on how to quit vaping offers convenient and highly accessible support. You can incorporate them into your daily routines, like listening to one as you drive to work. Here are a few options to check out.

  1. The Quit Vaping Podcast hosted by Andrew Capriano
  2. Quit Smoking With Me: A 30-Day Interactive Podcast hosted by QR Clothing Brand
  3. Quit Smoking Now hosted by Dr. Daniel Seidman
  4. Quit Smoking Podcast: Quitting Isn’t Hard; Deciding To Is hosted by mrimax.

Professional Help

Therapists and medical professionals can help you safely quit vaping, tackle underlying causes, and feel supported in your journey. Search the internet or ask your primary care physician for a referral to find a specialist. Many counselors and therapists focus specifically on addiction and recovery, helping you understand behavioral causes and learn coping tools. 

Own Your Health And Wellness

Learning how to quit vaping sets you up for a lifetime of recovery. Remember to set a quit date, develop a quit plan that includes your goals and motivations, stay close with your support system, and get professional help. 

With a thoughtful quit plan and support system in place, you can embark on your recovery journey. If you relapse, that’s okay. Use your quit plan again to reorient yourself—take it one day at a time and remember everything you’ve accomplished, the benefits you’ve gained, and how far you’ve come.

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