Vaping to quit smoking - Better Health (2023)

There's some confusion and misleading information about vaping, which can make it difficult to work out what's true or not.

Nicotine vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking. It's also one of the most effective tools for quitting smoking.

Vaping is not recommended for non-smokers and young people because it is not completely harmless.

Here you will find the facts on vaping, based on scientific evidence and research, plus advice on how to use vapes (sometimes called e-cigarettes or e-cigs) as a tool to quit smoking.

How vaping can help you quit

Vapes are electronic devices that let you inhale nicotine in a vapour instead of smoke. This is done by heating a solution (e-liquid) that typically contains propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, flavourings and nicotine.

E-liquids come in different nicotine strengths, so you control how much nicotine you need to help with cravings and other withdrawal symptoms, such as feeling irritable and having low mood.

Nicotine itself is not very harmful and has been used safely for many years in medicines to help people stop smoking.

Help break the routines of smoking cigarettes

The routines and rituals of smoking can be hard to stop, so vaping can help you gradually let go of these while immediately reducing the health risks of smoking cigarettes.

Did you know?

You're roughly twice as likely to quit smoking if you use a vape compared with other nicotine replacement products, like patches and gum.

Some people find vaping helps them because the hand-to-mouth action is like smoking, plus you get similar sensations, like throat hit (the "kick" in the back of your throat when you inhale).

Any smoking is harmful and you will only get the full benefits of vaping if you stop smoking completely. Some people manage to make a full switch very quickly, while for others it can take a bit longer.

Vaping devices and e-liquids

There are a variety of vapes including:

  • vape bars shaped like a highlighter pen (usually disposable but sometimes rechargeable and refillable with e-liquid capsules)
  • compact pod devices shaped like a flash drive or pebble (either disposable, or rechargeable and refillable with e-liquid capsules)
  • vape pens with a tank you fill with your choice of e-liquid, and a replaceable coil and rechargeable battery
  • "cigalikes" designed to look like a cigarette (either disposable, or rechargeable and refillable with e-liquid capsules)
  • customisable devices with variable power (these are more difficult to use and need more maintenance)

Which vape is best to quit smoking?

A vape bar, pod device or vape pen are good choices, as they are discreet, make small clouds and can give high amounts of nicotine. Starter kits come with a range of flavours.

It's important to choose an e-liquid with the right strength of nicotine to satisfy your individual needs. You need to start at a nicotine level that matches your cigarette use – how frequently and how much you smoke. A specialist vape shop or your local Stop Smoking Service can advise you.

Whichever vape you choose, make sure you use it regularly.

Where to buy vapes

You can buy them from specialist vape shops, some pharmacies and other retailers, or on the internet.

Make sure you buy your vaping products from a reputable retailer so you can be confident they are covered by UK safety and quality regulations.

So far, no vaping products have been licensed as stop smoking medicines in the UK, so they are not available on prescription from the NHS or from a GP.

(Video) Vaping VS Smoking: A Closer Look

Tips for successfully switching to a vape

Vaping to quit smoking - Better Health (1)

Pick the right kit

Get advice from a specialist vape shop or a local Stop Smoking Service. Finding the right device and strength of nicotine in your e-liquid may take time – so stick with it.

Vaping to quit smoking - Better Health (2)

Use a vape as much as you need

You should use the vape as much as you need to manage your cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Vaping to quit smoking - Better Health (3)

Try nicotine patches for extra support

You can use patches with a vape if you need to, as these give ongoing support by releasing nicotine slowly. You can top up with your vape to deal with immediate cravings.

(Video) VERIFY: Does vaping help you quit cigarettes?

Vaping to quit smoking - Better Health (4)

Talk to others who have made the switch

Talk to people who have switched from smoking to vaping. Ask them what they wish they had known before they started and if anything in particular helped them through it.

Expert stop smoking support

Vaping is particularly effective for quitting if you get expert help from your local Stop Smoking Service.

They can give advice about the right device and nicotine strength for you, how to use a vape, plus extra support to help you succeed. Some services also offer free vaping starter kits.

Find your local Stop Smoking Service

Did you know?

About two thirds of people who use a vape along with expert support successfully quit smoking.

Vaping side effects

Common side effects of vaping include:

  • coughing, dry mouth and throat
  • mouth and throat irritation
  • shortness of breath
  • headaches

If you experience side effects from vaping, get advice from a stop smoking adviser or specialist vape retailer before you decide to stop using a vape as your quit smoking tool.

Making small changes to your vape products or how you vape should help. Side effects are usually easily managed and should not stop you from vaping as a way to quit smoking.

Reporting a safety concern with vapes

It's rare to have a serious reaction to vaping. If you think you have had an adverse effect from using a vape or have a safety concern, you can report it via the Yellow Card Scheme website.

Becoming vape-free

Once you have been vaping for a while and feel sure you will not go back to smoking, you can aim to quit vaping too. Many vapers find they get to this stage after about 12 months.

There are a couple of ways to try to quit vaping:

  • reduce your frequency of vaping over time
  • gradually reduce the strength of nicotine in your e-liquid

Do not rush this step. Only reduce your vaping frequency or nicotine strength when you feel you will not go back to smoking and do not have to puff more to compensate.

(Video) How to Quit Smoking, Vaping or Dipping Tobacco | Dr. Andrew Huberman

Is vaping harmful?

Experts agree vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking but it is not risk-free. Vaping exposes users to fewer toxins and at lower levels than smoking cigarettes.

Switching to vaping significantly reduces your exposure to toxins that can cause cancer, lung disease, and diseases of the heart and circulation like heart attack and stroke.

Long-term effects of vaping

Vaping has not been around for long enough to know the risks of long-term use. This includes the long-term effects of inhaling the flavourings in vapour. While vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking, it is unlikely to be totally harmless.

Ideally, if you are vaping to quit smoking, you should aim to eventually stop vaping too.

The healthiest option is not to smoke or vape.

If you do not smoke, do not start vaping.

Did you know?

Vaping does not cause "popcorn lung" – the common name for a rare disease called bronchiolitis obliterans, found in workers exposed to a chemical used to flavour popcorn.

Vaping versus smoking

Cigarettes release thousands of different chemicals when they burn. Many are poisonous and up to 70 cause cancer.

Toxins in tobacco smoke can also cause other serious illnesses, including lung disease, heart disease and stroke.

Vaping exposes users to far fewer toxins than cigarette smoking, and vapes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, 2 of the most harmful substances in tobacco smoke.

Watch the UK Health Security Agency's video demonstration on the impact of smoking versus vaping.

Secondhand smoke and vaping around others

While secondhand smoke from cigarettes causes serious harm to others, there is no evidence so far that vaping is harmful to people around you.

But as a precaution, it is best not to vape around babies and children if you can avoid it. Young children often copy what adults do.

Always be considerate when vaping around anyone else, especially people with health conditions like asthma or other respiratory conditions, or people who do not like vaping.

(Video) Can Vaping Help You Quit Smoking?

Did you know?

Vaping costs much less than smoking. Once you have bought the kit, it's been estimated that vaping costs about a third as much as smoking.

Are vapes safe to use in pregnancy?

There is little research on the safety of vaping in pregnancy, but it's likely to be substantially less harmful for you and your baby than smoking.

If you're pregnant and need support to quit smoking, licensed nicotine replacement therapy products like patches and gum are the recommended option.

But if you find vaping helpful to quit and to stay smoke-free, it is much safer for you and your baby than continuing to smoke.

The most important thing is to not smoke when pregnant or around pregnant women.

Speak to a midwife or a stop smoking adviser for advice and support.

How to vape safely

Reports of vapes exploding or catching fire are very rare, but always take care to reduce any risks by:

  • buying a vape from a reputable retailer, so you can be sure it is covered by UK safety regulations
  • using the right charger and not leaving a vape charging unattended or overnight
  • keeping a vape and e-liquid out of the reach of children and pets, as there is a risk of poisoning if nicotine is swallowed

Young people and vaping

While vaping can help smokers quit, it is not harmless and is not for young people under 18. It is especially important to protect young lungs and brains.

That's why there's a minimum age of sale for vaping products in the UK. It is illegal to sell nicotine vaping products to anyone under 18 or for adults to buy them on behalf of under-18s.

If you find a retailer selling either nicotine vapes or tobacco products to under-18s, you can report a retailer to local authority Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice online portal.

Talking to young people about vaping

It's important for young people to know the facts about vaping so they can make an informed choice. Young people can find out more on the FRANK website.

Parents, carers and anyone working with children can make sure young people understand the health facts about vaping and know about vaping and the law.

Facts to tell young people about vaping:

  • Vaping is a way for adults to stop smoking – not something for non-smokers, especially children and young people to try.
  • Vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking but that does not mean it is harmless.
  • In the UK, it is against the law to sell nicotine vaping products to under-18s or for adults to buy them on their behalf.
  • Vaping exposes users to some toxins, and we do not yet know what the risks might be in the longer term.
  • Some vapes contain nicotine, which is an addictive substance that can be hard to stop using once you have started.
  • Nicotine may be more risky for young people than for adults, as evidence suggests the brain in adolescence is more sensitive to its effects.
  • Some disposable vapes on sale are illegal and do not meet UK quality and safety regulations.


Is vaping a healthy way to quit smoking? ›

Nicotine vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking. It's also one of the most effective tools for quitting smoking. Vaping is not recommended for non-smokers and young people because it is not completely harmless.

How does quitting vaping improve your health? ›

Enhanced Lung Capacity

Within the first 1 to 9 months after quitting vaping, the lung's capacity to clear out mucus and fight off infections significantly increases. This event is even more noticeable than the early signs of increased lung capacity most people will feel shortly after they quit vaping.

How many puffs on a vape equal a cigarette? ›

Around 14 puffs would be equal to one cigarette and a 60 ml bottle of 3 mg e liquid would be equal to 15 cigarettes. People also ask how much nicotine is in a juul, one pod is equivalent to 20 cigarettes.

Is vaping a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes yes? ›

Are e-cigarettes less harmful than regular cigarettes? Yes—but that doesn't mean e-cigarettes are safe. E-cigarette aerosol generally contains fewer toxic chemicals than the deadly mix of 7,000 chemicals in smoke from regular cigarettes. However, e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless.

What happens when you stop smoking cigarettes and start vaping? ›

Switching to vaping helps to improve your circulation, and you'll begin to experience the right levels of oxygen. As you are not used to this, you may feel a bit dizzy or lightheaded to start with. Your brain has been deprived of oxygen, and this is it readjusting to the level of oxygen it needs.

Will my lungs heal if I quit vaping? ›

After quitting, your lungs begin to heal, restoring lung capacity and the ability to fight infection. Soon you'll be coughing less and breathing easier — especially during physical activity.

Can your lungs recover from vaping? ›

Breathing in the harmful chemicals from vaping products can cause irreversible (cannot be cured) lung damage, lung disease and, in some cases, death.

What is worse smoking or vaping? ›

1: Vaping is less harmful than smoking, but it's still not safe. E-cigarettes heat nicotine (extracted from tobacco), flavorings and other chemicals to create an aerosol that you inhale. Regular tobacco cigarettes contain 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic.

How much better is vaping than smoking? ›

Research generally accepts that while vaping can harm the lungs and other bodily systems, its impact is much less than tobacco smoking. However, a 2019 study into the long-term health effects of vaping found that people using e-cigarettes had a higher risk of respiratory disease than people who never smoked.

How many cigarettes is 10 puffs of a vape? ›

Typically, manufacturers advise that 10 puffs on your vape are about the same as 10 puffs on your cigarette. They further speculate that 10 puffs are all you take on one cigarette. Of course, this varies based on how big your puffs are, how strong your vape device is, and how much nicotine you are using.

Is one vape equivalent to 20 cigarettes? ›

One JUUL pod contains 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine.

In fact, young people who use e-cigarettes are four times more likely to go on to smoke cigarettes than their peers who do not vape.

What is the safest alternative to smoking? ›

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can help wean a person off nicotine without exposing them to harmful chemicals. The FDA notes NRT products are a safe alternative to smoking.
There are a variety of NRT products a person can use, such as:
  • gums.
  • lozenges.
  • sprays.
  • inhalers.
  • patches.
Nov 16, 2022

What is the healthiest alternative to cigarettes? ›

When you have nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) you'll get small, measured doses of nicotine into your bloodstream. You won't get the harmful chemicals found in a cigarette. NRT includes patches, gum, lozenges, sprays and inhalers.

What is the best product to stop smoking? ›

Chantix (Varenicline): Chantix (Varenicline) is a prescription medication taken as a pill, twice a day. It's the most effective single product to help you quit smoking. And it doesn't contain nicotine. It cuts cravings by acting like nicotine on the brain.

Is there an FDA approved vape for quitting smoking? ›

The FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as a quit smoking aid, and more research is needed on whether e-cigarettes are effective for quitting smoking and to better understand the health effects of e-cigarettes.

What are benefits of vaping? ›

Benefits of vaping

Vaping can help some people quit smoking. Vaping is usually cheaper than smoking. Vaping is not harmless, but it is much less harmful than smoking. Vaping is less harmful to those around you than smoking, as there's no current evidence that second-hand vapour is dangerous to others.

Is it harder to quit smoking or vaping? ›

No difference in the success rate of quitting, or even reducing how many cigarettes were smoked, was found when comparing nicotine vape use and non-nicotine vape use. Overall, only 15% of participants in this study managed to quit. Another study found that 68.1% of e-cigarette users also continue to smoke tobacco.

How long is nicotine withdrawal from vaping? ›

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms set in between 4 and 24 hours after a person last vaped. The symptoms peak around day three of abstinence and then gradually subside over the following three to four weeks.

How long does it take to stop smoking when vaping? ›

Realistic goals. It's good to know that lots of people take two to three months to fully stop smoking and consider themselves a vaper.

What are 5 risks of vaping? ›

What are the dangers of vaping?
  • Asthma. Vaping can make you more likely to get asthma and other lung conditions. ...
  • Lung scarring. ...
  • Organ damage. ...
  • EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury). ...
  • Addiction. ...
  • Cigarette smoking. ...
  • Second-hand exposure. ...
  • Explosions.
Aug 22, 2022

What are the symptoms of vaping too much? ›

What Are the Symptoms of Nic-Sickness?
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Stomachache and loss of appetite.
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Headache.
  • Mouth watering.
  • Quick, heavy breathing.
  • Dizziness or tremors.
  • Confusion and anxiety.
Feb 1, 2023

How long does it take for vapes to damage your lungs? ›

Exposure for just three days was enough to incur sufficient damage to their lungs, setting the stage for long-term chronic lung damage.

Does vaping cause emphysema? ›

National Emphysema Foundation (NEF)

Researchers from the University of North Carolina Health Care have discovered that emphysema is just as likely in e-cigarette smokers as it is in traditional cigarette smokers. The takeaway is that vaping appears to be just as harmful as cigarettes.

Can vaping cause heart problems? ›

Long-term use of electronic cigarettes, or vaping products, can significantly impair the function of the body's blood vessels, increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease. Additionally, the use of both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes may cause an even greater risk than the use of either of these products alone.

What happens after you quit vaping? ›

When you go without vaping, the nicotine level in your bloodstream drops, which may cause unpleasant feelings, physical symptoms, and strong urges to vape. This is nicotine addiction.

Why is vaping harder than smoking? ›

While nicotine is the active ingredient in both combustible and electronic cigarettes, "vapes" can deliver a much higher dose much faster than traditional cigarettes. This makes the nicotine in vapes even more addictive.

What is the least harmful vape? ›

What vapes have the least chemicals? Organic 100% VG ECOvape VSAVI e-Liquid is another of the safest e-cig brands. The company uses fewer chemical ingredients than others and any research they undertake centres on the health of the consumer. The new Vype and vPure e-liquid range are now only PG/VG mix.

How many puffs of vape a day? ›

The number of puffs per day varied considerably from one user to another. However, it should be noted that whereas a large minority of individuals take more than 140 puffs per day, only 14.60% of daily usage exceeds 300 puffs. Less than 1% of day-users reach 600 puffs.

How many sticks of cigarettes are in a vape? ›

A common benchmark is that a single milliliter of vape juice typically yields about 100 puffs. This means that, roughly, one milliliter of vape juice equals around five packs of cigarettes. The effects of the chemical, when released through vaping, are much more potent than the stimulant inhaled by smoking a cigarette.

How many puffs is a full cigarette? ›

FTC method at the Tobacco and Health Research Institute in Lexington, Kentucky. Two hundred cigarettes were smoked; the average number of puffs taken per cigarette was 6.8. This same procedure was repeated with a high- yield cigarette, Camel, and an average of 8.3 puffs was taken.

How many cigarettes are equal to a 5% vape? ›

JUUL Labs reports each 5% (nicotine-by-weight) cartridge contains approximately 40 mg nicotine per pod and is 'approximately equivalent to about 1 pack of cigarettes.

How many cigarettes are in a 2% vape? ›

The basics of vaping and nicotine amount in Disposable Vapes

A disposable vape with a 2ml tank (the legal max size in the UK) with a 20mg nicotine or Nic Salt, contains 40mg of nicotine in the entire disposable (2ml x 20mg). This is why most disposables are suggested to be the equivalent of a pack of 20 cigarettes.

How many cigarettes is 6mg of nicotine vape? ›

Nicotine Salts (Salt Nic E-juice)

You've now got the information you need to answer '6 mg nicotine equals how many cigarettes' and '6 mg nicotine equals how many light cigarettes'. To remind you, 8mg of nicotine are in one cigarette, so whether you're a light smoker or not, you'll hit 6 mg from a single cigarette.

What can I replace vaping with? ›

Nicotine replacement therapy — nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, sprays, and inhalers — can help some people. These products provide nicotine at a consistent dose, so you avoid the nicotine rush you get from vaping while still getting relief from withdrawal symptoms.

What should I replace smoking with? ›

1. Try nicotine replacement therapy
  • Prescription nicotine in a nasal spray or inhaler.
  • Nicotine patches, gum and lozenges you can buy without a prescription.
  • Prescription non-nicotine stop-smoking drugs such as bupropion (Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL, others) and varenicline.

What can I use instead of cigarettes when quitting? ›

Nicotine inhalers are the FDA-approved nicotine replacement method that's most like smoking a cigarette, which some people trying to quit find helpful.

Are there any safe Vapes? ›

There is no “safe” vaping

Is there a way to vape safely? The answer is no.

What is the number 1 to stop smoking? ›

(1-800-784-8669) If you are thinking about quitting smoking and would like some help, a quitline might be just what you need to succeed. Quitlines provide free coaching—over the phone—to help you quit smoking. When you call 1-800-QUIT-NOW , you can speak confidentially with a highly trained quit coach.

What is the fastest easiest way to stop smoking? ›

Use a fast-acting nicotine medicine like lozenges or gum to quickly combat cravings. You can control how often you use the fast-acting medicine, so you won't get more nicotine than you want. This combination is easy to use. Using two NRTs together can help you quit more successfully than using a single medicine.

What is the easiest natural way to quit smoking? ›

Natural Remedies to Help Quit Smoking
  1. Natural Ways to Help as You Quit Smoking.
  2. Find your Why. Find your motivation to quit. ...
  3. Chew on Raw Carrots and Other Veggies. ...
  4. Avoid Herbal Remedies. ...
  5. Avoid Triggers. ...
  6. Treat Yourself to Some Relaxation. ...
  7. Exercise in Nature. ...
  8. Eat a Vitamin C-Rich Diet.

Will your lungs be OK if you quit vaping? ›

Additionally, quitting vaping will improve your blood circulation and enable your lungs to begin healing. This will result in fewer coughing episodes and improved breathing ability during physical activity.

Is vaping or smoking worse for your heart? ›

Vaping is bad for your heart. The truth is people who vape are 56 percent more likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers and 30 percent more likely to suffer a stroke,” Dr. Sharaf says.

How many cigarettes are in a vape? ›

The amount of nicotine in one standard JUUL cartridge is roughly equal to the amount of nicotine in a pack of cigarettes, or about 200 puffs, according to the JUUL website.

What happens to your lungs if you vape everyday? ›

Breathing in the harmful chemicals from vaping products can cause irreversible (cannot be cured) lung damage, lung disease and, in some cases, death. Some chemicals in vaping products can also cause cardiovascular disease and biological changes that are associated with cancer development.

Is lungs after vaping real? ›

Vaping and Popcorn Lung

Diacetyl is frequently added to flavored e-liquid to enhance the taste. Inhaling diacetyl causes inflammation and may lead to permanent scarring in the smallest branches of the airways — popcorn lung — which makes breathing difficult. Popcorn lung has no lasting treatment.

Does vaping clog arteries? ›

Long-term use of electronic cigarettes, or vaping products, can significantly impair the function of the body's blood vessels, increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease. Additionally, the use of both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes may cause an even greater risk than the use of either of these products alone.

Is vaping harder on the lungs than smoking? ›

A: Overall, there's not much difference between smoking and vaping. Commonly, smoking was thought to be more harmful because the product is being burnt and smoke inhaled into the lungs. But we're finding very similar damage from heating up vaping solutions and inhaling that vapor into the lungs.

Will quitting vaping lower cholesterol? ›

If you quit, however, the risk begins to fall very quickly. “After just one day, your heart attack risk starts to decrease thanks to the lowering of blood pressure, rising blood oxygen levels, and reducing the negative influence on cholesterol levels and the formation of blood clots,” Dr. Djordjevic says.

How many puffs of a vape should you have? ›

There is no real "normal," and the puffs per day don't matter. The acceptable daily intake for nicotine varies based on several modes of life and biological factors. Since the system to calculate nicotine intake per puff isn't an exact science, it's better to satisfy your needs.

How long does it take for nicotine to leave your system? ›

People also process nicotine differently depending on their genetics. Generally, nicotine will leaves your blood within 1 to 3 days after you stop using tobacco, and cotinine will be gone after 1 to 10 days. Neither nicotine nor cotinine will be detectable in your urine after 3 to 4 days of stopping tobacco products.

What are the benefits of switching from cigarettes to vape? ›

Results from the surveys showed that more frequent vaping — relative to smoking — was associated with better physical health, more exercise, more active social engagement and higher socioeconomic status.

What is a good substitute for vaping? ›

Nicotine replacement therapy — nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, sprays, and inhalers — can help some people. These products provide nicotine at a consistent dose, so you avoid the nicotine rush you get from vaping while still getting relief from withdrawal symptoms.

What can I do instead of vaping? ›

Here are some ideas:
  • Keep your mouth and hands busy. Chew gum. ...
  • Exercise. Go for a walk. ...
  • Change your routine. ...
  • Use nicotine replacement therapy. ...
  • Tell others that you are quitting. ...
  • Prepare to handle places where people smoke. ...
  • Take deep breaths. ...
  • Let your feelings out.


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