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What Happens When You Switch From Smoking?

Some may believe after many years of smoking that the health benefits of quitting can’t be that great, that the damage has already been done. Happily however, that is simply not the case. The health benefits from quitting smoking start almost as soon as you quit. In fact, after just 12 hours, the carbon monoxide in your body has returned to normal! After 3 days, your sense of taste/smell will be much keener, you’ll be able to breathe easier and amazingly your chance of a heart attack will no longer be twice as high.

When cravings ramp-up

However, after 3 days is where the cravings for nicotine can really ramp-up, especially if you quit cold turkey. Staying strong can be hard, though there are now a wide variety of ways to get support. First and foremost, trust in your support network. Friends and family are a great source of support, no matter how you choose to quit.

Beat the cravings

Another great way to beat the cravings, is to replace your nicotine intake. Nicotine itself isn’t as harmful as other chemicals found in cigarettes, and so is much safer to continue using by itself. There are many nicotine replacement therapies available, including vaping patches and gums to name a few. Using one or a combination of these can go a long way to help reduce or even alleviate cravings.

Vaping can be helpful

Vaping can be very helpful to those quitting smoking for a number of reasons - not just for replacing nicotine intake. Vaping offers a similar action to smoking, and according to PHE, those who use e-cigarettes are twice as likely to quit smoking. This is helped by some vape kits being designed to behave similarly to cigarettes. Better still, some e-liquids are available in tobacco flavourings, helping smokers to replace cigarettes more closely.

The benefits are massive

However you choose to quit though, the benefits will be massive - even if you’ve been smoking for the last 20 years or more. If you can make it to 3-9 months, the health benefits become very clear and you should be taking deeper, clearer breaths. Any coughing that arises from this point is actually helpful, acting to clear your lungs. This will mean you will be less likely to catch colds and viruses.

9 months free is key

If you make it to 9 months free from smoking, then you have every chance of never smoking again. After 1 year your chance of heart disease will have halved since smoking. After 5 years, chances of cervical cancer and stroke are now the same as a non-smoker. After 15 years, your body has done a tremendous amount of healing, and now the chances of heart disease are the same as if you’d never smoked.

Is Vaping safe?

Vaping is not completely risk free, though it may be easier to quantify the risks by comparing it to the dangers of smoking traditional cigarettes. According to studies, vaping is an amazing 95% healthier than smoking cigarettes2. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of harmful chemicals that are prevalent in cigarettes.

Cigarettes contain harmful chemicals

Cigarettes contain thousands of harmful substances, including cadmium, arsenic and formaldehyde to name just a few. These chemicals can cause a huge range of health problems, such as cancers and heart disease. From just a glance, it is clear vaping is a far safer alternative to smoking. As the Tobacco Control Programme Lead at PHE says: “It's really important that smokers understand how much safer e-cigarettes are, compared to smoking.

Vaping is tightly regulated

As vaping is so new (only being around since 2007) there is still a lot of research being done to discover if there are any long term health effects. For now, it is important to remember that the production of eliquids in the UK is tightly regulated, making sure that only ingredients recognised as safe go into them.

Vaping Myths Busted

Will vaping give you popcorn lung?

Simply put: there’s no good evidence that e-cigarettes could cause popcorn lung. This is one of the most commonly asked health concerns around vaping, and it will help to know a little about the condition first. ‘Popcorn lung’, or bronchiolitis obliterans, is a condition that was first noted in workers at a popcorn factory. The condition arose from very high exposure to a chemical called diacetyl. In the UK, diacetyl was banned in e-liquids in 2016, so liquids bought in the UK should not contain it.

Are E-liquids harmful as they contain nicotine?

Some may believe nicotine is the most harmful ingredient in cigarettes, which isn’t true. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, which is one of the reasons it is so hard to quit smoking. However, the health risks of nicotine are actually relatively low, especially compared to other chemicals found in cigarettes. Some of the most damaging elements of cigarettes are tar and carbon monoxide, which are not present in e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes do contain some of the chemicals found in cigarettes, but at much lower levels.

Is secondhand vaping dangerous?

According to a report by PHE, passive or ‘second hand’ vaping is of negligible risk to bystanders4. We all know that secondhand smoking is one of the most dangerous parts of cigarettes. Cigarettes can release up to 4,000 chemicals into the air when they burn, many of which are dangerous. E-liquids, made up mainly of flavourings, nicotine, propylene glycerol and vegetable glycerine, only emit a quickly dissipating aerosol when they are exhaled.

Will vaping make people more likely to smoke?

There is some concern that young people taking up vaping will then go on to smoke cigarettes. However, studies by PHE have shown that there is no evidence to support this claim. In fact, while levels of young people vaping in the UK are increasing, the amount of young people that think negatively about smoking has increased.

What is Vaping?

Vaping is simply the act of using an e-cigarette with e-liquids. The name vaping comes from the vapour (rather than smoke) that is exhaled when using an e-cigarette.

How does vaping work?

Vaping works rather simply: an e-liquid is vaporised by a heated coil inside an e-cigarette, this flavoured vapour is then inhaled by the user and exhaled, releasing a burst of flavour.

E-liquids are the liquid used to fill up an e-cigarette, or vape device as they are becoming increasingly known. These e-liquids are mostly flavoured, and contain various levels of nicotine, although many don’t contain nicotine at all. The variety of e-liquids available is one of the best things about vaping; the huge variety of flavours alone probably mean you’d never have to have the same tasting liquid twice!

What Is Cheaper, Vaping or Smoking?

Vaping is significantly cheaper than smoking. Not only are you saving your health, you are also saving money if you make the switch to vaping from smoking. To break this saving down: if you smoke a packet of day, in a year you will save £3285 if you decide to vape instead. That's a massive 86% saving!

How Do I Choose My First e-cigarette?

Choosing your first e-cigarette may seem like a daunting task at first, as there is a lot of new jargon to get your head around. However, it really is not as bad as it seems, and hopefully we can make the world of e-cigarettes a bit simpler. It helps to know what the main types of device are:

Pod Kits

Pod kits are simple, lightweight and offer an experience closer to a cigarette. They are easily filled by simply pouring e-liquid into a small detachable pod. These pods are sometimes even disposable, making upkeep even easier but more expensive. Newer kits are starting to include replaceable coils (the part of the pod that actually wears out) so by opting for this you can keep maintenance costs down.

Pod kits are ideal for first time vapers, as they are easy to use, easy to clean and easy to maintain. They are also great for those who are switching from smoking to vaping, as the action of using a pod kit is much like smoking a cigarette.

Vape Kit

You’ve probably seen these around. Sub-ohm kits are larger looking vapes that usually come accompanied by huge clouds of sweetly scented vapour. These devices are more advanced and offer more features for experienced vapers; allowing for more customization and for vaping large amounts of e-liquid.

There are some safety concerns about these larger kits, which are mostly undeserved. Sub-ohm kits make use of large batteries, made from the same compounds in a mobile phone battery. These are completely safe, but must be stored correctly, which means away from metals such as keys. It’s easy to make sure these batteries do not overheat, just make sure to turn off sub-ohm devices when they are in your pocket.

Sub-ohm Kits

You’ve probably seen these around. Sub-ohm kits are larger looking vapes that usually come accompanied by huge clouds of sweetly scented vapour. These devices are more advanced and offer more features for experienced vapers; allowing for more customization and for vaping large amounts of e-liquid.

There are some safety concerns about these larger kits, which are mostly undeserved. Sub-ohm kits make use of large batteries, made from the same compounds in a mobile phone battery. These are completely safe, but must be stored correctly, which means away from metals such as keys. It’s easy to make sure these batteries do not overheat, just make sure to turn off sub-ohm devices when they are in your pocket

Sub-ohm kits are ideal for people wanting to take vaping to the next level and really make a hobby out of it. By using high VG e-liquids, vapers can exhale massive clouds, which is not only a lot of fun, but also tastes divine!

Sub-ohm Kits

You’ve probably seen these around. Sub-ohm kits are larger looking vapes that usually come accompanied by huge clouds of sweetly scented vapour. These devices are more advanced and offer more features for experienced vapers; allowing for more customization and for vaping large amounts of e-liquid.

There are some safety concerns about these larger kits, which are mostly undeserved. Sub-ohm kits make use of large batteries, made from the same compounds in a mobile phone battery. These are completely safe, but must be stored correctly, which means away from metals such as keys. It’s easy to make sure these batteries do not overheat, just make sure to turn off sub-ohm devices when they are in your pocket

Sub-ohm kits are ideal for people wanting to take vaping to the next level and really make a hobby out of it. By using high VG e-liquids, vapers can exhale massive clouds, which is not only a lot of fun, but also tastes divine!

How Do I Choose My First E-liquid?

We’ve touched on it before, but what really is an e-liquid? These flavoured liquids are what you fill your vape device with in order to produce the tasty vapour you inhale. E-liquids are made up of very simple ingredients, which you may recognise from some common food products. Although each liquid differs slightly, they are almost all made up of these simple ingredients:

  • Water
  • Vegetable glycerin (known as VG, commonly used in food products)
  • Propylene glycol (known as PG, FDA approved additive used in food and medicine)
  • Flavouring
  • Nicotine (optional)
  • Depending on the flavour, sometimes more ingredients like sweeteners or cooling agents (for that icy menthol sensation) are added

Different e-liquids for different devices

How To Avoid Smoking Triggers?

One of the more difficult things about quitting smoking is avoiding those triggers that make you crave a cigarette. Although craving nicotine is the primary cause for smoking, there are many other physical and mental triggers that make us want to smoke.

Withdrawal triggers:

This is the big one for those of us who have been smoking for a long time. These withdrawals are usually down to nicotine, so helpfully there are some ways to help alleviate these withdrawal triggers.

These triggers can be brought on by just being around a cigarette, the sight and the smoke especially. Withdrawal triggers can also be triggered in more subtle ways, by things like needing to do something with your hands or feeling generally restless.

We know vaping can help with these triggers, but there are many other forms of NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) that can be hugely helpful. There is a vast array of products to help take nicotine without smoking:

  • Nicotine patches
  • Nicotine gum
  • Nicotine lozenges
  • Nicotine inhalers or nasal spray
These are available at a number of outlets, so it’s definitely worth going to you local pharmacy or stop smoking clinic to discuss these options.

Social triggers:

This is another biggie. The urge to smoke can be brought on by the most unsuspecting events, and before you know it, you might be wanting a cigarette. These occasions can be going to the pub or a party, or maybe celebrating a big event. You should try not to sacrifice your social life, but maybe modify your behaviour to help, such as sitting inside the pub where people can’t smoke, rather than sitting outside.

If you socialise with smokers, be they friends or family, let them know you are trying to quit. Good friends and family will almost always make the effort to not be a bad influence, so asking them to not smoke around you, or at least go out of sight when they do can really help.

Emotional triggers:

Another reason people reach for cigarettes is for emotional reasons. These can be either by positive or negative emotions, such as excitement or stress, every smoker is different. You can help reduce these triggers by talking about you feel to others, especially if you are stressed and upset. Taking the time to exercise can also help in taking your mind off of things, as well as slow deep breaths.

Pattern triggers:

These triggers arise from habits or patterns that have formed while smoking. For example, if you smoke in your car and on your lunch break, every time you get in your car or stop for lunch, you may feel the urge for a cigarette. Finding a replacement for smoking is ideal for pattern triggers. Replacing smoking with chewing gum. Go for a walk. Even just busying your hands with something like knitting (not recommended while driving!) can help distance your mind from smoking.

FAQs

What can vaping do to your lungs?

The damage done to your lungs by vaping is still being studied. As vaping is so new, it cannot be said for certain the extent at which lung damage is caused by vaping. According to a study examined by NHS, vaping may make lungs vulnerable to infection, but still does vastly less damage to your lungs than smoking cigarettes

What can vaping do to your teeth?

Research is still ongoing surrounding vaping’s effect on oral health, but according to this study, vaping’s effect on teeth health is far better than smoking. Although vapers were found to be more at risk of dryer mouths and higher concentrations of bacteria, these conditions are only associated with some teeth problems, rather than causes.

What is inhale activated vaping?

Inhale activated vaping is when an e-cigarette activates when taking a draw or inhale from the mouthpiece, not from pressing a button. This makes smoking far more convenient, and more similar to smoking a lit cigarette.

What is vaping nicotine?

Vaping nicotine is when you vape an e-liquid that contains nicotine. This nicotine is then absorbed into your body through the lungs and into the bloodstream. A range of nicotine strengths are available across a selection of e-liquid types.

What is salt nic vaping?

Salt nic vaping is when you vape an e-liquid known as a ‘nicotine salt’. These e-liquids contain a form of nicotine known as nicotine salicylate, a form of nicotine similar to the natural nicotine found in the tobacco leaf. These e-liquids produce a smoother throat hit than normal nicotine based e-liquids.

Are e-cigarettes bad for you?

It is still not clear what the long term health effects of using e-cigarettes are, mostly because they have not been around that long. However, it is vitally important to note that studies show e-cigarettes are up to 95% healthier than smoking.

Can e-cigarettes be carried on planes?

Whether you can take you e-cigarette as hand luggage is down to the discretion of the flight operator. However most flight operators in the uk will not allow vaping on a plane, doing so can incur heavy fines. It should be noted that all airports in the UK have banned vaping in enclosed public areas.

Can e-cigarettes cause cancer?

The long term health effects, such as cancer, of using an e-cigarette are still not known. However, according to studies, the risks of diseases such as cancer and heart disease are much less compared to smoking cigarettes.

Can I vape e-cigarettes without nicotine?

Yes, you can vape e-cigarettes without nicotine! Shortfills are e-liquids that contain 0mg of nicotine and they are one of the most widely available form of e-liquid.

Why do e-liquid colours change?

E-liquids can change colour when the nicotine they contain reacts with oxygen. This process is called oxidation and is harmless; some e-liquid brands sometimes even encourage it for better flavour! However, if your e-liquid has changed colour and you are concerned, it is always best to check the best-before date on the e-liquid packaging.

Why do e-liquid colours change?

E-liquids can change colour when the nicotine they contain reacts with oxygen. This process is called oxidation and is harmless; some e-liquid brands sometimes even encourage it for better flavour! However, if your e-liquid has changed colour and you are concerned, it is always best to check the best-before date on the e-liquid packaging.

Source:

  1. WebMD. (n.d.). What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Smoking? [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/what-happens-body-quit-smoking#1
  2. Public Health England (2015). E-cigarettes around 95% less harmful than tobacco estimates landmark review. [online] GOV.UK. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/e-cigarettes-around-95-less-harmful-than-tobacco-estimates-landmark-review.
  3. British Heart Foundation (2016). E-cigarettes. [online] Bhf.org.uk. Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/news/e-cigarettes
  4. Public Health England (2018). PHE publishes independent expert e-cigarettes evidence review. [online] GOV.UK. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/phe-publishes-independent-expert-e-cigarettes-evidence-review