Vaping has become one of the most popular ways to use tobacco and marijuana. A vape or electronic cigarette is a device that heats a liquid to create a vapor that you inhale. Vape cartridges, or the small containers that contain these liquids, may contain all kinds of unhealthy ingredients, including nicotine. Nicotine is the addicting, cancer-causing ingredient in most tobacco products, and while the amount of nicotine in vape pens is smaller than those in normal cigarettes, the health risks are still there. If you know someone who struggles with this habit, here are some tips on how you can help someone quit vaping.
The Danger of Vaping
While many vape products usually feature a liquid containing one-third to half of the nicotine found in cigarettes, vaping users may still face similar health risks. For instance, one 5% strength JUULpod is designed to replace an entire pack of cigarettes in nicotine strength, so what does that say about the possible dangers?
Nicotine, a stimulant that can harm developing adolescent brains, is found in many e-cigarettes and vape pens, although they’re not always listed on the label. Nicotine affects how connections between brain cells are formed.
When these connections or communications are impaired, learning, mood, attention, and impulse control may all suffer. Regular use of nicotine, especially among adolescents, can also increase the risk of nicotine addiction, long-term cigarette use, and the use of other drugs.
Vape cartridges also often contain cancer-causing chemicals and heavy metals like nickel, tin, and lead. Common flavorings like diacetyl can lead to lung disease, and ultra-fine particles of other components can be inhaled into the lungs, irritating them or resulting in more serious diseases.
Other negative side effects associated with vaping include shortness of breath, dry mouth and throat, and headaches. Despite these risks, however, many people need help quitting vaping because of their nicotine dependence.
The good news is that recovery is possible.
How to Help Someone Stop Vaping
Quitting tobacco can be a touchy subject, especially if the person feels as if they need to vape to feel normal or fit in. Especially because it’s become such a popular habit, it can be difficult to help people understand the need to quit vaping.
If you’re close to someone who vapes a lot and displays negative side effects of the habit or has tried to quit before and failed, there are plenty of ways to offer them support. Below are some tips on how to help someone quit vaping that can help.
Ask Them Why They Vape
It’s often the “why” that can cause people to fall into the wrong crowd or get into harmful habits like substance abuse. By asking the person why they started vaping in the first place, you may help them realize the negative things in life they might be trying to push away, avoid, or cover up with vaping.
It’s important to address stress, heartache, peer pressure, mental illness, and other factors that could contribute to harmful behaviors to find a long-term solution. Because of this, asking should be your first step.
Ask Them How They Think They’d Benefit From Quitting
Now, ask them to imagine a life without vaping. Maybe they’d be able to walk longer distances without getting winded, or their teeth would look whiter.
This is also another great opportunity to figure out why the person would hesitate to quit vaping, especially if they’ve already experienced some negative side effects. By pointing out the benefits of quitting, they might be more motivated to do so.
Be a Good Listener
While you may not agree with vaping, it doesn’t mean that the person’s reasons for doing so are invalid. Vaping is a coping mechanism for a lot of people, one that many mistakenly think is a healthier alternative to other substances.
Maybe the person genuinely feels like they have to vape to fit in with their friends. Or maybe vaping helps them relax when they feel anxious at work or school.
Lend them your ears and be more willing to listen to their struggles and needs rather than judging them for their habit. Reaching out for help to quit vaping, let alone embarking on the journey, is a highly personal decision that often requires a lot of soul-searching, self-awareness, and self-discipline. So be patient.
Skip the Lecture
Nagging or scolding someone will not help them quit vaping. On the other hand, it might spark some pride or hurt, pushing them further into the habit.
With that said, as they’re attempting to quit vaping, don’t ask them if they’ve used tobacco today or complain that they’re irritable when they’re going through withdrawal. Remember that nicotine is a substance that can physically alter brain chemistry, so it can be emotionally and physically difficult for a person to quit, and any scolding, nagging, or judgment can make the process worse.
Be a Distraction
Come up with ways to spend time with the person that does not involve tobacco or going to places where vaping or smoking are common. Suggest going to a movie, taking a walk, attending a game night with friends, or starting a new hobby.
Encourage Them Through Withdrawal
Remember to be positive and patient as your loved one goes through withdrawal. Stay positive. Don’t take it personally if they’re snappy or irritable.
Try saying, “I know this is hard on you, but I’m proud of you for sticking with it!” Remind them that you’re there for them.
Don’t Vape or Use Tobacco Products Around Them
While this may seem like common sense, there are plenty of people out there who do not practice what they preach, even when they’re working on how to help someone quit vaping. Don’t be this person.
If you have a history of vaping, quit with your loved one. Take this opportunity to support each other through a rough time so you both can quit together.
What helps with quitting vaping depends on the person, so encourage the individual to find safe and healthy ways to cope with any cravings they may have. You can also come up with other ways to support the other person, such as calling them regularly to check up on them or going with them to parties or other places where they might feel tempted to vape.
Need Help for Substance Abuse?
As with marijuana use, vaping can be considered a gateway drug. Gateway drugs open the door to the use of other harmful and more addicting substances like prescription drugs, opioids, stimulants, depressants, and more.
If you or someone you know has hit a point where they’re addicted to more hardcore substances, our Massachusetts treatment center can help. Clearbrook offers medically-assisted detox and residential treatment to help clients recover both physically and mentally from addiction.
We also offer family services to support clients’ loved ones as they recover from the impact substance abuse has had on their lives. Sessions with clients and their loved ones help bridge gaps and build strong support systems.
No matter how far into addiction you are, our Massachusetts inpatient drug rehab is here to help. Call Clearbrook Treatment Centers today at 570-536-9621 to learn more about our residential mental health care and substance abuse options.