It doesn’t matter whether switching from smoking to vaping was easy or challenging, once you’ve made the change you’re going to be glad you did. Still, you might find that you’re vaping as much as, or even more than you used to smoke.
Is that okay? Is there such a thing as vaping too much? Let’s talk about how much people are vaping and how to decide when you might want to cut back.
If you’re still smoking or you’ve recently switched to vaping, don’t put a limit on your puffs! The most important thing you can do right now is work to stop smoking completely. If that means you’re having to vape through cigarette cravings hourly or even more often, go for it.
Remember, to realize any benefit from vaping over smoking, you have to quit smoking, period. It’s natural for people to become “dual users” for a short period of time while transitioning, but evidence suggests that long-term dual use is no better than continuing to smoke and might even be worse.
If you’re having trouble kicking the tobacco habit, make a point of reaching for your vape before your smokes and giving it a chance to control your cravings. Keep in mind that cigarettes are designed through the use of chemical additives to deliver a powerful nicotine dose in a very short period of time – nicotine uptake without those chemicals is less efficient, so it might take 10 minutes or so to get the dose your body is craving. Try to wait it out rather than giving in to the urge to smoke, it gets easier with time.
Once you’ve moved completely away from smoking, it’s time to assess your relationship with nicotine. There’s no doubt nicotine is a highly addictive drug, but there is some disagreement over how harmful small doses are when it’s decoupled from the tar and other toxins found in cigarette smoke.
Either way, you’ll want to get a handle on exactly how much you’re vaping. Vape mods with built-in puff counters can be helpful in developing a baseline count of how often you’re reaching for your vape, but you can also count how much e-liquid you’re vaping by the number of times you fill your tank in a day or by how often you’re replacing pods if you use a closed-system device. To get an accurate average, you’ll want to count over several days encompassing different situations – workdays, weekends, where you are and who you’re with will affect how much you’re vaping, just as it did how much and how often you smoked.
As a rough equivalent, the average smoker puffs on a cigarette about 10 times after lighting up. There is quite a bit of variance here, and keep in mind that nicotine delivery isn’t as efficient with vaping as compared to smoking, so your results will vary. But using this number, if you were formerly smoking one pack a day you might expect to take somewhere between 175 and 225 puffs a day off your vape.
Armed with information on how you’re currently vaping, there are two options on how to go about changing your habits if you’re not happy with them.
Many former smokers want to reduce or eliminate their consumption of nicotine entirely. If this is your goal, the good news is that vaping offers an excellent opportunity to taper off without making you feel deprived.
We’ll note here that open vaping systems (those that use refillable tanks or pods) offer the widest range of options when it comes to adjusting your nicotine level. Factory-filled pods usually come in a limited number of flavors and strengths, and there’s often a big jump from one nicotine level to another. With open-system vapes, meanwhile, you’ll have access to a much wider variety of liquids, and can even combine two different strengths of a flavor to get an in-between version while you’re tapering down.
To get started, get a liquid with a slightly lower strength than the one you used to quit smoking and give it a try. If you make the transition to the lower-nicotine vape juice without any cravings or anxiety, great – you may even be ready to step down again the next time you buy a new bottle of liquid.
The change doesn’t always come that easily, though, especially at first. Remember that you can always go back to your old liquid if you’re finding the craving to smoke creeping up, or you can mix some of your new liquid in with your old favorite (provided they’re the same flavor or at least complimentary) to find a happy middle ground until you’re ready to step down again. Either choice is still better than going back to smoking.
Most long-term vapers will eventually find themselves settling with a liquid with as little as 1/5 the nicotine as the one they used to transition away from smoking, if they still use nicotine at all. Others choose not to focus on nicotine and are happy simply to be avoiding the toxins found in smoke. For those who do choose to taper it’s important to understand that the process can take time, so don’t worry if you’re going weeks or even months between subsequent reductions in nicotine levels.
Some people may not be happy simply to transition from smoking to vaping, and instead see their vapes as a tool to transition away from inhaling anything at all, be it smoke or vapor.
If this is your goal, that’s great. While we believe in the harm reduction potential of vaping as compared to smoking, the healthiest choice you can make is to not inhale anything that isn’t clean, fresh air. As with smoking, it’s possible to quit vaping as long as you form a plan and stick to it.
It’s also possible that you don’t want to quit vaping, but you’re still puffing more often than you’d like. This sometimes happens when vapers reduce their nicotine level too quickly,
The first facet of any vaping reduction plan, after you’ve completely quit cigarettes and have been off of them long enough that you’re confident you won’t return to smoking, is to begin reducing your nicotine consumption. We’ve already talked about that above.
Along with dropping your nic levels, you’ll also want to look for opportunities to cut the number of vaping sessions you have in a day. Try putting your vape away when you’re not using it – out of sight, out of mind, so to speak. This will help avoid idle puffs while watching TV or scrolling a news feed on your phone that you’re hardly conscious of taking.
If you feel like vaping but are trying to cut down, wait 10 minutes before picking up your vape. Many times the craving will pass on its own or you’ll become distracted with something else, but if you still want to vape after waiting it’s okay to give in and much better than holding out until what you really want is a cigarette.
How much you vape and how often is entirely a personal choice. Some vapers are happy simply to have kicked their smoking habit and will continue vaping for years without any desire to reduce the number of puffs they’re taking or their nicotine consumption. Others see vaping as a stepping stone to eliminating their use of nicotine and/or inhaled products entirely.
There’s no wrong answer here. If you’ve chosen to give up cigarettes entirely, you’re on the right track. But if you decide to continue your journey, know that it’s entirely possible and the freedom of vaping along with a personalized plan means you can reach any goal as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.