I started vaping in 2017, after my social smoking habit turned into about a pack of cigarettes a week. I liked that it was odorless, seemed healthier than cigarettes, and was more economical. Soon, I was consuming 4 vape pods a week—that’s equal to the nicotine in four packs of cigarettes.

I’d always felt shame about vaping, but when the pandemic hit, it felt like a total disregard for my own life. So in April, ten days before I turned 30, I placed my vapes on a rock and smashed them to pieces with an axe.

Your body needs you to replace the nicotine habit with something else to fill that void, so you need to set yourself up for that. I created a rule that I would take a sip of water whenever I felt a craving. Driving had always been a big trigger, so I placed cinnamon flavored toothpicks by my steering wheel. I asked my friends to hold me accountable, and also used the Quit Vaping app to track my progress.

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The first week, I was fidgety, restless, and my hands kept feeling for a vape in my front pocket, so I tried to manage my cravings with new behaviors that made me feel good, healthy, or simply just occupied. I knew if I could do one week, I would be encouraged and poised to go two. I’ve been vape-free for more than 200 days, and I feel amazing.

Although the temptation may never go away, the key to my victory was breaking down this huge, seemingly impossible task into tiny, manageable ones. Fill your cup with the good changes that you’re seeing, and let that fuel you to keep going another week.

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