Vaping to quit smoking

Nicotine management

You can control the nicotine strength in your e-liquid, which is super empowering when you’re vaping to quit smoking. Start with nicotine that matches how you smoke, and over time you can slowly work towards being eventually vape free.

Choose nicotine e-liquid

When you’re vaping to quit smoking, you need to choose an e-liquid with nicotine. This will give you the nicotine fix to stop the cravings, without the toxins from burning tobacco.

There are two types of nicotine e-liquids: nicotine freebase and nicotine salts. Freebase is the standard one, salts is the newer one that has less of a harsh hit and is available in higher strengths.

Nicotine freebase strengths: 0mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg and 24mg.
Nicotine salts strengths: 0mg, 36mg and 48mg.

What vape e-liquid should I get?

What strength to start on

You need to start at a nicotine level that matches your cigarette use. This involves talking to a vape store specialist about how frequently and how much you smoke, to identify what base and strength you need.

In general, you start high or mid-range (around 12-18mg of freebase nicotine) and then adjust until you’re satisfied. You’re at a good level if you’re taking two to three puffs on the vape to satisfy a craving.

…Participants reported that they started vaping at a higher nicotine level such as 12, 18 or 24 mg, which they reduced over time to lower levels, or to nicotine-free liquid. Often they recommended this ‘step down’ strategy to others, however the nicotine level at which to start was seen to depend on individual factors, such as their level of cigarette dependence.

Barriers and Facilitators to Switching from Smoking to Vaping: Advice from Vapers. Drug and Alcohol Review, 2019

Transition Period

Some people pick up their first vape and they’re away almost immediately. Others find it takes a bit of time to fully transition to vaping.

Don’t stress if you need time, and there may be a period where you are both smoking and vaping. This is normal and can take two to three months to be completely off cigarettes.

The majority of health benefits are seen when you stop smoking completely.

You're in control

The benefit of vaping is you’re in control. Vape as often, and on as high nicotine level as you need. Don’t feel bad if you need more, and feel awesome when you need less. You’ve already achieved the biggest feat, and that’s to quit smoking.

Many vapers buy a range of different strength e-liquids, for different situations. If they know it’s going to be a stressful day, they might choose a higher strength liquid. On other days, they’ll stick with a lower level.

One day vape-free

No time soon, but once you’ve been vaping a while and feel sure you won’t go back to smoking, you can aim to quit vaping too. For some people this can start around the 12-month mark, while others choose to wait longer.

You can do this by reducing your frequency of vaping or nicotine levels over time. What’s important is to not reduce frequency or levels until you feel you won’t go back to smoking, and won’t have to puff more to compensate.

Once you break the addiction from nicotine you can then look at changing your habits, like not vaping when you normally would, and eventually giving up vaping altogether.

Vaping doesn’t have a time limit, it’s not like medication. Don’t stop prematurely.

All but one participant said that they wanted to eventually become vape and smoke free. The vast majority said they wanted this for better health - one stating ‘I can run now but I really couldn’t before’. They wanted to save money by not buying vape or smokes.

Māori Women: Perspectives and Experiences with Smoking and Vaping, Kāhui Tautoko Consulting, 2018