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What Happens When You Quit Smoking and Start Vaping

What Happens When You Quit Smoking and Start Vaping

Responsible for over almost 100,000 deaths each year, smoking is considered the biggest preventable cause of death by the NHS.

Declared 95% less harmful than smoking by Public Health England, vaping is an effective tool to help smokers quit. Yet with almost half the population unaware of the differences between smoking and vaping, we’re here to explain exactly what happens when you quit smoking and start vaping.

Vaping instead of smoking

Named one of the most effective tools to quit smoking by the NHS, vaping allows smokers to gradually break smoking habits by reducing the impact of nicotine withdrawal and immediately reducing the health risks of smoking traditional tobacco products.

Quitting Smoking: A Timeline

The benefits of quitting smoking begin almost immediately after smoking your last cigarette with the first improvement noticeable within just 20 minutes.

Quitting Smoking A Timeline

The benefits of switching from smoking to vaping

The benefits of quitting smoking are clear: ditching cigarettes has a profound effect on your health. But quitting a long-term habit isn’t always as easy as it seems.

For one thing, going cold turkey and relying on willpower to quit has a small success rate. Over the past 25 years, research has proven that just five people out of 100 trying to quit will ditch the habit for longer than six months.

A helping hand

Going smoke-free is much easier with the right help and support. Vaping is one of the most effective tools for quitting smoking with a 50% higher chance of quitting than nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) such as patches and gum.

One of the main reasons that vaping is so beneficial is that it allows ex-smokers to gradually reduce their nicotine intake over time and therefore limit the severity of nicotine withdrawal symptoms. This means reducing adverse reactions and emotional responses such as:

  • Insatiable cravings and increased appetite
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Insomnia, fatigue and poor concentration
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Anxiety and depression[ii]

For this reason, many ex-smokers feel much better after switching from cigarettes to vaping as opposed to going cold turkey and experiencing serious nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

Increased control

What’s more, vaping offers more control over your quitting journey with the opportunity to limit and reduce your nicotine intake over time. With varying nicotine strengths from 20mg to 0mg, ex-smokers can choose the ideal nicotine strength to suit their former smoking habits, vaping experience, vaping style and other lifestyle factors.

What happens when you switch from smoking to vaping?

As most smoking-related health issues are caused by tobacco, the transition to vaping immediately stops ex-smokers from inhaling harmful chemicals and toxins such as carbon monoxide, tar, benzene, arsenic and formaldehyde.

Unlike cigarettes, e-liquids are composed of just four main components: propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), flavourings and nicotine.

The side effects of switching from cigarettes to vape

Despite the benefits of switching to a less harmful alternative such as vaping, there are still some side effects to be aware of. These include:


Coughing is one of the more prevalent side effects of switching from smoking to vaping. Although it can be unpleasant, coughing is common when transitioning from smoking to any other alternative, even NRTs.

Coughing is just one of the normal and unavoidable parts of eliminating tobacco intake and allowing your body to heal.


As your body adjusts to changing nicotine levels and a different mode of nicotine absorption, you may suffer from headaches, shakes and even nausea. However, when it comes to vaping, this can be overcome by adjusting the nicotine strength of your e-liquid.

Throat irritation

There are two different types of vaping: mouth-to-lung (MTL) and direct-to-lung (DTL). While MTL vaping most closely resembles smoking a traditional cigarette, it’s still a different experience to smoking and the adjustment period can cause dry hits and sore throats.

Vaping to quit smoking: the verdict

Designed to help ex-smokers, vaping is one of the most effective ways to quit smoking with minimal side effects and a high chance of success.

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