The Stoptober health campaign aims to encourage and assist 9 million adult smokers in the country to finally quit smoking through the help of a positive mass quitting trigger, personal support and a variety of resources.
Despite the well-established risks and range of tools for quitting (including vaping), plenty of smokers still struggle to kick tobacco. If you find yourself in this camp then read on as you may well find the advice or even motivation to help you make that first step.
History of Stoptober
Since its inception in 2012, Public Health England (PHE) has been running the nationwide Stoptober campaign to give smokers the chance to be completely smoke-free for 28 days. Its premise is based on numerous psychological studies that point to 28 days as a crucial window to quit any addicting habit.
More than saving money (the average cost of a cigarette pack in the UK is £10.40 with sectors calling for price hikes), quitting smoking will also reduce your chances of getting various cancer strains and cardiovascular diseases.
On top of that, you’d also stop exposing those around you to second-hand smoke, which is shown to be a lot more dangerous. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a ‘safe level’ of second-hand smoke.
The very first Stoptober campaign, in fact, saw a 50% increase in quitting attempts in October 2012 compared with other months of the same year. This translates to an additional 350,000 smokers attempting to quit that year, as well as saving 10,400 discounted life years.
Over the course of six years, Stoptober has led over one million quit attempts and is the biggest mass quit movement in the UK.
This Stoptober 2018, PHE provided various support to help you quit smoking. This includes Facebook groups, an app, as well as in-person support from stop smoking services in your area.
You will also find information on getting nicotine replacement therapy products. On top of that, you’ll get to read various success stories from those who stopped smoking with the help of Stoptober.
How Vaping Can Help You Quit
Apart from going to support groups and relying on sheer willpower, you are also encouraged to use alternative forms of nicotine. This can be in the form of gums, patches, or e-cigarettes—all of which can help manage any withdrawal symptoms through the use of nicotine sans the toxic chemicals.
It may surprise some to know that Public Health England backed vaping for the first time in 2017, saying that over 50% of smokers used it to quit smoking the year prior. After this, vape kit sales increased by 29%. The consensus towards backing vaping as a very effective and comparatively safe way to quit smoking has truly shifted and this move (which was hugely under-reported) is significant.
This can be attributed to the fact that PHE found vaping to be 95% safer than smoking. Another study even encourages the daily use of e-cigarettes to completely stop smoking, as opposed to using it infrequently. Refillable tanks are more recommended, as these could deliver higher doses of nicotine.
It’s not just PHE that backed vaping. The London Fire Brigade also urged smokers to use e-cigarettes, citing that smokers are at risk of causing fire 266 times more than vapers.
Although the National Health Service is yet to officially prescribe vaping, various health organisations—including the Cancer Research UK, the Royal College of General Practitioners, and the British Medical Association—have all pushed for its use as an alternative to smoking.
If you want to successfully kick the habit through the use of vaping, here’s a step-by-step guide that you can follow. Note that the idea here is to wean you off over time:
Step #1: Know how to use an e-cigarette
There are a lot of vaporiser models out in the market, especially since it’s been around the UK for the past 10 years.
Giving up smoking is a huge investment in your health, which is also why you need to invest time and resources in picking the right gear for you. However, buying the newest and coolest looking vape with an e-liquid flavour that you think you might like may not cut it.
You need to have a plan in place to make sure you’ll be able to deal with smoking urges each time they kick in:
- Figure out the number of puffs you need to get the amount of nicotine that your body craves. Keep in mind that one cigarette puff contains more nicotine than one puff from an e-cigarette.
- Understand the various components of vaping. This includes vape kits, pod kits, e-liquids, how the entire device works, the varieties available, and many more. We have written a number of guides on our blog to help you out.
- Go to your local vape store and ask the staff who work there for information.
- Scour the internet for information, but make sure the sources are reliable.
- If you feel like vaping is fake or artificial, go for a vape that resembles a cigarette. Oral fixation is often a reason behind smoking, so a kit that’s shaped like a cigarette can satisfy that.
- Start with a higher nicotine level to make sure you get the hit that your body is looking for (more on this later).
- Manage your expectations, as you may need to go through a few devices to settle with the one that’s right for you.
It may sound tedious, but researching goes a long way in making an informed choice when buying your first vape. If you skip this step, you risk reaching out to the nearest cigarette stick just as fast as you bought your first vape kit.
Step #2: Start with a stronger nicotine content
Nicotine is actually not the content that’s dangerous for smokers; it’s burning tobacco that releases toxins which then causes health problems down the line.
The good thing about vaping is that you can control its nicotine content, depending on your body’s needs. If you’re serious about quitting smoking, you can’t start with a nicotine-free e-liquid (unless you have the willpower to quit cold turkey).
We suggest that you start with an e-liquid that contains the strongest, highest level of nicotine strength. Once you use this, you will see that too much nicotine is a lot better than not getting enough of it (which will cause you to reach for a cigarette).
Additionally, the more you associate vaping with nicotine, the more you will see it as your primary source of a hit instead of cigarettes.
Step #3: Gradually lower the nicotine level of your e-liquid
So you’ve done your research and picked the right gear for you. You are also now vaping an e-liquid that contains the right amount of nicotine that satisfies your cravings.
When you’ve vaped for a while and you feel more comfortable vaping, start to consider dropping your nicotine level. While this may set off an internal panic alarm, know that it will help you in the long run. Just so you’ll know what to expect, you’d feel the difference in nicotine level the same way as you’ll feel the difference in smoking a lighted cigarette.
The key here is going at your own pace. Some vapers who used to smoke lowered their nicotine level after a month of vaping, while others take longer than that. Whatever timeline it is that you feel comfortable with, go with that. If you rush, you’ll feel agitated and risk falling off the wagon.
Step #4: Get e-liquids with low nicotine
Once you get over the hurdle of lowering your nicotine level, you’ll find it easier to go nicotine-free or quitting vaping altogether.
You will realise this when you start ‘forgetting’ to bring your vaping kit or you can go for long periods of time without craving for it. You’ll also feel less agitated when you find yourself in a situation that you don’t have easy access to vaping.
When you’re at this stage, you can start leaving your e-cigarette at home. A couple more months and you’ll feel ready to go from nicotine-free e-liquids to not smoking at all.
Step #5: Talk to people and have the right mindset
In the beginning, you may feel like zero nicotine is a scary thought. What we found to have helped a lot is to talk to those who have successfully kicked the habit—much like a support group.
When you find out how difficult it was for them, as well as the tips and tricks they employed to get over nicotine cravings, you’ll learn how to apply that to your own life.
Your mindset plays a huge role in quitting smoking. Focus on your goal, whether that is to be healthier, to save more money, or both. Know what triggers your smoking urges—lunch breaks with fellow smokers, lighting up after meals—and avoid these situations until such a time that you feel stronger. Each person has their own timeline. Quitting altogether may be too much to ask of your body, so focus on taking baby steps instead.
Lastly, don’t be scared of failing. Find the method that works for you, whether that’s quitting cold turkey or gradually slowing down. If you relapse, take that as an opportunity to figure out what was the cause of the relapse so you’ll be more conscious of it the next time it’s triggered.
Road To Being Smoke-Free
Asking for help goes a long way in quitting smoking. You can go to a family member, a friend, or even an online forum to make sure you’re surrounded by supportive people. To find out more go to the 2018 Stoptober NHS website.
And if you’re thinking that vaping could be your best chance of quitting smoking, then feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01179 669309. We’ll help you pick out your first vaping kit and e-liquid.