Vaping Withdrawal

Estimated reading time: 46 minute(s)

Vaping, also known as electronic vaping or e-cigarettes, is inhaling and exhaling vapor produced by an electronic device commonly referred to as a vape pen or e-cigarette. It has gained significant popularity recently, particularly among young adults and teenagers.

One of the primary uses of vaping is as a potential alternative to traditional smoking. Vaping eliminates the combustion process of smoking cigarettes, which produces harmful chemicals and tar. Some people turn to vaping to reduce or quit smoking, as it allows them to satisfy their nicotine cravings without the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.

Additionally, vaping is often perceived as a way to enjoy various flavors and customize the vaping experience. E-liquids come in various flavors, including fruit, dessert, menthol, and tobacco. The diversity of flavors can make vaping more appealing and enjoyable for users.

However, it is crucial to exercise caution when using vapes for several reasons. While it is true that vaping eliminates the harmful effects of tobacco combustion, it is not without risks. Although research on prolonged use of e-cigarettes is limited, various health complications associated with vaping have been noted. It is also difficult to leave vaping once you get used to it. Therefore, it is better to consider other ways of quitting smoking and be careful with e-cigarette usage.

How Do E-Cigarettes Work?

Vaping works by heating and vaporizing a liquid solution called e-liquid or vape juice. Understanding how vaping works involves understanding the components of a vaping device and the mechanics behind the vaporization process.

Vaping devices consist of a few essential components, including the following:

  • Battery: The battery powers the device and provides the necessary energy to heat the coil or atomizer.
  • Atomizer or Coil: The atomizer is the heating element responsible for vaporizing the e-liquid. It typically consists of a coil made of resistance wire, such as Kanthal or stainless steel, which heats up when electricity passes through it.
  • Cartridge or Tank: The cartridge or tank holds the e-liquid. It is usually refillable and can vary in capacity. The e-liquid is drawn from the cartridge or tank to vaporize the atomizer.
  • Mouthpiece: The mouthpiece is part of the device from which the user inhales the vapor. It is usually located at the top of the device.

Typically, a user follows a few steps to prepare and use an e-cigarette, such as:

  • Filling the Tank: The user fills the tank or cartridge with the desired e-liquid. E-liquids come in various flavors and nicotine strengths.
  • Activating the Device: When the user activates the device, typically by pressing a button or inhaling, the battery powers the heating element, which starts to heat the coil.
  • Heating the Coil: As the coil heats up, it reaches a temperature sufficient to vaporize the e-liquid. The heat causes the e-liquid to turn into a vapor or aerosol.
  • Inhaling the Vapor: The user inhales the vapor through the mouthpiece. The vapor travels from the atomizer through airflow channels up the mouthpiece and into the user’s mouth and lungs.
  • Exhaling the Vapor: After inhaling, the user exhales the vapor, dissipating quickly into the surrounding air. Unlike traditional cigarette smoke, the vapor produced by vaping tends to have a less lingering odor.

The process described above is common to most vaping devices, but there can be variations in design and operation among different models and brands.

Read Also About Vaping Impact On Mental Health

Not all e-cigarettes operate in the same way. Some newer devices, such as pod systems, utilize pre-filled cartridges or disposable pods instead of tanks and coils.

Impacts Of Vaping On The Health

Despite its initial allure and perceived as a safer alternative to traditional smoking, vaping is not without its negative effects. While research is ongoing, several potential health risks associated with vaping have been identified, including the following:

Respiratory Issues

Vaping has been linked to respiratory problems. The inhalation of aerosols produced by e-cigarettes can irritate the lungs, leading to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Some individuals may also experience chest pain or lung inflammation.

Lung Injuries

Severe lung injuries associated with vaping have been reported. Sometimes, these injuries have been life-threatening, requiring hospitalization and intensive medical care. While these cases are relatively rare, they highlight the potential risks of vaping on lung health.

Cardiovascular Effects

E-cigarettes can have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system. It can increase heart rate and blood pressure, putting additional strain on the heart. Long-term effects on cardiovascular health are still being studied. Still, evidence suggests a potential association between vaping and an increased risk of heart disease.

Chemical Exposure

E-liquids used in vaping devices contain various chemicals, some of which can be harmful when inhaled. These chemicals include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), heavy metals, and other potentially toxic substances. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals may have adverse effects on overall health.

Impact on Youth

Vaping has become a significant concern, especially among young people. The enticing flavors, attractive designs, and sensitive nature of vaping devices make them appealing to non-smokers, particularly teenagers. The use of e-cigarettes among youth has been declared an epidemic by public health officials. It raises concerns about hindered adolescent brain development and increased risk of resorting to traditional cigarettes in the long run.

Lack of Regulation

The vaping industry has seen rapid growth and lacks comprehensive regulations. This means the quality control and safety standards for e-cigarettes and e-liquids can vary. Some products may contain harmful contaminants or have inconsistent nicotine levels, posing additional health risks to users.

Secondhand Exposure

Similar to traditional smoking, vaping can expose others to secondhand aerosol. The aerosol produced during vaping may contain harmful chemicals that bystanders can inhale. Secondhand exposure raises concerns, especially in indoor environments and around vulnerable populations such as people with respiratory conditions.

Common Vaping Withdrawal Symptoms to Expect

Vaping withdrawal may look different for different people depending on various personal circumstances. For instance, the nature and severity of the symptoms may depend on how frequently a person vapes, how long they have been vaping, and the amount of nicotine in their vaping device.

In general, most people may experience the following symptoms of vaping withdrawal: 

  • Strong urges for nicotine
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling bored, tired, or restless
  • Constipation, diarrhea, or flatulence
  • Feeling jumpy, anxious, grouchy, angry, or irritable
  • Nausea
  • Poor concentration
  • Depressive thoughts and feelings
  • Increased appetite and consequent weight gain
  • Chest tightness
  • Dry mouth, cough, nasal drip, and sore throat

While each person may have a unique experience in dealing with these symptoms, most people go through a general vaping withdrawal timeline. The symptoms typically begin within 4 to 24 hours following the last time a person vaped. They peak around usually the third day, following which they gradually begin to subside. 

Nicotine Addiction – Can You Develop An Addiction To Vaping?

It is possible to develop an addiction to vaping. Vaping devices often contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance. Nicotine addiction can occur regardless of whether the nicotine is derived from traditional cigarettes or e-cigarettes.

Nicotine addiction develops when the brain becomes dependent on the effects of nicotine. When nicotine is inhaled through vaping, it rapidly enters the bloodstream. It reaches the brain, where it triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. The release of dopamine reinforces the behavior of vaping, making it more likely for individuals to continue vaping to experience those pleasurable effects.

Over time, the brain becomes accustomed to nicotine and adapts by reducing the number of receptors that respond to dopamine. It leads to a tolerance to nicotine, requiring individuals to consume higher amounts of nicotine to achieve the same pleasurable effects. As a result, individuals may increase their vaping frequency or use stronger e-liquids to satisfy their cravings.

When attempts are made to quit e-cigarettes or reduce nicotine intake, vaping withdrawal can occur. Usually, vaping withdrawal timeline includes symptoms like irritability, restlessness, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, cravings, and depressed mood. Vaping withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and make it challenging to quit vaping.

Remember that not all e-liquids contain nicotine, as some options are nicotine-free. However, even nicotine-free vaping can still be addictive due to the behavioral aspect of the habit. The repetitive hand-to-mouth action and the association of vaping with certain activities or environments can create a psychological dependence on the behavior itself.

Additionally, the attractiveness of vaping devices, the variety in flavors, and the social aspect of e-cigarettes can also contribute to the development of addiction. These factors can make vaping a habit that is difficult to break, even without nicotine.

Managing Vaping Withdrawal at Home

Nicotine withdrawal may appear different for different people. For some, these symptoms may make vaping particularly hard to quit; however, some simple tricks and remedies can help you get through the process easily. The longer a person goes without vaping, the more their bodies can become habitual of functioning without nicotine. With time, this will help people gain more confidence to remain vape-free while regaining strong control over the mind and body. 

If the symptoms of vaping withdrawal are bothering you as you try to quit, consider the following strategies: 

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water to keep the body hydrated throughout the day. Water can also help ease the painful withdrawal symptoms of vaping, such as sweating, hunger, fatigue, and headaches. In some people, it can also help manage cravings better. 

Focus on getting more sleep

For some people, the symptoms of vaping withdrawal may make them feel groggy or tired during the day. Moreover, they may struggle to sleep every night, further worsening the experience. Always prioritize sleep by maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and practicing good sleep habits. For instance, turn off all screens at least 60 minutes before bedtime and avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol as soon as evening sets in. Exercising during the day can also promote feelings of relaxation that help to fall asleep easier. 

Try healthy snacking

As a person attempts to quit vaping, they may feel hungrier and tempted to eat junk. Keep healthy snacks handy to combat these cravings in a good way. Some examples of these healthy snacks include raw nuts, carrots, and fruits. 

Prepare yourself to fight cravings

When most people quit vaping, they experience strong urges to restart using it again. Anticipating what’s about to happen and having a plan in mind to combat the possible complications can help people get through tough times. For instance, list all things to distract your mind when it compels you to vape again. 

Seek support from family and friends

Withdrawal can be an awful experience, especially for those with no support around. Ask all supportive family members to help you in any way possible. For instance, they can help with household chores, daily cooking, or traveling for medical appointments. Alternatively, an attentive ear from a loved one can also make a great difference for a person undergoing vaping withdrawal symptoms. 

Get professional help

Sometimes, a withdrawal may become too unbearable for a person to handle on their own, despite having a supportive environment at home. In such circumstances, joining a professional rehab is the best way to recover and heal with minimal risk of relapses. 

Vaping Withdrawal Treatment – Joining A Rehab

If you or someone you know is struggling with a vaping addiction or undergoing withdrawal, joining a rehabilitation center is the best option for a lasting recovery. Vaping addiction treatment at a rehab involves a comprehensive approach to help people overcome their withdrawal and develop healthier behaviors. Most of these plans begin with a detoxification step, allowing users to get through the painful withdrawal process more comfortably and with minimal relapse risks. 


The purpose of a detoxification process is to help people get over the psychological addiction they have developed to vaping with minimal withdrawal symptoms. The process may vary depending on individual needs but typically focuses on a tapering dose of nicotine instead of forcing patients to give up vaping cold turkey entirely. While detoxing from vaping at home is possible, most people find it easier to undergo the process in a treatment center under 24/7 monitoring. 

At a professional detox program, a team of professionals monitors all patients and provides them with help, support, and guidance to safely make it to the other side. Sometimes, they may provide several medications to ease the associated withdrawal symptoms. These medications may include the following depending on the exact symptoms:

  • Varenicline: This drug helps reduce cravings for vaping by blocking its rewarding effects on the brain.
  • Buprenorphine: This drug usually works as an antidepressant but can help people reduce cravings related to vaping. 

Following this, a rehab may extend the following treatment options to ensure that patients do not re-engage in vaping in the future:

  • Assessment and Individualized Treatment Plan: Upon admission to a rehab, individuals undergo a thorough assessment to evaluate the severity of their vaping addiction and any co-occurring conditions. Based on the assessment, an individualized treatment plan is developed, considering the person’s specific needs and goals.
  • Behavioral Therapy: Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing, are commonly used in vaping addiction treatment. Sometimes, a rehab may offer these behavioral therapies as a part of the vaping withdrawal process to provide emotional support. 
  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT): Nicotine replacement therapy may be part of the withdrawal treatment and rehabilitation plan to help individuals gradually reduce their nicotine dependence. NRT can involve nicotine patches, gums, lozenges, or inhalers, providing controlled doses of nicotine to ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  • Group Support: Group therapy sessions, such as support groups or counseling, can be essential to vaping addiction treatment. These sessions provide a supportive space where individuals can share experiences, gain insights from peers, and receive encouragement and accountability in their journey to quit vaping.
  • Education and Relapse Prevention: Education about the risks and consequences of vaping is a crucial aspect of rehab treatment. Individuals receive information about the potential health effects, the addictive nature of nicotine, and strategies to prevent relapse during withdrawal and after treatment. They learn to identify triggers and develop effective coping skills to navigate cravings and high-risk situations.
  • Holistic Approaches: Rehabs may incorporate holistic approaches, such as mindfulness techniques, relaxation exercises, and alternative therapies like yoga or acupuncture. These practices can help individuals manage stress, improve well-being, and reduce the desire to vape during and after withdrawal. 
  • Aftercare Planning: A comprehensive treatment program includes aftercare planning to support individuals in transitioning back to their daily lives. It may involve connecting them with ongoing support groups, outpatient counseling, or other resources to ensure long-term success in maintaining vaping abstinence.

Overall, vaping addiction treatment at a rehab involves a personalized and multi-faceted approach for a lasting recovery. The aim is to provide individuals with the tools, support, and strategies necessary to overcome their addiction and lead healthier lives.


How long does it take to quit vaping?

The duration to quit vaping varies from person to person. It depends on factors such as the level of addiction, individual willpower, and the support received. Some individuals may successfully quit vaping within a few weeks, while others may take longer.

What are the side effects of quitting vaping?

Quitting e-cigarettes can cause withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, restlessness, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and cravings. These symptoms are temporary and usually subside within a few weeks. When quitting vaping, remember that the long-term benefits outweigh these short-term side effects.

Is vaping legal?

The legality of e-cigarettes varies from country to country and even within different regions or states. In some places, vaping is legal but regulated. In contrast, in others, it may be banned in certain locations or subject to age restrictions. Familiarizing oneself with local laws and regulations is essential to ensure compliance.

Can using e-cigarettes help non-smokers relax or relieve stress?

Vaping is not recommended for non-smokers as it carries potential health risks, including nicotine addiction. Alternative relaxation and stress relief methods include wellness activities and professional stress management therapies. Such options can help you manage stress and improve your overall well-being.

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