By Dr. Raphael Strauss, Dr. Robyn Kreiner, and Dr. Khalid Ahmad
The use of electronic cigarettes (vaping, hookah and other delivery devices) has exceeded the use of conventional cigarettes among teenagers and young adults.
It has become quite clear that this is potentially very dangerous and there have been hundreds of case reports of acute lung damage and several deaths associated with vaping. Additionally, the long-term risks of inhaling multiple chemicals such as propylene glycol and flavorings directly into the lung will take years to establish but there is a concern that we will be looking at an epidemic of long-term health problems as well. This is an opportunity to talk about vaping with your friends and family members. Do not start and if you or someone you know is using these products, the most important thing is to take the step toward quitting today.
This is a life-threatening problem. You can’t put it off until you are ready to stop.
For those who vape or smoke nicotine products, it is not enough to tell them to quit. Many want to do that desperately. If you use a product that contains nicotine, it causes a true chemical dependency which makes quitting “cold turkey” impossible for many.
Berating, yelling and making people feel guilty are ineffective ways to change behavior. We all have done things we are not proud of or deeply regret. It is called being human. You need to approach them with understanding and empathy. Most importantly people need a pathway to quit.
We recommend using alternatives known as nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine products are safer than smoking or vaping and can double your chances of success.
Step 1- Start by putting on a 21 mg nicotine patch. It is difficult to overdose on nicotine. Nicotine does not contain the hundreds of other chemicals that are potentially dangerous, and it is NOT a carcinogen. You may continue to smoke or vape while using the patch as you cut down.
Step 2- Add nicotine gum. Once you get used to the patch and feel you are ready to cut down a bit, try using gum, lozenge or a nicotine inhaler.
Step 3- Set an actual date for quitting. If you fail, you try again. Most people will need several attempts to succeed.
Enlist the help of family, friends and your doctor to help quit. There are other medical therapies and nonpharmacological treatments that can help. This is a process and it usually takes time. If you want, call and schedule an appointment with one of our practitioners to discuss smoking and vaping cessation.
Put on a nicotine patch today!