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    How to stop vaping

    On this page
    1. Why is it so hard to quit vaping?
    2. How long does it take to stop vaping?
    3. Top tips to quit vaping

    Reviewed by Dr Bhavini Shah

    In the UK approximately 4.7 million adults use vapes. At 9.1% of the population, vaping is at its highest rate ever recorded. Many people vape to help them quit smoking but what about when you want to quit vaping?  

    In this article we’ll look at why it's so hard to stop vaping and top tips to help you quit.

    How to Stop Vaping

    Why is it so hard to quit vaping?

    Most vapes contain nicotine, the same addictive substance as tobacco. Nicotine can temporarily make you feel good, which is why you may often reach for your vape. The more you vape the more your body and brain get used to having nicotine. When you stop you may experience uncomfortable symptoms.

    Nicotine withdrawal

    When you stop using nicotine, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as:

    • Irritability
    • Anxiety
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Increased appetite
    • Strong cravings 

    These symptoms may be uncomfortable and unpleasant, but nicotine withdrawal can’t hurt you. Find out how long withdrawal symptoms last.

    Nicotine addiction

    Nicotine is a powerful stimulant that can quickly lead to addiction. It alters brain chemistry, making you crave more to achieve the same effects.

    “Although nicotine is powerful, you can overcome nicotine addiction. By day three of stopping vaping your body will be clear of nicotine. This will be when withdrawal symptoms peak, but keep going.” - Dr Bhavini Shah

    Lifestyle habits

    Vaping often becomes part of daily routines and habits, such as after meals, during breaks, or while socialising. Breaking these habitual behaviors can be tough, but it can be done by avoiding your triggers.

    How long does it take to stop vaping?

    How long it takes to stop vaping depends on how much nicotine you vape. As this will influence the intensity of withdrawal symptoms.

    You could go ‘cold turkey’ and stop vaping suddenly, although this method often doesn’t work. The NHS recommend stopping vaping gradually and when you’re sure you won’t go back to smoking cigarettes.

    So how long it takes to stop vaping is up to you, however you can expect to experience:

    • Withdrawal symptoms around 8 hours after your last vape
    • After 24 hours withdrawal and cravings will start to peak
    • At 72 hours (about 3 days) your withdrawals will be peaking, expect to feel irritable and have intense cravings to vape 

    After 2-4 weeks your withdrawal symptoms should pass. This is where you’ll need to focus on lifestyle changes and new habits to replace the time you spent vaping.

    Top tips to quit vaping

    In 2021 current vapers aged 15-36 were asked about quitting vaping:

    • 54.2% reported general intentions to quit
    • 15.3% reported intention to quit within 30 days
    • 33.3% reported a past-year quit attempt 

    Over half of vapers want to quit or have thought about quitting. If you’re one of them, here are our top tips to help you quit vaping:

    • Reduce the nicotine – reduce the strength of the nicotine in your vape over time and quit gradually.
    • Create vaping rules – only vape on your breaks at work or outside your home.
    • Understand your reasons for quitting - Write down the reasons you want to quit and look at this list whenever you feel the urge to vape.
    • Set a quit date - pick a date within the next two weeks to quit vaping. Use this time to get ready.
    • Identify your triggers - recognise the situations, feelings, or people that make you want to vape and develop ways to deal with these. 
    • Avoid your triggers – Once you know what your triggers are you may need to avoid situations where you may be tempted to vape.
    • Plan ahead – Decide how you’re going to handle situations where you might be pressured to vape.
    • Use Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) - You could use nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, or inhalers.
    • Get help – talk to friends and family and let them know you’re quitting. Join a support group or find your local Stop Smoking Service.
    • Stay active - Exercise can help reduce cravings.
    • Manage stress – Meditation, yoga, or deep breathing can help manage stress.
    • Celebrate your progress – Treat yourself to something special for reaching certain milestones.
    • Keep your hands and mouth busy - Use sugar-free lollipops, straws, or stress balls.  

    If you feel like you may want to go back to smoking or puff more on your vape, increase how much nicotine is in your vape and how much you use it. Then once the feelings around starting to smoke go away you can begin to quit vaping gradually. Quitting vaping may take multiple attempts but successfully quitting can be achieved.

    What can I replace vaping with?

    Replacing vaping with healthier alternatives such as exercise, sugar-free gum, going for a walk or meditating can help you to quit. There are also medications that can help manage cravings and reduce the urge to vape.

    Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

    NRT is available from pharmacies, supermarkets and to buy online. Options include:

    • Patches which provide a steady dose of nicotine throughout the day.
    • Gum and lozenges can help with immediate cravings.
    • Inhalers and nasal sprays mimic the hand-to-mouth action of vaping. 


    Varenicline is a prescription-only tablet that helps to stop cravings. It doesn’t contain nicotine but works to reduce the pleasurable feeling you get when vaping or smoking. It also helps to ease withdrawal symptoms.


    Cytisine is a daily tablet that’s available via a prescription. It helps to increase your chances of quitting smoking and vaping by reducing your urge to do so. It doesn’t contain nicotine, but helps to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings.


    Vaping is less harmful than smoking and has helped many people stop using tobacco products. Vaping is only recommended to help current smokers quit but it has become increasingly popular in recent years. Now many vapers are seeking ways to quit vaping. As well as going cold turkey, you could use prescription treatments or over-the-counter treatments such as NRT to help you quit vaping.



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    Authors and editors

    • Reviewed by

      Dr Bhavini Shah
      GMC number: 7090158
      Date reviewed: 19th June 2024

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