While not typically associated with addiction, many e-cigarette users are reporting difficulties coming off the product due to nicotine contained within the liquid.
E-cigarettes (or “vapes”) are battery-powered, handheld devices which are used to inhale an aerosol. They have been touted as a “healthier” alternative to traditional cigarettes as they do not contain tobacco, though medical experts point out that they may do more harm than good. Most brands of e-cigarettes contain a number of known carcinogens and other toxins, as well as nicotine which can cause addiction.
Health concerns, social stigma and the cost of e-cigarettes have led some people to try to quit the habit. Yet many people report facing barriers to treatment for vaping addiction, including a lack of resources and community support.
As a result of this, people trying to overcome their addiction have turned to the Reddit page “QuittingJUUL”, which serves as a forum to support people battling with a vaping addiction. Over 950 people currently use the forum, with many finding it to be a positive place where they feel understood and supported.
Despite youth vaping having become something of an epidemic – with the majority of e-cigarette users aged 18-24, there has been limited research into how to treat vaping addiction, and as such there are limited resources available to support people trying to quit.
Available evidence for the treatment of vaping addiction is largely anecdotal and based on existing research on nicotine and cigarette addiction. Funding and research initiatives are needed to better understand how to treat vaping addiction so that people are not left struggling to quit on their own.
Current medical advice includes avoiding social situations in which vaping is common, using nicotine patches – which have very low success rates – and having the e-cigarette user switch to a vape liquid which contains no nicotine in order to wean themselves off it.
Dealing with stress in a helpful way, such as by exercising or using distractions – such as music, video games, talking to friends or playing with a pet – may also be helpful.