Nobody knows how to quit vaping

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/10/04/addictive-by-design.html

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Surprising amount of stories about the supposed dangers of vaping about, just as some of the big tobacco companies bring out patent protected alternatives (Phillip Morris’ IQOS, for example). I found vaping really helpful in quitting smoking and later vaping, you simply reduce the nicotine strength of the juice you consume over time. I found this much better than lozenges, patches or champix.

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Even though Juul stubbornly refuses to, most vape-cartridge manufacturers produce progressively-lower nicotine versions and zero-nicotine versions specifically made to help you quit vaping.

I know several long-time smokers who used vaping to quit cigarettes and then low-to-zero nicotine vape cartridges to quit vaping. It’s a thing.

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Time to sue the tobacco companies again. They knowingly invested in and assisted in developing the marketing and dosage concentration protocols for vaping to skirt the restrictions they agreed to for cigarettes.

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There was a fascinating story on NPR a while back about how the vaping industry is reproducing to a T the advertising strategies of tobacco through the decades. Things like touting the “health benefits” of being a safer alternative to cigarettes, all the flavor and add-ons, etc.

Apparently the Juul founders (some tech bros from Stanford) recognized that tobacco companies perfected the art for this kind of thing and there was no need to reinvent the wheel, so they just lifted the concepts so directly that the tobacco companies themselves had to send a cease and desist for ripping them off.

ETA: Found it: https://www.npr.org/2019/09/15/760936463/vaping-and-cigarette-ads

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  1. It’s fucking nicotine. Don’t be disingenuous. You quit it just like you quit cigarettes. The only difference is that if cold turkey ain’t your bag, you can step down to lower and lower nic concentrations until you hit zero. Yes it’s still hard. But it’s at least a little more within reach, and it’s very likely not any more cancerous than the atmosphere around us.

  2. Step back from the hysteria. In over a decade of these things being prevalently used, there’s only been deaths just now. (And a good deal less than via smoking.) While they’re zeroing in on the culprit, it’s worth it to keep in mind that it’s obviously not your usual, run-of-the-mill vape fluid, since nobody’s died until now. And a lot of signs are pointing to adulterated, black market THC-based knock-offs.

  3. Teens gonna teen. They’re not smoking? GREAT! They’re vaping? Lame, but at least it’s not cigarettes.

PSA: regulations are good (within reason). Legalization of weed products is good. Juul and other Big Tobacco-owned giants are evil, as expected.

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If people didn’t understand the rot at the heart of the vaping industry, the tobacco-industry scumbags’ rush to buy out companies like Juul should have been a big red flag.

Yes, vaping may help people quit smoking tobacco and reduce toxic second-hand cigarette smoke. But it’s still a system designed to addict to people (especially young people) to nicotine, this time via proprietary technology that’s not as “safe” as was first advertised.

This is why I maintain that the tobacco industry has been the most destructive in recent history. Starting with Edward Bernays in the 1920s, the industry pioneered methods of denialism and distraction and disinformation that were subsequently used by every bad actor in American business and public life you can name: the fossil fuel industry, the NRA, the payday loan industry, the GOP, etc., etc.

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I quit smoking ~10 years ago. Then a friend of mine shows up to my house with a Juul and holy shit! That thing was awesome! I don’t have to smell like an ash-tray, I can just have one quick nic-fix instead of committing 15 min to go outside, and I don’t even need to find a lighter!

Then I start coughing again, I lose the thing and they’re ~$30 to replace, and I remember why I quit in the first place and so I quit again. It was tough at first, but it’s been a few months but I’m not going back.

I see why vaping pens are so attractive to teens since you can just go to the bathroom and get a quick fix. That’s what makes them more dangerous than cigarettes IMHO.

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If only the stoners hadn’t co-opted “vaping” as a term for their devices when that first became a thing, we wouldn’t even be talking about Nicotine and THC in the same breath. 10 years ago, it was a way to get off cigarettes. Then the “clouds bro, clouds” crew came along and started shouting “It’s not smoke!” in cancer survivors faces and it just went downhill from there. Big Tobacco saw erosion and opportunity and here we are - kids think it’s cool and Juul is lining their pockets while ordinary people get caught in the panty-twisting middle just trying to take the edge off.

“Uniquely and Fantasically Unsafe?” Oh, please.

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People talking about a dopamine rush from nicotine don’t know how nicotine pharmacology works.

I can’t think of a less dopaminergic drug. It’s all acetylcholine.

I never smoked because it was rewarding. I always smoked to avoid withdrawal.

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I’d argue that the the stoners had a lot less to do with the explosion in popularity than the greed and marketing savvy of a relatively small group of folks who saw a chance to make a lot of money combined with the fantastically addictive properties of nicotine.

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That’s the danger of Juuls in my opinion. Just wait 2-3 hours, then take a quick, big inhale and you will get a slight buzz.

Then you get tired of waiting 2-3 hours, so it’s every hour and the buzz isn’t really there.

Then you find yourself just twiddling with the thing like a fidget spinner and saying to yourself “Why not? Nobody in the office next to me is going to know”.

Then you’re avoiding withdrawal.

Slippery slope. Hope you were able to stay off the smokes.

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I drive by a hospital most days, out on the sidewalk are patients hooked up to various fluid bags and oxygen bottles… rain or shine, out there smoking. The system, I assume, is providing treatment for them to get better from whatever brought them there… yet there they are, puff puff.

If you can’t make THOSE people realize the harmful effects of smoking, then… the rest are hopeless. No cure for cancer or stupidity.

An aside, I think preparation of a vape has something to do with the attitude of how managed and under control the user has it. A smoke you simply light and puff away… ANYONE can do that… but this vape, I have to pour a measured amount of bespoke fluid (the choice can be as challenging as picking out a good wine. think ‘sommelier of vape juice’)… add to it this wonderfully crafted vape burner, hand-carved from unicorn hoof. Simply the act of vaping looks and is much more sophisticated than the paper-rolled tube of tobacco knuckle draggers use.

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And I would agree. I made that observation speaking to the current health issues that have made the headlines. If the THC stealth combustion/vaporizing community had just coined the term “steaming” or something like that back in the day, us Nicotine junkies would just be watching from the sidelines while the CDC got down to business finding the true culprit.

I have. Smoked a pack a day + for ten years. I was able to quit with chantix. Made it so easy it doesn’t even feel like an accomplishment.

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They definitely know how bad smoking is for them. You appear to think being addicted is some kind of moral failing or some kind of laziness. Have a little compassion.

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I’ve got mixed feelings about vapes.

I used to watch my grandfather turn off his oxygen to go outside and, while holding it between fingers ravaged by Buerger’s disease, smoke a menthol Newport to the filter in a single drag, The menthols were his concession to “health”, as he preferred unfiltered Camels that he was introduced to when they were issued to him in his K-rations in the Pacific theater.

His death from emphysema and complications of Buerger’s disease were part of what made me stop smoking in my early 20’s. Would I have quit cold turkey if I had a crutch that enabled me to keep getting the nicotine fix without the fear of emphysema or losing pieces of my hands and feet a digit at a time?

Would something like a vape, had it been invented in the 1940’s, have saved him from the ravages that his body endured because he was unable to quit smoking?

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Or ask your GP, or the service centre. https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/help-and-advice - there are even psychiatrist that could help to find the better solutions.

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I used nicoderm patches. Interesting side effect: you have some seriously fucked up dreams when on the patch. I don’t know if that was a side-effect specific to me or not, but I almost didn’t want to quit the patch because the dreams were so interesting.

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What I seem to be getting from all this - vaping is probably safer than cigarettes and may prevent disease associated with nicotine addiction through traditional smoking.
But also, what’s the point of it all? Why would you want a nicotine habit at all? It’s nice if you easy have the habit and can’t quit, but dang it’s just a sad thing being caused by people profiting from addiction.
Don’t start, kids.

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