Quit Nicotine Support

Thinking of Quitting Smoking or Vaping?

Congratulations! There are many benefits of quitting nicotine (the psychoactive ingredient in tobacco and vape products), including improvement in finances and physical and mental health. Besides, Western is a smoke-free campus!

The difficulties of quitting and nicotine’s extreme addiction potential are often downplayed because it is a legal substance. People who are trying to quit sometimes find it more difficult than they thought, which can be discouraging. Nicotine is one of the most addictive psychoactive substances so if you are having difficulties quitting, you are not alone and help is available.

Common Things to Expect

Some common things to expect within the first few days or weeks of quitting:

  • irritability
  • increased feelings of hunger/weight gain
  • brain fog
  • difficulty sleeping
  • restlessness
  • feeling anxious, sad, or depressed
  • cravings/urges to use

It Can Be Done!

Just because quitting can be hard, it doesn’t mean it can’t be done! But what is the best way? There is debate around going “cold turkey” (quitting abruptly) or gradually weaning oneself from nicotine. It seems that abruptly stopping use is more successful than gradually stopping, so long as you have counseling support and nicotine replacement like patches or gum or other medication assistance. Without these things, you are unlikely to be successful quitting cold turkey.

On-campus Resources

Counseling and Wellness Center
A counselor can help you identify your triggers and develop a quit plan with you. Set up an initial same-day phone consultation by calling 360-650-3164.

Student Health Center
A medical professional can talk with you about nicotine replacement options and medication assistance. Call 360-650-3400 to make your appointment or log on to MyWesternHealth and click Messages.

General Tips to Help You Quit

Some of these might include social triggers, drinking alcohol or coffee, or experiencing feelings of stress. When you can anticipate when you will probably feel like using, you can prepare yourself for these moments.

This might look like playing a game, watching a show, reading a book, etc. Go for a run or workout

Sit with the craving. Notice the urge you have to use. You don’t have to fight it or give into it. This feeling of discomfort will likely dissolve after a few minutes

Chew some gum or a toothpick, have a carrot, drink a glass of water. Find something to keep your hands busy, doodle, use a fidget toy.

When you do this, you might find that you use less often, since there are fewer reminders.

When more people know that you intend to quit, they can hold you accountable. This doesn’t mean they are responsible for snatching your e-cigarette from you, but sometimes just knowing that they know that you want to quit can discourage use.

Quitting can be hard! Identify a few people who are supportive of you and are willing to help you out if you’re struggling. This might look like a phone call or text when needed.

If you are serious about quitting, you won’t need that pack of cigarettes or your JUUL. Have a funeral for your smoking device if that feels right for you.

Set it for within the next two weeks, so you have some time to prepare. Try to make it at a time when it won’t be too stressful.

This can be helpful to keep in mind so you can stay motivated and on track.

This is hard! Don’t forget to reward yourself and give yourself a pat on the back when you reach important milestones, to help reinforce the progress you’ve made.

Things That Don't Help

Years ago, it was thought that e-cigarettes were a more healthy alternative to smoking tobacco products. This has been found to not be the case, as e-cigarettes come with their own health concerns. Smokeless or chewing tobacco have not been shown to reduce cravings or help people quit nicotine either

Unfortunately studies have shown that when a person makes attempts to smoke/vape less, they end up inhaling more deeply, negating any health benefits that they could experience. While cutting back may help reduce financial impact, health impacts will likely stay the same.

If shaming people or ourselves worked to counter addiction, this would be easy. Being hard on ourselves for slipping up or going back to using is not helpful. It’s okay to make a mistake, every moment is a new moment and we can start again. We are human beings, and we are not going to be perfect or quit in a “perfect” way and that is ok! Being kind to yourself and treating yourself with compassion will take you far.