Healthy Evidence

Have bad anxiety and am horrified to switch to ecig...but I like the ecig

Scared to use my ecig...have puffed it a bit..but afraid if I take the plunge and use it all day something bad will happen..pack a day smoker with bad anxiety and panic attacks.

Guess I am more afraid of the unknown and every little thing will freak me out..also afraid of withdrawals..any advice or help to gey me on my ecig and not be so afraid will be appreciated!

6 Replies

As an ex smoker, my advice is to get off smoking all together and not migrate to ecigs at all - to be honest, they are becoming a bit of a fashion trap with big tobacco beginning to run the show. Personally, I have no interest in feeding the tobacco company profits so they can continue selling coffin nails round the world. :)

I can only tell you what worked for me, and that was distraction - do ANYTHING rather than light a cigarette.

I reckon that a huge amount of the habit of smoking is holding it in your hands - so keep your hands busy. Do a lot of washing up, take up knitting, learn the piano, get an allotment, but just don't let your fingers wander off to find that packet of cigarettes.

I also used gum - just ordinary gum (though I wish I had chosen sugar-free!). I didn't like nicotine gum, to be honest. But I went through a couple of packets a day of ordinary gum for a few weeks. I just chewed continuously till I was sick of the damned stuff. But by the time that happened, I had broken the fag habit.

The smoking ban helped me too - not being able to smoke in public places really helped me in the long term and I certainly didn't want to be part of that miserable group standing outside under and tobacco stained canopy.

The big thing in the end for me was the money though. I was a seriously heavy smoker - much, much heavier than you - and opening my wallet to find I still had cash after a few days was far more enlightening than I thought it would be - took away a lot of pressure too since I had money woes at the time.

As for your panic attacks, I knew someone with similar problems who had come to rely on cigarettes to stop panic attacks. Actually, it turned out that they really did nothing of the sort - indeed, the nicotine may well have been making the situation worse. In the end, when they gave up, they also found that they had less anxiety - suddenly not having to worry about when they could cram in a smoke, or making sure they did not run out late at night, was really nice. In fact, they used the promise of taking away the "burden" of being a smoker as a personal ambition - and it worked.

When you are hooked on smoking, it is easy to ignore how much of a burden needing to smoke actually is - if you have anxiety problems, it is probably the last thing you need, though I can understand that it does not feel that.

Good luck, but try and get rid of it all completely - don't take a halfway house step, just go for it and just keep telling yourself that this is about improving your life, not taking away a crutch.

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Hi Tegro

Smoking in England ( is a portal that provides information about smoking and smoking cessation in England (from the Department of Health and Cancer Research UK amongst others).

Their 'E-cigarettes: What we know' report says that use from popular brands of e-cigarettes can be expected to be at least 20 times safer (and probably considerably more so) than smoking tobacco cigarettes in terms of long-term health risks. Here's the full report:

Cancer Research UK also support the use of high quality e-cigarettes because they believe that they have significant potential to help smokers who aren't otherwise ready or able to quite smoking by providing them with much safer alternatives to smoked tobacco.




Hi Tegra. For me, if it hadn't have been for e-cigarettes I'd still be smoking 50 a day. I'd tried just about everything to quit other than pills (which my GP refuses to prescribe, says they're too dangerous). I quit smoking by accident on ecigs, all I wanted to do was cut down to save money and hopefully improve my health a little. I see the ones that look like cigarettes, which are the only type sold by tobacco companies, as useless for quitting smoking because the batteries are so tiny and technology has improved ecigs so much since that 2008 design. So I tried one 'cigalike' and hated it but instead of giving up on them I bought a 2nd generation device (ego battery, clearomiser and a bottle of e-liquid to fill it). That worked for me and one day I realised I'd forgotten to smoke. Sometimes I think of a cigarette but I don't really want one and they smell horrible now.

Public Health is split in two camps, one that relies on science and proof that ecigs are orders of magnitude safer than smoking, the other has what I think is more of a puritanical religion that if people can't quit cigarettes and nicotine completely they should continue smoking. That camp has placed many scare stories in the media bit they aren't true. It is the smoke and 4,000 odd chemicals in lit tobacco that does the harm, pure nicotine is no more dangerous than coffee. As time passes we learn more about ecigs although of course we have no long-term studies because they were only invented 10 years ago. But we know a lot about inhaling all of the constituents other than flavours and Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos has just completed a study on the vapour from flavours. It seems that 75% of the dessert flavours he tested contain diacetyl or a similar ingredient used to replace it so I no longer vape sweet, buttery flavours, but even with those ecigs are far safer than smoking. It is likely that nicotine alone, without any of the chemicals in cigarettes, is not physically addictive. In trials using patches to treat Parkinsons Disease nobody showed any sign of craving or withdrawal at the end of the trial, and animal studies show no addictive behaviours in animals given nicotine unless it is mixed with tobacco smoke.

I've successfully quit smoking for well over a year with ecigs, I feel healthier, can do things without getting out of breath and can smell and taste again. I don't know if I will ever quit the ecig but the nicotine strength I use now is a lot lower than it used to be. I used to enjoy smoking although I didn't like the cost or the health effects. Now vaping costs me about £5 a week, I've never felt better and medical checks back up my health improvement. I used to smoke as soon as I woke up, now I sometimes don't think of a vape for a few hours after waking.

Electronic cigarettes have been a life-saver for me and some Stop Smoking Services support people making quit attempts with them. But in 2016 it may well be that only expensive, useless disposable tobacco company ecigs will be available thanks to the new EU Tobacco Products Directive. That Directive does allow for ecigs to be regulated as medicines but it is doubtful that will ever happen because they aren't a medicine and the requirements for a medicine would probably be impossible for a real ecig although a tobacco company subsidiary is making progress on obtaining a medical license for something that works like an asthma inhaler but looks like a cigarette. Incidentally the nicotine in ecigs is pharmaceutical, the same as used in gums and patches.


What I don't quite understand about the apparent magic of eCigs is how all those millions and millions and millions of people over the years managed to give up before electronic cigarettes were invented; including people like me who smoked 40 plus for 25 years and spent all of that time professing I really enjoyed it.

From my own experience, I gave up in the end because in my mind I had to. And I think that applies to everyone - they may try countless times but in the end they break the habit because their determination outways the temptation. The actual method they used probably is irrelevant, it was far more about the timing.

I wonder a little bit about the research on this - are the success rates of giving up using eCigs because of the magic of the eCigs or because the people attracted to using them are more likely to succeed giving up in the first place?

It is like the statistics used by the government to show that people who get married are more likely to stay together longer. Actually, all the stats show is the marriage is an option chosen by people who are more likely to stay together anyway.

If you really WANT to give up, you will. Getting clear of nicotine takes the body just three days (unless you keep pumping it back in with nicotine replacements). The rest of your battle is between you and your habit, not with tobacco.

I have to declare that I am instinctively anti eCigs. It is for two reasons - firstly it is because nicotine is still a poison, and I don't see the point of finding another way just to put a poison into your body that you do not need. But secondly, I used to work in advertising with big tobacco as a client. I know a lot about how they work and am seeing them throw their weight behind eCigs - I just smell a tobacco flavoured rat and I think the love affair with eCigs is going to come back and haunt us while the tobacco companies are laughing all the way to the bank.

By giving up completely and not funneling money back to the tobacco companies through an alternative product, you are not just freeing yourself for life, but you are giving one in the eye to what is a pretty deceitful and underhanded industry. That has to be nice feeling! :)

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I had to stop smoking but chose to move on to e-cigs as an alternative rather than a method to give up tobacco. My choice - and my breathing improved from being unable to give a spiro reading to providing one a year later!

Good luck with your choice - make the decision that you're happy with - it's your body and your life!


I could not agree with JossS' answer more - I shared broadly the same experience of kicking the habit, and am now very glad I did, not least because of the amount of money I have saved on cigarettes!

I do think an e-cig represents a healthier alternative that smoking any tobacco products, and if you wish to reduce the potential harms to your body but do not feel able to break the habit, then this might represent a suitable alternative - but I really would urge you to give up entirely.


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