Searching for an e-cigarette alternative to help you stop smoking? You're not alone. Millions of cigarette smokers and vapers are considering quitting smoking or giving up their electronic cigarettes and trying to kick the nicotine habit.
Let's take a look at why you might want to consider giving up electronic cigarettes and vaping devices altogether, or keep vaping but switch from devices that contain nicotine to those that don't, as well as some options for doing either one.
But first, some background…
At a glance:
Are e-Cigarette Alternatives Healthier?
Time was, way back in the days of the dinosaurs, that the only "devices" capable of delivering a nicotine hit were old-fashioned traditional cigarettes. (We’ll leave chewing tobacco out of this conversation. Yuck.) But along with the nicotine hit from cigarette smoking came a truckload of potentially harmful chemicals, like tar, benzene, and a long list of other horrible chemicals that were just as bad, if not much worse, than the nicotine itself.
That all changed when e-cigarettes were introduced. Now we had devices that "kinda sorta" acted like traditional cigarettes, but that were different. They didn't burn tobacco. Instead, they heated up a liquid into a nicotine-rich vapor and delivered their nicotine hit that way.
Many people took to e-cigarettes and vape pens because they contained fewer toxic chemicals than came from smoking cigarettes. They also produced no secondhand smoke, but still allowed the user to satisfy their nicotine craving and somewhat mimic the hand-to-mouth action of smoking. Short of trying to stop smoking, this was the next best thing.
But that created a new issue, because now vapers felt they could puff away freely while avoiding the potentially harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke. Problem is, they became addicted to nicotine. And now they're faced with having to break that addiction.
If that sounds like you, read on. Because below we're going to cover five common products that are great alternatives to both traditional cigarettes and traditional e-cigarettes. Without further ado, let's get to the list...
HELO Air & HELO Plus
HELO Air and HELO Plus are two popular e-cigarette alternatives that don't contain any nicotine. Instead, they contain all natural flavors and caffeine to provide a boost of physical energy and mental clarity, without all the bad stuff that comes from both traditional cigarettes and nicotine vapes.
The difference between the two is basically the size — each HELO Air contains enough vape juice for about 400 inhales, while the HELO Plus offers double that amount, or around 800 inhales.
Both the HELO Air and the HELO Plus are available in a variety of flavors, like Pink Lemonade, Arctic Mint, Mango and Cherry Cola for the HELO Air, and Baja Berry, Tropic Slush, Strawberry Ice and Caramel Coffee for the Plus.
While still technically related to e-cigarettes, the HELO line is 100% nicotine-free, which might help you beat a nicotine addiction from smoking or traditional vape devices. In fact, HELO is on our list of best vapes to quit smoking and best oral fixation smoking alternatives.
ZERO Air is a specialist among nicotine-free vapes, because it was conceived with the specific goal of helping people quit smoking. In fact, it's not even called a vape. It's an "aromatherapy device" that delivers what is basically non-habit forming flavored air with none of the potentially harmful substances found in other products.
Like HELO Air above, ZERO Air mimics the "mechanics" of smoking without subjecting you to any of the harmful effects of nicotine or chemicals found in cigarettes or harsh vapes.
It's also available in six flavors, including Arctic Peach, Green Punch, and Jolly Berries, with each device good for approximately 2,000 puffs.
Nicotine Lozenges and Nicotine Gum
We're grouping nicotine gum and nicotine lozenges together here because they share a lot of characteristics. They're both over-the-counter, oral nicotine delivery devices with similar mechanisms for helping curb nicotine cravings and withdrawal.
Nicorette gum was actually the very first nicotine replacement product that hit the market back in the late 1970s. Today you can find Nicorette and generic gum and lozenges in most pharmacies and many "big box" retailers.
Lozenges and gum both typically come in two strengths — 2 mg and 4 mg. The stronger 4 mg variety is generally intended for heavier smokers (people who have their first cigarette of the day not long after waking up), with the lower dosage for people who smoke a bit less. You'll find specific recommendations on the packages themselves, or you can ask a pharmacist what they recommend.
With nicotine gum, you're directed to chew it for a minute or two and then "park it" between your cheek and gum, where it will slowly release nicotine into your bloodstream. Every few minutes you can chew it again to release more. After about 20-30 minutes, once the gum is depleted, you should dispose of it safely.
Lozenges are similar, but you don't chew them. If you've ever had a cough drop or a lifesaver, you get the idea of how a nicotine lozenge works. You simply pop it in your mouth and let it slowly dissolve to release nicotine into your system.
Both the gum and lozenge can be found in a variety of flavors, so you're able to choose one that suits your taste. Lozenges and gum are preferred by many people trying to quit smoking because they not only deliver a nicotine hit, but also somewhat satisfy the oral fixation that plagues many smokers and vapers — i.e. they give your mouth "something to do."
Originally marketed as Habitrol and requiring a prescription, nicotine patches are today available over-the-counter, just like gums and lozenges. You can find nicotine patches from brand names (like Nicorette, mentioned above) as well as in generic forms.
Nicotine patches are a passive nicotine delivery system. You simply stick it on to your skin and the nicotine is absorbed into your body throughout the day. Nicotine patches are generally available in three strengths — 21 mg, 14 mg and 7 mg. Just like with the gum and lozenges, the higher strengths are recommended for heavier smokers/vapers, while the lower strengths are better for those who smoke or vape less frequently.
The passive nature of patches may be something that appeals to you, or it may be a drawback. If you prefer something that's "set and forget," the fact that you don't have to do anything is a bonus.
If, on the other hand, your nicotine addiction includes an oral fixation component, you might prefer one of the other alternative products on this list. Or you could try thinking outside the box and try something like a melatonin vape, which not only helps with an oral fixation, but can also help you relax and calm those cravings. Read how melatonin vapes can help you quit smoking and how melatonin helps calm anxiety.
First thing to note — nicotine inhalers require a prescription. You can't just walk into a drugstore and buy one. The other thing to note — nicotine inhalers (depending on the specific one we're talking about) can actually look quite similar to a vape pen or other vaping device. But they function a bit differently.
Marketed under brand names like Nicotrol from Pfizer, inhalers are smoking-cessation devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration that contain a mouthpiece and then cartridges, which actually contain the nicotine. Similar to vaping, you insert a cartridge into the device and inhale. The nicotine turns into a vapor and gets absorbed by your lungs. You generally get about 20 minutes of active puffing out of each cartridge before it has to be replaced.
Your doctor can tell you more about proper use of inhalers, as well as recommended dosages based on your particular habits.
Inhalers might be preferred by someone who wants to replace not only the nicotine from smoking or vaping, but also wants to redirect the "action" of puffing away on something. It also delivers a lower "dose" of nicotine than you'd typically get from a cigarette or vape, so it can help gradually break your dependence.
Quit Smoking Medicine
Last on our list is oral smoking-cessation medication. The Food and Drug Administration has approved two pills to help people quit smoking — bupropion and varenicline.
Bupropion's brand names include Wellbutrin and Zyban. It's also available as a generic. Varenicline's brand names are Chantix and Tyrvaya, and it, too, is also available as a generic.
How these two medications work is a bit beyond the scope of what we can get into here. After all, we're not doctors or medical professionals of any kind. However, what we can say is that both medications have effects on your brain that either mimic nicotine's effects and/or reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Varenicline in particular is supposed to reduce the enjoyment you get from nicotine.
If you're interested in either of these medications, be sure and talk to your doctor. He or she may prescribe these, or recommend you try another route either in conjunction with the medication, or instead of the medication.
You Have Plenty of Options When it Comes to e-Cigarette Alternatives
As you can see, you have lots of options when it comes to replacing e-cigarettes. Some, like HELO Air and ZERO Air, allow you to continue to get the enjoyment of vaping or smoking cigarettes without the downside of nicotine addiction. Others are complete replacements for both.
A doctor is never a bad option when it comes to further advice. And only a doctor can prescribe a couple of the options on this list — the oral medication and the nicotine inhalers.
Whichever path you choose, we wish you luck in kicking the nicotine habit!