Dependence: as difficult to quit vaping as smoking, warns pharmacist

Vaping may seem less dangerous to your health than smoking cigarettes, but that would be far from being the case, insisted a pharmacist specializing in addiction who notes that it is as hard to stop one as the other.

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For the first time this year, the I Quit, I Win! Challenge! will be open to Quebecers who wish to stop vaping in the same way as smokers, which delights Alexandre Chagnon, pharmacist in Granby and spokesperson for the Défi.

The addiction expert sees people walk through the door of his pharmacy almost every day looking for help to stop vaping.


This was particularly the case of a young man in his twenties, who only realized the extent of his addiction when he abandoned his vape for a trip to the south, where he became “nervous and angry » to the point of no longer recognizing each other, explained Mr. Chagnon.

He turned to the pharmacist for help after three failed attempts to part with his e-cigarette. It was only with the help of a prescription for nicotine patches – like those used to quit smoking – that he would have succeeded.

This situation would be far from rare since 40% of Quebecers who vape would like to stop, according to the health professional.

“It shows that it is an addiction in the same way as cigarettes,” he said.

Addicts by mistake

If the presence of nicotine is clearly indicated on the flavor bottles, it may happen that some vapers do not pay attention to it when they decide to change flavors.

“They don’t realize that there was no nicotine, and that there is. Sometimes, it is by mistake that this dependence takes hold in people,” underlined Mr. Chagnon, who has already had two patients in this case.

Currently, two-thirds of people who vape have never smoked cigarettes before.

The ban on flavors in vaping products since last October would also represent a step in the right direction for pharmacists, especially to prevent new Quebecers from converting to this practice.

“We hope that this will reduce the propensity of people who start to vape. We think that it will not have an impact on people who already have this dependence,” he argued.

A challenge to stop vaping

The I Quit, I Win Challenge! for vapers and smokers will take place from February 5 to March 17.

According to Mr. Chagnon, this challenge above all makes it possible to provide complementary tools to the prescriptions that pharmacists have been able to make for three years for medications for smoking cessation.

“We estimate that 75% of people who register for the Challenge will succeed in quitting smoking and vaping during the six weeks of the challenge, which are crucial weeks when addiction is the most difficult to combat,” he said. note.

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