Nathan's stop smoking story

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When Nathan made a swap to vaping after over 40 years of smoking, his health improved, and he saved money. Now he has quit vaping too and is hopeful of being nicotine-free this year. This is his story: 

"I first smoked when I started senior school and just carried on smoking from then onwards. I was quite a heavy smoker all the way up until 2016. I started to think about the fact I’d smoked for 40 years, and I knew the longer you do it, the higher the risk is. When you’re younger you think things aren’t going to happen to you, but getting older gives you a different perspective, and now I’ve got children, grandchildren, I did think about setting a good example to them.

Swapping to vaping

A couple of people I knew were already vaping, they gave me some advice and I looked into it and thought I’d give it a go. At first, I bought the very cheap pen ones, but they weren’t very good. Then I tried a starter kit, and although there were a few teething problems to begin with, it worked for me, and I never really smoked again. There was one time a couple of years later at a stag do, but after having a couple of cigarettes I went straight back to vaping the next morning and that was it, I went on and on.

The familiarity and keeping my routine really helped. You’d still get the social side of it, popping out to have a break and having a chat or a moan with others there. It did take a bit of getting used to, you don’t have a natural stop like you do with a cigarette. Obviously when you’re smoking you have to go outside, so I made sure I did the same with vaping.

I play 5-a-side football and when I used to smoke, I’d run out of breath. After I switched to vaping, that disappeared, I didn’t get that shortness of breath. It’s not the same as smoking, it doesn’t have the same effect on your lungs. I was coughing so much less when I stopped smoking and started vaping. And I didn’t smell – my wife was happy about that. You become nose-blind to it, I suppose.

I also saved a considerable amount of money. Smoking would maybe cost about £10-15 a day, but factoring everything into vaping, it cost me about £1.50 a day – a huge difference.

My advice to other smokers

I would say give vaping a try. What’s the worst that can happen? It worked for me. It might not work for everyone, but you’ve got nothing to lose. With Swap 2 Stop you can try it for free and it could change your life, so give it a go.

Aiming to become nicotine-free

When I started vaping, I thought I’d better use a high nicotine level, because I’d smoked so much. But I found that too harsh so I moved down, and once I’d done that I started thinking right, I can move down more. By the end of the first year, I was right down to the lowest nicotine level you can buy, so that’s when I swapped over.

The thing that triggered me to stop vaping completely was that we’d booked a trip to Southeast Asia, where vaping is banned in some countries. So that was it, I did some research and decided to try nicotine lozenges. The telling bit for me was on our last stop in Vietnam, where vaping is allowed. My wife spotted a vape shop, but I wasn’t tempted at all.

I notice the small things now – I’ll realise at midday that the back door is still locked. Before, I’d be in and out to smoke or vape. My wife is happy too, when we go out, I’m not leaving her on her own whilst I go out to smoke or vape. Now I’m looking at the next stage, which is hopefully to be nicotine-free this year."

Ready to start your quit journey? Try a swap from smoking to vaping with a free vape starter kit and support from LiveWell Dorset. If you currently smoke and are a Dorset Council or BCP Council resident aged 18 or over, register today at