Dimishing Dependency

Obsolete page. Moved to Post: Dimishing Dependency

Kept because of the existing comments. Further comments please at the new post.


As Professor Karl Fagerström explains in Dependence on tobacco and nicotine, it isn’t as simple as a single substance addiction. It’s rather complex with lots of individual differences.


Here is something I noticed:

When I was a smoker (2 packs a day), one hour was the longest I could go without a cigarette. After that the craving would increasingly occupy my attention. Two hours? Impossible.

Last year I went to a tobacco control conference. Well, vaping in the audience wouldn’t have been welcome, I guess. So I faced these two hours with a bit of trepidation. Expecting to sneak out for a break. And I got a surprise! At the end the cravings were far less than after an hour as a smoker. It was more like the longing for the caffeine in a nice relaxing and invigorating cup of green tea. I even lingered and talked a bit before I went out and satisfied that longing.

At that point I had been vaping exclusively for almost 2 years. And I’m not quite a typical vaper. Most vapers reduce the initial nicotine concentration after a while. I’m still using 18 mg/ml and like it this way. I even vape more than in the beginning.

Of course I don’t have any reliable data, but a lot of long term vapers have anecdotes of similar experiences. They report that when adverse conditions deprive them of vaping, they can even go seeveral hours without significant stress. I haven’t heard of anyone where possible withdrawal symptoms had worsened after switching. Further scientific investigation might provide interesting data on pure nicotine addiction.


Sudden cravings:

A few vapers (not me) report that 8 to 12 weeks after the switch they suddenly experience a craving for smoking. Increasing the nicotine level can compensate this only partially. But it’s usually gone for good after about a week. To me this suggests:

  • This is (at least) one other substance they are addicted to
  • It is much slower metabolised than nicotine
  • It only affects a minority of the smokers

I’m quite curious what these substances could be.


Unable to switch completely:

I know some vapers who still smoke, even if they rather would switch completely. And I don’t mean those that really still like smoking.

No. This is also a minority who really dislike the taste and feel of smoking compared to vaping but still can’t overcome their cravings. It can’t be the nicotine. It must be some other dependency. If you could identify the responsible substances (maybe the same as above, but with a stronger individual reaction?), it might be possible to create additives – just for them – to remove or reduce that craving.



6 comments on “Dimishing Dependency
  1. I amazed myself the other day – forgot to take any juice to work and ran out mid-morning. No vape shops for miles around so I was stuck. I just thought ‘oh well’ and carried on with my day. Tiny pang at lunch and afternoon tea but NOTHING like I’d have got when I was smoking. Have to say though, the first vape when I got home was heaven!

    I often wonder what the role is of MAOI compounds in tobacco smoke and how this affects those who are unable to switch completely or who get the sudden cravings a few weeks in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the confirmation!

      I know that MAOI play an important role in the creation of the tobacco dependency. But it might be other substances that are responsible the other phenomenons. So I didn’t mention them here. I don’t want to fall into the same tunnel vision trap as those “experts” that single out nicotine as the sole culprit.


  2. erick says:

    If nicotine was only stuff then why do people get withdrawal symptoms even while taking NRT or while vaping. If it was only nicotine then that would not happen now would it.

    And for me they were severe perhaps less severe because numbing action of nicotine but still.

    I smoked around 50 to 60 a day and that is with the heavy tobacco. And I did manage to switch using mostly 12mg and some 18mg juice. After half a year I started to DIY and started to drip 36mg when I feel stressed but mostly drip 6mg. In tanks I use 12mg.

    Now 1 year later and still haven’t managed to forget my equipment or juice. So can’t tell you about cravings. Only in the morning the cravings are not there as with smoking. First thing now is coffee lots of coffee and that used to be a cigarette or two.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Re your comments on people who have difficulty making a complete switch, or have strong cravings some months after happily making the switch, there are e liquid additives like ‘Tobacco absolut’ which are WTA’s (whole tobacco alkaloids) this might help those people, and I agree completely that everyone is different and vaping ‘has to be’ omni-product diverse to offer suitability on as wide a spectrum as there are user profiles, Anyhoo, my curiosity re ‘addiction’ drove me to try a very ‘low-tech’ self experiment >>

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting experiment!

      I know about WTA. It may be worth a try. But there is also the distinct possibility, that these substances are created during the combustion. Not already present in WTA.


  4. Orb skewer says:

    Several compounds in combusted tobacco leaves have a ‘narcotic’ effect, Carbon Monoxide is just one of those, people who succumb to this deadly gas due to a faulty gas boiler flue are ‘ ‘anaesthetised’ (relaxed) into unconsciousness before death occurs, anaesthesia in very mild dose relaxes, relaxing feelings are pleasurable, pleasure fires the neuropathic reward circuit into action, and so dopamine and other pleasure hormones start to flow.

    Another relevant thing about smoking never mentioned is the constant repetition, 1 cigarette x 20/30 per day x 7 days x 12 months x 20/30/40 years, that’s a heck of a lot of learned and timed (after meals, with a coffee etc etc) actions-repetition easily becomes a compulsion (possibly mis-labeled ‘addiction’).

    Another aspect could be ‘mind over matter’, that is, constantly being bombarded by messages that nicotine/smoking is highly ‘addictive’, psychologists and hypnotherapists would call this phenomenon ‘suggestion’, which is an extremely powerfull behaviour enhancer/modifier, harks back to the ‘tell someone they are stupid for long enough-and they will begin to believe it’, behaviour brought about by manipulation is a very, very old trait present in all of the animal kingdom.

    It is a fascinating and bewildering subject.

    Liked by 1 person

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