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3 reasons why zero nic vapes, fake vapes, vape alternatives, and nicotine-free vapes may not be the best quitting tool.

You’re trying to quit vaping, desperately. So when you come across a nicotine-free or zero nic vape marketed to help you quit, you think that this is the solution to all of your problems.

While zero nic vapes camouflage as a golden ticket to quit vaping, that may not be the case. Nicotine-free vapes are not as harmless as they seem. Zero nic vapes camouflage as a golden ticket to quit vaping - before adding one to your quitting regimen there are a few things you should be aware of.


1. They aren’t FDA-approved to help you quit.

First and foremost, nicotine-free vapes are relatively new to the market and are not FDA-approved. There is no way to confirm that what vape companies claim about their products is actually true. False advertising among some of these products has been reported. For example, it was discovered that 6 different “nicotine-free vapes” sold in the UK actually do contain nicotine.

There are a handful of FDA-approved and doctor-recommended ways to quit smoking. Because vapes are relatively new to the market and the FDA takes its time reviewing cessation products, all nicotine replacement products are FDA-approved for smoking cessation only, but technically, not vaping. Some early studies have shown that nicotine replacement products can help people quit vaping. However, it is generally safe to assume many of these smoking cessation therapies translate to quitting vaping nicotine as they focus on the nicotine addiction aspect of smoking. Many doctors recommend nicotine replacement therapy for quitting vaping, including our Chief Medical Advisor Dr. David Kan, an addiction psychiatrist at UCSF.

In sum, nicotine replacement therapy is clinically proven to aid with smoking cessation with a particular focus on nicotine addiction. Emerging studies link NRT to vaping cessation as well. No study to date directly supports zero nicotine vapes as a successful cessation product.


2. They reinforce the habit you’re trying to break

We know how important the oral fixation aspect of vaping is. Many vapers and smokers accredit this hand-to-mouth action as the main addiction, not the nicotine itself. For this reason, nicotine-free vapes may seem like the perfect solution as you still repeat that action, bringing a vape to your mouth, just this time without nicotine.

But that’s actually the issue, here. You repeat this action you’ve so desperately been meaning to quit. By continuing to vape, despite there not being nicotine, you are reinforcing the habit you’re aiming to break and not satisfying your nicotine cravings. Our medical advisor Dr. Kan recommends to seek other, safer, methods of fulfilling that need for oral fixation. Chewing gum, sipping on a water bottle, or even using our Jones lozenges are all methods that keep your mouth busy without reinforcing the habit of vaping.


3. You’re not quitting vaping, you’re just quitting vaping nicotine. The inhalation of any vapor or chemical that is not oxygen is damaging to your body - even if there’s no nicotine.

Think about the reason you want to quit vaping. Do you want to lower your risk of heart disease and lung disease? Is it worrisome to be inhaling unknown chemicals? Do you want to save money? Let’s go through these reasons to quit and evaluate if nicotine-free vapes help achieve these quitting goals.

"I want to lower my risk of heart disease and lung disease."

This, like all other reasons to quit, is an extremely valid motivation. Again, vaping is relatively new and because of this there is a lot of research still being done. Research from the Cardiac and Lung E-Cig Smoking (CLUES) study found that people who vape had worrisome changes in cardiovascular function. More emerging data links vaping to chronic lung disease and asthma.

Inhaling anything other than oxygen isn’t ideal for your lungs. Vaping nicotine-free vapes will not necessarily lower your risk of developing heart disease or lung disease. On the other hand, NRT is proven to be safe. Studies have indicated no increase in cardiovascular events in those who use NRT compared to those who smoke. When it comes to lung heath, nicotine itself is not a harmful substance.

If your main concern with vaping is your cardiovascular and lung health, it may be best to explore quitting methods that do not involve inhalation.

"I want to stop inhaling harmful substances and chemicals."

Vapes are known to contain many different chemicals that aren’t recommended for inhalation. Because the FDA has not reviewed vapes or issued any standards on what they must contain, the ingredients in vapes and their compositions vary. However, these are a few ingredients that researchers have found in e-cigarette vapes.

  • Acrolein: an herbicide that is used to kill weeds and can cause irreversible lung damage.
  • Diacetyl: a chemical linked to the lung disease bronchiolitis obliterans, or, popcorn lung.
  • Cadmium: a toxic chemical also found in cigarettes that causes breathing problems and disease.
  • Propylene glycol: a common food additive that is safe to consume, but not to inhale. Also found in fog machines and antifreeze.

Knowing some of the ingredients of vapes definitely makes them less attractive. If you want to quit vaping because of the harmful substances inside vapes, quitting with a nicotine-free vape, again, may not be the best solution for you. Much like with nicotine vapes, nicotine-free vapes face minimal regulation (if any at all) and their ingredients and compositions vary. Let’s examine the listed ingredients of one of the most popular nicotine-free vapes on the market.

Ripple + nicotine-free vapes are some of the most popular on the market. These vapes are marketed to be essential oil based products, not nicotine.

  • Natural Bacopa Extract: Little to none existing research on the safety of inhaling Bacopa.
  • Natural Flavorings: The term natural flavors may seem trustworthy, but actually, this can mean a myriad of different artificial and synthetic chemicals. We have no way of knowing what natural flavors encompass in this case.
  • Vegetable Glycerine: Inhaling vegetable glycerine has been shown to have a pro-inflammatory effect on acute lung illness. Vegetable Glycerin is safe to eat and drink, but it has not been thoroughly assessed for inhalation toxicity.
  • Propylene Glycol: As stated above propylene glycol is found in antifreeze and fog machines. No health authority has marked propylene glycol safe for inhalation.

In summary, if you’re looking to inhale fewer foreign chemicals and substances by quitting vaping nicotine, using a nicotine-free vape may not be your best option.

"I want to save money."

Let’s do a quick math exercise:

Say I am a vaper and I typically go through one vape a week. On average, a disposable vape with 5000 puffs costs about $20.

$20 a week x 4.2 weeks = $84 per month = 21,000 puffs per month.

On average, the most popular disposable nicotine-free vape is $18 for 1000 puffs. To get the 21,000 puffs you would normally inhale with a nicotine vape, you’d have to purchase 20 nicotine-free vapes per month ($360) to match your normal puff count.

So, $360 per month for 21,000 puffs of a nicotine-free vape and $84 per month for 21,000 puffs of a nicotine vape.

The nicotine-free vape definitely isn’t the cheaper option.

If you’re looking to save money, NRT is around $62 a month and by month three or four, it may drop down to $0 a month when you quit for good.


Overall, at Jones we support any method of quitting that feels most comfortable and suitable for your lifestyle. The most important thing is that you remain knowledgeable about what you’re consuming, physically or even financially, and how that may play into your overarching quitting goals.


Written by Lucy Kaskel.