Vaping Without Nicotine For Anxiety: A Safer Alternative?


Vaping without nicotine for anxiety has become an increasingly popular alternative to smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products. This nicotine-free vape allows people to simulate the habit and ritual of smoking without inhaling the addictive and harmful chemicals. But is vaping without nicotine truly safe, and can it help alleviate anxiety?

Vaping without nicotine, also called nicotine-free vaping, has its share of pros and cons to consider before determining if it’s the right solution for you. Understanding these factors can help you decide if a nicotine-free vape is a healthier and safer alternative to ease anxiety.

Vaping Without Nicotine to Quit Smoking: Are There Side Effects?

Vaping Without Nicotine For Anxiety

For people looking to quit smoking cigarettes, vaping without nicotine can potentially be used as a cessation aid. The familiar hand-to-mouth motions and ritual of vaping may help satisfy the psychological and behavioral cravings when stopping cigarette use. However, research on the efficacy of nicotine-free vaping for smoking cessation is still limited.

Let’s examine some of the pros and cons of vaping without nicotine for anxiety.

Pros of Vaping Without Nicotine

There are some potential advantages associated with vaping without nicotine for anxiety, including:

  1. Avoids Nicotine Addiction: Vaping liquids without nicotine avoids the highly addictive properties of nicotine, the main addictive chemical in cigarettes and tobacco products. Preventing nicotine addiction can make it easier to quit vaping eventually.
  1. May Reduce Anxiety for Some: The act of vaping itself has been shown to ease anxiety for some people, due to the ritual and oral fixation associated with the habit. The relaxation and deep breathing involved may help calm the nerves.
  2. Safer than Smoking: Nicotine-free vapes eliminate exposure to the tar, carbon monoxide, and other cancer-causing chemicals found in traditional cigarette smoke. Though not completely harmless, vaping without nicotine is considered safer than regular smoking.
  3. Customizable Experience: Vaping allows users to choose from a wide variety of e-liquid flavors and nicotine concentrations to customize the experience. Removing nicotine provides even greater control over personal use.

Cons/Risks of Vaping Without Nicotine

There are some key drawbacks and risks to consider regarding vaping without nicotine:

  1. Contains Other Harmful Chemicals: Though nicotine-free, the vape liquid contains propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and flavoring chemicals that may have adverse health effects with long-term use, like lung disease. More research is still needed.
  2. Highly Addictive Behavior: While not addicted to nicotine, individuals can become dependent on the physical habit and behavior of vaping itself. This can make it extremely difficult to stop vaping eventually.
  3. Safety Concerns and Side Effects: Many safety studies on frequent, long-term vape usage are still pending. Some potential side effects include mouth/throat irritation, headaches, coughing, or chest pain.
  4. May Trigger Relapse with Cigarettes: For ex-cigarette smokers, vaping nicotine-free liquids may increase the temptation to start smoking again due to the similar motions and actions associated with smoking cigarettes. Relapse is common among this demographic.

Is Vaping Without Nicotine Safe?

More scientific research is still needed to determine if vaping without nicotine is safe, especially with long-term, frequent use. There are still open questions about the toxicity and side effects associated with inhaling common vaping chemicals like vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol when heated into an aerosol vapor.

Though likely safer than smoking cigarettes, the health impacts of consistent exposure are relatively unknown compared to other tobacco alternatives like nicotine patches, lozenges, or gum. Anyone with respiratory issues, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or other health conditions should use extreme caution or avoid nicotine-free vapes altogether until more definitive safety standards are established through independent, peer-reviewed studies.

Vaping Without Nicotine for Anxiety

Some people do report lowered anxiety levels with nicotine-free vaping, likely due to the habitual motions of vaping providing a relaxation effect for nervous energy and the deep breathing involved. However, current research specifically on vaping without nicotine for anxiety relief is limited.

Nicotine itself has both stimulant and relaxant qualities depending on dosage, which may explain why some studies found nicotine vaping to help temporarily reduce anxiety levels faster compared to nicotine-free options. However, nicotine also comes with a high addiction potential as well as side effects like increased heart rate and blood pressure.

More research is still needed to directly study the efficacy of using a nicotine-free vape to minimize anxiety symptoms specifically. Some people may experience worse anxiety when attempting to quit vaping due to withdrawal as well. Consulting a doctor before use is always recommended, especially if coping with an anxiety disorder. Coping strategies and licensed therapy should not be substituted without medical advice.


Vaping Without Nicotine For Anxiety: A Safer Alternative? to answer this question is not easy. Vaping without nicotine offers a way to simulate traditional cigarette smoking motions without inhaling chemical-laden tobacco smoke, which may help alleviate anxiety for some people through the ingrained habit and ritual. However, nicotine-free vaping still comes with its own set of considerations regarding long-term safety due to the ongoing questions about heating chemicals like propylene glycol into an inhaled aerosol form.

More independent scientific studies directly examining frequent vaping usage are still required to establish definitive impacts on respiratory, cardiovascular, and mental health, especially related to anxiety disorder treatment. That said, vaping zero-nicotine e-liquid is likely safer than smoking cigarettes when used cautiously and sparingly.

As with any major lifestyle change regarding health conditions, speaking to your doctor is highly recommended when considering taking up vaping without nicotine to ease anxiety symptoms. Licensed cognitive behavioral therapy focused on addressing underlying anxiety triggers, nature-based relaxation techniques, herbal supplements, yoga, medication, and other smoking cessation aids may provide similar benefits without the risks associated with vaping itself. Finding healthy stress relief strategies under medical guidance is key.

In conclusion, is vaping without nicotine completely safe or always effective for anxiety issues? Based on current research, likely not. However, for some people, it may offer a safer alternative over continued cigarette smoking when approached carefully with physician support. Consulting your doctor is crucial before vaping to quit smoking or ease anxiety disorder symptoms. More research is still urgently needed on nicotine-free vaping risks.


  • Allen JG, et al. (2016). Flavoring chemicals in e-cigarettes: Diacetyl, 2,3-pentanedione, and acetoin in a sample of 51 products, including fruit-, candy-, and cocktail-flavored e-cigarettes.

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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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