As an ex smoker I can tell you what worked for me, plain old cold turkey. Tried the cutting back etc, just draws out the inevitable to the point that failure becomes inevitable. But, what works for one doesn't necessarilly work for everyone.
I cut the spin out of my weed years ago while I was still smoking, just got honest with myself that there was no benefit to it and it fucks up the taste. I kept smoking bongs when I did it, but what I did was start using a small cone, this gave me the same amount of canna per cone and helped make it easier to get used to the straight smoke. Got the full weed flavour, and the undiluted tangy bite in the back of the throat as a result, and found that by following the bong pull with a nice long slow suck of clean air and holding it in for a bit it was easy to cope with and gave more bang for my buck. From a taste and smoothness point of view, after a couple of weeks there was never any going back for me.
As you are obviously aware though, it's nicotine addiction that's really causing the problem, and that's going to take a week or 2 to get past. Reality is that however you kick nicotine, at some point you have to go through that final step, and it sux big sweaty donkey balls, so good luck with that.
As for vaping, yeah the come on is more subtle, and the buzz is a little different, and it can take a bit of a learning curve to get used to it. But there are upsides, flavours being one of the biggest. You need a decent quality vape as well. Probably only works out if you look at it as a long term commitment, and a course you have to take and stick with for your own health and wellbeing. Another big benefit is residual smell and cleaning of your equipment, a simple soak in some iso alcohol and a rinse out with hot water has stuff sparkling like new, and none of it ends up clogged up with sticky stinky tar, and no bong water smells in the cupboard. I really don't miss cleaning stems out, and even when I haven't cleaned the pipe out for a couple of weeks it just looks a bit honey coloured and smells pleasantly sweet.