Electronic Cigarettes – The New Smoking Cessation Aid
Electronic Cigarettes or e-cigarettes for short have been touted and promoted as the new method to help smokers kick the habit. There are several issues with this theory, the primary one being that e-cigarettes are actually a nicotine delivery system. What they are designed to do is provide a healthier, greener alternative for nicotine delivery than traditional cigarettes, cigars or tobacco.
E-cigarettes aim to combine the delivery with the feelings and movements involved with regular smoking. The smoker inhales the mist, which is manufactured to taste like the cigarette brand of your choice and blows out the residue much like a traditional cigarette. The nicotine is absorbed through the lungs, and the feeling and effect are essentially the same.
This is the primary trouble with e-cigarettes; it’s more like switching brands than quitting. Because the addictive factor of cigarettes lies with the nicotine, using an e-cigarette as means of quitting is like giving a drug addict clean needles and well manufactured heroine. It might be better, but it’s definitely not the best solution.
One reason e-cigarettes are able to help smokers reduce their tobacco use is that they fulfill part of the equation that patches ad nicotine gum doesn’t, that is the ritual. Lighting up, dragging on the cigarette and exhaling out the smoke. All these actions are repeated artificially with electric cigarettes. Nicotine delivery is also much faster with an electronic cigarette emulating the effect of smoking even further.
E-cigarettes can be helpful and recent studies show that they do hold promise in helping smokers quit, especially if they are used in a step process; an added benefit is that they reduce some of the health risks of smoking, specifically lung cancer. Recent studies showed that 13% of smokers who tried to quit using high-dose nicotine patches were successful within a year. This isn’t a mind blowing number, but do show that the devices might be able to help smokers cut down on cigarettes and eventually quit.
In a study conducted in recent years, researchers kept track of about hundreds of individuals who were offered to try e-cigarettes to quit smoking, and followed up with them seven months later. At the time of the follow up about 50% reported they had cut down on regular cigarettes of were not using regular cigarettes at all any more.
Electronic cigarettes have not been endorsed by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as a smoking cessation aid as of now and in 2010 reprimanded companies that marketed the product as such. None the less more public places banning smoking, e-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular in clubs and bars. In 2011 CDC statistics showed that about one in five smokers had used electronic cigarettes, a significant jump from one in ten reported in 2010.
Individuals who have tried and failed to quit smoking should consider e-cigarettes, they are at least a healthier option to tobacco and failing to offer this alternative option would be a mistake. Although the long-term effects of e-cigarette use aren’t known, the lack of carcinogens and second hand smoke make it easy to assume that it is a greener and safer method of nicotine delivery.
Over 70% of smokers want to quit, but very few ever succeed. Although e-cigarettes might not be the silver bullet, they are definitely one more notch in the utility belt available to help nicotine addicts quit the dangerous habit.