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Do e-Cigarettes Help People Quit Smoking?

By Edited Jul 2, 2016 0 2

The electronic cigarette is advertised by many manufacturers as a smoking cessation aid, but do electronic cigarettes really help people stop smoking? The ecigarette boasts of the ability to control nicotine intake without the user suffering the damaging consequences of tar and other harmful chemicals. While the ability to precisely control nicotine and step down gradually is a great way to stop smoking, it is still a pipe dream with regards to the ecigarette. The electronic cigarette has many pros and cons when it comes to helping people quit smoking and a closer look at some of the most important factors is well worth a look.

Nicotine Delivery

ecigarette ad

Naturally manufactured tobacco cigarettes have been proven time and time again to deliver inconsistent nicotine amounts. While the variation is within a narrow range, the ability to monitor and control actual nicotine intake is impossible. The ecigarette has cartridges that are clearly designed to deliver a consistent amount of nicotine again and again. In the ideal world, this would be a great way for a smoker to move gradually from a higher nicotine amount to lower. Unfortunately, recent FDA tests of the ecigarette have shown that there is much inconsistency among ecigarette cartridges, too. If the ability to still not control nicotine is taken away, there is little chance that an ecigarette can effectively help a smoker to quit.

 

Cost

High taxes on cigarettes have greatly increased the cost to smoke in the last decade. This has been a deterrent for young smokers and helped many long-time smokers to reduce consumption. Because the ecigarette is manufactured with cheap Chinese labor and simple parts, it is cheaper for smokers to use either as the occasional cigarette substitute or as a total replacement. The smoker basically changes smoking tobacco for smoking liquid nicotine vapor. While the health benefits are probably better with the ecigarette, the ability to wean the body off of nicotine is no longer a consideration.

Availability of use

Non-smoking laws in many public places throughout the country have greatly reduced the amount of daily smoke breaks for the average person. This alone can help many people quit. Again, the ecigarette negates this by being a tobacco free device. It is easy to puff an ecigarette covertly to sneak a nicotine fix almost anywhere since there is no telltale odor or heavy smoke to give the user away. This can lead to more teenagers smoking as well. If a smoker can use the ecigarette as a crutch until a real cigarette can be smoked then there is little incentive to stop smoking.

The ecigarette has not been proven to be an effective smoking cessation aid. Inconsistent nicotine delivery, cheap cost and the ease of use have, if anything, allowed more users to start and regular smokers to continue smoking. The best way to stop smoking is with the help of a properly prescribed nicotine substitute-ideally something that does not mimic smoking. Long term health benefits of the ecigarette have not been established, but it is arguably healthier than tobacco. This does not mean there are not many dangers to the ecigarette. The best way to ensure future health is to give up smoking and nicotine entirely.

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Comments

May 4, 2010 4:21am
TeachMeToFish
Here is my experience with electronic cigarettes:

2 years ago, I was searching for a way to stop smoking. I was going to go with the patch, but I just couldn't bring myself to stick that thing on me and wear it all day. Then I found an ad for electronic cigarettes. They were advertised as a smoking substitute and specifically not a smoking cessation device.

I thought these would be a much better alternative to smoking regular cigarettes. They really are not a cigarette at all. They produce a harmless vapor, that gives the sensation of smoking. They taste good and provide the oral fixation (which I was addicted to more than the nicotine).

You can get them in levels of nicotine from zero to high. I myself believe a little nicotine is good for you. I started out high, backed down quickly to low, and have been using them ever since. I haven't smoked for almost two years and don't have any desire to. If you want to wean your body off nicotine, this is a very easy way to do it.

I also don't have any desire to stop using electronic cigarettes. I enjoy them, they taste good, the little nicotine I do choose to keep using, helps me to focus and they keep me from snacking.

You say, "If a smoker can use the ecigarette as a crutch until a real cigarette can be smoked than [typo, should be then] there is little incentive to stop smoking." - While this may be true for some, especially when you first start using them, I myself along with all the people I know that use these things develop a strong distaste for regular cigarettes in a very short amount of time.

"The ecigarette has not been proven to be an effective smoking cessation aid. Inconsistent nicotine delivery, cheap cost and the ease of use have, if anything, allowed more users to start and regular smokers to continue smoking. The best way to stop smoking is with the help of a properly prescribed nicotine substitute—ideally something that does not mimic smoking." (your words, not mine - I no longer smoke! I do however choose to use a nicotine substitute in the form of inhaling and exhaling a pleasant tasting vapor.

You can indeed control the amount of nicotine by using electronic cigarettes and even keep using them with zero nicotine.

I find that they help me relax, I enjoy them, and I lost about twelve pounds in the first 3 months of using them.
May 4, 2010 2:52pm
sound_foundation
I'm glad you are having success with them. I am an ex-smoker and would have probably tried them myself to quit if they had been available. I still have concerns over some of the chemicals used in the manufacturing (which is unregulated) and the inconsistent nicotine levels found in the FDA study. I do believe that they probably are better for a smoker to use instead of a traditional cigarette, but do believe further study and research need to be done before more people jump blindly on the bandwagon. Thanks for catching the typo, too.
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