According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use, whether in cigarettes or pipes, is responsible for over 5 million deaths annually across the globe. However, it is a preventable cause of death. With that being said, it’s not surprising that, when a new device hits the market that has the possibility of helping those to quit smoking, many current smokers are willing to at least give it a try. The latest device to make that claim is the electronic cigarette. Does this device help those who want to kick the habit completely?
Background of the Electronic Cigarette
Invented by Ruyan in china in 2003, the electronic cigarette first hit the market in the United States in 2007, and it’s quickly gaining both foes and friends across the globe. What’s the deal with these devices? Can they really help those who are struggling with quitting smoking? Currently, e-cigs aren’t subject to federal U.S. tobacco laws because they don’t contain tobacco.
Can an Electronic Cigarette Help You to Quit?
Fans of e-cigs claim that the devices can help you to quit and that e-cigs are the healthier choice than tobacco cigarettes because the former delivers nicotine to the body instead of smoke. According to the American Cancer Society, it’s the smoke from the tobacco in the cigarettes that is proven as one of the leading causes of cancer.
On the other hand, electronic cigarettes don’t expose you to the same toxic chemicals because they don’t use smoke, or tobacco, to deliver nicotine to your lungs. Instead, the e-cig heats up a liquid-nicotine solution that is turned into a vapor that you then inhale. In other words, electronic cigarettes are not as concentrated as tobacco cigarettes, and those who switch to e-cigarettes are avoiding over 6,000 carcinogenic substances.
Those who have tried to quit in the past and have not succeeded find themselves embracing the electronic cigarette, claiming that the device has helped them to both greatly cut down on traditional cigarette usage or has helped them to quit completely. Proponents of these devices report that they experience easier breathing and less coughing when compared to normal cigarettes, and they are not susceptible to smoky odors or stained teeth.
The electronic cigarette, unlike other nicotine replacement therapies like gum or the patch, also offers many of the same actions and sensations of traditional cigarette smoking – physically handling the cigarette and inhaling and exhaling a cloud of vapor that resembles smoke. Nicotine cartridges for e-cigs also come in a variety of tobacco flavors so that you can mimic more closely the experience of smoking a “real” cigarette.
Additionally, many report that, with regular use of electronic cigarettes, normal cigarettes no longer hold any appeal to them. Once the decision has been made to quit smoking altogether, electronic cigarettes allow you to choose the nicotine level based on your current habit and then taper down from a higher nicotine concentration to a lower one so that you are eventually able to wean yourself off. Toward the end, you may find yourself simply “smoking” water vapor – this is the ultimate goal.
Studies Conclude that Electronic Cigarettes Are Successful
Among many, one study in particular found that when participants utilized an electronic cigarette as a smoking cessation method, they were more likely to succeed than those who opted for encouragement and counseling with nicotine gum and patches. Conducted in Italy at the University of Catania by Riccardo Polosa, 40 hardcore smokers were recruited and given an electronic cigarette worth $50.
After six months, more than 50 percent of the participants in the study had decreased their traditionally cigarette usage by at least half. Additionally, nearly 25 percent had quit altogether. While this was a relatively small pilot study, the findings concur with other encouraging evidence and increase hopes that these devices could be one of the most effective tools to date to assist those who need help with quitting smoking and to reduce the global death toll from cigarette use.
Who Can Benefit from Quitting Smoking?
It is believed that an estimated 45 million Americans smoke tobacco cigarettes, a habit that causes cancer, lung and heart diseases and shaves one decade off of your life expectancy. While nearly 70 percent of Americans want to quit smoking, the majority of them fail. Cold turkey, while successful for those with strong willpower, works for fewer than 10 percent of tobacco cigarette smokers. Even with the use of smoking cessation aids such as the patch, medicines and gum as well as counseling, over 75 percent of smokers pick up the habit within a year.
Many researchers and individuals in the healthcare community agree that better treatments are needed because the current ones in place simply aren’t working terribly well. Those who have tried alternative methods and relish in the physical motion may find that electronic cigarettes can help them to quit. Combine the psychological factors with the fact that users can decrease nicotine levels as they move closer toward their quitting date and you have a fairly successful cessation device.
While users can smoke electronic cigarettes almost anywhere, that is not typically the main reason that consumers are seeking
to use these devices; rather, they believe that electronic cigarettes can truly assist them and help them cease smoking for good. When all other methods have failed, e-cigs may be a last resort. However, for many, a last resort is all that is needed to drop the tobacco cigarette once and for all.
It may seem daunting to enter a new product category if you have never tried these devices before, but electronic cigarettes come in many flavors and forms to make your smoking experience the most enjoyable while you work towards your quitting date. Our "Beginners" section in particular is a great place to start. And although many use e-cigs for the purpose of helping them to quit, some simply enjoy smoking too much that they continue to use e-cigs with the lowest nicotine level possible, if they choose a nicotine cartridge at all.
Between 2009 and 2012, the number of Americans smoking cigarettes decreased from 20.6 percent to 18 percent. If you are among those considering kicking the habit and are seeking a proven method to help you along the way, electronic cigarettes may be the answer you are looking for. Because electronic cigarettes contain no tobacco and smaller doses of nicotine than those in normal cigarettes, only water vapor is released. This, along with the absence of unpleasant smells, the lower cost and the ability to “smoke” just about anywhere is leading more smokers to turn to a potentially less harmful method to assist them in tossing the tobacco cigarette forever.