The dangers of smoking cannot be overemphasized. It is estimated that almost 500,000 people die annually of tobacco-related diseases in the US. Further, it is estimated that over the next decade, there will be about eight million premature deaths worldwide due to tobacco-related diseases. Among the diseases and problems associated with tobacco include asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, cardiovascular diseases like heart attack, cancers (especially of the lungs), eye damage, skin weathering, and more. With all of these in mind, those who smoke should quit smoking and those who do not smoke should not start. There are many ways to help quit smoking and they vary from one person to another.
E-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool
Using e-cigarettes, or vaping as it is commonly known, involves inhaling vapour generated from the heating of a liquid that is made of nicotine, flavorings, and other substances. The agreement is that vaping is safer than smoking. However, it has a few problems such as nausea, coughing, mouth and throat irritation, and the long-term effects are not yet clear.
Proponents of vaping have fronted it as a method that can be used to help smokers quit smoking. While giving up nicotine products completely is the final goal, it is said that there could be health benefits to smokers who switch to long-term vaping instead, but this remains largely unproven. It is advisable to use e-cigarettes from reliable and reputable vendors such as ePuffer whether one is using vaping to quit smoking or just for pleasure and to get their nicotine dose.
The study comparing vaping and other smoke cessation methods
A recent study was done to compare vaping and other methods of quitting smoking that involve nicotine replacement. The findings from the study back the idea that vaping could assist some smokers in quitting smoking.
The researchers engaged nearly 900 people who wanted to stop smoking. They randomly allocated e-cigarettes to half of the participants and the other half other nicotine replacement products like gum and nicotine patches. All of the participants received were counseled individually every week for four weeks. Smoking cessation was confirmed after one year. The confirmation was made by measuring the amount of exhaled carbon monoxide, where it would be higher if one was still smoking and lower if one had quit.
The study findings were:
- Among the participants who were assigned vaping, 18% had quit smoking compared to 10% of those employing nicotine replacing therapy.
- Among those who successfully stopped smoking, 80% of the e-cig group were still using e-cigs while only 9% of those using nicotine substitutes were still using them.
- There was a greater drop in phlegm production and coughing among the vaping participants
It can then be concluded that e-cigarettes can help smokers to quit because the use of e-cigs in the study was linked with twice the rate of smoking cessation. However, a crucial thing to note is that the e-cigs used in the study contained much lower nicotine levels than those contained in common e-cig brands in the US. Although the relevance of this difference is not clear, a higher nicotine level could lead to a higher addiction rate with the e-cigs.
The study demonstrates that e-cigarettes could help to stop smoking. But with so many things about e-cigarettes not yet clear, their use as a smoking cessation aid should be done with some caution. There is also the concern that e-cigarettes are marketed to the youth, which needs to be addressed to avoid their use among minors since this could lead to nicotine addiction.