Electronic cigarettes are the new solution to smoking
- Apr. 1, 2013
- 27 Comments
The electronic cigarette, also known by its nickname the “e-cig,” is changing the way people smoke. Except, there’s no smoke involved.
Eric Adell, a senior from Olathe, picked up his electronic cigarette three months ago in his efforts to quit smoking.
“I started using an e-cig as a way to quit smoking. I’ve tried other things before, but so far this is the only method that has been really effective for me,” Adell said.
The electronic cigarette was originally invented in the 1960s, but did not make a full appearance on the market until 2008. The number of people using the electronic cigarette has been increasing steadily over the past couple of years. The appeal to the electronic cigarette is that it does not contain the harmful chemicals that regular cigarettes include, and it emits water vapor rather than toxic smoke.
The main concern, however, is that there are very limited studies available that deduce what the exact health effects of the electronic cigarette are. Doctors and consumers alike cannot say for sure if the electronic cigarette is any safer than a regular cigarette.
In December, the FDA held a public hearing on nicotine replacement therapies, and one of the main focuses was on electronic cigarettes. Doctor Gilbert Ross from the American Council on Science and Health spoke at the hearing in support of electronic cigarettes. Dr. Ross is certain that the electronic cigarette is safer than a regular cigarette.
“The substances that are being provided in e-cigarettes- water, glycerin or propylene glycol, and vaporized nicotine at various dosages- are quite benign and, at worst, far less harmful than the products of tobacco combustion,” Dr. Ross said at the hearing.
Dr. Ross explains that electronic cigarettes should be praised, not punished, because they do not emit harmful smoke and chemicals like regular cigarettes.
“Electronic cigarettes, of course, are not cigarettes,” Dr. Ross said. “They’re nicotine delivery devices.”
Craving nicotine is the main challenge smokers face when they decide to quit. Adell says that the electronic cigarette has helped him reduce his nicotine intake significantly.
“I think e-cigs are so effective in quitting smoking because they mimic the behavior of smoking while satisfying the need for nicotine, but at the same time, you can consciously reduce the amount of nicotine that you are consuming,” Adell said. “It’s a way of outsmarting your addiction.”
Ryan Hughes, a sophomore from Redlands, Calif. also smokes electronic cigarettes, and says overall, the electronic cigarette is better for smokers.
“The e-cigs always last longer then regular cigarettes,” Hughes said. “There’s not as much nicotine in e-cigs, so you’re able to mimic a lighter, less full-bodied feeling of smoking as opposed to a regular cigarette.”
Adell says they’re cheaper, too.
“The kit initially cost me around $40 and came with a rechargeable battery and a small bottle of liquid nicotine,” Adell said. “I spend about $10 a week on flavored nicotine liquid. You can buy cheaper stuff, but I find that it’s worth it to spend a little more on a higher quality brand, and you get a better selection of flavors. Compared to smoking a pack a day, e-cigarettes are significantly cheaper.”
Adell says that nicotine dependence is not something that can be easily stopped, but the electronic cigarette is making progress for eliminating his addiction.
“Most people don’t really understand how powerful nicotine dependence is,” Adell said. ” It completely subverts any rational decision-making processes. It doesn’t matter that you know it’s going to give you cancer, or that it is unattractive, or that it makes you smell offensive. Psychologically, you just have to have it. Since I started using an e-cig I have dramatically decreased the amount of nicotine I use, and hope to be using only flavored liquid with zero nicotine within the next month.”