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Using e-cigs to stop smoking tobacco is not as good as you may think

The May 21, 2014 issue of The Columbus Dispatch had an article about a new study released in the UK on the ability to use e-cigarettes (e-cigs) to quit smoking regular tobacco cigarettes. The title of the article was E-cigs give smokers extra help in quitting. The story was originally written by Naomi Kresge and published by Bloomberg News on May 21, 2014.

Up in smoke has a different meaning now
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

It should come as no surprise that e-cigs help people stop smoking regular tobacco cigarettes. E-cigs deliver more of the highly addictive nicotine than normal cigarettes. Smoking heroin will reduce the desire to smoke opium. According to expert research, the addictiveness of nicotine rivals the addiction to opiates, cocaine, methamphetamine, and synthetic opiates.

The UK study followed 5,863 people that were trying to quit using tobacco in the period from 2009 to 2014.

The “good news” is that e-cigs are 60% more effective than nicotine patches and nicotine gum. That is because the e-cigs are much more efficient in keeping the blood nicotine levels above the threshold that triggers a normal smoker to reach for another cigarette.

The “bad news” is that the study showed 80% of the people that tried to use e-cigs to quit smoking in the last year were still smoking cigarettes. That is not exactly a success story despite the religious fervor of e-cig proponents that smoking e-cigs is much better than smoking tobacco. The study concludes that the health effects of e-cigs are substantially lower than those for tobacco cigarettes.

A study published in the New York Times on May 3, 2014 is titled Some E-Cigarettes Deliver a Puff of Carcinogens. The e-cigs were the “tank type” that processes the nicotine and hydrocarbon propellant at much higher temperatures. These tank type delivery systems produce formaldehyde from the combined nicotine and propellant. They also deliver a higher dose of nicotine per puff.

There have been very limited studies to analyze the effects of secondhand e-cig smoke. The concentration of nicotine in the exhaled vapor is about 1/10 of that of a normal cigarette. In another good news/bad news scenario, the reason there is less nicotine exhaled is because most of it stayed in the user’s lungs.

Nicotine is a deadly poison if enough is consumed at one time. It is the basic chemical used in pesticides that is decimating the bee population. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor. Plastic surgeons will not operate on patients that use nicotine due to complications in healing. Diabetics with peripheral circulation problems should not be using nicotine at the risk of losing toes, feet, and other body parts.

The e-cig industry is claiming that they are not focusing on selling to middle school and high school students. This is an absolute lie. Flavors include cherry, watermelon, and gram crackers. There is a juice labeled Papa Smurf and Wild Child, with a subtitle of “don’t let them tame you”. You can find all of these juice flavors and more at a site called E-cig & vapor shop.

When further research is conducted, e-cigs are going to be proven to be extremely addicting. There are claims that new users of e-cigs are not going on to smoke tobacco cigarettes. Why should they? E-cigs are much more efficient in delivering the addictive nicotine than tobacco. There are new studies coming out now that are beginning to define the longer term effects on health from the use of e-cigs. See the attached video for further discussions.

One bit of good news for those concerned about e-cigs comes with the recent announcement by the FDA that they are going to start regulating e-cigs with the same rules as tobacco cigarettes. This means age limits on sales to minors. The inclusion of e-cigs under FDA control also means that they will be subject to the federal, state and local taxes that are on other tobacco products.

You can read more detail about the UK study at in The Columbus Dispatch article. The story of the tank e-cig systems delivering carcinogens appears in the New York Times article. You can read the original research report E-cigarette use for quitting smoking is associated with improved success rates in the journal Addiction.

If you are a smoker wanting to quit tobacco, e-cigs should be a planned exit strategy; not a substitution. E-cigs health effects will be under closer scrutiny as the FDA begins regulation. It doesn't take a huge research project to conclude that nicotine is a clear and present danger and has no place within any human's body.

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