E-cigarettes are helping smokers kick the habit, believe it or not. According to a new study, the new cigarette alternative has been helping smokers end their habit better than gums or patches. This could be a major breakthrough for the makers of e-cigarettes as they are battling the government trying to regulate them.
E-cigarettes work in that there is a chamber that is filled with liquid nicotine. This is then heated up using what is called an atomizer that gets the liquid boiling and becoming a vapor. The person then smokes through another chamber as if they were smoking a regular cigarette. The difference is that the vapor dissipates very quickly into the air, and what is left is different scents that were mixed in, such as raspberry. Since there is less nicotine smoke in the air then burning tobacco, a person would not get the nicotine in their system as much and possibly not be as addicted to smoking.
In a study that was conducted for over five years, researchers in London studied nearly 6,000 users from 2009 through 2014 who were trying to quit smoking on their own without a support group or medication prescribed by a doctor. Twenty percent of the users who only used the vapor to quit smoking not only quit but kept away from smoking the rest of the study. This was a better outcome than people who stopped cold turkey, as only 15 percent of users stayed off smoking, and only 10 percent of users who used nicotine patches were able to continue to kick the habit.
Robert West, one of the authors in the study, said that one of the reasons that people who used e-cigarettes were able to stay off smoking tobacco is that the sensation of smoking helped them gradually end their addiction. Also included in the story is that when adding age and how much someone smoked, the chance of staying smoke-free when using e-cigarettes went up to 60 percent.
While it may seem like the best path to quit smoking by using e-cigarettes, that does not mean it’s accepted worldwide. West is careful to point out that counseling and medications are still the most effective way to stop smoking. Stanton Glantz, who researches tobacco use, says that people who are trying to use e-cigarettes to quit may actually continue to smoke, because of the thought that vapors are safer than nicotine smoke. And West noted that the study did not include how long people used e-cigarettes after stopping tobacco, nor if there was a chance that they would go back to smoking.
The National Health System’s cessation services still recommend that people use a combination of taking medication and counseling sessions combined to quit smoking instead of e-cigarettes. They noted that users who used both systems to stop smoking, the success rate was between 40 and 50 percent.
And the federal government has regulated the liquid nicotine, banning anyone under the age of 18 from purchasing e-cigarettes and having them being sold behind the counter. They still consider these to be harmful to anyone who uses them.
While there will need to be more studies on how effective e-cigarettes are in helping people kick the habit, there seems to be a positive look on the brand. Fans of it will continue to champion that it is the best alternative to regular tobacco, and opponents will claim it is just as harmful as cigarettes and still try to regulate it as much as possible.
By Renayle Fink