Nearly 7 out of 10 smokers say they want to quit. If you smoke, you already know that there is no better measure you can take for your health than quitting smoking are. However, while the benefits of quitting smoking are obvious, the best way to quit may not always be as clear.
Smoking e-cigarettes (also known as vaping) is one area where a lot of conflicting information prevails, causing confusion among people who are seriously considering giving up smoking. We decided to speak to some doctors and other experts to bring you an informed opinion on what vaping is all about and whether it is really a safe way to quit smoking.
For starters, what exactly is vaping?
E-cigarettes come in many different forms
Using e-cigarettes is often referred to as vaping. Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices that heat a liquid solution, typically containing nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin, flavourings and other chemicals, turning it into a vapour that can be inhaled. E-cigarettes are known by many different names such as e-cigs, vapes, vape pens, mods or tank systems. They come in different shapes and sizes; some e-cigarettes resemble traditional cigarettes, cigars or pipes, others look like pens or flash drives, or have high tech designs. E-cigarettes can be disposable or refillable. Most use a cartridge or have a reservoir to hold the liquid, also known as e-liquid or e-juice.
“You need to be aware that some e-cigarettes that claim to be nicotine-free have been found to contain nicotine.”
Are e-cigarettes safe?
The safety of e-cigarettes is not established
The popular view is that e-cigarettes are safer than smoking regular cigarettes. A lot of people are tempted to try vaping when they are considering quitting, to ease the transition from traditional cigarettes to not smoking at all. It is commonly believed that e-cigarettes contain less toxic chemicals than regular cigarettes. However, e-cigarettes usually contain high amounts of nicotine and other harmful substances such as heavy metals like lead, flavourings linked to lung disease, small particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs and carcinogens.
“Animal studies and limited human research have shown that vaping can cause changes in the airways that are similar to those caused by smoking.”
Vaping exposes you to a toxic mix of chemicals
E-cigarettes containing nicotine aren’t safe for teenagers, young adults or pregnant women. Even with short term usage, vaping can cause mouth or throat irritation, nausea and coughing. And while there is much that remains unknown about e-cigarettes, including the chemicals that make up the vapour and how they affect your health over the long term, the available evidence makes it clear that e-cigarettes are potentially dangerous to your health because of the toxic mix of chemicals they expose you to.
“While e-cigarettes may be less harmful than your regular cigarettes, this does not mean that they are harmless.”
Are e-cigarettes regulated?
There is still a lot that remains unknown about e-cigarettes
Currently, companies in the United States of America that make or sell e-cigarettes need to follow certain FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulations. For example, they can only sell them to persons above the age of 18. However, such rules do not exist in India and there is a lot that still remains unknown about e-cigarettes. Research on e-cigarettes is ongoing and it is possible that additional regulations around e-cigarettes and their usage could come up in the future.
“The nicotine in e-cigarettes can lead to addiction and harm brain development in teenagers and young adults into their early twenties. If you’re a pregnant woman, remember that it’s harmful for developing babies as well.”
Can e-cigarettes help me quit smoking?
Don’t be fooled, e-cigarettes are NOT harmless
“Being near someone who is vaping can expose you to the chemicals in it. This is similar to inhaling second hand smoke from regular cigarettes.”
E-cigarettes are not approved by the FDA as a quit smoking aid. Studies to test whether e-cigarettes can help people quit smoking have had inconsistent results and the available research clearly shows that there is limited evidence that e-cigarettes are effective for helping smokers quit. In fact, it is now well established that adolescents who vape are more likely to become cigarette smokers as they grow up.
Teens who vape are more likely to become smokers as adults
What’s more, a recent study by the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) found that people using e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit smoking do not stop smoking cigarettes and instead continue to use both regular and e-cigarettes, known as dual-use, a habit that can cause significant harm because using any amount of cigarettes is very harmful.
There are proven, safe and effective methods that can be used to quit smoking. If you’re looking to start your quit journey, the first step is to create a quit plan that works for you.
The doctors and other experts we spoke to agreed that quit smoking medication like Nicotine Replacement Therapy, in the form of nicotine gum or a lozenge, is one of the most helpful tools smokers can use to quit. The combination of nicotine replacement therapy with effective counselling support is known to increase your chances of quitting for good. For real-time counselling and holistic support through your quit journey, reach out to us at.