Can Electronic Cigarettes Help You Quit Smoking?

Can electronic cigarettes help you quit smoking?

Well I’m not really supposed to say so, so i’ll say… But Probably . . .

The companies who sell these devices are not in a position to tell you that, legally.  Because the FDA has not approved electronic cigarettes, though they sure are trying to regulate them. And not in a way to help their common good.

Ecigs are not being sold as smoking cessation devices (or technically NRT therapy), but rather as a smarter (theres a good, totally meaningless and ambiguous marketing term!) or sometimes… as a “quite likely Healthier cigarette alternative)  (NOT  healthy … important distinction) “smoking alternative” for people who want smoke in public places, enjoy their firmly entrenched habit without feeling so bad about it – to both themselves and those around them (this past year studies finally started to come available on ecigs and this one

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image21141661

E-cigarettes are an alternative nicotine delivery system (EVEN IF SOME WOULD RATHER THEM NOT BE DESCRIBED AS SUCH), even if they look like cigarettes they work very differently. Common sense would dictate that they could be effectively used as part of an overall smoking cessation program, similar to the way nicotine gum, patches and inhalers are.

Though the topic is complex and these are many perspectives and considerations – ultimately a Harm Reduction philosophy and framework i feel is the correct one for e-cigs.

Regulating them to prescription only or making them much less accessible as the fda is trying to do will no doubt have a negative drop in the usage of the devices – i dont feel they should be regulated or sold in the ways that NRT products are, though from a ‘real world real life’ examination, they are achieving something very similar – just a hell of a lot more effectively !

And here is an interesting fact about electronic cigarette nicotine cartridges:  They come in several different nicotine levels – high, medium, low, and zero nicotine.  Conceivably a person could slowly wean themselves from their nicotine addiction by progressively lowering their intake levels.  It’s important to note that even a cartridge with a “high” nicotine level still delivers considerably less nicotine per inhale than a traditional cigarette.

So how many smokers successfully quit using the electronic cigarette?

It’s too soon to say for sure and no organized studies have been performed to date.  However, if one were to go to the numerous “vaping” forums they would see many testimonials of people who have kicked the habit for good using these devices.  Some of these success stories are from people who have smoked over a pack a day for decades…. TAKE well, me for instance:

Until in-depth clinical studies are done, we are going to have to rely on anecdotal testimonials and our own reasonable judgement.  Do your research and educate yourself on the facts.  Then you will be well equipped to make and intelligent adult decision if this is something that can help you quit smoking.

Here’s the bottom line:  No device, even one as promising as the e-cigarette, is going to be a “silver bullet” in every possible respect (though ive yet to encounter much of anything in life that comes as close)… but issues over health – and whether you ARE even “quitting” when you switch to ecigs – usually arguments made by those who see it on the surface as something that looks just like smoking and therefore it is smoking… it isn;t – smokeless vapor is a very different thing indeed. That said neither is it SAFE – it never could possibly be – and is not a fair judgement of it (no single medication ever released is SAFE…. as i get into in more detail in yesterday’s post here – SAFE vs SAFER)

But the truth is it isn’t a question of wanting to quit or will power as the medical community increasingly concedes – Its been said ad infinitum but Nicotine / Smoking is one of the absolute hardest addictions to break the cycle of – i’ll continue the cliche by stating for the 3 people who havent heard the comparison, but it is thought to likely be a harder thing to break then the hardest of illicit drug addictions – like Heroin…

and that is where it leaves my thinking that black and white solutions = bad, subtler shades of solutions = reality.

Can Electronic Cigarettes Help You Quit Smoking? Stop Burning Go Electric

That is why i subscribe to the harm reduction approach – i think much more good in accomplished this route of compromise, then trying to make it a black and white issue… and the fact is saying either use these here patches that dont work very well – it will probably take you an average of 7 attempts to maybe be successful in the long run – but that’s ok as we make 7x the sales  and you get to be our customer at long as it takes. Sure ecigs are a consumer product too, but i see this compromise unfolding in my own life as less well defined by saying “E Cigs Help You Quit Smoking”  – even though that they certainly do – but one where the message is more about making a conscious attempt to switch to an astoundingly effective product – the only one ever really to emerge in the history of tobacco to be so effective.

My line i so brilliantly :) came up with years ago now is as follows – then read on if you’d like to understand what the “quitting with ecigs” process was like for me and where i am coming from -

 

QUIT SMOKING, STOP BURNING, SAVE MONEY, GO ELECTRIC!

OK so that one is a bit dorky, but i like it anyway – it plays on some kind of 60s hippie Tim Leary drop out rif, lol.

here’s the logo i did for it! not too shabby.

 

NOW onto my own experience and history of how i can to be a “Vaper”and a passionate one at that – and yes in the process did, thanks to an ecig (well several) I successfully did Quit Smoking:

 

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I tried Zyban (it did help some but i didnt make it more than a month or two max) and then later Caroline and me together tried a process combining the patch, gum – i think i was looking into getting a new prescription for Zyban but we didn’t even make it that long… it was pathetic – only about 2 weeks not more.
 
Honestly and i said it to many people at many times, i didnt see myself really being able to drop tobacco from my life – the thought of me, not smoking, seemed somehow not too plausible…   it was over a decade of smoking but not much more – by all definitions i had a heavy smoking habit.
 
Then around 4.5 years ago I saw a report on the news about these news things, and was fascinated – the tech geek that i can be – and i got a hold of a few terrible ones from ebay when that was still possible.

But after finding my way around  and realizing that i was actually feeling completely satisfied – enjoying it as a substitute and not feeling a need to fight off cravings … it was life-changing and has been a wonderful period since then – both in how ive felt my body gradually change .
 
And yes i do feel noticeably better in many ways, i have no doubt my body is in much better shape for it – but it is ALL of the seemingly limitless benefits not just the one that appeal to me – it is amazing to me that such a singular product’s appearance can have so many – in many cases (like money savings, lake of fire hazards and so on) – truly it is just nuts beyond belief in my wordview that Electronic Cigarettes aren’t embraced with open arms. I know why they are being fought, but that it would be like that boggles my mind still.
 
but i also have found in vaping as a certain subset of users do – that i enjoy it as a hobby interest and love the fast pace of innovation and change in the products themselves, love the ecig as a social case study in watching how the world works  and public perception sculpted. I have in various ways shared my experiences and promoted ecigs for the bulk of the time i have been using them – i care passionately about the topic and want others to get to experience the same liberating and wonderfully surprising change in life as well.

 

Im sharing what I’ve detailed above as as my own experience and story, one in which yes, indeed electronic cigarettes DID help me quit smoking – in a lasting and massive way, though whether they should be sold as device claiming outright for that purpose i am more skeptical of.

 

I dont think the speed in which i was able to switch over fully is quite typical, but its not far off many people’s experiences either; even ones not planning on switching fully. I know from my own life that yes, it is possible to – “QUIT Smoking Tobacco” with e-cigs, as i did. I always feel i have to end that with the word ‘tobacco’ – to make it more of a fact based statement than an ideological one… to learn more about that for the moment check out this post – but also these great blogs/websites:

 

People need to be free to think and research for themselves and then make their own choices. That is what i did and continue to do (ecigs arent allowed in Canada here where i live – well not the nicotine anyway). It is my view at least that the government and public health bodies have massively failed in recent decades – and im not alone by a lot shot in my feelings… E-Cigarettes are a potent and intriguing example of that, but the story isn’t over yet – hopefully FAR from it. But i will be watching for all the maneuvering leading up to the FDA’s “proposal” late April – with baited breath – and will share my thoughts and commentary on the situation as it evolves further, and what i think is possible to help constructively oppose it from going their way.

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