So you want to quit smoking. Whereas you may have tried in the past – using nicotine patches, gum, or inhalers – and view e-cigarettes as nothing more than another fad that’s going to leave you turning back to your pack of Marlboro’s within a couple of months, they could be the best way for you to kick the habit quickly and at a fraction of the torment.
So what makes an e-cigarette different, and how can it help where others have failed? Public Health England recently released a report which you can see here which covers all topics and areas of e-cigarettes to help you gain clearer information on the topic.
How Do They Work
E-cigarettes have three basic components:
- A battery that powers the clearomizer
- The clearomizer which heats flavoured liquid nicotine (or e-liquid to give its industry name) via a coil. The liquids generally contain nicotine in varying levels from 0mg (no nicotine) up to 24 mg.
- E-liquid that is converted into vapour to give the user their nicotine hit.
This has led to many circles believing it is a healthier and cleaner alternative to smoking as it doesn’t contain the litany of harmful chemicals (such as tar and carbon monoxide) that comes from smoking tobacco. While viewed by new users as a complicated piece of kit, online shops provide advice and starter kits to make it easy for people to kick their tobacco habit.
Everything in Moderation
As with quitting anything, often the trick is to stop slowly. Smoking is notoriously hard to quit, but as the e-liquid in the e-cigarette contains nicotine but not tobacco, cravings are reduced and along with it so are withdrawal symptoms.
These e-liquids not only give an electronic cigarette its unique taste but they come in a variety of nicotine strengths ranging from 0-24mg. Natural instinct will tell you to opt for the highest level but your long term goal should be to drop a level or two in mg strength quickly – as the e-cigarette lasts as long as you have liquid and it’s up to you to monitor your usage, using a high strength regularly could have the opposite effect of making your more addicted. This is something which experts have begun to express concerns about.
What Does the Research Say?
Although there has been a lack of scientific studies into the role e-cigarettes can play in quitting smoking, it is an area of research that is growing. A recent study by the peer reviewed medical journal, Addiction, found that when people wanted to quit smoking 60 per cent were more likely to succeed using e-cigarettes than by any other means.
Though this study is a step in the right direction, with a lack of long term studies and a plethora of anecdotal evidence from e-cig users, it is hard to differentiate between those who quit for a while or those who quit for good. While the 60 per cent figure is a great indication at the speed and levels of quitting there is is also an issue due to the young age of the technology, and a lack of understanding around long term effects of use.
This is one reason why anecdotal evidence has become such a big area for the vindication of vaping as a quitting aid – users often talk about how the shape of the device helps them deal with issues such as having something to hold and puff on (a key reason why patches and gum have never worked for them) and it allows the user to actively combat temptations of social smoking when with friends.
The jury is still out. While e-cigarettes have many benefits, especially to those wanting to continue smoking but stop using tobacco, they haven’t been around long enough for accurate and conclusive research to be conducted that can categorically state that they can help smokers quit sooner.